Each July 4th my parent thew a big party with hundreds of friends and family. All red, white and blued out. There was grilling, a potluck, dozens of games and contests. We always returned to my childhood home for more festivities and of course, fireworks to finish out the night. I have for years celebrated personal independence and not the formation of yet another government. Invariably, I go to the really fun parties (nothing too ‘Murica’) to see friends and family. All my life I’ve celebrated on July 4th and, in that one sense, this year was no different. We celebrated. However, for the first time the celebrations had nothing to do with Independence Day, America, or Patriotism.
This year was different. This year we were invited to a different type of celebration; the monthly ‘New Movers Party’. It’s held each month by the Fraternal Order of Porcupines at their newly renovated Lodge #1. Just happened to fall on the 4th. Not surprisingly, nobody seemed to care about ‘Independence Day’ going on outside. Instead, dozens of people had gathered to celebrate the 15 or so people who had recently moved to the Shire to find Liberty in Our Lifetime. I told my son, ‘they are here to celebrate us.’ We moved to the Shire just a few weeks ago. We had a good time. Thanks from my family to the Order and all who were present.
During the party I was able to continue some conversations regarding community building; a reoccurring theme of research and conversation over the last couple years. I’m meeting people all the time who are on similar paths. For a while I was interested in the idea of a church type model, then looked into owners associations and other land developments. Over the summer I read Mutual aid: a factor of evolution by Peter Kropotkin in which he describes how mutual aid, communities helping each other, is a bigger factor in evolution than mutual destruction (survival of the fittest). I agree with his argument that the state has intentionally destroyed social institutions in humanity; replacing more robust communities with nothing but reverence for the power. More recently, through conversations with friends, I’ve been turned on to Lodge systems as used by the Freemason, Oddfellows, or apparently, the Fraternal Order of Porcupines. During these conversations I realized how meaningful this all was; this lodge community was having its own celebration coincidentally on the 4th and nobody cared about Independence Day. Through creating community the state had been replaced; on its most holiest of holidays none-the-less.
My research keeps pointing in the direction of the Lodge as a partial model for the community structures that will replace the state. These structures need to facilitate important connections between people in an age when defense, food, and shelter are no longer our strongest bonds. I’m interested in a framework for any community to rally around a set of voluntary laws and ideals. Duplicatable. A Lodge could offer many services for its community while not trying to dictate housing as others intentional communities sometimes try to do. I’m not familiar with all the benefits of the Fraternal Order of Porcupines, yet. One powerful benefit, as I witnessed on July 4th, is community events that completely displace even the most sacred and ubiquitous of nationalist holidays.