Communitarian Philosophical Principles
Religious Principles for a Communitarian Society
I am Christian and for the sake of historical truth it should be noted that Jesus is the Father of the Universal Socialist ethic and Early Christians were Christian communists. Essene, Qumran and the various monastic communities practiced communism but were exclusive. Jesus welcomed all who were in need of help whether they knew it or not. Jesus' teachings seemed to have universalized the ethic in early Christian communities that welcomed all who believed in the Savior.
"Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods,
and divided them among all, as anyone had need."
This ethic inspired the earliest Christian communities and during the Middle Ages and in the Americas, a great variety of Christian communistic communities. Even Karl Marx borrowed from Acts when writing his famous
"From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."
Political Communism's great failure was the co-option of the non-violence ethic without which socialism degenerates into another political tyranny run by an elite group of men greedy for the same power and control that money buys in Capitalist systems. But everything Jesus said about money and material things shows conclusively that his was a Socialist ethic and not Capitalist. This is another area where Pauline Christianity in its effort to appease Roman authorities and win the support of Roman (Capitalist) rule has led traditional Christians into false Christian doctrines. The poor are blessed because the Kingdom of God favors them and will give them their daily bread which stands for what each of us needs for life.
God knows, Jesus knew, that in order for one to become richer others must become poorer; that is the way a money oriented market economy works. Becoming rich means to hoard wealth instead of sharing it. Those who share their wealth will not become rich as what wealth they have they share with others thus losing their "capital", their hoarded wealth necessary to build more wealth by investment in profitable enterprises. The Kingdom of God on earth is a socialist ethic or economic democracy, shared wealth. This is what Jesus preached as his negative views of the rich reflect and as these sayings also reflects:
"How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!
For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
"Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."
"If you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to one from whom you will not get it back."
"Businessmen and merchants will not enter the Places of My Father."
--Gospel of Thomas
Karl Marx twisted the Christian communist ethic into a political rationale for a new type of enslavement of society under a new breed of rulers who used democratization of wealth as their rationalization for taking away the rights of individuals. All they really did was substitute power for wealth and in the end they themselves fell victim to greed for wealth for themselves. Does this mean the Communitarian Society must be Christian? No. It's just that the ethic of sharing must be religiously held in order to be effective over the long haul. Sharing cannot be legislated, cannot be forced by government decree. Certainly, traditional Christianity has had it's problems too with the sharing ethic.
Recently, I have had a great deal of trouble dealing spiritually with my dear good friend who is a born-again Christian. She has bought into the Wealth and Prosperity campaign that seems to be taught more and more in evangelical churches. She believes that God is going to favor Christians with wealth in order to make others jealous of God's material blessings. In Africa the movement has gone completely nuts with many new "Christian" converts only converting in order to score riches with "God's help". The evangelical TV evangelists' money scams are becoming the model for these new African evangelical preachers. Perhaps if they had used their heads for thinking more deeply about what Jesus said instead of being satisfied with surface Christian Church doctrines, these people would figure out God really is sincere about the need for humanity to share the wealth or otherwise social injustice just goes on and on and on.
In the Kingdom of God, the kindly king who follows the will of his heavenly Father takes the shirt off his back and gives it to the poor man who has none and thus establishes the precedent that those who would rule must serve.
New Communities Guaranteed Income Plan
Why not earmark Welfare payments for creating communitarian alternative solutions to provide basic needs, food, shelter, clothing, medicine?
Income is guaranteed by either government sponsorship or foundations and/or rich patrons for experimental pilot eco-communities until (relative) community self-sufficiency is reached. The liberal community will subsidize the radical community if: non-violent, more stimulating than "normal" society, more healthy, more self-actualizing and gratifying for individuals. If not guaranteed income, what about guaranteed markets to sell our communitarian industry produced items?
No Tax System for running government
Work-credit system for individuals and communities as a whole. Community jobs to be done to make the community functional, healthy and whole, are divided up and assigned community workers. How communities choose workers is up to them to decide. No taxes paid, work exchanges instead to allow all citizens to participate in government funding, even the disabled who are not totally disabled and would like to help pay their fair share of the economic burden of running government offices and programs. Works toward elimination of need for monetary taxes as all items and services needed become shared by everyone in the system.
Reciprocal Exchange instead of money system
Direct exchange between communities. Work for services instead of taxation. Self-eliminating money system happens when technology is directed towards self-sufficiency. Frees human relationships of the inherent ulterior motive of exploitation of others that anchors the capitalist system. One need not look at others as potential customers to exploit to relieve them of their money by not telling them how to get the items they need without your cut.
Automatic Growth of the Closed System Reciprocal Exchange Economy
Using input/output economics: open input + closed output = Economic Growth
Flow of money and equipment and land ownership goes from commercial society to communitarian society via co-ops and reciprocal exchange. As long as communitarian society is in the midst of commercial society it is in a hostile environment. Efforts will be made by commercial society to squash communitarian co-operative society so Interim Economic Policy will be used as a means of survival of communitarian society. This means funneling money from privileged classes into communitarian society via successful education of commercial society people about the benefits, economic, social and personal, of community self-sufficiency and reciprocal exchanges instead of competition for money.
From Internet Talkboard discussions on Christianity and Capitalism
The Problem: Corporate Capitalism
NJ, I suspect the reason you're not answering my series of "dumb" questions is that you haven't studied your capitalist system very deeply, you're only at the surface level, dealing with buyers and sellers at market and not dealing with the whole system-from who makes the batteries in the first place for example, how that process is done, who gets the lion's share of profits from that process, i.e., does the owner(s) of the battery mfg. company get it or is it set up like most capitalist business so that the original capital owner succeeds in setting up a battery co. that will continue to pay him or them profits regardless of the amount of work effort they contribute as long as there is a market for the batteries.
My point is that at the mfg. level the capitalist gets the biggest share of profit from product which means that in every capitalist business the owners of capital get the biggest share of profits, leaving the workers sharing profit that is based on they're being shortchanged of the value of their labor. This shortchanging of workers' profits of course alters the money flow in the capitalist system. Someone has to "make up" the difference and that someone are the consumers (mostly workers) who mass numbers of purchases mask the deficit of money within the system at all times.
The workers (consumers) are shortchanged for the value of their work. They do have money to purchase though and through mass numbers of purchases keep most of the capitalist enterprises afloat but not all of them and not any of them if the system stops expanding at any point. The extra money has to come from somewhere and where it generally comes from is new markets opened up for both old and new products.
This is why like cancer, the capitalist system has to always grow to just stay even in the market place and it also explains why capitalism periodically crashes with recessions and depressions-it literally runs out of necessary capital and collapses until the over-production items are eventually bought. Meanwhile the workers are laid off and must rely on the socialist bailouts of unemployment, welfare, etc, which are absolutely necessary for modern capitalism to work.
So, NJ, who made the batteries sold for a buck and how can a virtual credit system which capitalism really is as it relies totally on future purchasers at this point, be good for us in the long run when the credit bills come due and there aren't any more resources or gullible consumers to exploit?
I think it very foolish for Americans to rely on limited resource systems that fuel modern world capitalist enterprises. There is not enough to go around for all to live at the American middle-class standard. If all the world aims at the American standard then the planet is probably doomed since the American standard uses up such a disproportionate share of those resources.
At some point, Americans are going to have to either severely cut back on their consumer lifestyle habits or set up new worldwide informational and material sharing system based on ecologically sound technologies that won't exhaust our resources or befoul our air and water.
Americans who refuse to look at the statistics for American consumption of resources compared to the rest of the world will only be contributing to the kind of hatred seen against America that led to 9-11. Jesus told us what to do a long time ago and no material wealth blessings we enjoy should ever blind us to our Christian duty to help our fellow human being as we would want them to help us in our hour of need."
The Answer: Communitarian Society
The Communitarian Society is a plan for creating a non-profit religious association that spiritually, legally, and economically supports all who join as members. It's worldly purpose is give individuals and families who believe in cooperative community living freedom from economic insecurity and legal harassment.
In order to accomplish these aims, the Communitarian Society will rely on two main financing mechanisms:
Equal distribution of a 10% Tithe of monthly incomes of all associate members
Equal distribution of profits made over and above salaries and operating costs from all Communitarian Society owned businesses and professional services.
The list of potential Communitarian Society income projects will be found in the Communitarian Society Income Projects page still under construction as of this writing.
The Communitarian Society will be organized as a cooperative association of individual Communitarian Society communities throughout the world.
The Communitarian Society communities will be legal associations at first, then as funding permits, the Communitarian Society will obtain lands for individual Communitarian Society communities of homes and community development.
All lands owned by the Communitarian Society will be held under a Communitarian Land Trust Covenant modeled on the World Community Land Trust proposal and Canaan Peace Plan.
The Communitarian Land Trust will be under the administration of the Communitarian Council.
How individual Communitarian Society communities structure themselves in their differing localities will be up to them as long as they all agree on the Communitarian Society's basic tenets of cooperative community living and the rules of the Communitarian Land Trust Covenant.
The Communitarian Council will administer Communitarian Society affairs. Communitarian Council members will be composed of two representatives from each Communitarian Society community. The two representatives from each Communitarian Society community will be selected by whatever ways are agreed upon in each individual CS community.
There is no set pattern for selection except common agreement among individual Communitarian Society communities. Some communities may choose their representatives by consensual agreement, others by two-thirds majority vote, others by electing managers to do their selection for them, still others perhaps by appointing hereditary royalty or political chiefs.
It doesn't matter as long as each community is content with the representatives they have chosen through whatever ways work for them and as long as each community abides by the Communitarian Society's basic tenets for cooperative community living and the rules of the Communitarian Land Trust Covenant.
Disagreements within Communitarian Society communities must be cooperatively resolved by the individuals within that community.
Communitarian Council intervention in disputes within individual Communitarian Society communities would only occur when no other conflict resolution method proved workable.
Even then, Communitarian Council recommendations would only be accepted with a two-thirds majority of individual Communitarian Society community membership approval.
A Communitarian Society Plan will cover all the basics for maintaining healthy, comfortable and fulfilling individual, family, and cooperative community life: land costs, home costs, health insurance, job placement, new industry development, education, individual and community transportation, legal expenses, entertainment, traveling, are just the beginning list of cooperative self-support systems that will be covered as the Communitarian Society grows and prospers.*
Big Box Co-ops
Instead of a Wal-Mart store how about a Big Box Co-op? A democratic corporation that uses the "Big Box" draw to serve its members and compete against businesses for profit. Most Co-op stores are grocery stores now but the Big Box Co-op concept is meant to expand that nitch to include just about everything needed for healthy and comfortable living. The Big Box Co-op approach could serve as outlets for new co-operative businesses ventures. By joining forces, local and regional co-ops could raise the funds needed to compete successfully with the monopoly tactics of big business. We need to think of Co-ops as being "in business to put big business out of business".
A California Green Lottery
An Inter-Tribal/Communitarian partnership co-managing a statewide lottery to raise money for the recovery of tribal ancestral land, preservation of endangered species habitat, and tribal/communitarian economic development funding and funding for social services for both tribal nations and cooperative community associations. Tribes provide legal lottery operation under U.S. Indian Gaming regulations.
The Tribal Communitarian Alliance (TCA) provides non-profit honest California Green Lottery management. Lottery profits would go towards purchase of tribal ancestral lands and tribal community economic development (tribal goal) and purchase of critical habitat areas and communitarian development projects (communitarian goal).
Tribal-Communitarian Alliance Projects
The Heartlands Project
A proposed Partnership between the Bear River tribe or a consortium of Humboldt Bay area tribes with a new Pacific Lumber Co. Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) organization to purchase the Pacific Lumber Co. from Maxxam corporation using the California Green Lottery operation as the financial mechanism for such purchase. The buyout of Pacific Lumber Co. would be the first usage of the California Green Lottery.*
After successful purchase of PL, the lottery operation would be rotated to another tribe or tribes for their ancestral land purchase and tribal economic development funding. TCF's share as lottery managers would go towards non-tribal environment protection funding and communitarian development projects.
A proposed cooperative community for people choosing simple living eco-friendly lifestyles in So. Humboldt County, California. TCA lottery profits could go towards purchase of the Tooby and Williamson ranches lands near Garberville. Gardenville would be a cooperative eCo-Housing communitarian village for low income families and individuals would be built there centered around a Mateel Community University or "Communiversity" and light industry manufacturing cooperative community self-sufficiency "kits" for American low income communities and poverty stricken Third World countries*.