When thinking of a name for our fledgling co-operative, we wanted something that was meaningful without being too obvious. After bouncing ideas around, we finally found one that summed up why we wanted to create a housing co-operative, and what we hoped it would (and wouldn’t) become.
Our name comes from ‘The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia,’ a speculative science fiction novel by Ursula K Le Guin. Anarres is one of two connected worlds that the story focuses on. It is a relatively desolate moon, yet one populated by committed idealists. Its inhabitants are attempting to build an ideal society in the face of scarcity, bureaucracy, and the tension between the freedom of the individual and the needs of the community.
Whilst our ambitions don’t quite stretch to the moon and back, we do find a lot of common cause with Le Guin’s characters. Our housing co-operative, like its namesake, should be an example of an alternative way of living, one that embraces an egalitarian outlook and an emphasis on collective decision-making. We also want Anarres to contribute to revolutionary change in wider society, and to take ongoing inspiration from other projects we take part in.
For those of you who are curious about Le Guin’s work, or contemplating reading The Dispossessed yourself, we have posted a review of the book written by a dear friend of ours.