The Solutions Institute was created with the intent to educate and assist activists in their engagements and operations. SI has gathered many bright and talented journalists, graphic designers, webmasters, writers and public relations specialists. These rarefied skills are essential elements of any effective grassroots campaign to educate the public, and affect legislative change both locally and nationally. Since 2013, however, I have received many messages and participated in numerous conversations concerning alternatives to public and political engagement.
A large contingent of activists have become interested in the ideas of sustainable, communal and voluntarist living. Recent changes in my personal life have led me to the Live Free Or Die state of New Hampshire, where I am now a resident of the Solstice Haven Home. Solstice is a voluntary residence for activists, and will, for the next few weeks or months, act as an experimental model for others across the country to engage in off grid living, communal living, and activism at the most local level.
Haven Homes, and communities like it, offer an exciting opportunity to not only do something about the ills and injustices that we see daily, but also allow for us to examine and study some of the best practices for establishing such communities. Solstice Haven Home provides an alternative to standard political engagement. It doesn’t just speak, it acts through the creation of more desirable cultures and environments. Since March, when a lease was signed, Solstice Haven Home has grown from a family home to one housing up to 15 residents at any given time. In March, the renters of the Home had no intention to establish a Haven. Reaching this point organically, the Home is a test bed for how to create the society many of us struggle to achieve. Issues of communal property, distribution of assets, use of consumables, composting, gardening, maintenance, cleaning and justice in human and animal interaction arise daily. The residents of Solstice Haven Home must all work together to address these issues, and collectively create society in microcosm.
No one said it would be all rainbows and unicorns. Managing the mess and moderating the inevitable interpersonal conflict teach us how to survive and thrive both on our own, and within a community. Over the course of the next few months, as I myself learn how to adapt and cope with these surroundings, and heal from the injuries that brought me here, I will be sharing the skills, and wisdom, and “best practices” of the Solstice Haven Home in order for others to recognize some possible challenges of going off grid, going pirate, and coming home.
Nevertheless, my goal for this series will be to share these stories, methods and experiences as a learning opportunity for all. Not every Haven Home or sustainable community will be formed alike. The dynamic between the occupants, environment, location and other variables will require unique case by case consideration. However, some of the experiences here will be instructional for establishing a Voluntarist society in microcosm, so that we are better prepared to create one on a macro level.
Alex Freeman is a public relations and politics specialist currently embarking upon a journey into the alternatives to mainstream political and economic society. As more activists are in search of ways and methods to express their individual freedom and sovereignty, Freeman hopes the experiences shared through these stories offer wisdom and insight for others to create safe homes across the country and be the change.
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