A long strange trip – 30th Birthday, Day 21

Posted on November 21, 2017 by

Marty Klaif has served on the FIC Board for almost 20 years. For more 30th blog posts click here.

As a typically confused mid-twenty-something year old, I became aware of the concept of intentional community while doing self directed historical research into political movements.

I found Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, and Josiah Warren among many others who conceptualized and actualized different forms of community to varying levels of success. I took this information on the road, literally, as I crisscrossed the country for several months creating my own mental image of how life could be in an egalitarian society.

At the time I didn’t know that such things were already up and thriving.

I wound up in San Francisco, came across the Kerista commune, and spent the next 14 years in a radical experiment in culture building that included income sharing and multi-adult family structures. Eventually, the community imploded under the weight of its own contradictions and a switch in focus from personal growth and cultural experimentation to the allure of making our early era personal computer business a “success.”

I was once again on the road to looking for what would work for me.

I met a traveling band from the ZEGG community in Germany, was intrigued by what they represented, and became involved in trying to bring that cultural experiment to the United States. Eventually that led to a national tour to drum up interest in participating in a series of workshops to generate interest in creating a local replica.

While that never came to fruition, it provided the impetus for two highly energetic colleagues and myself to create a Summer Camp based on a very successful ZEGG-run model.

Summer Camp was the first effort of the Network for a New Culture, which has morphed and replicated into the several events that currently are held in various parts of the country today.

However, the NFNC did not, at that time, spawn landed community and I was, once again, a seeker.

That’s when the Foundation for Intentional Community entered my life.

A friend suggested that I check out a meeting of the organization because it seemed to him that my quest and the purpose and effort of the FIC were aligned.

And he was correct.

I found a group of really smart, energetic folks dedicated to supporting the creation, development, and nurturing of intentional community in whatever form their creators envisioned as long as they were non-coercive and non-violent.

I was immediately sucked in and started attending the semi-annual meetings, each at a different community in different parts of the country. After a few years I found myself on the Board of the organization and in the middle of the action of trying to keep it vibrant and vital.

Meanwhile, I visited the community that became my home for the long term and settled in while continuing to work with FIC.

Now, discovering the existence of and doing research into intentional community is a much simpler task as we have published Communities magazine steadily for decades, are on our seventh version of the Communities Directory, and have a robust and dynamic web presence at ic.org.

We continue to work to keep the intentional community movement vital and vibrant and to make it available to any person looking for an alternative to the dominant culture in this country, and, through alliance with the Global Ecovillage Network, anywhere in the world.

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