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If this is your first time here…

RACISM, CAPITALISM, AND THE POLICE

This is a piece we put up on the Commune Life Facebook page, that comes from the personal blog of Boone Wheeler who lives at East Wind. Here’s what I wrote on our Facebook page followed by a copy of the article direct from Boone’s blog.

by Boone Wheeler

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

WARREN BUFFET

Black Lives Matter.

I support the protesters. I support the rioters. I support the looters.

That said, I don’t think protesting, rioting, and looting will be enough. To truly pull a weed out, you must get its roots, otherwise it just grows back. Similarly, to effect real social change, we must address the root cause.

To that end, in this post I trace the origins of American racism and police brutality and demonstrate that they spring from the same well – capitalism and the elites that created it, maintain it, and benefit from it. I further suggest that to end racism and police brutality, we must end capitalism.

The Invention of American Racism

The following excerpts are all taken from the phenomenal A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. The emphasis is mine.

Only one fear was greater than the fear of black rebellion in the new American colonies. That was the fear that discontented whites would join black slaves to overthrow the existing order. In the early years of slavery, especially, before racism as a way of thinking was firmly ingrained, while white indentured servants were often treated as badly as black slaves, there was a possibility of cooperation.

By the years of the Revolutionary crisis, the 1760s, the wealthy elite that controlled the British colonies on the American mainland had 150 years of experience, had learned certain things about how to rule. They had various fears, but also had developed tactics to deal with what they feared.

The Indians, they had found, were too unruly to keep as a labor force, and remained an obstacle to expansion. Black slaves were easier to control, and their profitability for southern plantations was bringing an enormous increase in the importation of slaves, who were becoming a majority in some colonies and constituted one-fifth of the entire colonial population. But the blacks were not totally submissive, and as their numbers grew, the prospect of slave rebellion grew.

With the problem of Indian hostility, and the danger of slave revolts, the colonial elite had to consider the class anger of poor whites-servants, tenants, the city poor, the propertyless, the taxpayer, the soldier and sailor. As the colonies passed their hundredth year and went into the middle of the 1700s, as the gap between rich and poor widened, as violence and the threat of violence increased, the problem of control became more serious.

What if these different despised groups – the Indians, the slaves, the poor whites-should combine? Even before there were so many blacks, in the seventeenth century, there was, as Abbot Smith puts it, “a lively fear that servants would join with Negroes or Indians to overcome the small number of masters.

It was the potential combination of poor whites and blacks that caused the most fear among the wealthy white planters. If there had been the natural racial repugnance that some theorists have assumed, control would have been easier. But sexual attraction was powerful, across racial lines. In 1743, a grand jury in Charleston, South Carolina, denounced “The Too Common Practice of Criminal Conversation with Negro and other Slave Wenches in this Province.” Mixed offspring continued to be produced by white-black sex relations throughout the colonial period, in spite of laws prohibiting interracial marriage in Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Georgia. By declaring the children illegitimate, they would keep them inside the black families, so that the white population could remain “pure” and in control.

Edmund Morgan, on the basis of his careful study of slavery in Virginia, sees racism not as “natural” to black-white difference, but something coming out of class scorn, a realistic device for control. “If freemen with disappointed hopes should make common cause with slaves of desperate hope, the results might be worse than anything Bacon had done. The answer to the problem, obvious if unspoken and only gradually recognized, was racism, to separate dangerous free whites from dangerous black slaves by a screen of racial contempt.”

In the 1720s, with fear of slave rebellion growing, white servants were allowed in Virginia to join the militia as substitutes for white freemen. At the same time, slave patrols were established in Virginia to deal with the “great dangers that may … happen by the insurrections of negroes….” Poor white men would make up the rank and file of these patrols, and get the monetary reward.

In other words, the 1% of the time feared the white indentured servants would realize they had common cause with the black slaves and together overthrow those taking advantage of them both. To prevent this, they created laws and policies to create division between poor whites and black slaves to keep them divided. They were obviously very effective.

The Police

Not too many people are aware, but the institution of American policing came directly from these slave patrols.

Gary Potter is a professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies and the author of  The History of Policing in the United States. He says public police forces began around the mid-1800s. They were born out of slave patrols in the south and industry policing in the north.

In the late 1800s, police were involved in union busting. After major corruption scandals during the prohibition era, Potter says there were “efforts to professionalize the police.” This led to more public funding and starting with the Nixon administration, federal funding for police forces. This is also when police departments started getting military-style equipment.

JULIAN HAYDA & JACK HURBANIS

Another thing most people aren’t aware of is that the Police have no legal responsibility to protect citizens.

“Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the government has only a duty to protect persons who are “in custody,” he pointed out.

RYAN MCMAKEN

Here’s a particularly egregious example:

Warren v. District of Columbia, in which two women heard their roommate being attacked downstairs by intruders called the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After their roommate’s screams stopped 30 minutes later they assumed the police were present and went downstairs, only to themselves be held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers, for the next 14-hours. The “officials” in legal land claimed that official police personnel and the government employing them owe no duty to victims of criminal acts and thus are not liable for a failure to provide adequate police protection.

PETE EYRE

So, who are the police really trying to protect?

Something true throughout the history of policing in America is the focus on property. “The police are primarily there to protect business property first, and residential property second, not human interactions. If that were the case, they would fail miserably,” says Potter.

JULIAN HAYDA & JACK HURBANIS

In reality, police are the domestic enforcement arm of capital (analogous to the military for external imperialist affairs), and the only force authorized by capitalists to use violence to protect capitalist property rights. The history of police crackdowns on unions, workers organizing for better conditions, and minority groups challenging the inequality of the capitalist order goes back to its inception. Cops are class traitors, serving the capitalists by inflicting violence on workers when necessary, and keeping capitalist property safe from the pesky plebs.

Class traitor is a term used mostly in socialist discourse to refer to a member of the proletarian class who works directly or indirectly against their class interest, or what is against their economic benefit as opposed to that of the bourgeoisie.

WIKIPEDIA

In other words, the police’s main function today is to maintain the current class structure, i.e. capitalism. Since racism strengthens classism, the police are encouraged to be racist. Here’s a fantastic look into the systemic issues of policing as recounted by an ex-cop: Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop

Economics and Control

Let us not forget that slavery was an economic enterprise. All of the horrors of American slavery were committed so that rich, white, elites could make money. It was profit seeking capitalism that created American slavery.

Michael Perelman’s incredible (yet dry) book The Invention of Capitalism details how that exact same profit seeking led the nascent capitalists to convert a self-sufficient European peasantry into wage slaves by force (emphasis mine):

Some of the forthright accumulationists, however, were sophisticated enough to have realized that once the work of primitive accumulation was complete, what Marx (1977, 899) called the ‘‘silent compulsion’’ of the market could be far more profitable than the brute force of primitive accumulation. Consider again the generous vision of Reverend Joseph Townsend (1786, 404, 407):

[Direct] legal constraint [to labor][i.e. slavery] . . . is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise, . . . whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry, it calls forth the most powerful exertions. . . . Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjugation to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse.

Similarly, Rodbertus, a German socialist and government minister rather than an outright primitive accumulationist, asserted:


Originally this compulsion was exercised by the institution of slavery, which came into existence at the same time as tillage of the soil and private ownership of land. . . . When all the land in a country is privately owned, and when the same title to all land has passed into private ownership of land and capital exerts the same compulsion on liberated or free workers. . . . Only now the command of the slave owner has been replaced by the contract between worker and employer, a contract which is free only in form but not really in substanceHunger makes almost a perfect substitute for the whip, and what was formerly called fodder is now called wages. (cited in BöhmBawerk 1959, 253)

In other words, early capitalists realized that the market functioned as a better means of control than outright slavery.

Economics and Racism

Nor is the connection between racism and economics only in the distant past. Modern racism and xenophobia are fueled primarily by economic concerns. The motivation behind Trump’s wall is of course to keep Hispanic immigrants out of this country lest they “steal our jobs.” This of course was the same motivation behind anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment in the late 1800’s.

For the poor and working classes, immigrants willing to do their low-skilled jobs for less are a real threat to their livelihood. As long as capitalism-created scarcity has the many fighting to stay out of poverty, there will be the necessary and sufficient conditions for racist sentiment to form.

Whether pitting laborers of different races against each other, stoking racial fears through a sensationalistic and profit-driven media, or politically scapegoating entire ethnic groups, America’s white elite have successfully modernized age-old strategies of using racism to prevent the formation of a broad coalition of people along class lines — and across racial lines.

KERI LEIGH MERRITT

The truth, of course, is that it is the capitalists, not their fellow laborers, who are the enemies of the poor and working class whites.

“You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings,” the famous Georgia populist leader Tom Watson told a crowd of black and white laborers in 1892. “You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves you both.”

KERI LEIGH MERRITT

Listen to the King

Again, in no way am I trying to co-opt, distract, or detract from the BLM movement. I support it wholeheartedly.

I’ve tried to demonstrate what I believe to be a clear line of causality from capitalism to racism to police brutality. It is my belief that racism derives largely from economic motives and economic inequality. I further believe that because racial injustice stems from economic injustice, to truly address racial injustice we must address economic injustice.

In this, I am beat to the punch by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.

And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.

FROM KING’S LAST SPEECH TO THE SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, DELIVERED IN 1967

The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.

FROM A SPEECH TITLED “THE THREE EVILS OF SOCIETY,” DELIVERED TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR NEW POLITICS IN 1967

King thought that if you could pull together the poor blacks of the inner cities, the poor American Indians of the reservations, the poor Latinos of the barrios and the poor whites of Appalachia, if you could get them to put aside their differences and unite around the meagerness and exploitation they all had in common, you’d have the makings of a movement that would break the old paradigms.

King had in mind nothing less than radical transformation, musing about “a democratic socialism” and arguing for a guaranteed income [UBI much?] and a “Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged.” “True compassion,” he wrote, “is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

LEONARD PITTS, JR.

Expand the Protests

While I wholeheartedly support protesting, looting, and rioting, I do not believe them to be effective nor sufficient methods of creating meaningful change.

I do not think the current protests are asking for enough. Changing a few laws around the institution of policing is not enough. It does not address the gross economic inequality that lies at the root of not just American police brutality but also mass injustice and unnecessary human suffering worldwide. What we need is the “radical redistribution of political and economic power” that King called for more than 50 years ago. What we need is the overthrow of capitalism.

Capitalism Must Go

Capitalism and the classism it creates and depends on lies at the root of racism and police brutality. If you want to address these issues, you must address Capitalism

But those are not the only evils of Capitalism. It is also the force that is driving ecological destruction and climate change. Capitalism, if left unchecked, will literally kill us all. Furthermore, in the pursuit of profit capitalism inflicts gross iniquity upon millions upon millions of people in the Third World.

What is Capitalism? In America, it’s all of us. Our entire society, our entire way of life, is built on the exploitation of the natural and human worlds. So I want to expand Black Lives Matter. Because really, that means American Black Lives. What about African Black Lives? What about the 9 million people who starve to death every year? Do their lives Matter? What about the sweat shops that employ 80% women? Do their lives matter?

Let’s expand the fight and make that radical change King spoke about a reality. As he said, it’s not just about black people, it’s about all oppressed people, everywhere.

I know I’m a privileged white male. And again, in no way am I trying to diminish or take from the BLM movement. I’m inspired by it. But if you support BLM, then you should support oppressed people of all stripes and colors.

Oppressed Lives Matter, Worldwide.

Just as there is White Privilege, there is First World Privilege. Our comfort and affluence comes at the cost of the exploitation of hundreds of millions in the “Global South.”

Ending police brutality and systemic targeting of black people is crucial and mandatory, but it’s not enough. I believe that the radical redistribution of political and economic power that King called for is the same revolution that Marx called for a hundred years before him.

I put forth that the modern American lifestyle is fundamentally immoral due to its utter dependence on exploitative capitalism. To all those who support BLM and consider themselves an ally to oppressed people, I encourage you to examine how your lifestyle contributes to the very oppression you speak out against.

We are all one people. Capitalism serves the few at the great expense of the many. Capitalism. Must. Go.

How?

As I said earlier, I don’t think protesting, etc. is enough. So what is? I have two practical actions to suggest.

  1. Don’t pay your taxes. The rich and powerful care about only one thing: money. So hit them where it hurts – their pocketbook. A general tax strike would absolutely bring them to the negotiating table. They live off of us. Their biggest fear is us realizing this, just as it was in the American South in the 1700’s.
  2. Meet as many of your own needs as possible. Grow your own food. Learn to sew your own clothes, work on your own car, etc. Until we the people are once again self-sufficient, the elites have us in the chains of the “silent compulsion” of the market.

We are in a class war. The rich are winning. It’s time for that to change.

RACISM, CAPITALISM, AND THE POLICE

Black Land Matters

I (Raven) have put out in several places that I am more concerned about diversity among communities than diversity within communities. But having a true diversity of communities requires many different folks having access to the things that can help build community. Land is one of them. Historically, Black folks have been denied access to land. Here is an important proposal to change that and support communities of color in a way that really matters. Rejoice found this resource and I happily published it in our ongoing series of Facebook posts about diversity and race.

Here is the information on the page that the link goes to. If you want to know more here is the link to the actual article (which then has links to resources and the full proposal).

Unfortunately, this piece was not seen by that many folks (unfortunate because I think that it contains really important information). I did get three great comments on the piece, including one from Rejoice who alerted me to the article in the first place. I totally agree with Cara’s comment.

We will be back on Monday, with more on the topic of race and diversity in communities.

Black Land Matters

For now…

Yes, it’s Thursday. But this is to let you know, as of tomorrow, I will be returning this blog to its previous Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, except, most of the content, similar to what I did in June, will be reprinted Facebook posts

On one hand, this means that I don’t have to work so hard creating new content (or trying to get stuff from overworked communards) for what, at this point, is a very small audience. On the other hand, I am not abandoning you entirely. If you do not want to go on to Facebook to have to see Commune Life content, I totally understand. I am only on Facebook because Theresa worked hard to persuade me that we would reach a much larger audience there.

So this is my compromise. I won’t say how long we will be doing this, but reposting daily for the month of June wasn’t that difficult, so I think that this is something that I can keep doing.

See you tomorrow.

–Raven

For now…

So you want to leave it all and create a community?

If you want to leave it all and start a community, you should focus on inner work first. If you focus only on action, you risk building yourself another prison. You might just change one form of unhealthy lifestyle and toxic relations for another as a result.

by Katarzyna Gajewska

(Help Katarzyna bring her book “Imagine a Sane Society” to the world and available for free by donating to the crowdfunding campaign. You are also supporting Cambia and Twin Oaks this way.)

Living in less and less livable cities to attain an unhealthy lifestyle with a toxic job situation makes many wonder, what if they started a community? You may have talked about it with people around you. Congratulations! Seeing what you do not want is the first step out of helplessness and stagnation. You’re so much further than many who just endure unbearable situations. They keep going in the wrong direction by numbing and relativizing. However, the fantasies of moving to a farm and living in a community need to be considered carefully. Boldness is good. It drives potential for change. However, an action needs vision. Otherwise, it may end up as a nightmare as a Japanese proverb warns us.

I am sharing with you some reflections that came into my mind when talking with people who want to create a community and be self-sufficient. One might argue that I have no expertise because I have not done it myself. I have not even tried. The reason why I have not undertaken such a project is not that it is a bad idea. To the contrary, I have met many people who lead a fulfilled life in egalitarian communities. And it has been beneficial for their health. Personally, I prefer to neither live in a community and strive for collective autonomy nor fit the mainstream employment system. This decision is based on knowing my limits and predispositions. I believe that a life that is an expression of one’s unique set of gifts – when creatively combined – brings fulfillment. I have conducted dozens of interviews in communities in Germany and the US. Furthermore, I have met many people who want to leave their mainstream lives and create a community.

First, I would invest in self inquiry before moving anywhere. If you are escaping from something rather than pursuing a project, you may end up reproducing old dissatisfaction. Once you find yourself in a new situation you may start daydreaming about another life as an escape from the discomforts and challenges. So much empowerment comes from knowing your purpose and your capacities. If you have a dream, it is a better investment to put hundred percent into it in order to verify whether it is really what you want instead of moving to a community as an escape from temporary frustration and stagnation.

Second, it is worth spending some time in at least one community. Both egalitarian communities where I have conducted interviews welcome interns and visitors. Twin Oaks community has an orientation program, which can give you an overview of things to consider. Paxus Calta offers personal coaching to help you find your place in communal world. This can be vacation well spent with a lot of self-knowledge as a result no matter whether you want to join one of the communities or not. By seeing what you like and dislike about the experience you will be better equipped to define your own vision. Living in such settings can give you an idea about things to consider and prepare for in case you still want to create a community. We go to school to be adapted to the system. Similarly, spending some time in a communal setting may be a necessary preparation for unlearning what may prevent flourishing in a group.

After all this time spent on personnel inquiry and experiential learning, you are ready for the third step. This is probably the most difficult one because it goes against all the conditioning that has been skillfully put into our system. If you want to leave the system, you need to start with the inner work of questioning. Replacing the old with a new setting may actually turn out even worse. Imagine you wanted to escape the nonsense of being employed. If you reproduce a similar atmosphere and problems as you experienced in a job you hated, you risk to be in a similar situation and ask yourself what had been all this effort for. Not only this, you may not be able to numb and use the salary to compensate for your suffering.

If we want to live a radically different life, we need to touch upon the beliefs and automatisms that serve the status quo. We need to address the core of who we are. Since we have been inculcated into our beliefs and rationality at the age of unconscious learning, you may find yourself in a group of people who want to live a different life but are emotionally attached to the vices, habits ,and influences that are powerful in preventing any success in creating an alternative. There are two questions that you need to ask yourself and deconstruct your conditioning.

– What are my true needs?

There are many ways to analyze how you perceive what you really need. For example, you can experiment living in different conditions as I did for myself. You can look at your habits, addictions, rewards that you think you cannot live without understanding deeply their function in your life. What meaning does the system attribute to them? How do they help you cope and prevent you from facing head on potential discomfort?

I once met a man who wanted to start a community. He also seemed to have problem with alcohol. Whatever he was escaping from, I doubt a community would fulfill his needs because he has not addressed the underlying causes of addiction. It is also worth considering the additional work needed to respond to this craving instead of doing the work to heal from it.

It is important to understand what you really cannot live without. There are things that make us flourish. And things that we got used to even though they do not serve our best selves. Whether you do it alone or in a group, it is a great preparation for setting the priorities for your community. Obviously, you don’t want to live in a setting that feels like a compromise and deprivation. However, our perception of deprivation may be shaped by the commercial interests. For example, shampoo has been used since 1930s but many of us cannot imagine not to use it.

– How do I meet my needs?

This second question is about rationality behind the organization of production. We have been imbued with images and stories about efficiency and productivity. They are well adjusted to maintaining the current system. However, if you want a change, you cannot apply the same set of beliefs. Take farming. I was surprised seeing that in many alternative projects, people follow relatively conventional methods of organic farming imposing working in the sun and unnecessary labor. I have heard of cases of burnout, injuries, and exhaustion because of farming. This is quite ironic that people who want to escape the constraints of the capitalist system put themselves in a situation of the type of labor predominating in a system where human life is not valued. Instead of doing farming in a strenuous way, it is worth investing time in understanding how to work with rather than against nature. There are many publications and movies that describe approached to farming with minimal human labor, energy use and tools. The most famous is Fukuoka’s philosophical book but there are more practically oriented books.

What is the gain of trading a boss who does not care about your wellbeing for the self-exploitation resulting from ignorance and beliefs inculcated by the system that does not want you to be autonomous?

Studying alternative forms of production and meeting basic needs is essential if you want to liberate from the constraints of the system. It requires giving yourself space for creativity and experimenting. The problem with pursuing the beaten yet labor-intensive path is that you may create a lot of sunk costs and emotional investment in the methods that undermine your community in the long run. And then you follow the problems of mainstream institutions and organizations, which you so much disliked. I have heard of a project producing farming tools as a form of liberation. A true liberation would be not to need to rely on tractors and other machinery while bringing satisfying results and making work an enjoyable pastime.

Katarzyna Gajewska, PhD, is an author and educator. You can contribute to her crowdfunding campaigns to help publishing the feminine utopia “Imagine a Sane Society” or other forthcoming Creative Commons books. She has brought out many articles on egalitarian communities based on in-depth interviews.

For updates on my publications: Katarzyna Gajewska – Independent Scholar

My publication list (selection):  https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Katarzyna_Gajewska

So you want to leave it all and create a community?

Diversity at Twin Oaks, Part Four

Julia Amanita, who lives at Twin Oaks and is part of the Commune Life team, was asked to give her perspective on what is going on at Twin Oaks. This is what she wrote:

There were lots of comments (and still more coming in). Here is what there was a couple of days ago (minus a more personal back and forth between a couple of folks):

Then Aurora shared a link to this meme:

Tomorrow is July first and, rather than continuing to post from our Facebook page, I will print a brand new piece from a regular contributor to Commune Life, Katarzyna Gajewska.

Diversity at Twin Oaks, Part Four

Delbert Africa has died

Delbert Africa was a member of the Philadelphia black commune, MOVE. This was a radical group of activists who lived together and believed that all living beings were interdependent. They annoyed their neighbors and were targeted by the Philadelphia police who raided their home in a violent eviction proceeding in 1978 that ended in a gun fight. A policeman was killed (the police claim it was from gunfire from the house, some witnesses believe it may have been from an accidental shot from another police officer). Nine MOVE members were arrested, charged with third-degree murder, and sentenced to a hundred years in prison each. Delbert was one of the last to be released. Later, in 1985, the mayor and the police decided that the best way to rid the neighborhood of these activists was to bomb the house–which they did, killing eleven people and destroying the entire block.

There weren’t a lot of comments, but here are the four that we got, including my memories of Philadelphia that were related to these incidents. Bizarrely, while Frank Rizzo was the mayor during the 1978 shootout, the mayor who okayed the 1985 was Wilson Goode, a black man, who together with the police chief at the time, classified MOVE as a “terrorist organization.”

If you are interested in seeing Mike Africa Jr’s performance, here is that part of the video:

Tomorrow, part four of our diversity series, Julia’s piece on Whiteness in Community.

Delbert Africa has died

Diversity, Part Three

In response to everything that was happening at Twin Oaks and beyond (see Parts One and Two), Theresa wrote this response:

Needless to say, lots of comments. Here they all are:

Tomorrow, the death of a black activist who was part of a black commune in the seventies and eighties, that was described as a “fusion of black power and flower power.” The police raided them in the seventies in a violent shoot out and in the eighties, after lobbing tear gas at them and firing more than ten thousand rounds of ammunition at the house, dropped two one-pound bombs on the house, killing eleven people in the house including five children.

Diversity, Part Three

Starting Communes…

On the evening of May 10th, tired and wanting to go to bed, I (Raven) noticed that there was no Facebook post for the next day. I thought about why I had put the blog on hiatus for May and just wrote about it for the next day’s post. I was surprised that it became very popular (or at least more popular than many of our posts before then). In it, I mentioned that, really, no matter what I post here, the same three posts almost always come up as the most popular posts of the day (or the week or the month). I checked just before writing this (at the end of June) and it’s still true. Here’s what I wrote:

As you can see, I got twenty comments. Here are some of them:

Since this was a question directed at me, I felt like I needed to respond.

When Aurora DeMarco put in a short, cryptic comment, Theresa (as Commune Life) pressed her for a longer answer, which she provided.

Tomorrow, I will return to our recent Facebook posts on diversity.

Starting Communes…

Glomus goes to the protests

After George Floyd’s death there were protests across the US in support of black lives. This included protests in the part of rural New York state where the Glomus Commune that Theresa and I and a bunch of other communards live. Many of the folks from our community attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Delhi, NY. Theresa published a Facebook post about it.

Here is a picture of the crowd in Delhi:

And here are some of us, wearing green East Brook Community Farm t-shirts:

Finally, here is Theresa, in a masked self-portrait, at the protest:

Rachael and I also attempted to attend the end of a Juneteenth march that went from Delhi to Walton (the town that our farm and community are in) but we were late and apparently the march ended early, so we reached the cemetery in Walton where the march ended, just as people were leaving. We left flowers there but didn’t connect with anyone, because it’s hard to know who you are dealing with when everyone is wearing pandemic masks.

Glomus goes to the protests

Diversity at Twin Oaks (and Beyond), Part Two

Although Julia’s Instagram post, that was the subject of yesterday’s post, was published on Facebook quickly at their request, we already had a post ready to go up, republishing a post from the Twin Oaks Facebook page, with commentary from us. (Mostly Theresa, although I provided the outline for it.) It was published the next day. Here is the original Twin Oaks post:

As the Facebook caption says, there were 57 comments on the Twin Oaks site. I am not going to put most of them on here–among other things, the comments reached a level of ignorance and acrimony that was truly awful–but I will put the first three, because they were telling:

Here is the commentary that we wrote when we reposted it on the Commune Life Facebook page:

We only got two comments to this post on our site, and they were from the same person:

Julia requested that we keep our Twin Oaks reposts and other material on the same subject, and although we did publish a few unrelated things that were in the queue about Acorn and East Wind, we kept a focus on diversity and dealing with racism. We publicized two workshops related to the subject, both (coincidentally?) on June 23:

And (another Instagram repost from Julia):

There is and will be a lot more on this subject, but much of it is still going on. I am going to take a couple of days to look at other things and then return with Part Three, which will contain current Facebook posts.

Diversity at Twin Oaks (and Beyond), Part Two