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red_pepper wrote

I've been toying with a version of this idea for a while. I'm of the belief that 1. capitalism's collapse is inevitable and imminent, but also 2. the first-world has very low revolutionary potential. By the time capitalism's decay advances to the point that the first-world has the potential for revolution, civilization will have begun a full-on retreat into barbarism. My believe is that some form of red-prepping will be the only way to survive this transition. (I might as well plug /f/collapse while I'm on the topic)

The solution I came up with was a federation of communes controlling non-overlapping small town/rural county protectorates. The basic idea is that the commune forms the inner-core of capitalist secession and builds dual power within the protectorate in the form of revolutionary unions, cooperatives, and militias. Each protectorate consists of the locale that the commune occupies, and which it will seize control of after the collapse (or seize before collapse if possible).

The focus of the commune can range from enduring capitalism until its collapse to replacing capitalism within the protectorate before it collapses, depending on the commune's size and economic strength. A commune focused on endurance would mostly focus on getting off the grid and supporting local power structures that could survive the loss of the global economy. A commune focused on replacing capitalism would do those things, but also focus on seizing control over local power structures and replacing them with anticapitalist alternatives. Both would avoid open conflict with capitalist structures unless absolutely necessary.

A scenario I've toyed with goes like this:

  1. A group enters an agreement to pool all of their resources together and form a commune. They don't have to actually do so yet, since a few more steps need to be taken first, but the existence of an agreement is important. At this point in time the members would decide on how decisions are made and what the goals of the commune are. It may also begin raising funds in other ways, such as with crowd funding or sponsorship from a party or somesuch.

  2. The group finds a protectorate to establish the commune in. The basic rules are to look for a county with a small population, a town with low property values, and stagnant/declining population growth. The protectorate should be no bigger than the commune thinks it could protect after the collapse (hence the name), and should be in an economic situation which indicates they need help to survive capitalism now. This way, the commune won't be overwhelmed or feel like an invader to the locals. Members may decide to move early at this point until the commune can establish itself more fully.

  3. The commune makes a property purchase, forms a housing cooperative, and fully moves into town. Depending on the resources the commune has access to, the purchase may consist of housing or undeveloped land that it will put prefab housing on. Space may be limited at first, so early movers would get preferential housing in the co-op. The housing cooperative now begins a transition to insteading, such as by installing rain water collection and wood burning stoves and solar panels. Ideally, the cooperative would be able to go entirely off-grid and be a rally point during a collapse.

  4. Before starting the process of dual power building, the commune must integrate with the local community. It is extremely important that the commune doesn't act like an invading force or is seen as something foreign. This means joining the local church and local clubs, meet-and-greeting the neighbors, volunteering for local organizations like the fire department, getting jobs within the community, watching people's kids and mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs for locals, ect. Get a feel for the local culture. Make friends. Each commune member must also be a valued member of the local community.

  5. Now the exciting part: building dual power. Once the commune has established itself as a friend of the community, it can begin organizing and creating services for the community. Organize a tenant union for local renters and protect them from their landlord. Start a garden cooperative and turn unproductive lawns into productive sources of local produce. Expand those odd-jobs into official services provided by a cooperative. Help unionize local work places. And, very importantly, ensure that commune members make up a democratic majority of all of these dual power structures so as to ensure they can be guided strategically by the core commune support.

From here, it really depends on what the commune wants and what the local community needs. If the goal is to endure capitalism, then most of the commune's resources would go into preparing for collapse and focusing on making the existing structures as bearable as possible. If the goal is to overthrow capitalism, the commune may begin expanding and taking over those existing structures (such as by using the tenant union to put the landlord out of business and then the housing cooperative buying the property when it goes to auction). It might even be possible to completely take over the local government and get commune members elected to town, county, and municipal positions. It might also begin communes in other areas and form a federation.

It's not really a fully fleshed out idea, but what do you think?


mofongo wrote

That's a city state and I find it unfeasible; as soon as the group starts buying land, the price will rise, when it becomes hip the (I forgot how it's called) (and it will considering increasing property prices and the new people that most than likely have more money than the locals) the locals will be forced to move out either by getting a really nice sum for the property or being unable to pay property taxes.


red_pepper wrote

Gentrification is the word you're looking for, and yeah that's a legitimate concern.

The commune can mitigate this problem by implementing antigentrification measures to keep property values low. On the less extreme end, the tenant union and housing cooperative can play a big part in this by disincentivizing landlords with low rents and harsh pro-tenant contracts. Service unions can also play a big role in making those trendy little storefronts too expensive to run. On the more extreme end, radical concepts like depaving, vandalism, rewilding, and direct action against yuppies are also possible avenues the commune can take.