Special of the week; Issue 33-70 "Communes in Canada"
Why are the national educational radio network presents special of the Week this week from Canada from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. First tell us that. People around me really care. Good feeling when. I walk into. The same we. Speak with you. The first time I really feel good about someplace where I live and it's so important because I knew I had them before me I never I never enjoyed living with my parents. I never enjoy living in a dorm when I was in college. I'm assuming they were enjoying my apartment let me experiences go and it was because.
Of. The history I'm going. And maybe on styling you for a living. But yeah because. It was. You know we recognized things that we work out in this house. I didn't really feel like the people in this house care about me and I care about them. I am OK. Thousands of people mostly young are leaving their families dormitories and apartments and are trying to live together in communes. Can they successfully share their ideas experiences and possessions. Broadcaster Pat Giles talked to members of one commune in Toronto to as a college just hand student of communes Benjamin Slesinger and to a young
man who thought about commune life but decided against it. The sex commune members you'll hear on the program three men and three women five have lived previously in cooperative arrangements both here in Canada and in the United States. To our students and four have nine to five jobs. One couple is married and all share a radical political ideology. I really hate the way you sort of frighten me joy I will play what else is really I mean your little meals on the drag and I dony apartment routine dragged by myself. Facing four bare walls. Actually one always a first for a close as a sort of Democratic family. It was sort of just an instinctual thing of people being slightly similar values and has to work out of. And then I think about this go up is that we planned for ahead of time. You know it just seemed kind of.
Sporadically movie and you know I mean all of us got together at a time or two although we didn't do fantastically good job about you know straightening anything out. But we all knew that we really like the people we were moving in with and that was really important. That's why I have a lot of faith and villainy of the people in this house to make this co-op. Work. OK OK OK. My wife was for going to war. Do you know where a thing was when I knew a lot of the people before I even made the decision to move into a car. And there were political people they were people with ideas that obviously didn't correspond to what was taught in classrooms. They were also active people they were doing things either on the campus or in the community. Many things
are learned in a co-op that cannot be cannot be written up in books and as much as you might read things about on their own no place in Vancouver or summer hell or what have you. The things that one experiences in living in a day to day situation with other people are valuable. Good morning when you get to be you. To me my. Piece there boy it doesn't matter what about you guys. Nobody really. Well the first thing I think when we're leaving you you not a new idea and I think sometimes in Canada when you need a bad kind of communal living in Canada we think this is a new type of family life or living or cooperative living this is
very old and a fact that we are way behind the times in the sense that we've had community living in name in North America Russia China. And I would say the classic of the kibbutz in Israel except that kind of diet has taken a different form. And I think it's still in its infancy. I've looked at it I've spoken to people and read as much as I could which is very good because in Canada at the moment there has been no research done. Back now the rule coopt of living is different than the urban which is now sprouting up in Toronto and other areas of Canada
where for example the house is rented. Let's say for two three hundred dollars we roughly have a group of six to eight form the core of this cooption these six to eight might comprise say two couples who are married and then for single people. And yet what I have seen is that the school remains but there is a lot of mobility of visitors part time communal livers and crashers who unfortunately used this commune as a pad which is the language I guess to to rest up for a while in between soldier and I think this damages the commune. The more transients you have the less of a commune you have. What I'm happy about you know crops that are formed by cars that are formed on a political basis. It's not just in terms of this house. You know you have your house and then your house is using you know an
experiment. It's not a commitment primarily to X number of people. You know it's not a contractual experience. You say I live with these people for five years etc. it's not an experience where where you say OK I'm tied to Toronto say for five years because I have to live in this house. But it's an experience to you know a type of political lifestyle that is not specific. When you're in the situation like this house you have commitments to people in this house. If we were to want to pay you know Vancouver or Montreal probably you know try to live in similar situations with similar commitments to people. Situation. It is just like any other place or way station where anyone depends on your strength as a human being.
Whether you are involved or not and the exploded and not exploded and whether the individuals after the car with lived there after awhile really don't continue to think out the objective. But see at the end as a place to live for enjoyment. That's their privilege. But sometimes only for enjoyment and I feel sometimes that what is at the core is a concern for human beings but it really is. One particular instance was life. Go on I don't have as much time actually to ourselves to do things as we did before which I don't think is a particularly bad thing. Last night we had planned to go to a show by herself to spend some time just by ourselves away from the house alone and dinner time it became quite obvious. Terri was extremely upset.
She has a lot of pressure for exams and also you know a lot of personal hassles and it also became quite obvious that that void really was wanting. You know I was very restless and needed to get out of the house and needed to do something. And it became necessary for us to realize that and alter our plans to include them you know and say well look you know with that going to show why don't you go with us. You know that was hard for us to do because we planned for a week to go to a show by ourselves. I think the most difficult for me is we're doing pretty well. So to look to the people that I would be living with. To change my ideas about. You know my idea of a sexuality. Own
property. And my fear of not being able to make a success of living with other people but I might in fact fail. While I might not be able to help it I might not be able to open myself. I might not be able to to to be able to live with other groups of people with other people in a group. But if I don't respond in a you know way which is pleasing to other people that I might find it very painful. But in fact my responses might might make the group reject me and there would be just too painful to troops. Well it is much more or much less proof through the truth. And that's what worries me much more than those that come even temporarily. We might seek human compassion
human understanding probably get underlying hostility I being being exploited and being involved in a meaningful way in this communal type of living. But you know that those kind of things are necessary and it's and those things are really tough. I had had they been people that I was living with and didn't care about. I wouldn't have bothered here. That's the that's the whole point it's really necessary that you really care for those people or else those kind of situations are half of you know real half of them. There's a lot more responsibility you have to you're sort of forced to a certain extent to start relating to other people and. And you know like that it's it's just a difficult thing to do after coming from a home and you know never having that much experience with relating to people and you know spending most of the time in at home where the only conversations that go
on with the other people in the House are really basic things. I get the impression that they consider it's a hippie type co-op with you know like drugs and stuff like that. I don't think I saw myself kind of latching on to a fad or or thinking that would be nice to see the dynamics of that kind of queer set of individuals where I feel we would find it difficult. I find that I require that a group to approach I don't feel it as much as moving into me as you know if you give up some various things I think that you give up is a greater degree. You know I found that I have as much privacy as I need. And that's been no problem and also as much you
know community type. You know being able to sit in the living room and read with something like that you know. Also need I have. I think the important thing is that the house is. Large enough and the rooms are large enough that we can know if we need to be in a room and be comfortable. People have been fairly good about leaving other people with their doors closed or something like that you know. Yeah I have my own room and I decided when we decided to move in. Each of us having a room of our own was a very important thing. What I found is that. Never having really had a room of my own to do exactly what I please with it when I was a kid. In college or anything that I don't know what to do with my room. The day that I fix it up and I have like I want it now I don't know what to do with it.
And being really busy anyway and working 9:00 to 5:00. I have very little time at home most of the time I have at home I want to spend you know talking and being with other people so that it's very difficult for me to to make myself you know go to my room and do things that I need and want to do. I think the thing that's hard to break through is the kinds of things that people consider especially important to them or things that they consider hygenic like that's very strange because once you start to examine the cause. Things that are very protectionist about sometimes a towel in front of his face are sometimes just too precious. That's saying things. If you want to carry to a logical extension we shouldn't be using the same so we shouldn't be using the same two toothpaste missionary using the same bathroom bathrooms. So you might be somebody's been using my crest.
Well it was a very nice idea. OK for the list to cope with then because you're Because when you're really sure. I hear my friends here. Yeah yeah. My regrets and my hair share everything you get your share boy. When we did we I mean my clothes except my jeans but you know that he was no good in my other clothes. People don't seem to have the same right. It's probably got a lot to do with our backgrounds too in there we've all come out of probably middle class situations in which nobody
has had really have you know had to do for things when we were all usually had clothes if we needed them to do it cetera et cetera. And that is not the same kind of identification with that property. You know if you've had to struggle a lot harder for possibly you in that you. Are Amazing Stories told related to the band. Certain problems that people are trying to face right now in their own and their own life that we want to break down that that false dichotomy of have you sorted out for yourself and don't you know don't bother other people please just you know sort it out in your own room and if eventually you commit suicide well that's your problem isn't that was your trip. If someone walks into a room or comes in from outside and is very blatant that they're very upset they're either you know they've either just run upstairs very quickly was you know coming in to see anybody or what have you that is important to know what's going on and to understand that that person might need you very badly at that moment even though they've seemed to be you know even though they seem by their actions to be trying to run away and to hide into you know the people by themselves.
Some of the Commune present themselves and think of themselves as two houses deep discussion and philosophy goes on. Well this may be the weight starts. I mean when you think I'm weird. Stay right. There you know. You know it isn't Zorro. No I know it's hard. Can you see I think it's just around the problem of children that most of them will fail if they haven't thought this as a young person single or a couple and had any children you know quite free in a communal living one's children come along you have to make up your mind how they're going to be we will look after them. You know sort of a kid. I think it's something that's possible in the context of co-ops are growing like the number of corpses you know.
And there are you know good experience with this. I also heard a lot of bad experiences with children here in co-ops. I think that you know that that decision falls out of the state where co-ops are at at the time. I would never be willing to have a child unless I was living in an you know communal situation where having a child would be discussed would be you know really struggled over. And where the people living with us would be willing to take responsibility for that child and if if the cops had not developed and matured into stable environments you know where a child can be dried apples and I'll never have children period I mean you might think about the birds and the bees and we poorly laid in that closet. My man did the same to me open in the light of day my God.
Just as the curtain calls are free for alls in the sense that there are implicitly no rules like the course starts so where does mixed company and there is no father figure in his own mother figure and people in there and oh let me go to rhetoric about being brothers and sisters in the sense of just like in the in their family they're not sometimes or sometimes like you have to impose incest him but it's like there's no incest taboo in a co-op and that brings all for all sorts of problems that you don't get a normal family. You've got all sorts of tensions that are not there and part of the crucial problem because I was working through that journey said I think I don't think that's been done you know I haven't seen really too much difference in terms of. Socialization between this and then a new nuclear family America is much freer. Say personally where your partner you know just for physical things like you know running around nude and things like that which is not really. You know to possible here and that sense is a lot like a family. OK first it doesn't
restrict you you know in the same way that you know there are restrictions in personal relationships that are somewhat similar. You know what that was in this house the lack the sex roles was a real black sired you know that question which fictional sex so I don't understand what it means. Please continue mismated facto So we are going to die or a lot on the way. Role play in terms of you know who takes out the garbage and who washes the dishes and who cooks and who even sows Oh this move against the only time really came out was in the beginning when we first moved in and I would not look at things certain things I wouldn't bother doing so they would be scrubbed on the floor still and I go to hell for not doing it well which I had to do a lot of other things and they didn't. But I so I do in the other horse and. As he did I made the curtains. We only need you to get it at one in the head tension mannish. That's part of the
problem too. He sort of blows it in meanings because what happened was that it was a joke so very obviously we know what's going on over the summer tension management I mean you don't know what's happening it's just being absorbed and redirected and deflected rationalized and mystified. You know quite often somebody like yourself. Because they also find yourself in the position of rocking the nation that other people have of the situation our relationship so I have you with us and with us is with the quietness of these voices situation being someone unknown and being able to make an absolutely So you know we was only going so much that it doesn't matter where you know exactly was going on only when he was when it was a rule. Right. I mean stem from a position of safety as well. Yeah. I know you think so I don't think you know I don't know I think it's because it is in a position of safety the clown is a clown. No you know my mother would assume at this point. She was tearing the pie of the pie plate and put it on a
smaller saucer and eat it with her for me to tell you so. I am enjoying a weight problem and I don't want to go. You know as a clown I see what you mean to a 5 year old actually but he was accused of the Sun-Times. Minute by minute I have a high you know at least a couple of times in the night everybody is down drinking milk or having cookies or something at the same time so conversation starts there. Well milk and toast or cereal or jello or ice cream or butterscotch pudding or leftover chalk or brownies. Times usually get together are around supper time when everybody's too busy eating to talk and then the best times are after horror shows. Yes the last couple of weeks I've been having difficulty getting. Over. The last couple of
weeks we've been having difficulty getting together because they've been rather rotten late shows are only different prostrations and different resentments that come up you know me just impressed me. I've been away for a few days. Mark when you try to bring it up in a very sort of humorous way that's about the only way this house so far as we've been able to deal with it we've tried having some quote serious house meetings and having worked at all. We were just not very defensive and I just sort of really disintegrated and then you know so one of the things with the suggestion was that therefore we want to do this to me altering in a more informal structure here than here so we seem to be running into a kind of impasse. Let me give you maybe ten states so there is a story that she told me I don't think there is that much connection. You watch the entrance co-op be encouraged to enter into it. It's your family.
Yeah there's this whole thing with maintaining on painting the image on the car my family maintaining the unity and not of containing any people therefore don't don't want to really question don't want to really challenge what's going on in order to keep that co-op or that family together. Yeah that's one of the real problems with you now because you have you know around long enough that you're willing to show that you are a family. On the one hand why is it that any Granted they don't do that in the family especially when you've grown up there. Isn't this an issue also about how much of our frustrations and stuff there's no real basic question here. And certainly Mark establish Was it maybe income now from your grandparents. Look just a shower somebody who's you see with us like you know it comes the big question you know Stanley is going on why don't you stand what's going on. Not all the time at the beginning but but was things where he was. I don't they don't I can't beat you in and of themselves they're in a response to particular you know conditions in the
society. And the reason that co-ops mature and mature is because of their work to people do outside of the co-op big. The co-op is not a way to escape from society but it's I mean. Very you know your life with people and to interface with the work that you're doing you know to change society. You know I mean I tried. To. Be. A be an. American every years I write. I can't promise that
I'm a traveling man. NPR's special of the week thanks the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the recording of this program. This is an E.R. of the national educational radio network.
- Special of the week
- Issue 33-70 "Communes in Canada"
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