Kommuja - the Network:
Kommuja is the name of the german network of political, egalitarian communities. At present, (June 2012), there are 29 german projects in the network. This means membership of the movement is an estimated 600 people. The groups have a wide variety of structures and sizes, ranging from small rural communes to larger urban and sub-urban groups.
Kommuja - Core Principles:
In 2004 and 2005, there were a number of meetings held by the Kommuja network to try to write a vision statement with a set of core principles. A provional first draft was made and later a new version was formulated for the 2009 edition of the Eurotopia community directory.
“As we see ourselves - 2010” The political self-conception of the Kommuja communes.
We are attempting to draw near to our (political) Utopias through our life in communes, yet do not see community as an end in itself. The groups are inspired by solidarity, and by libertarian, emancipatory, and ecological ideas and thoughts. The communes in the network share the following basic ideas:
We want cooperation with one another on an equal footing; we reject hierarchical power structures.
Therefore, structural equality exists within our communes; discriminatory structures are to be uncovered and changed. We strive towards straightforwardness, transparency and traceability in all communal procedures. We make our decisions in consensus in order to find solutions that everyone can support. It is important for us that the people in the commune can develop themselves further and that there is a basic willingness towards debate, communication and participation in what is happening in the group. The basic idea of our life together involves direct communication; we don’t want to solve conflicts and differences through structures. We want an attentive interaction with one another. We seek to give children space where they can develop and unfold at their own speed in accordance with their inclinations and aptitudes, and where they can independently choose relationships with further people. People with various sexual orientations live in the communes in differing forms of relationships which set themselves in contrast to the social standardization of nuclear families, single-households and heterosexual couples.
We want to free ourselves from the dominant ideas of compensation for performance and of vested rights.
Therefore, our economies are based on solidarity; e.g. with a common purse for all where we can take out sums of money based on our personal needs. In the process, we can scrutinize and question our habits of consumption and create time and space for meeting each other as people. As private possession of capital, real estate and the means of production leads to inequalities of power and to dependence, we base our communes on common ownership of property. We don’t want to define people based on their performance. Therefore, we seek to disengage ourselves from employment by others (heteronomous work). In many communes, work is collectively organised and self-managed. The communes in the network mutually support one another through the personal exchange of knowledge, goods and work.
The political communes want to change the social relationships.
Up to a certain point, we do this through our alternative way of living. Our long term objectives are egalitarian (free and equitable) structures which make an emancipatory, ecological life in solidarity possible. Thereby, we set an example against the increasing atomisation and separation in a society which is heavily based on consumerism, acquisition and the exploitation of nature, and for human cooperation and sharing. The individuals in the communes are also active in various political fields, such as anti-fascism, anti-nuclear campaigning, internationalism (BUKO), free media, international solidarity, and engagement for plant bio-diversity and against genetic modification.
(2010 translation of the provisional version from 2009)
Kommuja - the periodical:
The network has a regular internal periodical, "Kommuja", which rotates from community to community. It is a medium for co-ordination and information exchange. It is published about every six weeks to two months. Usually it contains news and articles from the publishing community, plus material which has been submitted by members in other network communities. Format and style vary widely from issue to issue.
The Commune Fund:
The network has a commune fund, which all member communities contribute to. The fund is to help new projects or existing projects which need extra cash for new developments. Each member community contributes a sum of money based on the number of members that it has.
The Commune Meeting:
There is an annual meeting of the network, which all individual members can attend. The meeting is in a different community every year, usually the larger ones that have the facilities to host such an event, and is a possibility for communards to meet, exchange information and improve their contacts with one another.
Every year or so there is an "info-tour", where about six to eight members of some of the Kommuja communities travel round together for about ten days, visiting various towns and cities in a region and holding meetings about communal life. They present the "commune idea" and describe life and work in their own communities as well. See Kommune-Infotour 2012 for details of the 2012 Tour (German language page).
The Kommuja network has its own german language website, started in late 2007. www.kommuja.de