A new platform for communities and seekers is coming in 2020. Learn more and donate!

Communities magazine #184 - The Shadow Side of Cooperation

Communities Magazine – life in cooperative culture

Communities magazine is the primary resource for information, stories, and ideas about intentional communities—including urban co-ops, cohousing groups, ecovillages, and rural communes.

Communities also focuses on creating and enhancing community in the workplace, in nonprofit or activist organizations, and in neighborhoods.

We explore the joys and challenges of cooperation in its many dimensions, and pass the wisdom on to you and your community.

View Current Issue – Free digital download or print copy for purchase!

Communities magazine covers

Announcement: Communities Magazine production is currently paused due to financial challenges. Contact us for details.


Magazine themes under consideration: Passing the Torch: Generational Shifts in Community, Climate Justice, Scaling Up, Exploring Relationships, and 2020 Vision: The Future of the Communities Movement

Articles from recent issues of Communities:


On Community: A Graduated Series of Consequences and the “Community Eye”

Posted on November 26, 2019 by

Just knowing the community has this process in place deters people from breaking agreements. People don’t want to get a knock at the door by one fellow community member, much less three or four.


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.


Major changes coming to ic.org in 2020We need your help to make it happen!

Help bring community into the lives of thousands of more people by joining our fundraising campaign.

LEARN MORE & DONATE