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Municipalities are communities in which people who are neither related nor sexual partners live together. Some were founded in succession to the 1968 movement . Many of the community projects that still exist today have emerged from the context of the new social movements .

Waltershausen Commune

Communes are a special form of community that live in a place that is in many cases communal property. Ecological criteria of lifestyle play a major role and value is placed on understanding and respectful interaction with one another.

The difference to pure flat- sharing communities is primarily due to the common economy (common economy) and the consensus principle , which can result in longer time perspectives for those involved.


Common economy

Common economy means that economic activity in the municipality is determined collectively. On the production side, this means understanding about working hours, the mode of production or the range of services, about consumption and needs. It is about the partial abandonment of private property in favor of common property ( partial or complete common economy or the distinction between everyday and wealth economy), which is why the term “common fund” often used in this context falls short: the common fund is only an organizational aid to implement this principle - all income (sales profits, fees, gifts, inheritance) go to the cash register, all expenses (purchases, new acquisitions) are made from it. Most of the time, the individual members have the option of making purchases "for themselves". In some municipalities there is the pocket money regulation for this, in which every municipality is given the same amount every month; Often, however, the principle of need prevails , that is, everyone decides for their own purchases and takes the required amount from the till. However, major expenses and purchases that affect the group must be decided by everyone.

Land, buildings and means of production are in many cases understood as common property, which can be used equally by the people living there at a time and must be maintained. One problem, however, is the legal provisions applicable in the respective countries.

Consensus principle

All important decisions are made according to the principle of consensus, i. H. In the plenary , all pending decisions (acquisitions, new additions, structural changes) are first discussed and - if nobody rejects ( i.e. veto ) - everyone agrees. That doesn't mean everyone has to agree; in this way, decisions can also be made on a provisional basis and discussed again later. The advantage of the consensus principle is that the voice of each individual has great weight and must be heard, which has a positive effect on the discussion culture. The disadvantage can be seen in the very time-consuming discussion processes.

In contrast to the majority decision, which usually means the implementation of a certain solution strategy by a community of interests, in the process of reaching a consensus, attempts are made to find a suitable solution for all interests. First of all, this requires a common understanding of the issue to be solved (discussion of the problem) and then the independent formulation of the various interests in a way that allows them to be combined. If emotional factors (such as fear) appear, it makes sense to clarify them according to the principle “disturbances have priority” so that the process is not inhibited or undermined. In order to promote mutual understanding, some municipalities hold special social plenums, which serve to communicate sensitivities, clarify interpersonal issues and resolve conflicts.

No hierarchy

The principle of consensus is understood as a means of breaking down hierarchy due to the equal participation of all . In a municipality, great importance is attached to creating structures that enable all-round information (plenums, pin boards, message books, mailboxes, well thought-out filing systems, regular meal times, shared tea breaks, work reports, etc.). This tries to counteract a hierarchical flow of communication from top to bottom (i.e. from boss to employee), the information content of which is decreasing more and more. The dismantling of small families and gender-specific power structures can also be counted under this principle. Knowledge hierarchies can be broken down by passing on knowledge and skills and / or by asking for them to be conveyed. However, this contradicts the fact that, for example, a rental contract can usually only be concluded with one person, so that this person already has a purely formal hierarchical function.

Ecological and sustainable living

Just because of the common housekeeping, life in municipalities can generally be more resource-efficient and therefore more sustainable than in small families . Many municipalities emerged from the endeavor to achieve a more environmentally friendly life in the countryside, whereas in urban municipalities the topic of ecology usually plays a less important role.

Nonviolent Communication

The non-violent communication (GRP), so deal with a concept that is designed to enable people to each other that the flow of communication is improved between them. NVC can be helpful in communicating in everyday life as well as in peaceful resolution of conflicts in personal, professional or political areas. It does not see itself as a technique that should move other people to take a certain action, but as a basic attitude in which an appreciative relationship is in the foreground.

Economics in the municipalities

In the rural communities, attempts are usually made to produce the required food on the farm itself , i.e. to operate subsistence farming (self-sufficiency). At the latest when they acquire other goods such as means of production , they, like the municipalities, are also dependent on money. This is taken in very different ways: Many municipalities claim to earn their money by producing and offering socially and ecologically compatible products and services.

You will therefore often find handicraft businesses (carpentry, construction company, stonemason workshop, bakery, fabric printing shop, etc.), and very often there is also a room or building in which members hold seminars or which are made available for conferences. In other communities (often spiritual or therapeutic), the principles outlined above are not given as much emphasis. Here one also encounters forms of earning money that are rather unusual for municipalities, such as the operation of discos or the trading of real estate.

The question of who works when, what, how much and for how long is handled differently in the various municipalities. In general, however, it can be said that the livelihood is made according to socialist principles, i. That is, everyone should do the work they can and get what they need to live.

History of the commune idea

Municipalities can look back on a long history. As an example, the German religious community of the Hutterites , which originated in the 16th century and is mainly found in North America today, should be mentioned. Its members live on farms (approx. 60 to 80 people), except for clothing and writing utensils, nobody owns private property, they live relatively isolated from the outside world.

In the 1840s, a number of “socially utopian” communities were founded in the United States, including Brook Farm .

In the course of industrialization , a number of life-reforming, primitivist , anarchist and anthroposophical rural communes emerged in the “Old World” with the aim of “renewing the old unity of man and nature”. They were later either smashed or incorporated by fascism .


In Tsarist Russia of the 1860s, after the publication of Chernyshevsky's novel What to do? new forms of coexistence popular. Among other things, The Mighty Heap , a group of five Russian composers , was formed at that time .

In the young Soviet Union , communal houses were founded in which the housework was done collectively and which therefore made a significant contribution to the emancipation of women. With the restoration of more traditional values ​​in Stalinism , the communal houses gradually disappeared again or were robbed of their original meaning through overcrowding.


After the First World War, numerous municipalities were founded in Germany; mostly as residential or rural communes. Hans Koch , the later founder of the Hako -Werke, described it as follows in his memoirs in 1972: “The person in the middle and the spirit of the community ... Once to be lifted without barriers, concerns, doubts - no status, no parentage counted , no denominations and no races. ”Like his later friend Hans Löhr , he rejected the capitalist pursuit of profit and private property in land and wanted to lead a life in dispossessed, economically self-determined communities.

At the end of the First World War, Hans Koch was a co-founder of the Berlin Commune Anarchists and shortly after the war he was a co- founder of the rural commune in Blankenburg (near Donauwörth ). In the early 1920s he joined the Harxbüttel rural commune , which had been founded by Hans Löhr in Harxbüttel (now a district of Braunschweig ).

The commune idea became widely known due to the 1968 movement . After the annual delegates' meeting of the SDS in 1966, a group of around 25 to 30 comrades suggested the establishment of municipalities.

The first and best known of these communes was K1, founded in West Berlin at the beginning of 1967 (they called themselves the “community of young Maoists”). Many of its members were or became idols of the movement ( Rainer Langhans , Dieter Kunzelmann , Fritz Teufel ), and the relationship ( disapproved in the scene ) between Langhans and the well-known model Uschi Obermaier created additional publicity. Initially, the goal of founding the municipality was to conduct its own psychoanalysis, but then increasingly outwardly provocative actions became the focus. These were gratefully taken up by the press and gave the K1 the public it wanted.

Shortly after K1, municipality 2 (K2 or SDS municipality) was founded. Here the common political work was in the foreground, later it mainly dealt with the psychological and neurotic problems of the group members, with relationships and group dynamics. The goal of the K2 was also the own psychoanalysis and the liberation from the bourgeois-uptight sexuality. The commune, which is far less eccentric than the K1, played a major role in the development of anti-authoritarian education and in setting up children's shops .

Finally, the K3 was founded in Wolfsburg in March 1970 and dissolved by the police when its members were arrested for committing crimes in June 1971 (see also: Ilse Schwipper ). The commune had made the cultural revolution its main goal. These examples show the different approaches of the municipalities quite clearly. Some initially made the treatment of the members' psychological problems their top priority, while others believed that the psychological difficulties could only be overcome through joint political work.

In the 1970s, several different movements began after the political municipalities. The three most significant were

  • The newly founded collectives , many thousands of small companies, in which attempts were made to work independently and with equal rights.
  • The establishment of rural communes, which began around 1970. The size at that time was 10 to 30 people.
  • Following the example of the squatting in Holland (Amsterdam), the German squatter movement began . The best known example of this is the Hamburg Hafenstrasse .

The "Kommuja network" has existed in Germany since 1989, consisting of around 53 rural and urban municipalities, which publish the Kommuja magazine several times a year , which is used for internal communication and whose editorial team changes from issue to issue. In addition, the participating municipalities meet once a year in summer. Among other things, the commune information tour is planned there, in which communards from various communes are involved. This serves to carry the commune idea into the world and to get feedback on the communal way of life in discussions.

The community meeting Los Gehts , which has also been organized from within the Kommuja network since 1999, offers a platform for people interested in community, community founding groups and people from existing communities. The 300-person meeting usually takes place every two years and is primarily used to get to know each other, to exchange ideas and contacts and to present initiatives and existing projects.

It was not until 2010 that the Tempelhof community came into being in southern Germany , where 150 people live and work together.


Some forms of implementation have come under fire. These include the action-analytical organization - so-called Mühlkommune - in Austria (1972 to 1991) and the modern forms of an ashram in the 1970s. The orientation towards a certain ideology is sometimes criticized - for example towards a politically oriented form of socialism , sometimes also of communism , which in turn can lead to conflicts within the community.

The ownership structure of land and buildings is a particular problem. Landlords generally only recognize a legal or natural person as a contractual partner. The same applies to the land register . A civil law partnership (GbR) in Germany can also be entered in the land register, but its shareholders must also be named.

Related topics


  • Contrasts. Monthly newspaper for self-organization. 1, 1984- *, ISSN  0178-5737 .
  • Michael Würfel (Ed.): Eurotopia directory: Communities and ecovillages in Europe. Blooming landscapes, Poppau, 2014, ISBN 978-3-9812968-1-5
  • Bernd Drücke (Ed.): Yes! Anarchism! Lived utopia in the 21st century. Interviews and discussions. Karin Kramer, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-87956-307-1 (in particular: Every municipality is different. A kitchen table talk with Uwe Kurzbein. (Municipality of Olgashof), p. 247 ff.).
  • Astrid Glenk u. a. (Ed.): The Commune Women's Book. Everyday life between patriarchy and utopia. Verlag Edition AV, Lich 2010, ISBN 978-3-86841-027-3 .
  • Collective KommuneBuch (Ed.): The Commune Book. Everyday life between resistance, adaptation and lived utopia. The workshop, Göttingen 1996, ISBN 3-89533-162-7 .
  • KommuJa Network of Political Communities (Ed.): The Commune Book. Association A, 2014, ISBN 978-3-86241-431-4 .
  • Henner Reitmeier: Living differently for 15 years. The community of Niederkaufungen. In: Scheidewege , No. 30, 2000/2001, ISSN  0048-9336 , p. 347 ff.
  • Rudolf Stumberger : The Communist America , Vienna 2015, ISBN 978-3-85476-647-6 .
  • Niederkaufungen municipality: 20 years of Niederkaufungen municipality , Kaufungen 2007, ISBN 978-3-00-021409-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Self-portrait of the Walterhausen community
  2. cf. Klaus Mehnert: American and Russian Youth around 1930, Stuttgart 1973, DVA, ISBN 3-421-01629-1 , The Soviet Union 1917–1953: Documents, On the Internet: / sw2_chapter_06_02 , documents 134 and 140.
  3. From communard to boss of October 22, 2011 - accessed on November 16, 2015
  4. ^ Report by Bavarian TV on March 6, 2004 in the cultural program Capriccio
  5. Carsten Holm: Esoteric: Im Bann des Weißbarts, May 26, 2012.
  6. Antonio Miras: The land registry ability of the GbR according to the ERVGBG . In: German Tax Law 2010, p. 604.
  7. Here also online nachlesbar, accessed 22 June 2012

Web links