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Communities magazine #184 - The Shadow Side of CooperationCommunities 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.

Communities magazine covers

Upcoming Communities magazine themes

Winter 2019, Issue #185: Passing the Torch: Generational Shifts in Community

additional themes, not yet finalized: Spring 2020, Issue #186: Climate Justice Summer 2020, Issue #187: Scaling Up Fall 2020, Issue #188: 2020 Vision Winter 2020, Issue #189: Exploring Relationships

Articles from recent issues (and the current issue) of Communities:

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.


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