Limits to CoHousing
From: biow (biowcs.UMD.EDU)
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 94 16:06 CDT
> As far as the Grass valley group breakup, one of the first things a 
                                   [argument over gun policy]
> group should do is to figure out a conflict resolution strategy.  It is 
> sad and totally unecessary that a simple conflict should escalate to 
> the point where it derails a community.  Conflicts are a healthy and 
> normal part of group process.  The trick is to deal with them before 
> they get to the fight or flight stage.

I think there's another point to be made, which is that this particular
problem should never have fallen within the scope of cohousing at all,
any more than a hundred other possibly contentious issues that are 
otherwise covered by international, national, state, and local laws.
What follows will be recognized by some as a much-trimmed 
version of a rant that I posted to alt.housing.alternative before that
group completely died.

[begin rant]
 
My primary concern about US Co-Housing is its association with 
the political Left. The book refers to the importance of having 
one or more shared ideals in a Co-Housing community. The ideals I 
would like to see are shared cooking, child rearing, and a 
strong, friendly community. The Co-Housing book, despite its 
Berkeley publication address, studiously avoided any political 
cant.

>From what I've read in this group, it seems that US approaches to 
Co-Housing often involve a large dose of the politics of the 
Left. While my wife and I are certainly left of the American 
political Center (neither of us ever considered voting for 
Reagan), I have neither desire to join nor confidence in any 
community that is dominated by political exotics. And if I had to 
choose exotics for neighbors, it would be the Libertarian Right, 
rather than the Crunchy Left. 

(What did he say? Did he say he only wants neighbors of certian
 political views? No, he said he doubts the chances of success 
 for a co-housing group dominated by certain types of political exotics.)
 
The sort of naivete against which I argue is 
just the thing that I could see destroying the good ideas of co-
housing. To begin with, co-housing is an experiment in 
alternative living. Experiments are risky, though it seems good 
successes have been had with co-housing. But to tie the success 
of a co-housing community to needless additional experiments is 
foolish, whether those experiments be in gun control or 
alternative footwear.

Gun control in particular strikes me as being the wrong thing
to bring into the scope of coho at all. It is an issue that divides
our public along both Left/Right and Statist/Libertarian
lines. It has become so emotional that 99% of what one finds 
published on the issue is demonstrably false (read Gary Flake's
book Point_Blank if you think you understand the issue). If we tie
our success to the solution of this issue, we absolutely guarantee
at least the fragmentation, if not the destruction of our movement.

I don't want to have to choose among gun/no-gun, smoking/no-smoking,
Green/non-Green, nuclear-free/pro-nuke, recycling/bicycling,
Left/Middle/Right/Green/Red/Brown/Black/Statist/Libertarian groups. 
I want to live in a cohousing group!

[end of rant]

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