Believe it or not, the rules document is much longer lol.

The first section is about how the group votes on and amends the document. If there’s anything people want to discard or add, they can. But my belief, after looking at the history of occupations and intentional communities, is that they fall apart for a few key reasons:

  1. Charismatic leaders who get corrupt
  2. Division of labor (disagreements about who does what)
  3. Unequal contributions of wealth

My project is to create a framework that is adopted IN ADVANCE by democratic vote that seeks to provide the rhythm of a hunter/gatherer life in the modern world. Because as it happens, hunter/gatherers have EXTREMELY rigid structures that govern their lives. The rules aren’t written down. But there is absolutely no room for deviation from the collective program.

But I take your point about developing a consensus structure. The issue is, most people who join intentional communities do so either as collectivized laborers (say, a farming commune) where the need to produce a product (food) and, lest we forget, sell it on the market, provides the structure for the community.

The other main way people encounter collective living is through occupation (like CHOP, OWS, Standing Rock). I used CHOP as the centerpiece in this article because of how quickly it disintegrated. When you get over a certain size, consensus is impossible to achieve. The same thing that happened in CHOP — activists get drowned out by festival folk who came to party — mirrors EXACTLY what happened at the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz that “lasted” from 1969 to 1971. Native American activists took the land back. But then a bunch of hippies from the city sailed out and turned the island into a party. Shit did not go well lol

With my project, I’m not trying to dictate. I’m trying to share my learning about two things: how to live like people who didn’t have money; and how to avoid the missteps of utopian projects of the past (and present). My goal is that the document I’ve developed becomes a tool for just what you suggested: coming up with a consensus for how to spend your days.

But it took me years, literally, to reach my conclusions organically. And I give that thinking as a gift to anyone anywhere who wants to build off of it.

Also, I hope I don’t sound defensive! I absolutely love this discussion! Even if I don’t win you over, being challenged to explain my thinking makes me a better, more empathic writer!

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