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U.S. Communes @ U.S. Federal Agencies

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The American commune phenomenon has had several awakenings and reawkenings. The social radicalism practised by the Shakers, the Oneida Community, the Fourierists, the Owenites in the 19th century was echoed in the 20th with the rise of the so-called "hippie communes." The cosmic team of communes represented here is derived from that latter movement which flourished in the 1960s and early 1970s. Several defining characteristics of these 20th century communes includes a political philosophy most consistent with anarchism, a strong sympathy with pacifism, a desire for sexual freedom, and tolerance of drug experimentation. Typically commune participants supported the notion of open membership and shared a "back-to-nature" theology. If there is, however, one specific thread that links the various alternative communities together it is the desire of the people to find a better way of living.

"Quality of life" concerns are paramount in the function of most governments, large and small. The United States has over 1,100 federal agencies. Most of these agencies are organized under the Executive branch of the federal government, but there are some 40 agencies under the Judicial branch and there at last count, 77 Legislative agencies. Over 100 agencies are described as "independent." Generally, agencies are created by governments to assist in the providing of services to the citizens. The cosmic team represented here draws its members primarily from agencies under the direction of the United States Department of Defense. Security is one major preoccupation of any organized collective. This cosmic team also includes some agencies from other governmental departments including the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.




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AGENCIES

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY [MDA] (Leftfield). Created December, 2001. The MDA replaced the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). The MDA's mission is to defend the United States from a ballistic missile attack. When the MDA was created the Pentagon told media outlets that the "switch of the BMDO to agency status underscores the national priority and mission emphasis on missile defense." An Air Force Lieutenant General currently runs the agency.

DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY [DTRA] (Shortstop). This agency was created on October 1, 1998 as a result of the Defense Reform Initiative. DTRA consolidated the functions of the former Defense Special Weapons Agency, the Onsite Inspection Agency and the Defense Technology Security Adminsitration. The mission of DTRA is to safeguard the United States from weapons of mass destruction. Approximately 2000 personnel and a $2 billion budget are managed by a civilion director.

DEFENSE COMMISSARY AGENCY [DCA] (Secondbase). Created in 1991 the DCA operates a global chain of 280 commissaries and provide groceries to United States military personnel, retirees and their families. A staff of 17,000 is under the direction of an Army Major General.

FARM SERVICE AGENCY [FSA] (Firstbase). With roots in the 1930s, the FSA was created during the United States Department of Agriculture's reorganization in 1994. Elements of the former Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and the Farmers Home Administration were incorporated into the new agency. The mission of the FSA is to stabilize farm income, help farmers conserve land and water resources, provide credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and to help farm and ranch operations recover from disasters.

AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND DISEASE REGISTRY [ATSDR] (Rightfield). The ATSDR was created as a result of the 1980 "Superfund Law" and is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies. This is the principal federal public health agency involved with hazardous waste issues. With headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the ATSDR has a staff of 400 and is under the direction of a medical doctor.

DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY [DIA] (Centerfield). Created on October 1, 1961, the DIA is the United States primary producer of foreign military intelligence for use by warfighters. The DIA is a combat support agency headquartered in the Pentagon. A military and civilian staff of 7,000 is currently under the direction of a US Navy Admiral.

DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY [DISA] (Thirdbase). Originally established on May 12, 1960 as the Defense Communications Agency, DCA became DISA on June 25, 1991. Responsible for providinig total information systems management for the Department of Defense (DoD), DISA is a combat support agency. DISA is responsible for supporting "global net-centric solutions" associated with the operation of the Global Information Grid. DISA is also responsible for managing the Defense Data Network (DDN) portion of the Internet.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA] (Catcher). The EPA was created in July, 1970 with a mission to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment air, water, and land upon which life depends. With headquarters in Washington, D.C. the agency employs over 18,000 people across the United States.

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY [NSA] (Pitcher). NSA was established by a Presidential directive in 1952 to provide signals intelligence and communications security for the United States Government. The NSA is the United States' primary cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. The agency is currently directed by an U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY [CIA] (Pitcher). The Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947 with the signing of the National Security Act by President Truman. The National Security Act charged the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) with coordinating the nation's intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence which affects national security. The CIA is an independent agency, responsible to the President through the DCI, and accountable to the American people through the intelligence oversight committees of the U.S. Congress. CIA's mission is to support the President, the National Security Council, and all officials who make and execute the U.S. national security policies.



COMMUNES

LOWER FARM (Thirdbase). Placitas, New Mexico. c. 1970. Commune leader: Ulysses S. Grant. "Not a commune, a village." A hippie-style commune. Official name of village: Manerva Nueva, Incorporated. Property held in common, one class, annual meeting at sunrise on July 4. Bylaw No. 9: "All major decisions must be made in agreement with the I CHING. Any issue may be declared a major issue by any member." Members may not hold private funds or property. December 1970 tragedy: 2 commune members shot to death. Bad community relations.

NEW BUFFALO (Rightfield). Taos, New Mexico. c. 1960s. Founded by Max Finstein but he leaves in spring of 1968. The name inspired by the fact that the buffalo "is the provider, as he was for the Indians." An attempt at self-sufficiency. Original group of 24.

DROP CITY (Catcher). Established May, 1965 was the first commune to construct geodesic domes as living quarters. Drop City was a recipient of the Buckminister Fuller Award. Located near Trinidad, Colorado. "The Drop City people were the avant-garde of American society." Populated by teenage runaways, thrill seekers, sightseers, dropouts. Decomposes in 1969; recomposes in early 1970s. Good community relations.

MAGIC FARM (Centerfield). In Oregon. c. 1960s. Originated with hippies in Berkeley, California. Goal was to develop a self-suffcient agricultural commune in which all members shared equally and intimately. "The Magic Farm commune may not be magical, but at least it has produced some positive changes in the lives of the people who moved there after those traumatic times in Berkeley."

OLOMPALI RANCH (Shortstop). North of San Francisco, near Novato. Founded in 1967 by Don McCoy. McCoy had inherited some money and made more money through good investments in real estate. On 750 acres, the ranch had a mansion with a tiled swimming pool and four color television sets. Children taught by an exponent of A.S. Neill's Summerhill educational philosophy. Nudity tolerated and encouraged. Over 40 commune members at its peak. However the commune disbanded after two children drowned in the swimming pool during the summer of 1969.

GORDA MOUNTAIN (Pitcher). Described as the first "open-land commune," Gorda Mountain was created in 1962 by Amelia Newell on her land at Big Sur on the California coast. At its peak in the summer of 1967 there were over 200 hippies living on the land. Relations with the local community were not good. The local health department officials closed Gorda Mountain down in 1968.

MORNING STAR RANCH (Leftfield). Founded by Lou Gottlieb and Ramon Sender in 1966 on 32 acres of land purchased in 1962 in Sonoma County, California. Morning Star Ranch was an open-land commune. Based on the concept of "voluntary primitivism," followers believe in the importance of "the reunion of man with his greater self-- God's nature." There were no rules, no regulations and no organization at this commune. In summer of 1967 over 300 but average size under 30. Population growth caused problems at the commune. Comune's relationship with the local community began to deteriorate.

COLD MOUNTAIN FARM (Firstbase). A group of six New York citizens from the Lower East Side, moved in 1966 to a 400-acre farm in Hobart, New York. The commune's population fluctuated and grew at one point to 30. Initial relations with the local community were cordial but eventually declined.

TWIN OAKS (Secondbase). Founded in June 16, 1967 on a 123-acre tobacco farm in Virginia this commune was an experimental community based on the concepts found in B. F. Skinner's book, Walden II. Everyone had to work at the commune. The name of the commune was a compromise. According to one of the founders, "We couldn't seem to come to any agreement on a name that any of us were crazy about., so we eventually settled on the neutral, descriptive name of Twin Oaks. The 'Walden' names were virgorously championed by some...others were opposed to using 'Walden' because so many starry-eyed people would show up expecting us to be just like the book."

CITY OF LIGHT (Pitcher). Started in San Francisco as a religious commune and in 1968 the group moved to near Santa Fe in New Mexico. The commune was rooted in "new age" religious dogma and also believed in the existence of flying saucers.




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Personal Cosmic Game: Communes at Agencies
URL: http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/communes.html
Published: November 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by the Cosmic Baseball Association
email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com

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