Anarchists versus Communards
The anarchist prerogative is that you can do whatever you want as long as you are willing to take responsibility for your actions. Some people think this means you need to wait around for the police to arrest you at a political protest; i certainly don’t think you are obligated to take care of the state in this way.
At our worst, in the commune we feel empowered to complain without offering anything in the way of useful assistance. On one level this is understandable. We own these businesses and infrastructure together, “Why should not i be allowed to share my clever critiques about my community or what my fellow communards are doing?” The problem is that we have lots of people who like to shadow manage. They want to tell people who are doing the work how they would like them to do it differently, often without enough knowledge to make the right suggestion. More worryingly, some critics come with agendas and manias which have nothing to do with the good of the community.
Twin Oaks has a long history of reluctant managers. Because the egalitarian community does not provide extra compensation for taking on headachy jobs, many people choose to avoid these responsibilities. Instead, they focus on production work in the income areas, or take on jobs in our myriad domestic or community overhead work, which are subject to less scrutiny and editorializing. Still, there are over 100 managerships at Twin Oaks and many people take several because a fair few people don’t want any.
Of course lots of communards are anarchists, and even lots of anarchists are managers and organizers. And almost no one is immune from making “helpful suggestions.” At the same time, we should be especially sensitive and graceful to withdraw our unrequested assistance when we realize we are contributing nothing but talk.