Alternative ideas for the future

A collective, cooperative for feminists. A commune. Men, women any gender can live, but the idea that the genders have equal rights should be at the foundation. Fundamental rights must be upheld. This means the right to food, clothing and shelter too.

The community, beyond being a refuge to people in need should be a place where alternative ideas may safely be experimented with, without fear of social sanction. This should particularly extend to social taboos ranging from caste to individual preferences in marriage, gay marriage, civil unions. A place where norms may be broken safely as long as they do not inflict harm on another.

A community kitchen for meals. Operating as a home. Members may work to take care of community, or they may earn and contribute to finances, or both. Health care services and shelter and food must be available for all. Members should collectively own the place – say units of 20 – 100? No clue. More than that, and a new community should be spawned. This is so that people of similar minds may stay together and there are less restrictions for fear of inconveniencing others.

The community must aim to refund initial investment from its collective capital, so that all members own the place equally. There should be a possibility for work like running a creche or adult day care center or making preserves or furniture or gardening or farming… The goal should be self-sufficiency in the essentials, so that a minimum expense can provide basic comforts for all.

It may even be possible to buy land and contribute efforts (including accepting labour donations) to provide the labor or building supplies in construction of own home to create a larger community in lesser costs.

It should be possible for people in distress to find accommodation for free. Donations would help, but more importantly, it would help to have people willing to take the risk to start off.

 

This is just a jotting of raw ideas. No clue how they will unfold. Many might contradict each other. Fikar not. If you like the idea, hop on, in the comments.

 

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About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

5 Comments on "Alternative ideas for the future"

  1. Forgive me if this is too critical or rude or naive or any combination of all of these… I stumbled upon the blog quite by chance and the post seemed so very interesting and full of possibilities.
    A collective / a community… on paper, wonderful…a breath of fresh air… inspiring… full of hope. But who decides? How to live… where to live… what to eat… what not to eat.. what is harmful… what is not. The idea that the collective, in its entirety, decides surely cannot work, can it? We’re in the middle of a muddle of that nature – only we call it democracy. I am rambling.
    I have trouble believing collectives can make decisions. I like the oh-so common joke about the number of lawyers (substitute any profession or even the general noun “people”) it takes to change a light bulb. One – not a problem. Two – can be done. Five – we’re in trouble. Twenty – anyone have candles?
    How do we make collectives work? Numbers? By limiting the number of people within each collective? That could work but we’d need an insanely large number of such collectives. Can collectives interact with each other? Can we travel from one to another? Shift from one to another? Marry outside? Would not that be just like cities and towns?
    What if collectives were temporary? As in retreats? Would that help? Or is the problem with the notion of distributing authority… power? I think that is the bottom-line. That is the question we need to solve. Who should be given the power? I dislike the notion of “people power” because, unless it is a localised and very specific instance, I do not think the general collective “people” exists outside of academic books and easy talk. Like RK Laxman’s Common Man.

    I apologise for simply throwing questions at you… questions you’ve thrown at yourself, I’m sure. But I just felt I wanted to say this. Have a good day…

  2. An interesting article about gift economy, something we could use in our collective.

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/to-build-community-an-economy-of-gifts

  3. I like the idea. One of my friends also had a similar idea. I will talk to her and see if she is interested. I really think we should do this, as you said last time, we all should be reformers, where we show the world we can do things differently and not have to blindly follow others. Give me some time as I talk to different friends on this.

  4. Sounds interesting. Like they have societies for castes, religions, language, ethnicity, this can be a society for liberals where the only thing unaccepted is people having problems with personal choices of others-it can have a tagline ‘Jiyo or jine do’ :P. Though have a few practical doubts. In any common ownership the biggest challenge is what if it doesn’t work so there should be a mechanism for ones to move out by self for those who don’t find them fitting. and how decisions are taken. democratic setups involve compromises and power politics(being practical, its when one has to live in such a setup that one realises the issues no matter how much one favors a commune specially in personal spaces). What I mean to say is that even in joint family system where people have lived together for forever, there arises differences specially when it comes to decisions regarding things which are common. Collective capital can be a bad idea, come to think of it, a joint account thing doesn’t often work even for two married liberal people, here its so many people and how to ensure that the commune is not being taken granted for. Instead people can have their own money and whenever anyone is in need, whoever wishes to can come together and help, otherwise what in case of common capital there maybe individuals, who may not agree with it(Reality check).
    Few other inputs:
    Self sufficiency: It maybe a good idea to have a farm where you can grow own food, so the most basic necessity is taken care of. (Not possible in big cities where land prices are so high)
    Reducing energy needs. Open sunlit spaces.
    Shared travelling. though again, it may be misused so it can work like a society taxi. whoever takes it, pays for the fuel and a little more for maintenance.
    Common kitchen idea is great. saves a lot of money and time. however not everyone likes cooking. so anyone who enjoys cooking can manage it and charge nominally for the services instead of people taking mandatory turns.
    all my concerns are for it to be self sufficient, because if anything is available in a charitable manner, its taken for granted but that does not mean that people cannot help each other in need, just that it should be by individual will and not mandatory within the system otherwise it becomes suffocating in long term.

  5. Dont aim for big, grand uthopian solution or community. Keep it simple, keep it small. Keep it realistic. If it sustains and succeeds, it will spread on its own. Community shared living is very challenging , needs a lot of introspection, dialog, discussion and debate. We should never assume that everyone can get along with everyone else. Just not possible. Hence, build a network of people you enjoy being with and who can share/contribute to your thoughts and ideologies and dream of shared living. Just start with a simple single goal, the others will follow.

    I am very impressed by the women of DDS India (DDSIndia.com ). It is not “community living” in some sense but _is_ in other sense. It is not a group of feminists ( in urban terminology) but women who choose to take responsibility and action. It is a very democratic setup. Do visit them if you can. By the way : They are not ENGLISH speaking, nor are educated. But are my inspiration in many ways.

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