Back-to-the-Land: Analyzing Rural Anarchist Practice in Relation to Anarchist Theories of Community-Building: A Case Study of the Dragonfly and Black Fly Land Collectives
Adamiak, Joanna Maria
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This dissertation problematizes the idea of the rural as a backwards and reactionary place and addresses the theoretical and practical contributions of anarchism to reconsidering the rural as a site of revolutionary community-building and an alternative to capitalism and state formations. I argue that anarchist theories offer a sophisticated vision of rural space because they think more concretely about the rural as an inhabited or inhabitable place informing more radical understanding of alternative community and political structures. I explore the history of intentional communities in North America and Ontario, specifically, to demonstrate the persistence of community-building experiments in rural settings and to document their alternative history. Using an empirical case study of two anarchist intentional communities located in Hastings County, Ontario, this dissertation examines how specific experiments of alternative community-building have operated in practice in relation to their anarchist principles. I situate the two collectives in the colonial history and the history of alternative communities in the area. The goals of creating anti-capitalist and decolonized communities are confronted with the geographic and political realities of land ownership. Some themes that emerged in this dissertation are private property relationships, settler relations, and ecological stewardship. While participants demonstrate a desire to move beyond private property relationships, they continue to see their responsibilities to Indigenous peoples and the environment in property terms. The anarchist ethical commitment to self-reflection opens up the importance of continually working to unlearn property and colonial relationships.