Communal childraising

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joy
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May 13 2005 14:11
Communal childraising

something i always mean to start a discussion on but never have.

its really a practical issue. in the meantime, before the glorious revolution, unfortunately some of us have to live our lives as best as possible. thinking about this, it seems obvious that at least some libertarian communists are going to have a kid.

what is the best way to deal with bringing up a kid in a capitalist society?

is it likely that there could be enough activists concerned enough about childraising, offering a communal environment and education, to form a community dedicated to raising kids in common?

are there already groups living this way in britain, and if so where and how are they organised?

is it a waste of energy and time to try to create a future social form within contemporary capitalism?

some things to start on, at least.

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Steven.
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May 13 2005 14:27

Well there's always this lot, kinda an alternative boy scouts/girl guides

www.woodcraftfolk.org.uk

8)

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 13 2005 15:58

And there's http://www.education-otherwise.org/

Some of the housing co-ops in www.radicalroutes.org.uk are involved in raising children, communal to a greater or lesser extent.

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Jacques Roux
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May 13 2005 17:29

I have a cool pamphlet somewhere called Libertarian Parenting... or something... some of its a bit off, but some of it is pretty good.

I think theres a big lib. parenting email list in the US... quite a few websites on it as well.

I put this in thought, maybe it should be in organise. It would get drowned in shit in general roll eyes

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lucy_parsons
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May 15 2005 08:26

You should read "Island" by Aldous Huxley. It shows a Utopian society where fundamentalist religion and omnipotent leaders didn't exist and where the nuclear family is replaced by liberated sexuality and vast extended families (a kind of communal parenting).

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Steven.
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May 15 2005 10:56
rkn wrote:
I have a cool pamphlet somewhere called Libertarian Parenting... or something... some of its a bit off, but some of it is pretty good.

This one maybe:

www.zabalaza.net/pdfs/varpams/anarchist_parenting.pdf

Also see this newswire article:

http://www.libcom.org/newswire/stories.php?story=05/05/15/4261525

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Jacques Roux
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May 15 2005 22:08

Nah.... i think i got it from freedom, maybe 56A... its Definetly Libertarian Parenting with a strange subtitle like "a critique of childhood". Its kinda green-y and 80s looking...

I'll find it someday...

Morag
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May 15 2005 23:05

I've lived in communal situations where there have been kids about that I'm not related to. It can be really cool - adults tend to behave a lot better and be much more chilled out when there are kids around. The kids I've known in this kind of situation seem, in general, at least as happy and healthy as kids brought up in a "normal" family environment - often more so.

On the other hand, some parents are all for communal child *care*, but don't seem to understand the idea of communal child *rearing*. i.e. It's fine for the kid to arrive at your door at any hour of the day wanting attention, but if said child behaves badly, woe betide you if you tell them off or deny them attention because of it. I think if parents bring their children up in a communal environment they have to realise that it won't just be their ideas and values that the kids are going to be exposed to.

Anyway, I'm definitely into home-educating and (hopefully) living somewhere communal with my kids, if I ever have any that is...

P.S. Read "Island" anyway, apart from the monarchist aspect of the society it's pretty interesting.

BB
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May 17 2005 11:31
joy wrote:
what is the best way to deal with bringing up a kid in a capitalist society?

The best you can? It's a big question though! There seems to be a lot of lifestyle answers, coming back.

lucy82
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May 17 2005 18:04

just to chuck a spanner into the works here. is it automatically better to be kept out of mainstream education? doesn't it depend on having a very commited person to provide the education you will need as a kid to take part in the economy when your older? that might not seem what you ideally want for your kids but it is what most of us get and so being equipped to take your place in the ratrace depends on having somebody unpaid commited to teaching you the skills if your homeschooled. which also means the whole home schooling ethos is very middle class where parents have the financial resources which can translate into other resources such as time and commitment to be able to choose to do this.

or are we talking about really educating kids otherwise? towards a different structure of society that doesn't exist in the mainstream and is at present a fairly marginalised group. a friend of mine years ago wanted her kids to embrace a different lifestyle and ideology so she kept them out of school and travelled to all the festivals with them and let them run off in hippie camps for days without hardly seeing them and it all sounds very free and idealistic but the oldest lad really wanted to go to mainstream school cause he wanted to be like the majority of other kids his age. he couldn't read or write when he was ten cause his mum didn't teach him cause she didn't think it was important.

at what point do you compromise your ideals with the needs of your kid who has to grow up in a capitalist society whether you like it or not?

i do think though, having felt really isolated at times with my kids with all the responsiblity on me, that living with other people and sharing the childrearing could have been really positive as long as basic ground rules were sorted first cause i agree with Morag that if you are the person who co-looks after the child, it can be pretty frustrating that you are not allowed to parent it which is different.

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Steven.
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May 17 2005 18:06
lucy82 wrote:
just to chuck a spanner into the works here. is it automatically better to be kept out of mainstream education?

God know! A sure-fire way to fuck up a kid I reckon, only letting them hang out with hippies eek

lucy82
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May 17 2005 18:17

wasn't so much the hippies who were mostly good, caring people as the lack of any boundaries or structure for ben. so he'd fall asleep wherever he was and end up begging people for food on whatever site they were living on cause he was hungry. she thought that was positive interaction with adults basically. i thought it was neglect tbh and she saw it as an ideological crusade. like having other people around to take responsiblilty in a loose sense negated her own ultimate responsiblity of making sure he had what kids need. and they do need boundaries and structure and some form of structured education (home or formal) to deal with the society they are born into.

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Refused
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May 17 2005 18:19

Er, yeah, how can you go days without seeing your kids and not rip your hair out from worrying?! Especially when you know they hang around with hippie?!!?

lucy82
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May 17 2005 18:23
Quote:
the hippies who were mostly good, caring people

you all just going to slag off hippies now then? whose responsiblity was it to look after ben? and how could that responsiblity work in a shared parenting environment? i wasn't having a go at a lot of the people who did make sure he was comfortable and safe.

roll eyes

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Refused
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May 17 2005 18:32

It appears I was being unnecessarily (and unappreciatively) jovial... Apologies.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 17 2005 18:33
lucy82 wrote:
at what point do you compromise your ideals with the needs of your kid who has to grow up in a capitalist society whether you like it or not?

THe point is not to have idealistic schooling, or home schooling or capitalist schooling or whatever, the point is to have autonomous education which is controlled by the child. If they want to go to school, why not? Going to school knowing you can leave is very different from going and knowing you've got no alternative.

lucy82
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May 17 2005 19:03

no worries, refused. wink

just me rantin'

smile

BB
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May 18 2005 12:25
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
lucy82 wrote:
at what point do you compromise your ideals with the needs of your kid who has to grow up in a capitalist society whether you like it or not?

THe point is not to have idealistic schooling, or home schooling or capitalist schooling or whatever, the point is to have autonomous education which is controlled by the child. If they want to go to school, why not? Going to school knowing you can leave is very different from going and knowing you've got no alternative.

One for the future, methinks. (in aggreement)

Mine'll be going to a comp with their mates, as i'm sure they'll decide (if they're anything like their dad, but if they're not we'll have to try an sort something else out), what's so bad about modern schooling (bear with me), never did me no harm, it gave me a healthy hatred for authority, along with the old bill. I think schooling generally goes hand in glove with childcare/education in general.

So where did you'll go to school? You've still ended up here!?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 18 2005 17:54

Myself I didn't go to school -- and I think that's lost me years of experience in resisting/bulshitting authority sad increasing the resources avaialbe for children who don't want to go to school is a good idea -- so it doesn't remain an individual choice. We also have to recognise that most children do go to school and carry on resistance within -- or go truant. I've often thought that an anarchist truant's support groups would be a good idea, but don't know how to go beyond the dodgy inter-generation thing...

BB
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May 19 2005 14:08
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Myself I didn't go to school -- and I think that's lost me years of experience in resisting/bulshitting authority sad increasing the resources avaialbe for children who don't want to go to school is a good idea -- so it doesn't remain an individual choice. We also have to recognise that most children do go to school and carry on resistance within -- or go truant. I've often thought that an anarchist truant's support groups would be a good idea, but don't know how to go beyond the dodgy inter-generation thing...

Wasn't that what the zine Oz was about? (school resistance) All the king mob stuff? I couldn't tell you as i never read it.

I don't advise hanging around school gates, trying to talk to kids...

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 19 2005 14:48
Brighton Bomber wrote:
Wasn't that what the zine Oz was about? (school resistance) All the king mob stuff? I couldn't tell you as i never read it..

Anyone else have any ideas about this?

lucy82
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May 19 2005 17:00

if i found out a group of dodgy men were hanging around and encouraging my kids to truant so i didn't know where they were or if they were safe, i'd smack em. sorry but i would. this is the real world.

Mike Harman
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May 19 2005 19:05

Yeah, I don't think it'd go down very well somehow. A pro-truant organisation could be perceived as anti-education in general as well, I'd rather put effort into an after-school discussion club or something like that.

BB
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May 20 2005 10:28
lucy82 wrote:
if i found out a group of dodgy men were hanging around and encouraging my kids to truant so i didn't know where they were or if they were safe, i'd smack em. sorry but i would. this is the real world.

Calm down lucy, it was meant to be sarcastic. Maybe i should have added a wink , but that in itself has connatations.

I agree with laz, on the pro-truant/resistance front, (i usually take stuff as a given, apologies) so i should explain more in future. Pro-truanting shouldn't mean against education (an when i say education, i don't mean the schools).

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 20 2005 10:35
Catch wrote:
I'd rather put effort into an after-school discussion club or something like that.

ooh, like the christians and socialists, you devil, you. What about sunday schools as well? Mr. T

redyred
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May 20 2005 11:35
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Myself I didn't go to school -- and I think that's lost me years of experience in resisting/bulshitting authority sad increasing the resources avaialbe for children who don't want to go to school is a good idea -- so it doesn't remain an individual choice. We also have to recognise that most children do go to school and carry on resistance within -- or go truant. I've often thought that an anarchist truant's support groups would be a good idea, but don't know how to go beyond the dodgy inter-generation thing...

For ages I hadn't bothered to look at this thread cos I assumed it would be just a bunch of hippies whining about how "school is bad, teachers are like cops man". How right I was.

Yes Lazlo, school is the place to learn about resisting authority. Truants are just like little proto-revolutionaries. roll eyes

The fact is, kids are better off in school. Sure, it fucks people up to a degree, and it prepares children for life as part of a capitalist economic system, but it's far more damaging to allow kids to grow up without being properly socialised and let the full shitness of adult life as a proletarian hit them like a ton of bricks.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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May 20 2005 12:38
redyred wrote:
The fact is, kids are better off in school. Sure, it fucks people up to a degree, and it prepares children for life as part of a capitalist economic system, but it's far more damaging to allow kids to grow up without being properly socialised and let the full shitness of adult life as a proletarian hit them like a ton of bricks.

Does that mean you support *forcing* children to go to school? As an anarchist, I believe that the people involved (children) are best placed to evaluate what's best for them. Currently home educating and truanting are the two main ways around this system, and deserve support until something better comes along.

redyred
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May 20 2005 18:14
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Does that mean you support *forcing* children to go to school?

Um, no. I said kids are better off in school. In the context of responding to your post, this means I don't advocate truancy.

Quote:
As an anarchist, I believe that the people involved (children) are best placed to evaluate what's best for them. Currently home educating and truanting are the two main ways around this system, and deserve support until something better comes along.

Yes, but that's only a good thing if you fail to realise that such lifestylism is balls.

Mike Harman
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May 20 2005 18:23
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Catch wrote:
I'd rather put effort into an after-school discussion club or something like that.

ooh, like the christians and socialists, you devil, you. What about sunday schools as well? Mr. T

Why not? Sadly we're not in a position to compete even with the evangelical nutters on that front, let alone the RCs or CofE. And I am a socialist... confused

Hackney Independent Kid's Cinema is a real, positive example of providing something for kids outside school hours (with no brainwashing involved either, unless you include Garfield the Movie as brainwashing).

pushka
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Jun 21 2005 18:05

Sorry to come into this debate at such a late stage...I've just had a quick look at all the posts.

I appreciate the problems that Morag highlighted regarding communal childcare, and find myself agreeing with her...also I think there would be a possibility of much conflict over the home education/school education vs truancy=no education issue too.

I have some very close friends...we all have children, and at some time or other, for various reasons, we have grouped together and shared accommodation and childcare. We all have very different ideas regarding childcare and schooling...1 of us has not discouraged her teens from truanting, she might have tried to persuade them to reattend school when she was threatened with imprisonment, but she has not actively sought to have them educated at home as an alternative, therefore out of her first 4 children (she has 2 more now) only 1 left school with any GCSE's. Also, her children appear to be 'in charge' in her household...this is something which I disagree with strongly, and so does the 3rd friend. However, the 3rd friend is quite rigid in the way she raises her children, she is quite conformist in the rules she sets for them...only allowing cereal at breakfast times, rigid bed times etc. I'm a little in between the two of these people...I'm not entirely disciplined with my kids...we don't have set bed times, meal times and meals, we just eat what we want when we're hungry...except for odd times when we make an effort to eat together as a family. I encourage my kids to stay at school unless there is a big problem, bullying for instance, in which case I approach the school to sort the problem asap, trying to avoid keeping my child away from school because of the issue. I believe that we should be encouraging more home schooling for truants, or at least looking more deeply at the reason why kids play truant...is it the boring way in which lessons are taught? Is it bullying? and is that bullying coming just from other pupils or from teachers?

I'm sorry I've rambled on a little, but I would just like to conclude that it would be ideal to have a situation where you know there is always someone close to take over the responsibility of caring for your child, if you are ill or away for some reason...and that is what me and my 2 friends offer for each other...however, I'm not so sure that we could easily all live under the same roof.

lucy82
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Jun 22 2005 20:25

pushka, i've decided you were genetically developed in some secreat underground laboratory and raised in the company of badgers for the sole reason of bumping up old threads tongue wink smile

anyway, i've had my rant earlier on this so i won't go on.