Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt

Communistic Ideals

I live in a commune.

It's not the typical type of thing that most people think of when they think of communistic living. There's no agriculture here, no growing of our own food, nothing like that. It's a commune in isolation, in a capitalistic world. We don't eschew the properties of ownership, nor do we throw off the chains of wages.

Rather, we tend towards the principles of common ownership, and the more relevant ideals of "from each according to ability, to each according to needs". We have people who are good at dealing with children, people who are good at cooking, people who are good at laundry, people who are good at organization, people who are good with finding work to keep the rent paid or ensuring that it does get paid.

We share many responsibilities, and we accept that a lack of something being done is not the fault of a single person, but the result of a lack of participation of the group, unless previously agreed on as work to be performed by one person. We understand that the fact that we have only vaccumed once in the past month, for example, is not the fault of me, or Jess, or anyone specific. Instead, it is a failing of the commune as a whole: and something which, in generla, no one is going to be upset about.

It works well. It's the only reason we are currently able to survive with 8 people in a 4 bedroom house - and a relatively small one at that. We have two people on the futons in the living room, we all live in very close quarters, and when everyone is home, it does feel very crowded. Yet even though it's crowded, it still, despite all the infighting and emo and drama and everything -- it still works.

In practice, common ownership will mean everybody having the right to participate in decisions on how global resources will be used. It means nobody being able to take personal control of resources, beyond their own personal possessions.
-- World Socialist Movement

That's the way it is here. I've covered bills and food for people who can't afford it: the money that comes in goes out in the way that works best for all the people involved.

I often wonder if this is the kind of coummunism is what people think doesn't work. I wonder if we're a counterexample to socialist critics. Does anyone else have any experience with doing things like this? Did it work for you? Do you think that it will work for us? Do you want to move in and try? :) (Not really - the house is quite literally full right now.)

I think openness in our emotions and relationships with each other helps that, and helps to provide the kids a more stable relationship despite the fact that there's a new person surfing our couches every 2 weeks. I think that being able to talk about what we need helps. Sometimes we can't do that - some members have more problems accepting criticism than others. But that doesn't change the fact that there's still a lot of openness in all our relationships that helps a lot as far as getting things done.

Maybe socio-economic revolution isn't the way to go about it. Stick to the social issues instead - see how it fares you. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I'm just insane. I'd love to hear point or counterpoint on the issue from anyone who cares to share.
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