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An Alternative Approach to Communitarianism

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2010
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      An alternative approach to communitarianism
      By Alex Shantz
      Wednesday, July 14, 2010 12:00 am

      On July 11, Kevin Eggers wrote a scathing article against
      communitarianism entitled “Sustainable nightmare to plague Napa County.”

      Eggers states that communitarianism is a philosophy whereby individual
      rights are balanced with community rights. He then goes on to claim that
      “public officials decide what ‘community rights’ are.” It is presumed
      that under communitarianism (or likely any collective situation
      according to Eggers), community rights are determined by public
      officials rather than the people. This isn’t necessarily the case.

      Allow me to put forth an alternative model. People gather collectively
      and autonomously, independent from any public official, to form their
      own associations. The people within these associations can structure
      their associations however they want. Perhaps some associations will
      have a voting system to elect leaders to make decisions. Perhaps some
      associations will have people vote on every decision made. Perhaps other
      associations will be entirely consensus based.

      The functions of these associations would be to facilitate the process
      whereby people’s needs are met, conflicts are resolved and resources are
      combined and allocated.

      This model combines elements of the libertarian and communist
      philosophy. It is libertarian in the sense that this model is radically

      The state would be entirely eliminated from the picture. Communities
      would be truly localized and entirely autonomous. However, this model
      would also be communist insofar as it would be a stateless and classless
      situation in which every individual would have equal say within the
      decision-making process.

      The libertarian element would ensure that individual needs and desires
      are not overlooked by valuing autonomy while the communist element would
      offer a support system to alleviate certain burdens from the individual.
      This model could be described as libertarian communism or even

      Most importantly, and to dispute Eggers’ point, this model would
      necessitate the people determine the rights of the community rather then
      public officials.

      While sustainability practices limit the individual freedoms in places
      like Cuba or Europe, it is not the philosophy of sustainability that is
      at fault, but the big government which oppresses the people.

      Agenda 21 is merely an advisory plan, not a blueprint to Cuban-style
      statism. Need I add that there are thousands of people in Napa Valley
      that would fight to prevent a dictatorship from occurring in our cities?

      To end on a personal note: in many regards I wish to see the Tea Party
      as allies. Their rhetoric claims to critique tyrannical government.
      However, they are inconsistent in terms of applying their critique of
      tyranny to corporations. Furthermore, their rugged individualist ideal
      undermines any notion of community.

      A new generation is rising up. This generation is calling for an end to
      the tyranny of government and corporations while emphasizing the need
      for autonomous collectivism.

      (Shantz lives in Napa.)

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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