About Ethan Tupelo

I am currently in the Political Science PhD program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, living in nearby Northampton.

In the narrative I typically give about how I ended up where I currently am, I usually talk a lot about living in DC for six years.  I originally moved there to study International Relations at American University.  While at the university, I became involved in a variety of different forms of leftist activism.  At the time I moved there I probably considered myself some form of socialist.  However, as I became more and more involved with activism, my views shifted further and further to the libertarian side of the left, and eventually leaned much more towards anarchism than any other political philosophy.

The activism I was involved in covered a wide range of issues.  I moved to DC at the height of the anti-IMF/World Bank movement.  Because of the times, I also became heavily involved in anti-war organizing.  I later had more of a focus on local issues, such as tenants rights and union organizing with the Industrial Workers of the World.

A few important changes happened in my later years in DC that led to me eventually leaving.  While I was focused on my activist work as my primary goal, I often couldn’t make those things into a way of supporting myself financially in that city, which meant I usually had to have at least one other job.  Often this left me with little energy after my ‘real’ job for what I really wanted to be doing.  While several of these jobs were things that were still good causes, I was still usually in a group cubicle, sending emails and talking on phones asking people to donate money to the organization so we could continue to hire people like me to call people asking for money.  Another factor was me becoming tired at working towards these activist causes which were always opposed to something, phrased as a negative, but usually offered little vision of the world we were working to create. At this same time, I also became more discontent with living in cities in general, especially one where the city grid was built around administration buildings of hierarchical authority and monuments glorifying warriors.  I was already quite opposed to suburban existence as well, so I was looking for a more rural option.

I found out about Twin Oaks intentional community at a workshop at the National Conference on Organized Resistance in 2006, moved there about half a year later, and lived there through the summer of 2013.  Then left the community to study at UMass, which I am doing to the present day.

I had a variety of functions at Twin Oaks.  I spent most of my working time either in the garden helping to grow food for the 100 people who lived there, making rope for our rope products business, and working on the conflict resolution team.  Like many other members, I probably had 15-20 other jobs I did in the course of a given month.

What appears in this blog is going to be based on my personal experiences and perspectives.  My views are of course shaped by my various identities as a young white cis-gendered male who grew up in economic circumstances better off than about 95% of the world’s population.  The content will be heavily Twin Oaks-centric, as that is the community I have had the most experience in.  (For those looking for a personal experience of visiting many intentional communities, I would recommend reading one of my friend’s blogs about his journey a few years ago at http://www.nomadicscribe.net/.)  I also have experience with other intentional communities that I will occasionally bring in, through my connections with communities in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities and the Fellowship for Intentional Communities.

I’m writing this blog primarily for myself.  The blog format of shorter entries with tags for organization seemed like a good format for the thoughts I’m having.  Eventually I would like to turn this into a larger, more organized and coherent work.  I figured I’d just make the blog public and let anyone who wanted to read my ramblings in progress do so.

The major disclaimer I feel the need to put in here on behalf of my community is that while I am striving to give a good-faith accurate account of everything I describe, please keep in mind that this is just one person’s perspective on these issues, and I do not have the authority to speak about what Twin Oaks “is” in any objective sense of the word.  Nor do I believe you should trust any one account of the community, whether on the internet or in print.  Indeed, differing perspectives about the nature of the community is often the source of many other conflicts here.  To get a more complete perspective on the community, it is necessary to talk to multiple people, or to apply for a three week visitor session and see it for yourself.

For more on my name, see https://postrev.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/my-name-has-been-officially-recongized-by-the-state/

One Response to “About Ethan Tupelo”

  1. […] matches with all the residents of Tupelo North (ex-communards who defected to Northhampton) Angie, Ethan and Clementine.   No surprise here, they are people I already had strong affinity with and […]

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