Which words can we still use? Commune? Communism?

There are all manner of messages which we want to get out to the world and recently myself and my comrades working on the Point A project have been thinking about what messages people are ready for.


These messages, perhaps?

On our most recent NYC trip we realized that we were making it sound harder than it really is to become income sharing.  “They don’t need to have a cottage industry.” GPaul said, “They don’t even need to live together.”

Indeed, the only thing which stops people from becoming income sharing is a lack of trust.  If you trust each other, you can change your agreements and begin taking care of more needs cooperatively almost immediately.

We started thinking about a workshop that would explain this. But what do we label the workshop?

I wanted to call the workshop “You can become income sharing now!” But GPaul and others thought it was not compelling enough or it was too abstract.  GPaul even questioned whether people would know what income sharing is. GPaul’s rework was “Communism Now! Why wait for the revolution?”  Alarm bells went off in my brain.

Can we reclaim this damaged name?

Can we reclaim this damaged name?

I wrote GPaul:
Communism is dead.  Sorry, it is a political non-starter, worse than anarchism actually (tho not as bad as Stalinism and Fascism).  Many progressives and almost all liberals do not associate it with a quasi-utopian desirable state.
Nothing jumps to mind to salvage the title, since I get your meaning and there is not an obvious substitute (Utopia Now!, Equality Now! Community Now! all don’t work).
In his provocative way GPaul replied:

I both agree and disagree: Communism is dead to some people, perhaps even most people, but communism is not dead.  The question here is “who is our audience?”.    We have many possible audiences.  One audience could be radical leftists.  When giving tours and explaining the communes to folks I’ve been leading with “anarchism” and “communism” for years and getting surprisingly little shock or pushback.  Radical leftists are one demographic that is more likely than others to be interested in what we are offering.  We can aim a workshop at them.  They will respond differently to the word “communism” than other people.  For other people we might have to rebrand this workshop.  For other people this might not even be an appropriate workshop (we might have to begin with “why should you want to share income?” in any of its various permutations).

I remain skeptical, but I am curious what my readers think. you say commie like it is a bad thing Some readers will be glad to hear that this blog is finally getting reorganized.  Specifically, the portion of the blog which is about community life (including the Point A work, the Virginia egalitarian communities, Freedonia and other underground efforts, Commune Snapshots [images with few words], the Communities Conference and advances in sharing techniques) may be spun off and turned into its own blog with its own domain name.

I was thinking of the name CommuneLife.org – but other experienced communards thought the name “commune” was too dated, too distant and too misunderstood and untrusted.  When we talked to twenty somethings, they had no baggage around the word commune and thought it might be cool.  The Fellowship of Intentional Communities actually uses the word commune as a name for income sharing communities and lists 166 of them under this category.

Again, feel encouraged to weigh in and discuss your thoughts about this.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

7 responses to “Which words can we still use? Commune? Communism?”

  1. Soma says :

    I suppose I agree with GPaul, whether or not the words communism/commune will prove to be useful depends on the audience. I can say I’ve met more people who are afraid of those words than I’ve met people who are willing to hear them out, but maybe I’m just hanging with the wrong crowd? Of the few self-identified radical leftists that I know, most if not all of them are cool with the thought of commune-living.

    On another note, I’d love to hear more about how people can practice income-sharing without a cottage industry or without even living together. What might that look like?

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Soma:

      Please feel encouraged to come to this workshop with is still former, but the PANYC crew is very dedicated to this notion. If Baltimore is better for you we will be doing this workshop on March 30th at the Baltimore Free Farm.

      And if you cant come to these event, these topics will be discussed here and on the FromPointA.org blog.

      Paxus at Acorn

  2. Charlie Mac says :

    I always thought there was a difference in communist and anarchist. I like both ideas as I know them. I’m a self identified anarchist, as I believe it is about choices. I have a freedom of choices, like obeying the speed limit and taking a shower and paying taxes. Communism is a social construct, that requires more than one person? I enjoy the conversations around this. Very important stuff.

    • DrabbestTripod7 says :

      Anarcho-Communism is one of the many schools of thoughts of anarchism, as well as the most popular one. I’d suggest reading the Conquest of Bread to learn more.

  3. Sunflower Erika says :

    I like commune. BUT consider similar concepts:
    Family, clan, tribe, affiliates.
    S corporation.
    Plural marriage (oops, illegal in the United States).

    Have fun!

  4. MILO says :

    if you have trust then language means little and intent comes to the fore. if you do not have trust then your experiment in sharing has already failed and is a waste of resources. trust comes with experience and familiarity. modern marketing teaches that “clothes make the man”. the druid teaches that a persons soul is clothed in their deeds.

  5. David de Ugarte says :

    In Spanish we cannot use the word «commune», because even in the official dictionary of the Spanish Academy is more related with some sexual practices than with egalitarism. So we use community of goods, egalitarian community or kibutz.

    And we speak about «comunitarismo» (communitarism?) as an independent ideology based in the idea that «abundance» (= from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her necessities) can and must be developed community after community and influencing the whole society in a growing scale.

    BTW, next week we will publish a «Communitarist Manifesto» we will try to translate to English ASAP. Any critics and improvements will be welcome.

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