Quick tidbits – including the Yes Men say yes to the MAN! plus article, interview, indiegogo

hello!

While I work on the book that my UK trip blog post is turning into, I interrupt my flow (or lack thereof) to bring you some quick important news…

First, the Yes Men are coming! They’ll be at our launch party for Mutual Aid Networks, here in Madison Wisconsin on Monday August 24. At the High Noon Saloon. Featuring a clip from the Yes Men’s new film, plus other cool performances and the premier of our MAN Up simulation game.

Stay tuned at http://www.mutualaidnetwork.org/man-up-summit/  – we’re currently scheduling and updating the page at a rapid clip.

And I have a new article out at Other Worlds are Possible.

And an interview with Michel Bauwens on the P2P Foundation blog

So check those out! And then go contribute to our crowdfunding campaign to help us bring our out-of-town guests who will be training us in Sociocracy, building software that works for our needs, bringing their expertise and collaborative spirit from around the world… The more we raise the more people we can bring.

And make your travel plans to be with us in Madison Wisconsin for our MAN Up Summit August 20-28. Or join select sessions online – including our first Main MAN general membership meeting August 27! Schedule here.

Thanks for reading


more MAN news – Allied Coop, new MAN video, indiegogo campaign for MAN Up Summit

Hello again

I’m writing a lot (thanks for bearing with me) because a lot is happening. ecommony

Good stuff!

First, the Allied Community Coop, near and dear to me for many reasons (a small one is I’m treasurer of the Board), voted to join the Main MAN at yesterday’s board meeting. And to pursue becoming an official pilot site. Hooray! This is the group that came up with PowerTime II, the very first inkling of what a MAN could become. Here’s the Builders Workshop (monthly work-and-learn series that helped lead to the MAN) that led us to see how we could use timebanking to start to leverage money (in energy savings) that could be managed cooperatively to build commonly-owned resources. You can check out the whole workshop series, plus additional related posts, to access this learning journey.

Or join our web summit for a condensed version!

One more thing about the Allied Coop before I move on – we had what felt like a fruitful meeting with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin yesterday. We’re trying to get the opportunity to open a Neighborhood Resource Center there, plus we were the only applicants for a $300K forgivable loan the city allocated to help initiate a grocery store in the neighborhood. So things are suddenly moving much faster. We also just hired a great team, all working very part time to do outreach in the neighborhood to build our ranks and strengths in preparation for all this great stuff coming up. Stay tuned…

In other Main MAN news, we have brought John Quinlan on to help us with MAN communications. You can look forward to seeing a lot of his work as we move through the web summit and set up crowdfunding and other communications.

Two things John just did, that you hereby are invited to check out:

  1. Made this hour-long video interview with me, about the MAN, for his TV show Forward Forum. We’ll chop it up and put pieces on our website so let me know if there are bits that are particularly useful.
  2. Got our crowdfunding campaign started for the August MAN Up Summit. Please contribute! Please help spread the word!

And please consider coming to Madison for the Summit August 20-28. It’s going to be a great time! (see last post for more info)

and now on to the UK. As always, thanks for reading.


MAN Up Summit, set to launch in August! plus web summit, upcoming UK trip

Hello,MAN-logo-sun-blue

Things continue to move at lightning pace here in MANland. That’s a good thing!

We just embarked on a web summit, an online learning journey to help us all get grounded in what Mutual Aid Networks are and what they can do for us and our various and intersecting communities.

Please join us! Every Wednesday into August and likely beyond. Yesterday (July 1) was the premier session, an overview of Mutual Aid Networks, a summary of how we expect the series to go, and a preview of how we’ll lead into our MAN Up Summit August 20-28. Which will culminate in the ‘grand opening’ public launch of the Main MAN and some of our initial pilot sites.

Stay tuned for more info on the summit, but you can make plans to come to Madison Wisconsin that week. If you live in Madison you’re welcome to offer your home to our out-of-town guests. We’ll experiment with MAN-style sharing and reciprocity (i.e. you could ask for timebank hours, other resources to recognize your generosity) to support the people traveling here to share their skills and ideas. We’re expecting Julien Dussart, a Wezer programmer and complementary currency leader coming from France, James Priest, a Sociocracy leader and trainer coming from the UK, Stephen Hinton, Founder of Transition Sweden and board member of the JAK cooperative bank, plus MAN partners and community leaders from Detroit, St. Louis, Pennsylvania, Chicago and more. And if we’re lucky Nigeria by way of India – our newest Advisory Board member Bayo Akomolafe. Very exciting! We’ll learn a lot and get a lot of work done. Deep trainings, deep collaborative explorations, our first Main MAN general membership meeting, a MAN Up simulation game, and celebrations! You’re probably wondering how you can help out, besides coming and offering up housing. Well, you can help us pay for people’s travel and other related expenses. Like space, food, all the other supplies that go into making a great party and getting serious work done.

You can help by going here, giving money, and sharing this link with everyone you know.

ddd_stillIn other news, on Sunday Lorrie Hurckes (Dane County TimeBank Co-Director and Youth Court Coordinator, plus my Ladyscissors bandmate) and I embark on a trip to the UK. This will be a trip for work, fun and music. We’ll do some timebanking, restorative justice, and MAN events, plus a few shows. The impetus for the trip initially was (is) the Leading Wellbeing International Research Festival, where I’ll be doing a little session on DCTB and how we can apply and expand on our models globally via MANs – with Leander Bindewald (Time For the World collaborator circa 2011)! Plus playing some music, with Lorrie joining on a few songs. Plus Lorrie and I will be presenting a paper titled: The Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex: We Can Do It!  I’m very excited about this paper, and then about going ahead and doing it once we have it written up properly. :)

This festival has a lot of focus on leadership development which is great timing, especially as Lorrie takes on more leadership in DCTB (where she’s already a major force, and picking up more of my slack all the time) as I shift my work focus from there to a full-time focus on MANs and music. Generally applying MAN practices to do exactly what I want to with my life. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to do that soon too, and we can learn how together – that’s the point of the whole thing.

I digress. Before the festival we’ll hit London, Milton Keynes, Bath, Totnes, and Bristol, connecting with timebankers/co-opers/MAN-curious/restorative justicers. After the festival in the Lake District (and hiking and kayaking and those kinds of things) we go to Hull, another MAN pilot site. I’m very excited to see all the things they have going on there, which include a timebank and a city-sponsored cryptocurrency, Hull Coin, designed to support residents in poverty. And I/we have a show at the Adelphi on July 22!

A nice way to end the trip. We fly out again July 23.rock for rj

And then come back to some Ladyscissors shows, including our set at my (and our host’s) birthday party, the Rock for Restorative Justice benefit for DCTB’s RJ projects. August 8.

Followed by the MAN Up summit later in August!!!

More on that as it develops. Meanwhile, don’t forget to give till it hurts :)

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie

p.s. a little bonus present for getting all the way to the end


St. Louis and New Orleans learning trip report – Allied Community Coop, Mutual Aid Networks, Restorative Justice

hello!photo 5-3

Some of the leaders of Madison’s Allied Community Coop (ACC) had the great fortune to take a learning trip to St. Louis and New Orleans. Thanks so much to the Willy Street Coop, Rebecca Kemble, and our other generous donors who helped make it happen!

Coop leaders who went were Cassandra Sonko, ACC Board President; Sina Davis, ACC Board member and former ACC Coordinator; Gloria Farr, ACC Board Member and representative of Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development and Allied Wellness Center; Lavern Harrison, newly hired ACC staff; and me, ACC Board Treasurer and representative of Dane County TimeBank.

We had a very full agenda! First we had breakfast with the fantastic Renee Marver, one of the organizers of the very first modern timebank in the United States, Grace Hill Settlement House’s MORE Time Dollar Exchange. The neighbors and staff at Grace Hill worked together in 1981 to invent Service Credits, which became known as time dollars and then timebank hours over time. But it was their own creative approach to making up for big cuts in government support of vulnerable people, and the massive success they had is a testament to the strength of that vision. Renee was able to share a lot of their story and the awesome programs they ran, which included a Neighborhood College, six timebank stores, support for vulnerable neighbors, inter-generational care and exchange, and much more. The MORE exchange had tens of thousands of members in photo 4  neighborhoods throughout St. Louis in its heyday.

After changes in agency leadership much of that activity ceased, but the Patch Neighborhood Center is still going strong. We visited and learned about their timebank store, where neighbors get new toiletries and cleaning supplies for the hours they work in the community, the “Little IMG_5514Macy’s” thrift store where they sell secondhand clothing to support their operational costs, their inter-generational gatherings that connect seniors and kids, their daycare, the fieldIMG_5517 trips they organize, and mostly, the fact that the neighbors run the show. There are a couple staff who started as participants in activities there and have been around 12+ years – including Debbie, who I’ve met at a couple conferences and our previous field trip back in 2007. Great to see people doing what they love!

The leaders of St. Louis’ wonderful timebank, the Cowry Collective, and a new MORE, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, organized two discussions with us. The first was focused IMG_5549on Restorative Justice and included members of the Coalition to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex, plus people active in juvenile justice as advocates and also as professionals (an arts teacher at the juvenile detention center which seems open to innovation). We had a very stimulating discussion where each of our individual experiences were able to spawn ideas relevant to each other’s projects. For example, we learned about ‘neighborhood accountability boards’ being put into place by St. Louis’ formal juvenile justice system. Pieces of that structure could apply here in Madison, but initiated at the community level which will give us more freedom to keep kids’ needs front and center. We were able to suggest some ways to involve more youth as leaders there and to advocate for some creative approaches that could involve timebanking to help build skills and resources.

The next day we were joined by a few of the same people and a couple new ones for a conversation about Mutual Aid Networks and how that structure could be applied to help us all take our work farther. We talked with attendees about the MAN Up Summit in August and about pursuing further collaborations. We’re all excited to see what unfolds.

Immediately after the MAN discussion we hit the road to get a start on the drive to beautiful New IMG_5556Orleans. It’s 10 hours from St. Louis and we decided to stop near Memphis, so we could take a quick trip by Graceland in the morning just for fun.

Then we arrived in New Orleans just in time for the NOLA Timebank potluck that Gretchen Zalkind, NOLA TimeBank founder and coordinator, IMG_5565organized in conjunction with our visit. This was great! There were organizers of local cooperative businesses, our hosts at Conserve Our Resource Economy (CORE), people ready to engage in the neighborhood in new ways. We shared a lot of our experience with Allied Coop and had open discussion about how we could all take our work farther.

The next morning we visited BackstreetACC-backstreet-clubIMG_5589 IMG_5608Cultural Museum, one of my very favorite places and where I first learned of Mutual Aid    Societies and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, my inspiration for the cooperative savings and community investment pools piece of Mutual Aid Networks. I was really IMG_5596excited to take IMG_5598my fellow ACC leaders there so they could see the real deal, and think IMG_5601about how they want to apply it in their own lives and neighborhood. We got a great tour and learned a lot. Plus we had the good fortune to have a Jazz Funeral pass nearby while we were there. The museum guides went out with us to see it, and told us that jazz funerals welcome everyone to join in celebration of the life of the person about to be buried. It was very festive and very beautiful.

IMG_5617Later that day I left my cohorts to get some rest and hang out with a IMG_5627Louisiana-based friend while I went to meet Anna Boyer (part of NOLA Timebank also) at the C4Tech & Design Coop where she’s a worker owner. Very cool cooperative business begun in 2008, and I learned details about how it’s run that will really come in handy for our various MAN efforts. C4 Tech has three divisions – a computer repair shop that mainly caters to neighborhood residents (and resonates with a long-standing plan to work with our local Union Tech Coop to build computer repair capacity in Allied Drive). They have a website and graphic design department that works with businesses, non-profits, and eIMG_5620ducational institutions. And they have an IT support department that works with similar clients from around the world. Each division has a separate but overlapping budget and each division manages its own revenue itself, paying agreed-upon base wages and distributing a quarterly profit share.

We spent the rest of the evening seeing the sights of NOLA, then hit the road the next morning for the epic 15-hour drive home. I walked in my door at 2am. Good times!

And good thing we had this fun break, and learned so much about our potential. Because the Allied Coop is the only applicant for a $300K forgivable loan the city is offering to subsidize a grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood. The RFP they put out doesn’t completely match up with our vision and circumstances, but being the only applicant we’ll be in good shape to have some serious discussions with the City about how they could help us move forward with a neighborhood-grown and -owned project.

Thanks for reading this massive missive. More soon on continuing developments…

–Stephanie


MANning Up – from BALLE Conference in Phoenix to Allied Coop Field Trip to St. Louis and New Orleans

BALLEHello!

I’m writing from an airplane on my way back from aptly-named Phoenix Arizona.
Aptly named because the only other time I was in Phoenix, in the ‘90s, I thought it was nothing but hellacious sprawl. But this time I went for the BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Conference and experienced something completely different. I took a fast and cheap light rail train from the airport to a block from my hotel, and was immersed in a really vibrant, walkable, multi-modal transit-having (what envy I have!) sweet and friendly downtown. And I came to understand that this transformation has a lot to do with Local First Arizona, the hosts of this BALLE conference.

There’s a lot more to write about the conference and I bet lots of people will write it more eloquently. So I’m going to say a few highlights and then move on to other news…nola

First highlight that isn’t conference related but I just have to mention – I was just treated to a most spectacular view of beautiful craggy mountaintops as we flew over (maybe the Superstitions?). Always get a window seat!

The major highlight of the conference, besides the beautiful people I met and plan to keep in touch with, was its focus on equity. This morning I was moved to tears a few times, especially by Van Jones and Adrienne Maree Brown (I need to buy her book Octavia’s Brood).

I came to the conference to do a 5-minute presentation on Mutual Aid Networks during the Community Capital session. Then spent two 20-minute sessions going in-depth with those who wanted to talk with me. It was really cool. As often happens, I had a few notes of things I really wanted to say during my 5 minutes, then ended up saying completely different things. But it seemed to work out OK, and I made some very fruitful connections with people who seem likely to pilot and partner with us.

And now I’m on my way home, having left the conference slightly early because tomorrow my band Ladyscissors has an out-of-town show and then Sunday we leave for the Allied Community Coop learning and skill-share FIELD TRIP!!! I’m very excited.

stl_flyerFive leaders of the Allied Coop (4 board and 1 new staffer) will travel to St. Louis and New Orleans to learn and share about cooperatives, mutual aid networks, timebanking, mutual aid societies (African-American tradition of money-pooling for mutual support, pre-cursor to modern insurance which coopted the model for profit), and more. Including the Neighborhood College program that my friend Renee Marver helped run at the MORE Timebank in the 80s and 90s, the first modern timebank in the US.

All this is on the heels of last Friday’s soft launch of the Main MAN, our umbrella Mutual Aid Network. So we’re starting to get real. And it feels great!

I’ll sign off now to get a little rest in the midst of this whirlwind couple weeks, but I thank you for reading and look forward to sharing more later.

Time to get ready to shape and enjoy the beautiful new world we’re all working hard to create. I’m proud to know you!


Last reminder – tomorrow, 9am and 4pm CDT (Chicago time) – MAN soft launch web meetings

Hello

This is your friendly last-minute reminder to join us for either of two web meetings tomorrow, to learn where we are in development of Mutual Aid Networks, learn how you can become one of our very first members, and see how this might fit with your life and work. And if you can’t make it, don’t worry, there will be lots more opportunities to connect.

I’ve upped my gotomeeting capacity to accommodate up to 100 people so don’t be shy about inviting friends.

Thanks and hope to talk to you soon,

Stephanie

More details, and how to connect:

MAN-logo-sun-blueHello,

Please give a warm welcome to Mutual Aid Networks!

If all goes well (and we fully expect it will) we will be ready to soft launch the Main MAN on Friday June 5.

What does that mean? We’ll find out… but really what it means to soft launch is we’ll start accepting membership in the Main MAN cooperative, which is intended to become a global cooperative (but incorporated under Wisconsin, USA law and there is currently no international cooperative structure as far as I have learned). We expect the early members of the Main MAN to be people engaging in pilot Mutual Aid Network projects, supporters of peer-to-peer cooperative economics who would like to help experiment and shape this early on, and people engaging in related cooperative economic or community engagement activities.

We’re currently finalizing our bylaws and membership policies, which we’ll adopt on an interim basis until we formally open for membership, sign up some members and hold a general membership meeting in August. At that (held in Madison, Wisconsin, accessible online) general membership meeting we’ll elect our board and finalize our bylaws on a more permanent basis. So joining early gives you a chance to help shape those things before they become more established.

Basically, the idea is to create a social, legal, financial, and technological framework for us to come together to use the types of resource flow, pooling, and exchange that we espouse to actually facilitate our own success in our work to create a cooperative, equitable, human-scaled, regenerative economy. (was that enough adjectives?)

Friday June 5 we will hold two web meetings to introduce people to the Main MAN, which we aim to open for membership that day. Fingers crossed… (but we’ll hold these meetings to let you know exactly what’s up, whether we open up that day or a little later)

these are Chicago time, UTC -5:00

9am CDT

4pm CDT

I’m scheduling two to make it more likely you can access one. The content will be similar, but of course you’ll meet different people on each so feel free to join both.

And please rsvp by emailing me, so I know how many to expect.

If you can’t make it to these we’ll have more.

Looking forwarding to connecting with you.

Thanks!

Stephanie

Meetings access instructions (same for every meeting):

Mutual Aid Networks web meeting
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/381362061

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States : +1 (773) 945-1031

Access Code: 381-362-061

More phone numbers
Australia : +61 2 9087 3604
Austria : +43 (0) 7 2088 1399
Belgium : +32 (0) 28 93 7018
Canada : +1 (647) 497-9350
Denmark : +45 (0) 69 91 80 05
Finland : +358 (0) 931 58 1746
France : +33 (0) 170 950 593
Germany : +49 (0) 811 8899 6900
Ireland : +353 (0) 15 290 180
Italy : +39 0 699 26 68 58
Netherlands : +31 (0) 208 908 267
New Zealand : +64 (0) 9 442 7358
Norway : +47 21 54 32 44
Spain : +34 931 81 6668
Sweden : +46 (0) 853 527 835
Switzerland : +41 (0) 435 0167 07
United Kingdom : +44 (0) 20 3535 0611


MAN-a-thon! June 5, 2 web meetings to introduce the MAN

MAN-logo-sun-blueHello,

Please give a warm welcome to Mutual Aid Networks!

If all goes well (and we fully expect it will) we will be ready to soft launch the Main MAN on Friday June 5.

What does that mean? We’ll find out… but really what it means to soft launch is we’ll start accepting membership in the Main MAN cooperative, which is intended to become a global cooperative (but incorporated under Wisconsin, USA law and there is currently no international cooperative structure as far as I have learned). We expect the early members of the Main MAN to be people engaging in pilot Mutual Aid Network projects, supporters of peer-to-peer cooperative economics who would like to help experiment and shape this early on, and people engaging in related cooperative economic or community engagement activities.

We’re currently finalizing our bylaws and membership policies, which we’ll adopt on an interim basis until we formally open for membership, sign up some members and hold a general membership meeting in August. At that (held in Madison, Wisconsin, accessible online) general membership meeting we’ll elect our board and finalize our bylaws on a more permanent basis. So joining early gives you a chance to help shape those things before they become more established.

Basically, the idea is to create a social, legal, financial, and technological framework for us to come together to use the types of resource flow, pooling, and exchange that we espouse to actually facilitate our own success in our work to create a cooperative, equitable, human-scaled, regenerative economy. (was that enough adjectives?)

Friday June 5 we will hold two web meetings to introduce people to the Main MAN, which we aim to open for membership that day. Fingers crossed… (but we’ll hold these meetings to let you know exactly what’s up, whether we open up that day or a little later)

these are Chicago time, UTC -5:00

9am CDT

4pm CDT

I’m scheduling two to make it more likely you can access one. The content will be similar, but of course you’ll meet different people on each so feel free to join both.

And please rsvp by emailing me, so I know how many to expect.

If you can’t make it to these we’ll have more.

Looking forwarding to connecting with you.

Thanks!

Stephanie

Meetings access instructions (same for every meeting):

United States: +1 (773) 945-1031
Australia: +61 2 9087 3604
Austria: +43 (0) 7 2088 1399
Belgium: +32 (0) 28 93 7018
Canada: +1 (647) 497-9350
Denmark: +45 (0) 69 91 80 05
Finland: +358 (0) 931 58 1746
France: +33 (0) 170 950 593
Germany: +49 (0) 811 8899 6900
Ireland: +353 (0) 15 290 180
Italy: +39 0 699 26 68 58
Netherlands: +31 (0) 208 908 267
New Zealand: +64 (0) 9 442 7358
Norway: +47 21 54 32 44
Spain: +34 931 81 6668
Sweden: +46 (0) 853 527 835
Switzerland: +41 (0) 435 0167 07
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 20 3535 0611

Access Code: 381-362-061
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 381-362-061


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