We are constantly guessing when and what type of events we should be organizing in order to spark the new communities movement. This time we clearly guessed right.
We had about 70 people at this quickly organized event. We crowded the Keep with enthusiastic and chatty folks. Many were experienced community people but for most of the group this was relatively new stuff.
Lovely food and engaging conversation were had. After GPaul did a wild and woolly version of open space technology, we broke into working groups talking about:
- Community as an Agent for Healing
- Addressing Sexual Assault in Community
- Starting Community Businesses
- Starting EcoVillages
I was in the healing discussion group which was held in part in an empty Jacuzzi tub.
It was a lovely warm up for our content in NYC this coming weekend, the Community Matchmaking (see Facebook Invite) event. Here is the evolving program for that event, being held at the Brooklyn Free School.
All photos by Dragon
As regular readers of this blog know, we are trying to start urban based income sharing communities in cities in the Northeastern US, specifically NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore and Richmond VA. We have different strategies in all these towns and friendly competition between the organizers as to what the best approach is to get these new communities off the ground.
In NYC, where we knew fewer people who were interested in this lifestyle, we have been doing public events for the last year. We have one coming up the weekend after this one called Community Matchmaking. Please consider coming if you are excited about intentional community in the NYC area.
In Washington we have a group of people who are willing to seriously investigate this style of living. Cities make things more complex and for the last year this DC group has been working on its agreements, strengthening its social fabric and doing the first round of recruiting to people inside our networks. DC is now ready to step up its outreach efforts and is having its first public outreach effort on March 24th. If you are in the Washington DC area and have a strong interest in intentional communities, this is certainly the place to be. Dinner and introductions start at 6PM.
What you should know about this ambitious DC group:
- The plan is to launch this new community within a year.
- There are 6 to 8 people planning on being income sharing members and another dozen and a half who are considering it.
- Most of these folks are currently living in group houses in the DC area.
The event on Tuesday is reaching out to people with collective living experience. Later events will focus differently and reach out to different audiences. Do you find collective living enriching and strengthening? Want to talk about ways to make collective living a lifelong option for more people rather than the transitional living situation that it so often is? Want to talk about ways to accentuate the positive and ameliorate the negative of living with a bunch of people in close community? Come out on Tuesday and join the discussion!
This is clearly not the crowd to do a reality show with. Perhaps 15 of the 19 people assembled thought the values or impact of a reality television production crew filming was not worth whatever we might get paid.
This group of prospective urban communards were also into living with children and somehow under this topic pets got snuck into the conversation, lots of dog and cat lovers in this group as well.
We did spend several minutes talking about governance models including:
- Dictatorship of the proletariat
- Responsible Anarchy
- Self selected troika
The dictatorship of the proletariat was a joking Marx reference. The self selecting troika was poking fun at Rez, GPaul and myself as initial organizers. We did not really have anyone advocating for democracy, as in voting systems. There is some level of broad cultural agreement between these participants that consensus was the way to go. Many had experienced C. T. Butler’s conventional consensus. I pitched my favorite pieces of sociocracy (quick reaction rounds and the desirability candidate selection models) which basically includes consensus. But really, for an item as powerful as decision making the group seemed broadly satisfied with some flavor of everyone agrees or stands aside plus advanced communication tools.
We worked for 5 hours, touched on a myriad of topics from food to income engines to community projects and space needs and group fun. We broke within minutes of our agreed completion time. Most people seemed quite satisfied with the meeting, and research and networking next steps were agreed on before our next planned February meeting.
And as is often the case at these meetings some of the most important conversations took place after the meeting. Jas talked about his work on climate disruption and we ran fantasies of a Point A incarnation that was running multiple styles of campaigns on sustainable electricity generation and carbon abatement. The advantage of selecting climate disruption as the issue (“climate change” is way out, in that it is a deceptively soothing name for a jarring problem) is there are so many handles to grab it with. Everything from cargo bikes, to urban wind and solar stations, to working on broader campaigns against specific dirty facilities or in favor of a carbon tax.
And while this talk was exciting and inspiring, the most important of all perhaps was with Steve at 4 AM. He wants to start scouting. I talked about Can Masdeu in Barcelona, where they searched for a year until they finally found an abandoned hospital, which they squatted and still control now a decade later. Steve and i were in agreement that we wanted to come through the front door (be legal and present as we are) but Steve and i both started getting excited about an abandoned hospital in DC which is right near a metro station.
Zero net carbon footprint low cost housing anyone?
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]