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I firmly reject state based communism not only because it absorbs personality into anonymous classes But also because I think we are near the inflection point where how people spend their “play time” matters almost as much as how they are organized for the purposes of paid time (e.g. labor).

I do, however, accept the criticism of the author that mutual aid it’s a bit stultified. While there are very many strong voices about how the theory is important as in counterpoint to Marxism no one has actually said they belong to a flat or communal house that is a financial alternative to the ”system” about which the author is writing.

I have just relocated to New York City and though I have a few thousand dollars in the bank my spirit is not aligned with paying “rent” for the sake of having a pillow for a month and attaching myself to a cycle whereby every 30 calendar days I will be deprived of the $1,000 paid for that pillowy privilege. I query myself with “What’s an alternative?” and actively search for “ communal” houses which share my values. Though I am not at all a Catholic, the work of Dorothy Day inspires me as a dwelling-based counterpoint to American individualism,

On the business end, I’ve been very disillusioned by the fact that there is no alternative to either paying an astronomical amount of money for a room or packing many people into a space like sardines for the sake of depressing the price that each person pays - these are the options no matter what your political persuasion. I’m getting together a group of people to talk about starting a “co-living”social enterprise because we need a “third way” that’s not a traditional lease or living in a tent on the other.

Though it pains me to say so, I do agree that there seems to be a practical limitation to mutual aid because “sharing” does not prevent a large segment of the anarchist community from working dead end, low pay jobs for the access to the 30 day treadmill. I say that also as a critique of “Christian” communities because all the talk about God in the world on a Sunday does not change the real source of dread: the rent or mortgage.

Earlier this week, I was quite glad to join and anarchist reading group. The thing about which I was keenly aware , though, is that I don’t know anything about the financial life of these people. One can just as easily call themselves ”anarchist” with no money in the bank or while working at a $70,000 a year position. To my mind, the kind of communal house that I’d like to start necessarily includes financial obligations to other members. Association is entirely voluntary but once you do “associate” the set of responsibilities goes further than just meeting regularly, shared agendas or ideologies: everyone gives, lets say, 15% of their income to the community.

That way, you can indeed earn $70,000 a year but you will be paying more money than someone who earns minimum wage. There might also be one or two members of the house you don’t pay any “rent” at all but give their time to organize community events and build relationships with neighboring organizations. I’m quite sure there’s many people who are occupying buildings with similar arrangements.

Lastly, the notion of anarchist “credit” is a concern which I’m currently exploring by participating in a month sharing circle. Again, if you were a part of this would be “house” do you have access to a particular line of credit so if it’s necessary in your every day life you don’t have to do business with Chase or Goldman Sachs? I say that and immediately confess that I currently carry an Apple card in my wallet - it feels hypocritical.

The critique of mutualism has spawned valuable thinking on my end. I have fairly wide access to social and economic resources (even though I’m in graduate school). I want to do better about establishing mutualist control (and sharing) of money and property.

Thank you all for sharing these wonderful and animated ideas.