The Arch, France

A society within the society, Gandhi’s philosophy established in the larzac* France, 2010

In the early 30s, Lanza Del Vasto, a sicilian poet and philosopher, decided to go to india in order to seek a new form of society. In 1937, he was faithfully introduced to Gandhi who became his mentor. From this important period of his life, Lanza Del Vasto had the goal to set up a micro society in which the non-violence and the desobedience concepts advocated by the father of the indian nation, would underpin a new way of life.

In 1948, Gandhi was assassinated in India by Nathuram Godse, an activist. Lanza Del Vasto, back in France, created the Arch community.

The Arch community settled in the south of France at the border between the Herault and Aveyron's departments in La Borie Noble, a big farm in ruins. In this hilly country, cut off from the modern world, Lanza Del Vasto and a group of people eager to attempt a new way of life renoved the farm and started organizing a micro society. Since then, the arch community concept has spread through not just France but also in Germany, in Spain, in Italy and in South America.

The Arch community doesn’t stick to some stereotypes witnessed in the late 60s, assimilated with a hippy attitude and utopic ideas about the world, they denote with a strong engagement writing in history: the sermon of the 103, launched by Lanza Del Vasto to protect the Larzac when the governement was about to extend the military camp in the 70s, their support to the palestinian cause or the volunteers reapers of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in 2003 on Jean-Baptiste Libouban’s initiative.

In 2013, the Arch community still exists and is still following lanza del vasto’s philosophy: work in community, self-sufficiency in food, respect of the environment, tolerance on religious and politicals point of view, refuse any dependance from the society (such as the active solidarity income - RSA - in france), exclusion of any form of fanatism and sectarism.

In summury, a micro society within the society.

*the larzac is a limestone karst plateau in the south of the massif central, France, situated between Millau (Aveyron department) and Lodève (Hérault department).