Anarres 2 cooperative community

August 30, 2014

Another story about The Farm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 12:36 am

An interesting article by a woman who grew up on The Farm. We shouldn’t over-generalize though. Maybe the title should be, “What Life is Like When You’re Born on a Hippie Commune Led by a Guru”:

What Life Is Like When You’re Born on a Commune

August 22, 2014

Documentary on socialism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 10:08 am

Below is a link to a documentary on socialism called “Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism”. It’s not a bad documentary, because it does mention the utopian socialist movement (just Robert Owen, however), and does talk about democratic socialism and the kibbutz movement. The last part is clearly biased, however. The presenter and many of the people interviewed are connected with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative, free-market think-tank. One of the commentators says, “I don’t believe that socialism is dead because I don’t believe that the impulse which drives people towards the Left, the desire to control, meddle and interfere in other people’s lives, can ever die.” Whoa, how about, “…because I don’t believe that what drives people towards the Left, the massive gap between the very rich and the very poor, between the powerful and the powerless, will ever go away.” Someone needs to try to make this documentary over again, with a little more detachment. It is good to examine the mistakes of the past, however, and to reveal the truth about the bad things that happened. History teaches us that socialism requires hard, efficient work and good management to succeed, that the creation of a centralized police state is not an effective or safe method of implementing socialism, and that socialism is not for everyone – people cannot be programmed to be socialists. One of the founders of Kibbutz Ginosar is clearly proud of what he and his comrades achieved, and still seems to believe in the appeal of socialism, while his daughter, who grew up there, is not impressed, and says, basically, that what motivates people is money, personal comfort and the happiness of their own families. She still apparently lives there however! The smug tone of the movie reveals that it was made before the most recent (2007) economic collapse.

August 18, 2014

Founding Fathers were progressive utopians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 2:41 am

I was commenting on a FB discussion about the “founding fathers” of the American revolution, and I thought this might be worth sharing here (I’ve improved my original post a little):

“The freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the idea that people were equal, and could govern themselves, through elections, without a King, and the idea that people had a RIGHT to rebel against unjust governments, were all extremely radical, even utopian, in the 1700’s.”

The conservatives (aka the Tories), who supported King George’s right to rule over his subjects at bayonet point, impose whatever decrees he liked, and eventually pass on almost absolute power to his children, bugged out for Canada, the Bahamas or back to Britain for the most part.

But I’m sure that most people fell somewhere in between, and hoped that things could be worked out in a rational way, without resorting to violence. That is always the best option, of course, but for some reason it rarely happens, and serious negotiations don’t take place until lots of blood has been shed. Wise up, humanity. We don’t all have to do things the same way.

At least one historian agrees that the Founders were progressive radicals:

“Americans had come to believe that the Revolution promised nothing less than a massive reordering of their lives—a reordering summed up in the conception of republicanism. This republicanism was in every way a radical ideology—as radical in the eighteenth century as Marxism was to be for the nineteenth century. It meant more than simply eliminating a king and establishing an elective system of government. It added a moral and idealistic dimension to the political separation from England—a dimension that promised a fundamental shift in values and a change in the very character of American society.” Gordon S. Wood, “The American Revolution”

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