It’s been quite a year. From the rise of white nationalism, to hurricanes and fires, to threats of nuclear war, to NFL protests, and a seemingly endless stream of high profile sexual assault and harassment cases, disruption is becoming the new normal. The sense of urgency and imperative to directly address the existential threat we are creating for ourselves is palpable and growing.
People have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Intentional communities (ICs) are definitely part of that crowd, and ICs in themselves are a response to our escalating global crisis. They are based on a radical critique of society and the notion that we can do better. As the Fellowship for Intentional Community celebrates its 30th birthday, we’re taking some time to celebrate how far the Communities Movement has come and where we’re heading.
Things have changed a lot in the last 30 years. The internet, for one thing. Also, many allied movements, such as worker co-ops, permaculture, Transition Towns, and more, have developed in parallel, and the FIC finds itself in good company, particularly as a member of the New Economy Coalition.
Two years ago the FIC officially adopted cooperation, sustainability, and social justice as core values for the organization. This was a big step. The FIC had always made great efforts to be “ekuminical”, providing a welcoming space for intentional communities of all kinds to engage and benefit, as long as they did not advocate violence or restrict their members ability to leave the community or contact people outside of it. We recognize that while not all communities listed in the Directory or in other ways provide content or information through our programs share our organizational values, we decided that we needed to take a stand.
Holding the values of cooperation, sustainability, and social justice gives us a lens through which to view the movement and express why it matters to the rest of the world. And it creates a spotlight we can focus on groups that we believe are making a difference in addressing the world’s problems.
I am proud of the work the FIC has done this year to integrate cooperation, sustainability, and social justice as core values for the organization. I’m also proud of the work more and more intentional communities are doing to model these values and advance them in the face of our larger society’s disintegration and decline in human civility.