The Power of Community

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

communityCohesive communities are a threat – or at least are as such perceived – to the powers-that-be (but really should not be) and it is for that very reason that such areas, such communities, are always targeted for break up and its residents for dispersal.

A community whose people work together, help each other, looks out for each other, defend each other and also “play” and party together, reduces the influence and “power” of government whether “local” or central and this just cannot be allowed to happen and be.

It may be for this very perceived reason that (former) working class areas in European cities, especially, are being “gentrified” and socially cleansed and it “original” residents dispersed – as if by an order from “above” – to as far away from each other as possible. We are seeing this in London's East End and Docklands (part of the original East End), all working class areas, and in Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg, Wedding, and other areas that were the “red” districts.

A proper community is a powerful thing and rightly feared by any oppressor, whether it be just a city block, and entire neighborhood or a borough, town or village, as such a community, where everyone helps one another, where resources are shared, where everyone is taken care of in time of need are, or can be, autonomous and are not dependent on the say of some outside “power”.

That, however, is what the powers-that-be hate to see, namely a people who can think for themselves and are, as individuals or especially as a group, able and prepared to do things for themselves. Can't possibly permit that to happen. What would happen to the power over people that they so desperately want? That is why while they are talking about empowering the people (on a local level) every spanner possible is thrown into the works when people actually take them up on that. The fear that the people would actually do things and realize that they do not need a government to do things for them is frightening to them. And that is the very reason why we need to rediscover community and the power of community.

Today, though, community hardly exists in our co-called communities. Neighbors hardly acknowledge one another let alone know each other. Once cohesive communities have been broken up, purposely, as we have already discussed, to disperse everyone all over the place, so as to put a spanner in the works of people organizing and doing thing for themselves.

Despite the fact that where we live today may no longer be the community of old should not stop us to rebuild the community and organize to do things for ourselves.

A few small steps will be required at first though and the first of those is actually to get to acknowledge the existence your neighbors and to get to know them. Without that we cannot even consider building a community. Unfortunately in most areas today people hardly acknowledge the existence of the other let alone actually talk to one another.

More often than not this is due to the fact that, aside from being, maybe, from different social backgrounds, people no longer work in the same companies, be that factories or whatever, nor use the same shops or whatever. And we have begun, due to pressures or work and also for reasons that often are beyond me, become very insular in our lives and seem to shy away from making social contacts (aside from on Facebook and elsewhere in the virtual realm) aside from, maybe, among work colleagues. Most of those latter “contacts”, however, rarely live in the same street or even the same local area. But our neighbors should really be our contacts, our friends even, for it is them who are close enough should we ever need help; rarely those that are our contacts anywhere else.

If we really want to have community again in the paces where we live then we must come out of the virtual world into the real one and get to know the people that live around us, in the same building, the same street, on the same block, in the neighborhood, in the village. While there is nothing wrong, to some degree, with social media and while it can be used as a change for good and as a great means of communicating with like-minded people and groups our first port of call, so to speak, must be the establishment of real community in the places where we live.

A true community is a powerful thing and especially one where everyone looks out for everyone else in whatever way possible. Such communities did exist once but they have been destroyed in more than one way, but to an extent on purpose as they were considered a threat by those in power to the people control systems that they intended to create.

In order, however, to establish the new society that we must create if we want to make the world better for us and our children and theirs, those cohesive communities must be recreated again and brought to life and helped to thrive.

If we want to be truly free people then we must create communities where we, the people, can govern our own lives and thrive in the new world that we must build for ourselves. A society and world that is different to the one today where only money seems to count and nothing else.

© 2015