The Cooperative Commonwealth Communities enterprise advances through stages. Thus far we've explored the political-economic stage, in which a group of people have come together to build cooperative commonwealth communities in the western states of America. That stage constituted three phases.
The first stage proved that a select group of people could come together around a congeries of values and aspirations and successfully form non-capitalist, cooperative communities for the benefit of all members. The building of these communities involved requiring specific initial qualifications and training in other qualifications: minimum financial net worth; abilities in critical thinking, self-awareness, and critical consciousness, and learning together how to use the methodology of dialectical interchange in making decisions. These communities are set within the more inclusive capitalist society, the cooperative community sites relying on the technological, economic, political, and security (military, police, and intelligence) entities of the more inclusive capitalist culture.
In this chapter we enter the next stage: the independent societal stage. Stage two deals with the creation of the first more fully 1 independent community site within the larger context of the cooperative commonwealth community (CCC) enterprise. In phase one the communities--embedded almost entirely in capitalist society--were forced to tolerate most of the destructive facets of capitalism--looting of taxpayer money by banksters, poisoning of workers' food through corporate agribusinesses, corporation-based health insurance, planned unemployment, homelessness, abandoning of veterans, and so on. Now, in the second stage the communities planned to become more separate from capitalist society, creating their own cultural elements to avoid ongoing capitalist atrocities. This form of "social-economic independence" is similar to Tony Cartalucci's concept of self-sufficiency.
One of the major focal points in stage two is the establishment of commonwealth stewardship: the husbandry of nutrients through plants, animals, and soils. Food in capitalist America was becoming increasingly toxic, resulting in a rising death toll from food poisoning, with no punishment of the perpetrators: agribusiness corporations and fast food outlets.
The CCC enterprise realized that it must work in all spheres of being to be successful in creating new humans in new communities:
The forms, concepts, and procedures of the sociosphere: in this sphere they had already proven that a cooperative commonwealth polity works successfully
The gaseous fluids of the atmosphere
The minerals of the lithosphere
The organisms of the biosphere
With the imposition of predatory capitalism in the fifteenth century, stewardship of plants, animals, and soils was replaced with the single value: profit through uncontrolled greed, resulting in the ecological nightmare we now face. One of the most important ways humans have changed the world and themselves over the last ten thousand years has been to revolutionize the central biological and ecological relationships in settled societies. Now, the CCC enterprise would take the next step in creating responsible husbandry of plants, animals, and soils in creating their new society: commonwealth stewardship.
From the beginning of the Outlook community, the practice of commonwealth stewardship had been the guiding principle in food production, with the implementation of crop rotation, animal and soil husbandry, legume crops for transfer of atmospheric nitrogen to soils, composting, and the application of the various kinds of manuring: green (crops plowed under), mineral (lime or gypsum), topdressing (manure applied once crops are in the ground), and regular (manure applied before planting).
Elizabeth and Fred Collins had been in charge of food production and distribution from the beginning of the Outlook community. The vegetables, fruits, meat, and poultry that the community farm produced had first gone to the general store's cafeteria--where all community members took their meals--and then whatever surplus there was went to the general store's grocery market for sale to the public. Persons worked at the farm on a voluntary basis, with some apprentices assigned to the farm for limited periods. The community farm of two hundred acres located on the Collins's original property had been initially divided into:
Crops: 90 acres
Pasture: 50 acres
Orchard: 10 acres
Woodland: 50 acres
As Outlook membership expanded to the goal of two thousand, the food the community farm produced would increasingly be used by the community cafeteria, the surplus slowly dwindling to zero. Work on the farm would remain voluntary. There had never been any difficulty in there being enough volunteers for the farm work. The capitalist prejudices of seeing executives and brain-workers as superior to manual laborers was one of the first myths to disappear as the community members realized that all forms of work were equally vital for the benefit of the entire enterprise.
"Sustainable agriculture is one that produces abundant food without depleting the earth's resources or polluting its environment. It is agriculture that follows the principles of nature to develop systems for raising crops and livestock that are, like nature, self-sustaining. Sustainable agriculture is also the agriculture of social values, one whose success is indistinguishable from vibrant rural communities, rich lives for families on the farms, and wholesome food for everyone. But in the first decade of the 21st Century, sustainable agriculture, as a set of commonly accepted practices or a model farm economy, is still in its infancy--more than an idea, but only just."
The CCC Regional Oversight Council members had discussed, at length, this next stage, agreeing that the entire range of elements (values, structures, and capabilities) would have to be considered, selected, and then experimentally tested in a more fully independent CCC community site to determine specific effects before leavening the entire CCC enterprise and the more inclusive capitalist culture with these components.
The cooperative communities are defined both by how they differ from the more inclusive capitalist society--e.g. owning the community means of production and trade in common--and the values, paradigms, and skills which are exclusive to them--e.g. absence of belief in and practice of any organized religion.
CCC members were fully aware of the deleterious effect capitalist mores 2 have on every aspect of a person's mental, physical, and social life. They realized that they must make thoughtful, rational choices concerning every significant element to be included in their communities, so they would have a reasonable expectation of selecting or creating components that would conduce to the kind of people and the kind of society they desired.
During the first stage of development, with the emphasis on building political-economic structures, the communities had been allowed to evolve naturally relative to the more inclusive capitalist culture within which they subsisted. In this second stage, essential cooperative values, structures, and skills will be more rigorously embedded in the experimental community site and capitalist mores will be more strenuously extirpated. This stage involves the establishment of specific elements within the CCC enterprise which will define the endemic 3 intellectual, moral, and spiritual characteristics of the communities: the creation of a model society.
The experimental community site will provide specific embodiments of select elements, some of which they would recommend, not impose. For example, the experimental site will provide a list of recommended movies to their members; they will not ban movies. Instead of proscribing the watching of a destructive movie such as "Pulp Fiction," the community site will recommend a movie such as "Good Night, and Good Luck." 4
Some of the elements--such as communal property ownership instead of private ownership--will be obligatory, not optional. Some of the societal elements will necessarily be experimental, in that applying them in the experimental site for a designated period while systematically recording their effects will be the only way to determine if the CCC enterprise can reasonably judge them to be positive or negative in their effect on all its members. For example, the experimental community site will determine the personal and social effect of having no legal form of marriage.
The CCC Regional Oversight Council (ROC) made crucial decisions concerning the first experimental community site:
The experimental community site will be located in Outlook, CA. An oversight committee of twenty-one members will spearhead the dialectical interchange meetings, determining what experimental elements will be introduced into the larger Outlook community. Five of the twenty-one members will be interns: young members attending Outlook schools.
All new members admitted to the CCC enterprise will be located to Outlook; no new sites will be developed nor members added to established sites until the population of the Outlook site reaches two thousand.
Applicants with children of varied ages will be given priority, so experimentation with CCC educational concepts and procedures can begin as soon as possible. A trade school, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college will be created in Outlook. As members earlier admitted decide to have families, and as new members with children join, all new CCC youth members in whatever site they or their parents may reside, will receive their education in the Outlook schools, either in residence in Outlook or by Internet online instruction. Current CCC youth members may choose to remain in their specific site schools or enroll in the Outlook schools.
As with all members, young people of any age will be required to gain admission to membership on their own: passing the screening and training tests and possessing the required minimum net financial worth.
The locating of new members into the Outlook community will be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, so the residents who are not members of the cooperative community will not become alarmed.
As retail stores, services, and professional offices in Outlook go out of business, the cooperative community will slowly replace those businesses and services with its own enterprises.
As stage two will involve experiment with extraordinary interpersonal relationship patterns, all CCC members must now avoid informing any non-CCC-members of any of the elements of community life. These patterns are exceptionally personal and non-CCC-members cannot and must not be trusted with this information. 5
Members of the Outlook community oversight committee met in quorum sessions to determine the values, structures, and capabilities to be fostered in their community through the CCC Educational Enterprise.
Cooperative Commonwealth Community Educational Enterprise
"The purpose of education is to teach us to love Beauty."
Studied: Progressive Awareness Studied: Ellis, A., A New Guide to Rational Living
Recommended by the oversight committee, the Outlook community approved the extension of the community complex on the one hundred and thirty acre parcel the community had purchased when first setting up communal housing. This complex, they decided, would be only for housing, not for providing services to the surrounding community. Outlook CCC members would maintain a presence at their places of business and service.
The History of Human Culture
In preparation for their dialectical interchange sessions, the oversight committee studied historical societal patterns.
Historical Societal Patterns
Primitive natural democracy
From the beginning of Homo Sapiens to 10,000 BCE
"Wise counsel and democratic procedures in both elections and depositions prevailed in place of coercive force. Production of the necessities of life was still on a rudimentary level, and there was no elitist ruling class to enforce its private-property rights. . . There was no private ownership of property. . . Sharp disproportions of material wealth or the dichotomy between possessors and dispossessed were absent from the primitive commune, as were the antagonisms engendered by these economic inequalities." 6
Hunting and gathering
From 10,000 to 500 BCE
"The advance made . . . from the primitive division of labor between the sexes to the new and far more productive social divisions of labor. For the first time an economic surplus came into existence over and above immediate needs of consumption. . . This surplus wealth came more and more into the hands of private proprietors, elevating a possessing class over the great majority of poor peasants and artisans."
"Men of wealth required sons for the transmission of that wealth and the primary function of the legally wedded wife was to be the breeder of heirs to a man's property. Women became chattels [sic] in a consolidated family institution that served the needs of the men and the wealthy class." 7
Farming and animal husbandry
Women as chattel
The State and private property
Economic classes and class warfare
From 500 BCE to 2010 CE
"The cleavage of society into contending classes with opposed interests created the need for a public apparatus which could be used to regulate the antagonisms while maintaining the power and privileges of the propertied ruling class. Thus the state arose, with its judiciary, bodies of armed men (always men), and prisons to keep order on behalf of the wealthy exploiters. As the matriarchal clan commune was undermined, the collective democratic administration of affairs was likewise corroded. In place of the former female counselors or 'governesses' and their 'wise counsel,' there arose the coercive power of the armed forces. Chiefs who had formerly been chosen to carry out the decisions of the community became military leader in the service of the male masters of society." 8
"In this first session of our oversight committee," Rick Webb said, "we want to explore the numerous facets of our individual mind-sets that have been influenced by capitalist myths, mores, and practices. We've examined and discussed the history of societal patterns to see how we devolved from a primitive natural democracy in a partnership communal structure to the establishment of a state, private property, capitalism, economic classes, and class warfare."
Emily Blake took up the lead. "For example, everyone in this experimental group has been conditioned by the capitalist family structure. We've been brainwashed to feel that the only legitimate kind of relationship is to 'belong to someone,' somehow be the possession of another person, as in 'my husband' or 'my wife,' identical to the private property mind-set of 'my car' and 'my house.' All of that idea of owning things or people we're now discarding. No person can be the property of another and all physical, non-human entities--such as vehicles, food, buildings, and money--in our communities, are now communal property, belonging to all."
"Ridding ourselves of capitalist thoughts and feelings that influence and control us,"
Robert Yates continued, "we must select precisely what new mental and emotional patterns to adopt, to build a truly cooperative, harmonious society. We must, for example, fully embrace the social mind-set that sees females as completely equal to males, and as essential leaders in our communities."
"One of the most crucial tests for our CCC enterprise as a whole is making certain that our values, techniques, understanding, and attitudes are genuinely re-embodied in our next generation," Ellbridge said.
"We're now screening, training, and admitting young people into our communities as independent persons, separate from their parents. In one interesting case we just concluded, a college-age young lady named Lavinia succeeded in the screening and training process while her parents did not. Lavinia chose to be admitted into the community, even though her parents remain outside. Her parents, fortunately, are in agreement with her decision and have made her $50,000 trust fund available to her, the minimum amount required of all CCC members upon admittance. All other instances involving young people constitute both parents and young persons being admitted in tandem. But we anticipate that there will be additional female and male 'Lavinias' as we proceed in our recruitment of new members."
3 Endemic: Elements peculiar to a specific group or culture
4 Even this element of recommendation (persuasion) instead of coercion will be one of the factors to be experimentally tested. If negative, destructive elements (e.g. movies, literature, television programs, etc.) are selected to the intellectual, moral, and spiritual detriment of the members, then more strict control will have to be imposed.