by Raven Glomus
Welcome to 2021! The year 2020 is officially over. One of my commune mates pointed out that nothing really changes as the calendar year rolls over, but there’s a lot of symbolism, especially this past year when so many (mostly not good things) happened all at once.
I will try to focus on commune related things in listing my hopes, but the coronavirus has had a major impact on the communes, and will need to be dealt with. My first and biggest hope for this year is that, with folks getting vaccinated, we may be able to move somewhat beyond having to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic. In terms of this happening, I’ve heard everything from late spring, to the summer, to sometime in the fall. This will mean a lot for the communes.
The only good thing out of all this is that I think that the pandemic has increased interest in communal living. It’s also made it hard to join communities. So when some of the pandemic restrictions are lifted, I am very hopeful that many of the communes, which are at low populations now, will be able to bring in some good folks and increase their membership.
I also hope that this encourages some folks to decide to actually create communities. There’s certainly enough interest in it–maybe with restrictions being lifted, some folks will decide to just do it. I know that I am often discouraging of people simply starting communities, but if someone is really willing to begin the work (and a lot of this work is outlined on the blog) and reaches out and knows others who are also interested–and especially if they have some communal living experience, goodness knows we need more communes. And I believe that if 90% of new communes fail, and we want to get at least ten new communes up and running, we’re going to need to start a hundred communes to get there, so I am actually in favor of folks starting communes, particularly if they are willing to do the research and networking they will need to do.
A big, pandemic related, hope for this year is that if the restrictions can be eased on time, there can be the usual August gatherings at Twin Oaks this summer. I have never been to the Queer Gathering and I was planning to go last year but TO canceled all three gatherings. My hope for this summer is that the Queer Gathering and the Women’s Gathering and the Communities Conference can all happen again. I mentioned networking earlier and these are all great networking events. If they happen (I hope, I hope, I hope they do) I would strongly encourage anyone interested in communal living to attend at least the Communities Conference, and if you identify as queer, the Queer Gathering, and if you identify as a woman, the Women’s Gathering.
Another hope for this year is that the communes continue to look at and figure out how to embrace racial justice, whether that’s by figuring out how to become more diverse or by figuring out how to support communities of color. For horrible reasons, there was a large upswelling of interest in this over the course of 2020. My hope is that this wasn’t another political phase but the beginning of some sustained work in all of our communities.
And my final hope for this new year is that folks find fun in all of this. A lot of 2020 was grim and we have a lot of work to do, building back community membership, creating new communities, and continuing to work on racism (and classism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and creating access for people with disabilities and…) and that we find a way to be joyful and even playful in all this because we will never attract anyone if we are all too damn serious.
What are your hopes for 2021?