From Point A
From Point A to…
An audacious proposal to form Urban Income Sharing Egalitarian Democratic Ambitious Engaged Communes in the cities of the American East Coast.
The Short Version
We know that a more humane, satisfying, sustainable world is possible. There are any number of theories and plans for transforming society, many of which would likely be better than what we’re doing now. With 7 billion humans and counting and thousands of years of inherited culture and trillions of acres of intensely varied world any plan we dream up will inevitably encounter vast realms of complexity in its implementation no matter how elegant it is in theory. The wait for a cataclysmic revolution might exceed our window of opportunity for saving ourselves and, given the complexity of the project, is ripe for failure (a lesson history teaches us well).
So why wait? If the revolution isn’t coming fast enough then let’s make it where we can (TAZ)! If the solutions we propose are complicated let’s start testing them and working out the kinks (propositional politics). If the status quo is corrosive then let us form membranes around our communities to protect us from it so that we can have the strength and robustness necessary to challenge it (counter-institutions).
The Point A project proposes a network of urban income-sharing egalitarian democratic ambitious and engaged communes as a starting point on the road to a more humane, satisfying, and sustainable world for all. Our goal is social transformation and our actions and forms are aimed at maximizing our effectiveness at achieving that goal as quickly, robustly, and widely as possible.
Unpacking the Adjectives
Urban: Our project is social transformation and that means changing people and how they relate to each other. Currently and increasingly the people and their relations are mostly in the city. Also, the rural commune is a model that is pretty thoroughly explored and proven.
Income Sharing: Pooling the products of our labor, including money income, is how we form the membrane around our community that insulates us from the corrosive and isolating effects of capitalism. Although scary to get into, once established, income sharing makes everything else we are trying to do easier. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need!
Egalitarian: Let go of the idea of justice and deserving. We’re making it all up anyway. What matters is that we’re being taken care of and that so is everyone else. Liberty, equality, community. By basing our economy on equal access to resources rather than equal distribution of resources we celebrate and support differences and eliminate a lot of paperwork on our way to our post-scarcity utopia.
Democratic: No one is better equipped to make decisions about our lives than we are. If we’re trying to meet our needs then we should be in control of the resources and organizations that meet them. Electing your boss or master is better than not electing them, but we can do a lot more.
Ambitious: We’re taking on a big project not only in training ourselves to cooperate well and in maintaining this protective bubble, but in transforming all of society to more cooperative, democratic, egalitarian forms. We need a crack team to establish the first beachheads and we need to acknowledge the scale and daring of our aim.
Engaged: The problems we are identifying and confronting are social and often global in nature and therefore demand social and often global responses. To retreat into our fortress and build a good life for ourselves in isolation is to admit defeat and to abandon our fellow humans and the whole living world. It is a failure of compassion, and then what sort of Bodhisattva would we be?
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]