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ejecting people from a community

 
                                            
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Hi there.  I just registered here, but thought I might chime in.  I lived in an "egalitarian" consensus community for about 5 years, and I would absolutely NEVER follow this model again (unless the only members were people I knew 'forever' and who I was absolutely sure shared my values).  In my experience, the oldest member of this community was incredibly abusive and quite literally drove people from the community.  Screaming at visitors for mopping the floor "wrong," flipping out if a visitor made a suggestion she didn't like in a meeting, etc.  So we ended up in a situation where the only people who would stay in the community were either college kids who were only planning to stay for a little while, "hermit" types who would hide in their room or hide in the field, or people with nowhere else to go.  The problem was, because this was a "consensus" community, it was impossible to build consensus to even issue this person a behavior contract, much less expel her from the community - because the group never developed enough strength to stand up to her.  So she functioned and still functions as the uncrowned "queen" of this supposedly-consensus-driven place.  After watching at least 5 different families (and all the individual folks who also went over the years) leave due to her abusive behavior (and resulting community instability), my family finally left.  Looking at the community website, it's easy to see from photos that the membership still continues to constantly change, and I have little doubt why.  When my family arrived, there wasn't a single member who had been there for more than 3 months - and the place has been around for about 15 years.
 
pollinator
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fairyfeathers, what model do you consider might work better for that kind of situation in which someone wants to be queen?
 
steward
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Perhaps the "Marie Antoinette" model?
 
                                            
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Lol...wish I had thought of the Marie Antoinette model while living in community! 

Seriously though, I'm not sure how you prevent this type of thing from happening, which is why I'd never live in this type of community again.  I think the best situation if you're trying to incorporate some dominator-type into a community would be one in which you have multiple households that are mostly autonomous but share certain resources - gardens, for example, or certain meals.  And for each individual to have a clearly-worded legally binding contract in the community that would prevent them from doing something crazy. 

The worst thing about the situation I've described was that this individual was the only original member of the community left - so the idea that she could be expelled became sort of taboo, and she knew it.  And since we ended up with a bunch of college kids as probational members, they were all just terrified of her and it was impossible to move them toward even taking her on for a behavior contract or anything. 

I'm familiar with several other consensus communities like this as well, and the only one that didn't have these types was made up of a bunch of older people who had collectively started the community and rarely accepted new members. 
To be clearer, hopefully, I think the fully income-sharing consensus model can work, but the members really need to know each other very well and have a lot of trust for each other. 
 
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      I have had to fire probably 300 or so over the past 20 years. The reasons are almost always lack of production, alcoholism, or  incessant complaining. Invariably when this happens  all of the other useful guys who remain are happier and more productive after the departure of the bad apple. Any discomfort experienced while ridding your life of someone who doesn't fit, pales in comparison to the relief of seeing them go.     I have also operated flop houses on occasion. Getting rid of the bad apple in a live in situation is even more gratifying. My experience is that people don't generally change. Or if they do, very few have changed at the speed I was comfortable with, which would be immediately!
 
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I have been thinking a lot about this and I might have come up with a single concept, maybe.

Thou shalt not exploit.

You can not take more than you give back. You can not use others to further your goals, without giving back to them. You can not have relationships where you dominate others. You can not leave the land, the house, whatever worse than you found it.

I can put up with weirdos on the left and the right  after all, I am not all the normal, either. Strange opinions are welcome, might even be encouraged. But, start to be a bully or start to leach of others, or try to use people for your plans - go elsewhere please, quickly.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Fred Morgan wrote:I have been thinking a lot about this and I might have come up with a single concept, maybe.

Thou shalt not exploit.

You can not take more than you give back. You can not use others to further your goals, without giving back to them. You can not have relationships where you dominate others. You can not leave the land, the house, whatever worse than you found it.

I can put up with weirdos on the left and the right  after all, I am not all the normal, either. Strange opinions are welcome, might even be encouraged. But, start to be a bully or start to leach of others, or try to use people for your plans - go elsewhere please, quickly.



I've never lived in a communal situation without exploitation. When I've run flop houses, there is usually one guy who ends up doing dishes that others leave, washing floors when others spill and taking messages for everyone. I've always ended up rewarding them with the bigger room, rides to town etc. Only once do I recall a slacker ever acknowledging that they hadn't done their share. Mike was a boarder who only worked part time. He would quickly clean the table and start the dishes while others were still eating. He swept up and kept the whole house in order. He put the kettle on when a vehicle pulled up. Mirek was a student from the Czech Republic who had drank a lot of coffee made by Mike and seldom got a chance to wash dishes although it was his nature to help out and pull his weight. He often cleared the table and brought Mike stray dishes. When he was heading home, he thanked Mike for being the house mom and gave him $100 --- None of the other guys at the table offered him a dime. They were the lazy ones who benefited most. They just sat there, praying for the moment to pass. Mike and Mirek are welcome at my place any time.
 
pollinator
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This is really well put and such an important point. And I think there's no upper limit to communication skill/abiility.

tel jetson wrote:I don't think a strong man is required and I'll try to explain why.  our culture (I'm speaking specifically about U.S. culture here) hasn't, in the previous several generations, really fostered the sort of interpersonal skills that a close community requires.  so those skills are noticeably lacking in the general population.  those of you doing the good work of trying out various intentional community models are very likely to run into problems because of this.  but as folks figure it out, as a culture develops around this way of life, those skills will return.

in the mean time, when somebody starts dragging a community down, there should be mechanisms in place to send them on their way.  give the person a chance to shape up before they're booted, and don't do it in a nasty way or on a whim.  establish the rules for tossing someone out ahead of time instead of assuming that everything will be smooth sailing and then scrambling when reality turns out differently.

in this way, folks with some of the bad habits described here and elsewhere will get the picture.  over time, the bad habits will be suppressed.  folks who come up in intentional communities will learn the skills they need and every generation will get better at it.

might require some unpleasant situations until folks figure it out, but I think that's better than the alternative.  that alternative: we never learn to live in close community without a strong authority.

I can certainly see some advantages to Paul's proposed model, and I wouldn't begrudge anyone who chose to live in that way.  obviously a multi-generational project isn't for everybody.  and in this sphere as in others, diversity can lead to resiliency.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Haven't read all of it yet, but just wanted to put in my two cents--I think a more permaculture-principle-aligned focus for this thread would be "dealing with someone's behavior when it looks like ejection is necessary" . The problem is the solution.

Also, I understand in the short-term you may not be able to do it the most permanent-cultural way, but it's good to have an ideal to move toward. Paul said in one podcast that over timepermies.com needed less and less "weeding" and he thought over time it might become self-sustaining entirely. I think humanity has to move in this direction, or we'll destroy ourselves.

There's a course called "the fun of nice" at the morehouse, by the way. Haven't taken it myself but I love the idea.
 
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I also had similar interactions in variety of contexts / situations... I think names are totally misleading (like egalitarian) and you could do it again, but it might be different elsewhere showing really it comes down to what people who are there in the moment, how they act, and what part of 'social equality' or their definition of being egalitarian (or whatever) was being implemented / called... I have lots of empathy for every situation because of the individual differences (different stages and levels) we're at naturally from and also the top-down weight on all are shoulder's (tax or the state even though it does good) so directly or indirectly we're held or pinned in life through things like money... etc to pay for things we end up not liking or wanting... hardly a great way to understand and respect people at any level unless you're more happy with the money and buggering off into the horizon.... so none of us may know what egalitarian means let alone implement it (perhaps)... just getting along with those there seems best... (until that doesn't work I wonder what I would say then, maybe I would call a more modern kind of 'heart' or 'truth' circle and have constructive stand-off's / face-to-faces)... so I say "eeeek" to some of the comments for what I imagine being hard and also say fear not, with principles and time we can figure it out, I know the having or time and money stuff sure doesn't help destroys / flanks most conversation. Fighting or standing ground can help lots to make things clear / sort things as fixed points of relationships and then move on when both ready.

Hey Fred - little quote on what you said

You can not take more than you give back. You can not use others to further your goals, without giving back to them. You can not have relationships where you dominate others. You can not leave the land, the house, whatever worse than you found it.



I think the above isn't true in a lot of contexts and though I don't wish to take more, in the physical context (including energy etc) we kinda all have to take more (just to stay alive).
The mental taking is also ok when it's something people have to give. In a colony without time or care for life, it seems very justified to take because life was NOT built to respect new life, give choices, embed asking permission, and instead still treats you as property of state (Birth Certificate please, thank you) and then they expect you to pay debt of the previous land-lords which should have stuck to being caretakers no less or at least taking care of the land and handing it over nicely! Nowadays it's downright prostitution, pimping and stealing already (Earth or other people's energy). Not much room for 'an excuse me' - so yeah, if I missed something that might work, take it and make it into something better, expect broken heart of business men (and now women can vote since 90yrs) if the current system is so fixed that it doesn't want to be flexible unless you pay them the money accordingly instead.

I've moved someone on physically when I saw repeated tactics of other ways didn't work... I think you just gotta calculate and play the right cards... people can't do the physical or hard way with the right amount of courage maybe or it's hard to practice it... luckily I did sports that needed relaxed minds (i.e. not but be more than ready and really make it physically clear that other playing the physcial card won't push you over without a fight) the same way I might not be able to do some other ways like waiting the right time (also needs a kind of patience or courage). I just knew at the time it would work and did it. Dragged the guy out of the tent, really looking him in the eye (or through it) and and instead of a "leave it" situation, just stood by and made sure. Fighting is seemingly what all the rules were built from... instead we stopped fighting some it seems which had healthy by products even if not done 100% right. And so eventually we go weak/untrained and other took over, fighting us when they saw we respected slightly more refined fighting ways (though not so refined and mostly groups with bits of paper). It's strange I don't like fighting but I like sparring of truths and ideas... and those that 'make trouble' often have a point we can learn from and then kick out or my favoured way is to try and embrace and absorb and use them for the good (with their permission) so all is more happy and even the bad have some kind of focus (i.e. all good people without focus or acceptance can become 'bad')

Mike and Mirek are welcome at my place any time.


Dale do you have contact for Mike and Mirek who you praised? They would be welcome at my place too. I like to invite a mixed or people, not only those that work hard for me for example.
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