Land is not just the spot your community sits on. Land holds both history and potential, and is not only a source of security, but also the stage your community plays out their dramas on.
There is an accusation which has been flung over the decades (if not centuries) at practically every sort of intentional community-building effort, thus oddly discovering something which apparently entirely disparate elements of the right and left have in common.
For a long time, we have been walking away from a lifestyle of community and sharing, towards an individualistic lifestyle centred around our space and our possessions.
Isn’t it high time for a change?
If you want to leave it all and start a community, you should focus on inner work first. If you focus only on action, you risk building yourself another prison. You might just change one form of unhealthy lifestyle and toxic relations for another as a result.
The beauty of the solutions to systems fragility may lie in redefining and reimagining a New Community where our neighborhood can weave together sustainable elements that secure food, energy, water and shelter.
As we all know, shifting away from the dominant culture of consumption can be overwhelming. Our brains are wired to stick to habits with which we’re familiar. Our friends and family have expectations of us being a certain way. But it’s clear that we need to make big changes.
Creating an alternative economy and organization of production implies a transformation of the relations and ways of inter-personal functioning that have been inculcated into hierarchy culture and the capitalist system.
In our movement’s case, “land access” has a lot of overlap with “communities that are accessible” because we are a fundamentally land-based movement.
Since the first squatters arrived in 1971, the self-proclaimed Freetown of Christiania has inspired radical thinking and social experimentation. Affectionately described as “loser’s paradise”, the squat became a haven for young people unable to access affordable housing in Copenhagen, and activist pioneers from all over the world.
In choosing to live in community—sharing not just a house, but their lives with each other—they’ve defined a new American Dream. They hope others will follow their model, if not by making the same choice, then by being willing to look beyond traditional boundaries.
In this country there is a common sentiment that a person should go forth and set the trend, then others join it. In a culture where Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson are elevated as role models, we are trained to think big or not at all. No one in fourth grade says they want to be a social worker or a farmer or a good cooperator—that’s not sexy enough. I become a bold leader and they join me.
I’m not looking for Trump’s jawboning to bring back the manufacturing jobs that were lost to outsourcing. I’m not looking for governments to bail us out at all. I’m looking at what we can do for ourselves, working together in values-aligned cooperative groups—the same kind of entities that impressed Margaret Mead so much for their potential to effect world change.