Transformative Community Projects in Eastern Germany
In the next few years, politics and society would do well to throw open two hitherto closed gateways: on the one hand, by introducing an unconditional basic income for all intended to furnish the wherewithal and motivation for active, entrepreneurial and socially responsible behavior; and, on the other, transform compulsory school attendance into mandatory but self-directed education. The combination would allow people to team up to buy vacant farms in the countryside or to launch urban projects for developing into centers of learning, working and living differently: across generations, sustainably, holistically, ecologically, inclusively, and innovatively.
Institutionalized childhoods would become a thing of the past. Parents could step off the treadmill of the 9 to 5 job, work part-time or freelance, leaving them time to look alternately after their children and themselves within a framework of transformative community projects, including in an educational sense. The years of adolescence could be self-determined as years of apprenticeship and wandering, to be spent in diverse projects. The still existing schools would then be relieved of adolescents who have difficulty coping with the competency-based curricular learning offered in them or who do not want to be there for other reasons. Children and young people would grow up healthier, both emotionally and socially. Vocational schools and universities could hold entrance exams for which young people prepare themselves independently. In the next few years, tens of thousands of such projects could sprout in Germany, with a variety of perspectives, certainly also under state supervision, so that democratic conditions are givens in the projects. The current society of control (Deleuze, 1992) would thus become a civil society of entrepreneurs.
The present volume documents the first small steps toward realizing such a dream on a farmstead in Anhalt, eastern Germany. It does so with more than 400 photographs and brief descriptions. At first, the focus is on mundane, practical tasks – on cleaning up, renovating, planning – to be followed soon by making the first educational, social and cultural connections, but always with an appreciative eye for the high value of hands-on craftsmanship – and on Tomasz, the shepherd boy from the Beskid Mountains.
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