Some Notes on Communitarian Socialism
The main problem in the mechanics of this process is in opening up lines of communication between individuals and groups in the first place and then keeping them open so that dialogue can take place. Between people sharing similar values especially the co-operative ethic the dialogue process will work especially well. Between dissimilar groups the process becomes a positive encounter technique. Each side presents its general views and specific arguments in a purposefully long discussion or series of discussions until sham arguments fall away and truthful ones are at least clearly seen by all sides even if resolution of differences does not occur. Positive encounter techniques can and often do work however, and have been used by psychologist to successfully resolve many interpersonal and social conflict situations.
Communitarian socialism is confident of ultimate success in any conflict situation with American middleclass values and institutions. Communitarian socialism develops out of a matrix of social change Ideologies and methods inherited in Western and American middleclass tradition and experimentation. There is nothing alien in communitarian socialist goals or means to the best and most humanistic values of Western and American tradition. Communitarian socialism will succeed in transforming middleclass America where other socialist programs have failed.
Later notes.(I noticed I dropped the hyphen in "co-operative"..) Some Reasons For a Holistic Social Change Organization
1. To present a multi-faceted yet unified criticism of death-oriented, exploitive commercial society.
2. To present a unified vision of a world-wide humanistic, life-oriented cooperative society.
3. To circumvent narrow single-issue ideologies dominating social change consciousness. "A holistic cooperative coalition organization must be able to present a better vision of what people need and want from radical social change than can any single social change organization by itself.
4. To synchronize and coordinate the social change energy within the diversity of the communal and cooperative movement. "The communal culture can only succeed in transforming commercial society through strong cooperative organization. "If you're not working with each other, you're working against each other", either directly through destructive criticism or indirectly through inaction. All social change programs here in America can only succeed by cooperatively joining forces. Cooperative coalition works like a lazar to release power within the presently "out-of-phase" communal movement which dissipates social change energy in isolated activity.
5. To provide fuller protective capacity for new communities through mutual aid.
6. To streamline or simplify the social change work tasks needed for a complete communal transformation so that all diverse cooperative groups can comprehend, identify with, and work together on the two greatest social experiments in history:
* The cooperative unification of humanity.
* The cooperative unification of all human communities with all communities of Life and the Earth itself.
My thoughts now in 2018 about what I wrote back in 1972.
"Learning experience" is right. Never again will I let a group of unrelated but solely ideologically affiliated people make major life decisions for me and my family. Not a good idea and I learned that the hard way. Yes, I am a communitarian, fully committed to the communitarian ideal and do practice when possible communitarian socialist principles but, and it is a big but, I am no longer advocating communal living as a universal lifestyle. Been there, done that. Not going back. It's not for me or for anyone who values being themselves with no additional mental and social strains that trying to deal with too many unrelated people in your home life naturally produces. Put it like this: I will live in a Tiny House on land trust land or in co-Housing but not on on most communes. A Communltarian Castle, now that I might consider - - a huge main hall with balconies ringing it two or three stories above. Individual rooms with small kitchenettes, full baths in each individual suite, work space, and large central kitchen and dining downstairs, along with reading and movie/TV room. Huge fireplace at one end. Communergy room for communication center. A moat with fish and ducks and friendly animals, perhaps a plesiosaur or anaconda or two, the whole castle's wreathed in living vines, trees, shrubs, greenery all through out, no carpets but peat and bark pathways, soil outside them and only patches for chairs and tables and whatnot for people. In other words, there are animals running around all over the place, they too are working right along with human beings in eco-designed symbiotic relationships for cleaning up and fertilizing plants, things like that they do naturally. There, that sort of commune, ok, I'll join it.
I do think one of the big reasons the Communal Movement has not grown as we communitarians back then hoped it would is because the communal lifestyle just doesn't work for individuals whose culture values are, and not without reason, self-sufficiency and individuality above community. But an individualism that is not above family though, which is why biological families last while communal ones have not. Communal membership turn over is high. I want a communitarian social change program that most Americans can find attractive without a lot of intellectual soul-searching which Americans do not do much anyway. The Communitarian alternative either attracts people, a lot of them, or it stagnates, holding on because the idea's too good to die, but doesn't grow like it should. Sort of like Gnostic Christianity that way. We can't concentrate on just organic gardening, alternative home-building and living but on replacing Everything; concentrate on making good alternatives to everything that's wrong with regular industrial corporate capitalist society but who's function is necessary for individual and community well-being. We have to Replace, Replace, Replace, everything that costs too much, breaks too soon, uses too much of our shared natural resources, pollutes too much. And we have to Stop producing Super Rich bozos milking the dysfunctional system that awards the pure luck individual sitting on a mass market item toll gate to collect an enormous fee while the mass item systems actually need thousands, millions of people for anyone to make a dime. We need to start producing alternatives to Facebook* and Amazon. That's the idea, and then check out Communitarian Club.
*March Update 2018: Hey! Somebody heard me! Facebook's in hot water right now and losing major support, going down maybe because of leaking Facebook members' personal info onto Ruskies who in turn manipulated the last U.S. presidential election looking more and more like Russians getting into U.S. Presidential office the most P.O.S. President in American history - -