A Question of Family

This is the last, for now, in a long series that I’ve been posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Unfortunately, I am putting this blog on an indefinite hiatus as of Monday

Here’s the first question we reposted, from way back in November, and here is the latest and ninth. This final question was posed by me (Raven) in mid-February and came about because of the reactions that I saw in some of the communards at the Communities Conference in 2018.

The first response was from someone who moved into a collective in Syracuse and was surprised by the responses she got:

This was followed by some short takes from people:

Before Rejoice chimed in with a very, very long response:

Rejoice finished off this comment and then offered an additional reflection:

This invoked two additional comments, from Theresa and Kazmira, the original commentor, both reacting to what Rejoice said:

A Question of Family

A Question of Size

This is the next in a long series that I’ve been posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth and  the seventh, and, from last week, the eighth

At the very end of January, I posted this question that I have heard others talk about:

I don’t know if this really isn’t a subject that a lot of folks are concerned about or whether people are just getting burned out on so many questions, but there weren’t a lot of comments. However, I thought that the four comments that this question got, were interesting:

I realized that I (Raven) never responded to my own question. I will put my thoughts out here.

I agree with Theresa that a large network filled with communities of all sizes is ideal, because I think that different sized communities appeal to different people. I also think that there is such a thing as too small and, perhaps, too large.

First of all, I think that less than four people is not a community. Three people is often just a couple plus a friend, or possibly a three-some. I think that you need to have at least four folks to have a real community. (And sometimes, even then, it’s just two couples.) But I also think that having four or five members is still a very brittle community. If you lose one or two members, the entire community can be gone. (This is something that I have experienced and find it useful to think about. I think that I will post more about this on Monday.)

On the too large side is Dunbar’s number. I think that there is a reason that Twin Oaks has not quite reached a hundred adult members and many communes and communities fall far short of this. I know that Dancing Rabbit has talked about wanting to be a village of five hundred to a thousand people. As far as I know, after twenty years they have never had more than seventy people. They keep getting new people but I think that they are also losing folks at a similar rate.

I think that once you get to over a hundred people, it really seems less like a community and more like a village. I think that many people want the intimacy of smaller communities, even if they also want the diversity that is possible in larger communities.

Feel free to chime in, in a comment, if you have an opinion about the ideal size of a commune.

A Question of Size

Questions of Gender

This is yet the next in a series that I’ve posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and  the fifth and this is the sixth one that we published two weeks ago.

In mid-January, I (Raven) brought up a question related to some policies that a few of the communes had:

I believe that it was Rejoice that responded with an actual policy:

Unfortunately, since these are photographs of the Facebook page, the next link doesn’t work. Here is a link that does.

Pretty soon we were well into the question of non-binary folks. Fortunately, Rejoice had some answers.

And that, of course, gave folks even more ideas about gender ratios:

Questions of Gender

A Question of Longevity

This is the next in a series that I’ve posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and finally the fifth and latest.

In early January, I posted this question on our Facebook page:

Here’s a sampling of the responses that I received:

My comment at the end of the thread is actually a response to Lucy Perry’s question at the beginning of it.

Honestly, I wish I knew a magic formula to guarantee longevity for communities. It is possible; look at Twin Oaks. But, as Julia points out, even longevity brings its problems.

A Question of Longevity

A Question of Hierarchies

We have been putting questions on our Facebook page and getting a lot of responses. I (Raven) am now putting them out as Friday reposts so that blog readers can see what we’ve been doing on Facebook and some of the comments that we have gotten. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and most recent.

In this back and forth, Theresa raises the question of the place of hierarchies in egalitarian communities. Is this a paradox or an admission that a flat playing field isn’t completely possible, even in communities that struggle for it?

This got lots of responses, beginning with:

This led to a back and forth between Shari McRae and Gil Benmoshe (with contributions from Theresa and Nicole Bienfang:

This was where the dialogue ended, but the question is still open: in ‘egalitarian’ communities, how do we deal with the fact that some folks will always have more experience than others? Do we reward it, or try to contain it?

A Question of Hierarchies

A Question of Income Sharing

from the Commune Life Facebook page

We have been putting questions on our Facebook page and getting a lot of responses. I (Raven) am now putting them out as Friday reposts so that blog readers can see what we’ve been doing on Facebook and some of the comments that we have gotten. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third.

Theresa asked this question at the end of December:

Here are some of the responses–including a couple of replies from Theresa:

I will add that I (Raven) choose to share my income because it’s a direct challenge to the capitalist system that values one person (and their labor) over another. I feel like when I am in an income sharing community, we are all working together, to support each other, instead of competing to get what we can.

A Question of Income Sharing