Communalism: A Liberatory Alternative

what does community mean to you

Communalism is the all encompassing term given to a comprehensive theory and practice that seeks to reconstruct society along ecological lines. It is based in the essential premise that all environmental problems are rooted in social problems.

This pamphlet is primarily focused on discussing this reconstructive vision, as well as exploring practical steps for engaging in an educational and political process that can bridge where we are today with the society we hope to achieve.

What might an ethical economy look like in an ecological society?

An ecological economy should be placed under the direct control of the citizenry, just like with social policies. In effect, the means of economic production – land and equipment – would be placed under the domain of the assembly, and regional economic integration would be achieved through the confederation. The range of economic decisions addressed by assemblies would include, among others, how much of various goods should be produced for the year, and which technologies are deemed acceptable for use. The specifics of how goods are produced and how services are rendered should be decided upon and administered by the people who spend their time working at or maintaining a workplace, such as a farm, workshop, or a hospital. The assemblies decide what needs to be done, and the workplaces decide how it gets done.

What form would the relationship between the inidividual and the community take shape in an ecological society?

Overcoming the social and ecological crisis must involve the renewal of individuality. Contemporary individualism, defined as freedom from social obligations, is an alienating conception of selfhood that encourages competition and egotism. By contrast, Communalism maintains that a well rounded, developed self only results from empowered participation in one's communities and through the bonds of cooperative relationships with the members of those communities. Direct participation provides a person with insight into and a degree of control over the social events that he or she is a part of. It also reveals our mutual dependence on each other and gives fulfillment to our social need for solidarity.

How should we view our lives in capitalist society relative to our revolutionary goals?

It is intended that the revolutionary strategy presented here avoids the pitfalls of pragmatism with its willingness to compromise any ideal in exchange for minor reforms, and of purism with its inability to engage the present situation in a manner that is capable of addressing pressing issues. The Communalist alternative seeks a harmonization of means and ends by developing a minimum program that is linked to an emancipatory vision via a transitional program. Communalism aims to reach people under their current circumstances, to touch them with the realization of what could be, to bring to their consciousness the desire for a completely transformed society, and to empower them to act in cooperation with those living around them. We are all trapped into participating with the current system in one way or another. But we can refuse to give to it our loyalty. With the potentialities of an ecological society in mind, we can keep in the forefront of our consciousness how irrational and dehumanizing bourgeois society is.

These and many other crucial questions about the nature of Communalism and social ecology are explored in this new pamphlet. The full text is a available here: