Six Steps to Abolish the Family

M. E. O’Brien

The family is a lifeboat for those abandoned by capital, but fails and thwarts far too many. We need other ways to organize care and organize ourselves.

1. Set up a protest kitchen.

The best starting point to abolish the family is a massive insurrection. Come together with others at protest camps, street barricades, square occupations, seized factories, building takeovers, and other liberated zones. There, generate the means of collective survival, expanding the insurrection. Begin with a collective protest kitchen, feeding any and all.

2. Expand insurgent social reproduction.

As the insurgency grows, continue the process of family abolition by deepening shared practices of mutual care. Make the protest camp, the rebel territory, the collective farm, or the housing-block committee, capable of welcoming and supporting many new people. Form self-organized, shared sleeping areas for safety. Set up cooperative childcare to support the full involvement of parents. Establish syringe exchanges and other harm reduction practices to welcome active drug users. Provide medical and social care to include those with chronic mental and physical illness.

3. Build communes.

As new communist production begins in factories and farms, family abolition can take root in permanent communes of collective social reproduction. Each commune could be home to around two hundred people. The protest kitchen becomes a permanent canteen where everyone in the area cooks and eats their meals. The medic’s tent becomes a center for all regular medical care. The assembly square becomes a meeting space for democratic administration of the commune. Bad drumming circles become places where people record music or make art. Childcare areas become crèches where children can learn and grow together over years. Private groups of bedrooms are still available for people that want to form intimate family-like units or live with their kids, but most of life takes place in shared collective space. The old, atomized single-family homes dependent on constant car use and individual consumption are ended. On this basis, humanity can collectively address climate change.

4. Combat the return of the family.

Defend the commune as the most free way of organizing social reproduction. Form new alliances, between refugees from the family of all types, between women freed from unsatisfying or abusive relationships, between poor people and people of color who have long relied on shared networks of community support and resistance to survive, between queer and trans people excluded from traditional families. Those seeking a return to the family as an isolated economic unit are counterrevolutionaries.

5. Raise children of the commune.

Through the commune, offer a better world for children.
As neighbor and friend, in a world where the nuclear family no longer disposes of the lives of children, everyone is called upon to creatively and collectively intervene into abusive parental relationships. Through the commune, a parent or child not dependent on the family can opt-out of a messed-up dynamic when it isn’t working, knowing everyone will be cared for. No one is bound together violently any longer. New forms of gender freedom and human flourishing not available in the limited, truncated form of the nuclear family become possible. If you’ve reached this step, you have succeeded in abolishing the family. You have freed queer love and feminist care to create a basis for human flourishing.

6. Expand opportunities for chosen survival.

If global communizing insurgency doesn’t emerge, do your best with the imperfect options available. Try to form your own collective housing or parenting arrangements when they seem viable. Fight to destroy the white-supremacist states which reinforce the violence of the family. Support the self-activity and struggles of poor queer and trans people for survival. Defend group housing, crashpads, and urban hangout areas against police harassment. Get involved in projects that provide for people’s basic needs unconditional on affinity and family form. Join poor people’s movements to expand and transform non-market housing, welfare benefits, universal medical care, and free education. Support those excluded from traditional families in raising children, caring for elders, and protecting our loved ones. Find each other, care for each other, and love each other.