Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Alternative Living – Communes…

January 6, 2016

As I embark on the revision and editing of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch the unusual living arrangements in the story will be the basis for my weekly Wednesday post. In Slake Patch, the men and women live in separate compounds.


Today’s living choice is one many people know about – The Commune. Many of us think about hippy communes of free love, flower power, and unstructured living. However, the name came from the 12th-century medieval Latin word ‘communia’ which meant a large gathering of people sharing a common life.

A commune is in fact, people living together sharing property, possessions, resources, and interests. The more advanced communes have the residents sharing work, income and assets. This gives rise to a non-hierarchical community with core principals agreed upon through consensus decision-making. The free-love refuges were actually well0rdered, financially solvent cooperatives run pragmatically rather than drug induced.

The commune principal has been utilized around the globe, some run by like minded individuals wanting to live within a community and others, such as in China as large co-operatives of farmers working towards making quotas for the government.

Whatever the structure the central point is that together these people work for the common good and benefit.



  1. The idea of cooperatives and communal living “for the greater good” is an awesome and workable concept if the participants are truly in it for the good of all. However, having worked with the cooperative principles, the concept rarely works 100% of the time. I guess that’s true for all formats, however, the human traits of greed, survival, and looking out for one’s own interests are hard to leave on the welcome mat. I see this working if:
    -everyone came into the arrangement with nothing
    -everyone worked a position or job within the arrangement based on their abilities and skills
    -everyone held the same status
    -everyone reaped exactly the same rewards.
    I already see flaws in that no one thinks alike. What if someone cannot put in as much work or is unable to contribute? Change is inevitable and forward thinkers cannot be quelled. Could there really be a place where everyone was equal?
    This is certainly a topic for thought and discussion.


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