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

Members of a Berlin commune describe their common living arrangements, their attitudes about money and feelings about sex, and the sense of responsibility with regard to children that motivates their attempt to create an anti-authoritarian revolution in lifestyles.

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Communards on Themselves

The following statements were tape-recorded for konkret by members of the Berlin “Commune 99”

We are basically five people – and the two children. The older is seven years old; he has started school. And Nicolai goes to daycare. Ute is a writer. Heike studied medicine for four semesters and has now switched to sociology. Her father is the director of the district court here in Berlin, by the way. He stopped sending her money; his reason was that he didn’t want to pay for the matches that would later be used to set his house on fire. And then there’s Friedhelm, a portrait painter. And I’m a laborer and at the moment I am trying to bring in some money doing gardening. Achim is a technical illustrator. He’ll be moving in with us when we get the big apartment. And Gaby has a room of her own but she stays with us on and off and would like to live with us full-time in the future.

All the money we get is put together and used to pay bills, buy food, etc. It’s in the desk drawer and if we go out for a beer in the evening we also take some of it out. Our everyday lives are not organized according to a set plan, but through individual initiative. For instance, we don’t have any special rules for washing the dishes or cooking. Someone just has to do it. And it always works out fine.

We used to live with our parents or we sublet an apartment. That always led to a kind of isolation. Now we do our political actions together, so it doesn’t matter all that much if someone gets locked up sometime.

My parents offered – because we want to get married – to get Achim and me a two-room apartment, in a new building, and to give us some money for the first few months to help us get started. They probably also want to get me out of the “filth” here.

With me it’s the same thing with my mother. Whenever I’m home she says, you can sleep here if you want, your room is just the way you left it.

The thing that bothers me the most about the SDS [Socialist German Student Association] is that for a while now they have been propagating the idea of communes and have been saying that we have to divide society up into collectives and communes. And what happens? Nothing! There are only very few communes and they somehow muddle their way along. Instead, the entire SDS should be organized in communes.

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