Who We Are
We are a household of writers, teachers, activists, dancers, gardeners, anarchists, nurses, students, musicians, nannies, bartenders, social workers, and revolutionaries who share a lot more resources than many people are used to. This takes high level of commitment to the community, but it also is a really efficient way to live. By sharing meals, for example, we get great home cooked food almost every night without the work of shopping and cooking (unless we want that to be our job!). This efficiency allows us to have incredibly active lives outside the community.
The Emma Goldman Finishing School is an enormous structure, once a large single-family residence that was then converted into apartments. Now almost fully renovated, the four-story (plus basement) house contains twelve bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a studio (an undedicated room with minimal furnishing or decoration), a common room, a meeting room, an office, two storage/pantry areas, a laundry room, a large basement workshop, and a full bathroom on every floor.
Set atop the north end of Beacon Hill at the crest of the ridge, residents enjoy sweeping views to the west of the international district, downtown, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Range. A large deck also looks down upon our modest backyard, with its flower garden, small lawn, and ample vegetable garden, where we grow some of our own organic produce during the growing season.
Located on a major busline, and within walking distance of downtown, residents enjoy convenient access to the unique urban environment of Seattle, as well as to the mountains and water that surround Seattle on all sides.
Our purpose is to create a free society, a world with freedom from want and freedom of expression, a world without oppression or hierarchy, where power is shared equally. We work to create this future in the here and now by building alternative economic, political, and cultural infrastructure designed to oppose and replace the dominant system. We aim to create a home that embodies our shared values, provides a fun and supportive environment in which to live, and helps forge a dense network of relations with people and institutions outside of our community. We make it possible to communally provide for all our material needs. Our home is a place of self-education, experimentation, and radical democracy--a community where the means and ends are one.
We believe that our society encourages profound injustices, rampant violence, ruinous ecological destruction and greed, and that these problems are embedded in the dominant systems of governance and economy. We therefore favor radical, systemic change and oppose today's dominant systems, including capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy.
Because we believe all people have equal potential, we believe all deserve equal access to power and resources, as well as equal rights and responsibilities. We believe that hierarchy (defined as unequal access to power) inherently includes oppression. We therefore seek to build organizational and governance structures without hierarchy. We seek a community based in the principles of direct, participatory democracy, which embodies equality, freedom and diversity. We regard freedom of expression to be impossible without freedom from want.
Because we envision a non-violent world, we are therefore committed to using non-violent means to achieve it. We recognize our shared humanity and the equal right of all people to exist. We define non-violence as active non-cooperation with oppression; non-violence is not synonymous with pacifism, or a mere absence of violence. We recognize the complexity of social change, and the dangers inherent in pursuing change. We affirm that non-violence may be practiced as an absolute moral value, or as a strategic one. We affirm the right of other communities to self-determination in their morals and strategies. We also recognize that our choice of non-violence benefits from the considerable privilege Emma Goldman Finishing School enjoys from its place within the dominant culture.
We believe that human systems and natural systems can and should be harmonized. We believe human impacts should be reduced, particularly among those who consume the most. At Emma Goldman Finishing School we aim to reduce consumption of resources, and weigh all community decisions on the basis of ecological impact.
We believe that living simply brings a richer quality of life. We do not buy the lies of corporate culture telling us our worth is in our stuff. Consumption is an expression of the psychological and spiritual poverty of our culture. Simplicity reduces our ecological impacts, promotes fairness, and withdraws support from the culture of commodification. We live simply by meeting needs not wants, and by providing a culture of non-material abundance.
Living in community is a rejection of the culture of alienation and isolation. We value the benefits of community, including mutual support and interdependence, fun, social engagement, and the learning and growth that comes from challenges and conflicts within the community. We also recognize and are enriched by the wide range of personal interests and paths of each of our members. We support one another as individuals, as activists, and as members of our shared community.