Freedom through Communalism

My freedom is your freedom

The more we give to others the more we receive. In seeking theories for arranging our broader social engagements and community structures we often run into a supposed dichotomy between individual liberty and communal support/welfare. However this comes from a misunderstanding, or maybe rather a miss interpretation of what Liberty constitutes and how we get it.

In America we often frame autonomy both as the freedom to do something and the freedom from something. You can pretty much use either phrasing for any kind of idea if you word it correctly. So what is autonomy anyway? Autonomy is having evermore or complete control over the things which affect you. Autonomy is making independent decisions informed by your own intellect, perspective, and experiences.

In effect autonomy can mean the ability to tattoo oneself, receive piercings, take hormones that radically change the nature of your body, receive an abortion, or move across distances without great material threat, to join and leave groups without fear of material harm. In practice, autonomy can mean a great many things. What then is the best route to the greatest amount of autonomy within an Anarchist Buddhist society?

The answer is wrapped up in one idea: my freedom is your freedom. That through communalism and seeking to create a society based around the idea “from each according to their ability; to each according to their need” we can have ever more autonomy by having dual freedoms of freedom from and freedom to. Meaning the freedom from hunger, the freedom to eat without fear of deprivation or threat. Essentially by centering an ethic of providing material support to all on a principle of mutual aid we free ourselves and those around us. By seeking a society that provides the basic requisites of food, shelter, medicine and clothing we become free from hunger, free from the worst of illness, free from the worst of environmental stress.

The freedoms gained by provisioning for the requisites outpaces any supposed freedom gained in the lack of structure/culture which creates and distribués material needs. In the definite these systems organized horizontally would not preclude anyone from gathering their own food, building their own home, synthesizing their own medicine or spinning their own clothes. Yet by cultivating a community/culture which provides for basic material needs we enable ourselves to more freely engage with the rest of the available natural and human pursuits. When we are not afraid for food, medicine, shelter, or clothing we are less troubled on the whole and more genuinely able to engage with higher pursuits of varieties of pleasure, spiritual and communal development or whatever else we might desire. This freedom to pursue things other than the immediate needs of survival is ultimately a greater freedom than any freedom that allows more various engagements with the means of survival. To pursue happiness is of greater value than to pursue survival, yet peoples deprived of the requisites have no choice but to pursue survival.

Under capitalism survival means a job, 40, 80, 100 hours a week to eat, sleep and shit. Or otherwise suffering under poverty with what meager social programs are afforded to the poor. We could it have so much better, if we work together.