GEO 16 (II)

The 2013 Intentional Communities Theme

The active members of the GEO Collective send their greetings and many thanks for the support and interest you have given our work. Whether you have just started visiting our site or if you are a long termer, we are glad to have you.

Communities Pursuing the Other Worlds that are Possible

The Fall GEO Theme seeks to deepen awareness and understanding of the strong connections between solidarity economic activists and members of intentional communities through the common work they are doing.

Last year, in December 2013, my daughter decided to visit Twin Oaks, a long established, egalitarian income sharing community in Louisa, Virginia.  Her hope was to find a community that would support her commitment to living sustainably, connecting with the earth on a spiritual level, and supporting her egalitarian cooperative values.  Her initial reports were t

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[Editor's note: this is the third entry in a series of articles on European ecovillages by Matthew Slater.  Parts one and two looked at Spain's Lakabe and Amalurra communities.  Watch for more stories in this series as Matthew continues his tour.]

Sieben Linden (Seven Linden trees) sits amongst forests, fields and sparsley populated villages in the plains of Northern Germany.

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Amalurra, Basque for 'mother earth', was formed from a meditation group with life coach Irene Goikolea over 20 years ago. Wanting to take their practice further, they bought an old seminary and oriented their lives around making it beautiful and offering hospitality. Fast forward to now, and there are several gleaming buildings, including a hotel, hostel, spa, cafe, restaurant, many spaces for meetings and workshops, and a sweat-lodge next to a stream and extensive gardens.

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[Editor's Note: This article was originally published at Responding Together in April of 2013.  It has received minor editing for clarity.  The original version of the article can be found here.]

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[Editor's Note: These guidelines were originally written in 2010, and were updated in April, 2014.]

The principal conditions are: a group or community who have come together to do something together, either through working together or living together, or sharing some experience together.

Common basis of unity

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[Editor's Note: More than a few groups in the US use the ZEGG Forum. In January one practitioner of the process from the West coast, Teryani, reflected on how this is unfolding in her blog. Another on the East coast, Sarah Taub, responded in a long piece originally sent to a ZEGG Forum list. She revised it for inclusion here in GEO’s Intentional Community/Solidarity Economics theme.

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Re-imagining ‘church’

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Luft and Ingham (1955) observed that there are aspects of our personality that we are open about and other elements we keep to ourselves. At the same time there are things that others see in us that we are not aware of. There is also an area that everyone is unaware of. Luft and Ingham came up with a model that highlights these four areas and this they called the Johari window.

As editor of this Theme I am bringing together two of the worlds I thrive in: intentional communities and solidarity economic organizing. I have been a member of the Ganas ganas.org intentional community since 1980, and for the past six years I have been very active in the world of grassroots economic organizing: researcher and consultant with the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops in western Massachusetts, a co-founder of SolidarityNYC in New York City, and as an editor with GEO itself.

Sleeping Where I Fall (Counterpoint, Washington, DC, 1998) by Peter Coyote

ZEGG ecovillage in Germany developed its own form of transparent communication, which is now being adopted worldwide by various social networks and communities: the ZEGG Forum. It was born from a desire for truth and healing, both personal and global. Forum creates an empathic social environment that supports us to stay present with all that is inside, however it may feel. A guiding principle is: “there is nothing original inside of me, that is bad or wrong”.

Solidarity Economics is a powerful framework for thinking about alternative and grassroots economics. GEO’s Ethan Miller showed this in his 7-part series on solidarity economics and Occupy. It is also a global movement for which the United Nations convened an international conference  in May of this year. “Another world is possible” can make a strong claim to being its mantra.

In Intentional Communities Pioneer How to Do More with Less, Laird gives an excellent overview of intentional communities, their relationship to solidarity economics, and the persistence and growth of the IC movement long after “’60s communes” faded from popular consciousness.

As the US economy claws its way out of the hole left when it imploded in 2008, there have emerged some bright spots amidst the rubble. In times of economic uncertainty—which is becoming more the norm than an anomaly—we’re going to need better strategies than the free market to manifest a decent quality of life with significantly smaller slices of the energy and resource pie all around.

An interview of Laird Schaub by Helen Forsey, discussing the inherent intensity of community living -- the personal difficulties this can create, and the rich possibilities for rapid growth and change.

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