The Catholic Worker Movement and Anarcho-Communism

January 14th, 2015
There is great joy and satisfaction in volunteering one’s life to assisting others. In doing so I have found a fulfillment and serenity which I never could have imagined. Several years ago I became aware of the works of Dorothy Day, an amazing woman who lived her life helping others. She was an Anarchist in the decade leading up to World War I, and although she was initially an atheist, she later converted to Catholicism, and started The Catholic Worker Movement.
The Catholic Worker Movement helps people, the community, and helps one another to live a productive, healthy, caring life of mutual aid. Branches of the movement publish newspapers which promote solidarity, charity, and radical acceptance. The branches of the movement also host soup kitchens, community pantries, and hospitality houses. A hospitality house can be like a homeless shelter, though it can also in a more broader sense be a place where individuals come to help each other live a life in community, growing and harvesting food, cooking, sewing, making things, teaching, and assisting others as well as one’s self.
The Catholic Worker Movement has deep connections to Anarchism, and to be truly without oppression, to truly have no masters, society must be communistic. For any system that has capitalism, by its very nature capitalizes on others, creating masters, and servants, people who have more or less power than others. That makes capitalism directly opposed to anarchism, as capitalism creates governance and control over others.
Anarchism is therefore by its nature communistic, focused on the common good of the community. Ideally a system with no money or even barter, just giving, sharing of what is needed or wanted to those who need or want them, as long as it is available, and if it isn’t, then those who want it, can manufacture and supply it.
People might wonder, “But without financial incentive, who will do the jobs that no one wants to do? Who will work the sewers or garbage collection?” The answer to that is simple, for if the community realizes that without someone doing those jobs, no one will have plumbing, and we will be surrounded in garbage; one would be surprised at how quickly people volunteer when they realize that. After all, no one gets paid for cleaning their own house, yet most people still do that. What inspires them to do that? It is that they do not wish to live in filth. The same inspiration applies here. Also those jobs can be made easier by having volunteers rotate in and out of them every few months. Imagine, if one were to volunteer for such a job, they would only be doing it for one month, and then the other eleven months they would return to whatever they wished. That would make it much more tolerable, wouldn’t it?
Because of the shared labor, and with modern automation, a person would not necessarily need to know how to grow food or build a house, for a farmer can grow more than they will ever eat, a builder build more houses than they could ever occupy, and a jeweler make more than they could ever wear. A person could do whatever job they liked, along with whatever job they felt was needed by the community, and everything would be fine. Anarchism allows for the freeing of man, true freedom, and a feeling of accomplishment and joy in one’s life. It is possible, and it can happen today, if we want it.
It is my opinion that anarchism is beautiful, and is the best form of society. I have practiced it for the past nine years, and I in general am living a low stress, prosperous, free life, full of joy, accomplishment, and lack of need. In combining anarchism with the teaching of Jesus, as The Catholic Worker Movement does, I have learned to freely and radically love my fellow man; to love the immigrant, the criminal, the homeless, the sick. I am filled with such extreme love, and care for so many, and a desire to help everyone find peace, joy, and fulfillment. I give all I can give, help all I can help, and I feel amazing.
Dorothy Day called for a revolution of the heart, a revolution which begins within each one of us. She called for radical love, acceptance, and solidarity with our fellow man. She was only echoing the teachings of Jesus, living out the gospel call to the fullest. Right now her life is being analyzed by the bishops and the college of cardinals to determine whether or not she should be considered a Saint, and because of that she has already been given the title “Servant of God.”
When I discovered Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, I fell in love; her work and her nature, and the movement’s goals completely matched mine. I desire nothing more than to help others, and in doing so help free us all from the shackles of hardship, and capitalistic servitude. She inspires me, lets me know that I am going down the right path, and that it can work. I choose to go down this path, I choose to love, and help others, and for me the world is truly beautiful.

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