Community Guestritz

Community Guestritz

In March of last year we -- that's currently six adults and three children – bought the  farm called Rundling 14 in Güstritz, with the aim of living there together as a community. Here we would like to introduce ourselves to anyone who may be interested. In the following we would like to present our principles and their practical implementation.
We try our make our utopia a reality in the here and now. We are aware that there can be no right life in the wrong surroundings (???). Life in our community is a "project for life". We share common ideals, develop ideas and are in a constant process of evolution. We move constantly among contradictions and are fully aware of discrepancies between our utopia and reality.

Common economy


Private property is the basis of the capitalist economy and is thus the ideal starting point for hierarchical relationships. For us, that means finding a different, namely, collective way of conduct.
We have purchased house and land as an association called "Leinen Los! e.V." ("Cast Off!" Registered Society). Thus the house and its pasture and arable land are in collective ownership. Individual members of the community cannot sell the property.
In daily life there is a common kitty, from which all expenditures are met. Of course there are certain items that are particularly important to one person or the other and remain in "private property", for example a bicycle or a particular tool. Nonetheless these things can be used by everyone.
In the event of anyone leaving the community, there are individual contracts that cover who can take what out with them.

Communication

A successful communication structure is indispensable for our life together.
We hope that conflicts, not only in structure but also in everyday dealings with each other, can be resolved and that we emerge strengthened from this struggle. We reject hierarchical structures. Therefore it is important to us to reveal dominant and discriminatory structures, reflect on them, and thus to avoid them. Transparency in dealings among ourselves as well as "outside" is our basic concern.
Decisions are generally made by consensus, so they are equally acceptable to all. In the various areas of the commune, the principles of self-organization apply, i.e. each person is involved in the decisions that relate to him or her.
Once a week we hold the "organizational plenary", which is concerned with organisation for the upcoming week. All those present in the community at the time are invited to take part, including all guests and visitors.
Individual sensitivities are often not perceived adequately due to the dominance of organisational matters. This can sometimes lead to a bad atmosphere among the whole group and leads to things not working optimally. We therefore begin the plenary session with a round of  opinions in order to evaluate how individuals are feeling, whether disputes are in the air, or whether simply everyone is in a good mood.
To avoid the plenum dragging on unnecessarily, only those items should be discussed that affect everyone; everything else is clarified in the working groups (gardening, construction, etc.) and only where necessary referred back to the plenum. In addition, there is a plenum book in which we can write messages.
Once a month there is a meeting reserved for topics that concern the general state of affairs.
At the end of the year we review the past year and consider our individual and collective aims for the next year.
For more complex and special topics we hold theme weekends.
However we also need communication points outside of the fixed structures. Therefore it is important to us to share moments during everyday life, such as lunch.

Collective, children and family

To live together as a collective means taking shared responsibility for each other. This gives us all a little bit more individual freedom. In the classic nuclear family a patriarchal basic pattern often exists (unconsciously). We try to work against this, in attempting to allow the children the opportunity to progress at their own pace and according to their interests, and to choose additional caretaking persons on their own accord. Analysis of family structure also requires a critique of ones own gender role, and its function for and in society.
We always try to deal critically with this issue. Thus it is frequently a discussion point in the plenum. We try to share responsibility for the children by dividing up tasks (collection from kindergarten, recreation, etc.).

Social change

With our commune we do not strive towards an island existence, but rather we consider the dominant society as a result of complex social struggles. This means constant change is possible. For us, it is interesting to see where our resistance can begin to achieve success and to come closer to our goal of an emancipated and egalitarian society. We are not alone. The diverse customs in the world encourage us and lead to networking. In this regard solidarity means for us seeking and maintaining contact with other people and emancipatory groups, and seeing where we can work together or provide practical support.
In the commune we try to provide an opposing critique to the various forms of government and capitalism. In this way, we are not alone. There are other projects in the region with which we are in regular contact.
An important aspect in the work of the commune lies in the area of ​​public relations and education. It is important to us to share knowledge with others and thus learn from each other.


The garden as part of living diversity

The garden is in many ways a central place in the commune. It offers us the opportunity to feed ourselves with organically grown vegetables. Through direct relationships to the earth and nature with its cycles, we address the progressive alienation of man from nature through abstract labour.
The garden is a habitat for humans and animals. We strive to sustainably improve the quality of life of this place in a relationship between art, culture, gardening and landscaping.
In the dominant society food is simply a commodity. This results, in addition to the decimation of biodiversity, in worldwide famine and natural disasters.
The consequence for us is to evolve a different, responsible use of plants and animals, that guarantees food sovereignty and the preservation of crop diversity. We aim to examine our consumption patterns and find ways to initiate a lasting and ecologically sound consumption.
We reject any ethic of sacrifice and austerity. Our goal is to lead a pleasurable life.


The market garden

In our market garden "PaRadieschen" (the name is a pun on the German words for "paradise" and "radish") we grow diverse vegetables on an area of ​​one hectare. We aim to go beyond self-sufficiency and give more people access to our produce. We already have a variety of exchanges with other communes in the region, to whom we make our vegetables freely available. We have also chosen a particular economic model, "Community Supported Agriculture" (CSA). This means in practice that a group of people from the region provides moral and financial support for the market garden or farm. The supporters pay a monthly fee, so that production costs can be covered. The produce is then placed at their free disposal.
The closeness between us and the consumers allows a demand-oriented production, which makes us independent of market economies. It is important to us to build up a social network around the farm. It is a priority for us to get to know each other, meet regularly and carry out joint activities. We find it important to create awareness of how one's food is produced and to allow others a relationship to our garden. We reject money as an expression of value, and for this reason it is important to us to create networks that operate on demand based on common solutions.

Additional information