Cooperative Living: Week 7

Ongoing Journey of Living in an Anarchist and Activist Collective

Annie Windholz
4 min readSep 17, 2017

Our cooperative operates on the principle of anarcho-communism. According to wikipediam, anarcho-communism is the theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labor and private property (while retaining respect for personal property) and in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and horizontal network of workers’ councils with prodcution adn consumption based on the guiding principle: ‘From each according to his ability to each according to his need.”

An example of anarcho communism at play at the coop is the way that our food system works. Every week a couple people from the house go shopping together and pick up our basic supplies, but also anything else that people in the house request. Someone might need expensive special items every week, while someone else might subsist on the basics. But we each have the ability to ask for what we need, and we all have agreed to help pay the same amount each week so that we can all eat together.

This week has been busy. On Monday I attended a facilitation workshop for activist organizers in the community (see Introverts Can Be Leaders, Too). On Tuesday I checked out the Neighbors of Onondaga Nation meeting, which serves as an ally group for the local Native community. We talked about plans for removal of the colombus statue in the middle of the city. On Wednesday I watered the garden, and got a few beers at the bar down the street with Carp.

Thursday I attended the Rapid Response team meeting, which is being created with the goal of being a protective organization for immigrant communities in the area from ICE and border patrol raids. On Friday I brainstormed and researched collective housing models with one of my housemates over a french press of coffee. We are going to share the information with the local migrant farmworkers organization in town- hopefully with some helpful ideas in working towards creating a collective housing space. I also met with the Peace Council newsletter team, and joined their editorial team to help put together their newspaper that comes out every other month. I’m still working on my social media, grant writing, SEO and google analytics classes, and am looking to work some Spanish practice in there at some point in the future.

Saturday morning I woke up early and attended my first NAN (National Action Network) meeting (see A Morning Spent at the Church of Racial Justice).

Sunday we had our collective yard sale in our front yard. We invited neighbors to join in and sell their things too, as long as they donated 10% of their earnings to the collective. We set up a speaker and played some smooth jazz to invite buyers.

The yard sale coincided with a cultural festival taking place on our street that day with live music and food from around the world.

I worked a shift at the festival for the Worker’s Center- informing the community about migrant farmworkers situation in the surrounding area. Some of the farmworkers prepared tamales and elotes (grilled Mexican street corn covered in mayo, fresh lime juice, cheese and hot pepper) and sold them at our booth.

The food was a hit, but it was ironic to see that while most everyone wanted to try the food, not everyone was happy with the idea of signing the petition to give all immigrants the chance to apply for drivers licenses.

Later that day we had our weekly collective potluck outside in the backyard together.

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