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Self-Characterization of Members of a Berlin Commune (October 7, 1968)

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A commune should not be something where the people are forced to stay together for ever and ever. There should be so many communes that you could change whenever you wanted. For example, Antje from the K-1 commune, she started out in K-1 and then moved to K-2, and now she’s in the Pots commune.* So you look for people who you can live with best.

In the factory where K-1 is now living, they have just one big room, which they all live in together. That sounds terrible to me. How can you get any time to yourself? I think it’s very important for everyone to have some privacy. It can’t be set up so that everything individual gets lost. On the contrary, individual peculiarities should be encouraged.

Of course it would be really nice if a commune were a work collective at the same time. But that isn’t always possible. We have always done our actions together. But just recently there have been divergent opinions with respect to the issue of [the Soviet intervention in] Czechoslovakia.

Such differences of opinion of course lead to financial problems. Everything suddenly comes to a head. And then everyone seeks the reason for it in some trivialities. The K-1’s conception is pretty much the opposite of ours. The sexual relationships within the commune alone lead them to have a common position. With us the different types tend more to express their individual characters.

It is impossible to raise kids the way we would like. The living space itself precludes that. We simply cannot let them romp and make noise as we’d like to, because they disturb us. It gets too loud in such a small apartment.

We all take care of the children. Someone has to get them ready in the morning; Heike usually does that. We definitely don’t want the kids to develop a bond with the parents that is forced. The children should seek out on their own the people they relate to best. If children grow up within a set circle of people then they don’t get the feeling of being passed around.

I am in favor of totally abolishing the family and marriage, but that doesn’t mean I would preach promiscuity. I find it strange that so many people on the Left get married just to live together and have children. The danger of integrating yourself into this society is huge. Even if our commune were to break up someday, everyone has the ability to start a new commune or to move into another one.

* Named for its location on Potsdamer Strasse – trans.

Source: “Kommunarden über sich selbst” [“Communards on Themselves”], konkret, October 7, 1968.

Translation: Allison Brown

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