Our bylaws and Legispol provide the basic backbone of how our community operates politically (see also: Self Governance). The culture here is entirely dependent upon the current membership. Seventy three members plus guests and visitors live at East Wind at any one time. As of Spring 2017, one half of our adult membership is age 30 or under.
East Winders are more diverse than you might think if you have never visited a community. We are extroverts and introverts, bluegrass lovers and dubstep fanatics, bookworms and TV series marathoners. There is no one ‘type’ of person that dominates at East Wind. There is room for the social butterflies and those who prefer to be less outgoing. The social scene is ever changing and there are always new things happening. We have found that diversity allows for a more resilient community and enjoyable atmosphere.
We hold our land, income, labor, and other resources in common. The community assumes responsibility for the needs of its members, from food and shelter to medical care and entertainment. Everyone is free to have their own personal possessions such as clothing, media, and electronic devices. Provisional and full members receive an equal “Discretionary Fund” each month ($150/mo for the year 2016-2017) that members are free to spend as they please.
We work hard because we understand that each one of us is responsible for ourselves as well as the group. We are part of a system that rewards cooperation rather than competition. If there is one thing that is most harshly judged within our community it is work ethic. We have a very easy life here compared to the rest of the industrialized world. This is especially true because we are able to choose from a nearly endless amount of activities to do throughout the day. We don’t have to sit at a desk or behind a counter for eight plus hours a day doing repetitive, mind numbing, and body crippling tasks. For this reason, we expect all members to contribute in the ways they feel comfortable, and few people have trouble finding a niche where they feel appreciated. The labors we perform daily benefit ourselves, our friends, and the community around us and so we put a lot of love into our work.
We practice nonviolence. We believe that every person has the right to be free from the threat of physical violence. Incidents of violence within the community are not tolerated. We consider ourselves stewards of the land we use and are working towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle while reducing our impact on our environment. A big part of our garden, ranch, comptoil, and forestry teams’ goals involve using our resources as effectively as we know how to and allowing the ecosystems we co-habitat with to flourish. As much of our work takes place in the woods, the pastures, and the gardens, we naturally become acutely conscious of our environmental impact on the land.
We ensure that our members have an opportunity to participate in the decision making process by using direct voting methods such as petitions, proposals, and ballots. As a community, we hold meetings for discussion on topics relevant to community on Sunday afternoons (usually meetings are scheduled based on proposals created by members). Community meetings remind us that we all have something to say, and this teaches us to listen and be open to other perspectives. We recognize and respect everyone’s right to nonviolence and are reminded to be respectful of others’ personal space. And because we hold what we care for in common, we are all more willing to strive to make it better for all of us.