Mud House, on Manning Avenue here in Toronto, where Possum lived for the last years of his life is a commune which he founded and was a mainstay of. It is explicitly non-hierarchical and anarchistic. The current inhabitants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, orientations and belief systems. I went there after the impromptu memorial gathering in Bell-Trinity Park and it very much reminded me of the Anarchist and Punk habitats of my youth: with the exception of its longevity. In my experience these things have a life expectancy of months before they fall apart but this has been going for about eight years!
The secret sauce seems to have been Possum's skills at conflict mediation and consensus gathering. As one alumni related it to me: "He never seemed to be taking sides in any of the inevitable conflicts but was rather only on the side of coming to a resolution. In addition, in the non-hierarchical tradition of the place, he always related to each person as an equal. Whether you were a newcomer, a long-time resident, a wretched drug addict or a rowdy, protesting Anarchist it made no difference to him. Everyone was treated with the same respect." I would say also that his aura of calm, like finest fountain spray on hottest day, would have been invaluable as well. No one that I've talked to since his death can remember him once losing his temper or even getting angry.
So Mud House Alumni: Do you have a collective noun? Does anyone recall exactly how Mud House came to be? Anyone have any tales of specific conflicts that Possum resolved? Did Mud House change your life? Enter a comment by clicking on the comment counter link below.