by Raven Cotyledon
The Federation of Egalitarian Communities is a network of North American communes. As the name implies the communities involved have a commitment to equality and egalitarianism. Unfortunately, these communities are filled with flawed and fallible human beings, as is the nature of any human endeavor. Thus, as the title of my post suggests, egalitarianism is an aspiration, something aimed for but not always accomplished.
Right now the FEC is struggling with questions about how to better live up to its name. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia (and more) are all found in our communities because these oppressions are a basic part of our society and the communes are not separate from society. The communities are mostly white, mostly middle-class, and while there is a decent percentage of women, there is still misogyny, and while we try to be a safe place for queer and transfolk, it isn’t always true.
So the work is about how to change that. How can these communities reflect the world we want rather than the world we have? I would suggest that the first step is to acknowledge that we are still far from where we want to be. At Twin Oaks they give visitors a booklet with the title “Not Utopia Yet.” This reflects both where we are and where we want to go.
Each year the FEC has an assembly of representatives from the member communities and the Communities-in-Dialogue where we talk about pressing issues in the communities. Figuring out how we can really become more egalitarian is one of the top topics this year.
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