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Communities Articles


The best way to read Communities articles is by subscribing to Communities magazine! You can also find back issues with a wide range of themes, complete sets of issues, and the Best of Communities book series.

A selection of Communities articles is also posted online below for your enjoyment! To let us know what you think, to contribute artwork, photos, articles, or ads, please feel free to contact Communities.

Raising Troubled Children in Cohousing

Posted on November 19, 2019 by

When the antisocial behavior of adopted boys at Takoma Village Cohousing begins to impact the larger community, their parents find open communication essential in identifying a path forward.


Whatever Happened to the Renaissance Community?

Posted on November 12, 2019 by

Despite the lethal combination of power, ego, and spirituality that brought the Renaissance Community to an end, most of its ex-members cherish their time there as a growth experience that made them better people.


In the Shadow of the Guru

Posted on November 5, 2019 by

Referring to himself as “the biggest asshole” in the county, a group’s spiritual teacher “told us if we could work with him and learn from him, we could deal with anyone in any situation.”


Missed Opportunity at the Goat Ranch

Posted on October 29, 2019 by

Ted and Sally were truthful when they said they had no idea what they were doing, either running the business or establishing a community. They didn’t, much to the dismay of their departing managers and volunteers.


Founder’s Syndrome

Posted on October 22, 2019 by

The original founder, visionary, and main public point person for Bellyacres for over a quarter of a century laments that some members came to consider him “the root of all present, past, and future problems in the organization.”


Entrepreneurship and Long-Term Planning in an Income-Sharing Community: A Report from the Frontlines

Posted on October 15, 2019 by

The pace of running a competitive multi-million-dollar business like East Wind Nut Butters can clash with the often slow and seemingly disinterested pace of the community at large.


The Expert

Posted on October 8, 2019 by

Wow! This woman has it all! She’s the answer to so many of our current dilemmas! What could possibly go wrong? A lot.


Village-Building Stumbles: A few of the things Earthaven Ecovillage has gotten wrong

Posted on October 1, 2019 by

Those of us privileged enough to find ourselves in an intentional community often imagine that our environment will be free of the horrors and evils of the world. But alas, we bring it all with us.


Community Communication

Posted on September 24, 2019 by

“Can you put the gas in the truck, please?” A seemingly simple request provides a case study in the importance of precise, clear communication.


The Shadow Side of Community

Posted on September 17, 2019 by

The more friendliness we have towards difficult parts of ourselves and difficult aspects of living in community, the easier it will be to make the journey together.


Notes from the Editor: Exploring the Shadow Side

Posted on September 10, 2019 by

A higher standard for interpersonal accountability and care makes the effect even more devastating when feelings of safety, security, and affection in community turn out to be based on illusion.


Publisher’s Note: Facing the Hard Things

Posted on September 3, 2019 by

In order to create healthy, thriving communities that are replicable models for a cooperative, sustainable, and just human society, we need to talk about what hasn’t worked.


The Shadow Side of Cooperation – get your free download!

Posted on August 27, 2019 by

A natural follow-up to our Summer 2019 Sexual Politics issue, Communities #184 (Fall 2019) focuses on The Shadow Side of Cooperation. We explore problems and pitfalls, disappointments and betrayals, unintended outcomes of cooperative attempts ranging in impact from trivial to tragic. Authors’ stories describe the clash of idealism with reality, communication breakdowns, cultural patterning, internalized oppression, rights and boundary violations, founder’s syndrome, business and organizational struggles, power, ego, disempowerment, dysfunction, trauma, and strategies to address these and other challenges. Please join us!


Does Community Heal Trauma, or Reproduce It?: Challenges for abuse survivors living in community

Posted on August 20, 2019 by

Survivors of traumatic abuse face many problems in trying to form and participate in community. Trauma-informed community commits to keeping the survivor safe in wide zones of ambiguity, as challenging as that might be.


The Red Flag of Hypocrisy

Posted on August 18, 2019 by

The most troubling thing isn’t when a charismatic leader uses gangster tactics, but when the people in his office, who sing the songs of love and community values, are complicit.


Do Communities Need Feminist Dissent?

Posted on August 16, 2019 by

In the midst of wider social movements in the areas of gender and sexuality, communities everywhere need a place for feminist dissent and a willingness to engage in difficult conversations. Dissent is part of how we build resilience together.


How to Stop Climate Change and Never Be Lonely Again

Posted on July 30, 2019 by

Empowered, sustainable communities are the antidote to isolation. And they are the pivotal technology that makes renewable energy, essential for reversing climate change, actually renewable.


Relationships in a Community-Forming Group

Posted on July 23, 2019 by

While trying to start a community with poly-friendly collaborators, two monogamous partners achieve greater clarity in their six-year relationship, and end it.


Pros and Cons of Polyamory

Posted on July 16, 2019 by

Polyamory comes with abundant advantages as well as numerous downsides; a polyamorist weighs the tradeoffs, grieves disappointment and loss, and celebrates love.


I Survived a Dysfunctional Polyamorous Relationship and Learned Some Lessons about Love

Posted on July 9, 2019 by

Love is too strong an instinct to be dismissed, repressed, or restricted, even if it is not returned. The author recovers from a soul-crushing breakup.


The Sting of Discrimination: When Polyamory Is Considered a “Red Flag”

Posted on June 25, 2019 by
9 Comments

Previously on the path to community acceptance, an applicant experiences for the first time “the direct sting of bigotry, the shock of exclusion based on stereotypes” when her family is denied on the basis of polyamory.


The Triangle of Consent

Posted on June 18, 2019 by
5 Comments

Recognizing each other’s agency, addressing power imbalances, and communicating with honesty and clarity about sexual desires and boundaries are all essential elements of consent.


A Tangled Web: Sex at Zendik Farm

Posted on June 11, 2019 by

Was Wulf scheming, from the beginning, to gain sexual access to nearly every post-pubescent female on the Farm? Perhaps, perhaps not; either way, he got it. But that didn’t translate into “free love” for the rank and file.


Sexual misconduct in the sphere of power: The nexus of gender, intimacy, and discrimination

Posted on June 4, 2019 by
1 Comment

An unwanted, rebuffed sexual advance from a previously trusted community leader spirals into numerous, serious consequences in the victim’s personal and professional life.


Effective Community Justice

Posted on May 30, 2019 by

“It wasn’t the first time someone I knew had raped me, but it was the only time I had an adequate response from my friends and community.” A rape survivor living in community recounts her story.


Community Accountability: The Struggles, Challenges, and Hope for Community Action on Sexual Assault

Posted on May 28, 2019 by
1 Comment

When we think of sexual assault and boundary violations, it is common to think not in my community, or the person I know wouldn’t do that. As a result, our communities become especially vulnerable to predatory behavior.


Cooperative Groups, the FIC, and Sexual Politics: Sharing, Learning, Healing, Persisting

Posted on May 26, 2019 by
1 Comment

In trying to undo generations of conditioning and trauma, we need to start with the mistakes, learn from them, learn how to love a little more, and try, try again.


Notes from the Editor: Introducing the Sexual Politics Issue

Posted on May 24, 2019 by

Sharing the truth is not always easy, but as #MeToo has shown, breaking the silence is the first step toward healing and toward the evolution of healthier sexual politics.


Sexual Politics, #183 Contents and Free/By Donation Digital Download

Posted on May 22, 2019 by

Directly inspired by the #MeToo movement, Communities #183 (Summer 2019) focuses on Sexual Politics. Intentional communities are not immune to any of the challenges or problems that afflict the wider culture. How can communities respond when confronting the sometimes harsh realities of human behavior and relationships, especially in the realms of power, sexuality, and gender? Authors share their stories about sexual assault and harassment; power dynamics related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual expression; attitudes toward polyamory; understanding of consent culture; creating fulfilling relationships by combating climate change; getting pronouns right; and a host of other topics. Please join us!


Bodies in Isolation

Posted on May 18, 2019 by

Being immersed in mainstream culture and isolated from supportive, body-positive communities can prevent choice and body-awareness exploration. But living in a supportive community can make alternative choices and attitudes easier to sustain.


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