Our crowdfunding campaign starts Tuesday December 1 at 7am CST at generosity.com. Please be ready to help as soon as it starts! We need our friends to help plant seeds.
I’ll send another reminder with details, in time for you to take action.
I’m excited to share our new video with you! I’ve been working hard on it, with my friend Marina Kelly who’s earned a lot of timebank hours the last couple weeks… You’ll likely recognize some faces and voices, stay tuned…
And you’re welcome to start stocking up on MAN swag right away too, at http://www.cafepress.com/mutualaidnetworks – we’ll be adding more designs soon too!
Thanks for all your support. Things are getting exciting!
Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. Eek. Ick.
Let’s cash in!
We’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign for Mutual Aid Networks in time to cash in on Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, two of the newest holidays brought to you by late capitalism. For those of you not in the US or somehow otherwise blissfully ignorant of these things, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, known for violently enthusiastic shopping. Cyber Monday is about shopping online. And Giving Tuesday is about giving some of your leftover money to people trying to save themselves and others from the destructive effects of all the capitalism.
We’re ready to take the reins and make the new economy and what better way than to put some of that bizarro focus on how we spend our money to use in changing how all this works.
So get ready to open your wallets and email lists and help us get all the money we can into a system designed to chill all that out, and get us back to living life as humans rather than consumers.
Thanks for reading! Thanks for building with us!
I’m taking another detour from our previously scheduled series of updates (yes I still plan to share writing on the Impact Economy Summit from early October!) to share some milestones that have happened recently. All very exciting!
First, the Dane County TimeBank (DCTB), parent to Mutual Aid Networks, celebrated our 10th birthday with a wonderful party at Art In (location of the MAN Up Summit). We had a great turnout! Highlights were the cooperative cakewalk (each winner shared their cake just afterward, and we organized ourselves by which cake we wanted to eat which helped us meet new people), the timebank timeline that everyone added their own experiences to, the Stone Soup that Mary (our Board President) made from the various ingredients our members had suggested, and especially the singalong! Andrew Rohn (member of local disco heroes VO5, who knows every song ever written) accompanied us and we sang a lot. And it was a special treat that Murphy, manager of Maxine’s TimeBank Store, showed up with the other half of his Temptations duo and knocked our socks off with a bunch of classics.
This birthday, besides being the big 1-0, also marks a milestone as we embark on a transfer of leadership. I founded the Dane County TimeBank, then served as Director, then Co-Director with the great Lorrie Hurckes since about 2008. Beginning 2016 I will move into focusing on Mutual Aid Networks and MANning Up by also doing more music, community work, and other things I want to do and documenting how I use MANs and the resources they help us access in order to make a living. One part of what I’ll be doing is contracting for 10 hours a week with DCTB to continue working on our Restorative Justice efforts, on the opportunity- and partnership-building side of things. Lorrie will be at the helm, working with our great team of staff, board, and members to make the timebank even better in its coming years.
Mutual Aid Networks hit another milestone, with the formal acceptance of the initial seven MAN pilot sites. Super exciting! We’ll send a press release as soon as each pilot site feels ready to share their application publicly (revisions in progress).
And the first pilot sites are…
Allentown PA (health center), Bergnek South Africa (health infrastructure, working toward clinic), Providence RI (food access), Lansing MI (work re-design, mutual support), Waterville KS (health), and Allied Community Coop in Madison WI (food access and wellness). As I said, more detail coming soon..
But speaking of Allied Community Coop, we also got great news! Madison’s City Council approved the city budget last week, which includes $300,000 coming to Allied Coop to help us create a neighborhood-owned grocery store!!! A big job that will take a couple years to come to fruition, and meanwhile we’re working hard to establish a buying club and some transportation options to hold people over in the interim.
Last but certainly not least, the same city budget includes a little funding to continue the Homelessness Restorative Justice project we’ve just begun. In fact, we held our first circle yesterday and it was really cool. In a nutshell, homelessness is increasingly being criminalized in our city and some people are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for things like trespassing (sleeping outside where not allowed, which is virtually anywhere now), public urination, open intoxicants, etc. In this restorative justice project we have worked out a process where the City Attorney’s office can reduce fines or even dismiss cases provided the respondent works out an agreement (in a circle, as an equal participant) that will significantly reduce contact with the police. The partners in the project will work to support respondents meeting their needs with things like housing, mental health or AODA support if needed and desired, skill-building, employment-seeking, etc. And of course we’ll use the timebank as a resource both to build networks of support and to revamp the economy that’s driving us toward homelessness and criminalization.
That’s all for now, but it certainly feels like a lot.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. One thing I forgot to mention – tomorrow (Wed Nov 18) morning 10amCST is the next installment of the MAN Online learning series, where we’re working through our work/life descriptions and robust budgets, building the tools for them as we stumble through creating our own. Join us!
This is a quick post, first to let you know that in about 15 minutes we have our next online learning session, on Robust Budgeting and Work/Life Design. We’ll host at least one to three more sessions on this topic, to build better tools to support us in this work and also to really learn how we’ll apply these methods to improving our own lives. More information and meeting access instructions here.
Alas, I didn’t get to go to Brazil for this conference as I’d planned for the last year, but the MAN was well-represented at the 3rd International Conference on Complementary Currencies
And our paper is here.
That’s all for now but only because we’re too busy making things to report to spend much time reporting them right now… Stay tuned for more soon!
As some of you know, I made an attempt to do an east coast tour in late September, which was cut short by an opportunity to head to British Columbia for the Impact Economy Summit. I’ll write a separate post on that but for now, a report on the eastward jaunt…
Well, first I’ll back up to the Monday before I left, September 21, when the Community Response Team held a panel meeting to address the problem of police shootings in our neighborhood. It’s relevant here because action like this factors into our ideas about a Mutual Aid Network for the Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex. You can read more about that here.
A few days later I drove to Yellow Springs Ohio where I was asked to present a workshop on timebanking and Mutual Aid Networks at the Arthur Morgan Institute’s Community Solutions conference, Climate Crisis Solutions: Tools for Transition.
Saturday morning Kat Walter and I did a workshop to show how timebanking can work and then brainstorm about local applications.
After that I headed to my sister Gwynne and niece Ariel’s house in Dayton. I visited the great arts magnet school where Gwynne teaches art, Stivers, Gwynne and I watched the blood moon eclipse from her back deck, we all chatted about Ariel’s really cool ideas about how to use timebanking to help bring a grocery store to a food desert, and had a good and relaxing time.
I went back to Yellow Springs on September 29 to do a workshop on Mutual Aid Networks. That was cool. We mainly focused on how to start timebanking effectively, how we can apply it to solve problems or build community capacity, and how the framework of Mutual Aid Networks can take it all farther. And my sister generously offered to help me with drawing in the future… :)
That evening I drove to my parents’ house in Akron and had a short but sweet visit with them the next day.
Then jaunted to Kent to have dinner with the wonderful Abby Greer of Crooked River Alliance of TimeBanks. Then played a show the TimeBank hosted at the Stone Tavern. That was tons of fun! and I somehow failed to take any pictures there…
Next day drove 7 hours to New York to play a show at Caffe Vivaldi. On a beautiful grand piano. A really cool crew showed up including Alessandra whom I’d recently met at Giftival in Rome, Mashi Blech the timebank goddess of NYC, Eric and Annie who had come to the MAN Up summit, dear old friends Tracy and Sabrina and Ignacio (new old friend), friends of friends and a handful of strangers (or whatever the kids are calling them these days).
I stayed up late with Sabrina, then got up the next day to drive 2 hours to see Kathy Perlow, Hasshan and Janelle of the Lehigh Valley MAN pilot. I got to hear Hasshan and Janelle’s vision for building this wellness and justice-oriented community capacity development project, based in a federally qualified health center. It’s really cool! You’ll get a chance to learn more about it soon as we bring all our pilot sites online in a visible way, coming soon (November).
After that I drove as quickly as I could back across the country to Chicago, where I got to see my great friends Ann, Barry and Hannah, and see the play they’ve all been working on, MERCHILD, at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. See it this weekend (last chance!) if you live anywhere near there! Very powerful.
and flew out early the next morning for Whistler, British Columbia, for the Impact Economy Summit. Which I’ll write about next…
It was a very rich and rewarding couple weeks at the MAN Up Summit. I’m going to be writing a lot about it, starting at this blog then extending into the paper I’ll present at the 3rd International Complementary Currencies conference in Brazil. We’ll post useful notes and video at http://mutualaidnetwork.org. But meanwhile I’m writing up my own perspectives and recollections, just a brief bit on most parts of the summit. I know I’ll leave some out though. Be sure to sign up for the facebook group if you do that kind of thing, and check in at the MAN website for more perspectives and documentation.
Dinner and music at Jennie Capellaro’s on evening 1- delicious food by Green Owl Cafe owner Jennie Capellaro, served in her lovely backyard, and wonderful music by Duluth musician Mary Bue, playing on Jennie’s upright piano and scrappy guitar. Beautiful, intimate, joyful. All of it.
Funders’ circle – morning of day 2, brought a delightfully surprising mix of funders current and future plus young activists with mad skills, great ideas of how to put them to work, and very little opportunity (with big debt) in the current economy. We found some good ways to connect in both securing resources for our work in the current paradigm and partnering with funders/philanthropists to co-create a new paradigm that works better for all of us. Invitation to voluntary, joyful redistribution of wealth part I.
After a beautiful Friday evening of a community justice-themed picnic in the park, food provided by the fantastic Cafe Costa Rica, many of us retired to the pier to watch the sunset. One of many moments appreciating the opportunity to host people in my lovely home city. While talking about how we’ll change what’s very unlovely about it, its systemic racism and oppressive criminal justice system.
And on the topic at hand – we were joined by a crew of 9 amazing activists from St. Louis, including old friends and new. The great Julia Ho (of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, among others) really pulled things together to make this trip happen for several people, and all of our St. Louis guests had a lot to share with us about their work for justice in their own community. We have lots of ways to build on each other’s work and support each other in the creative destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex. Along with other partners around the country.
Sociocracy! I can’t say enough good about our Sociocracy 3.0 workshops with James Priest. I won’t say much about them here because they’re going to be the best-documented of all of the MAN Up summit, in the works now. But Sociocracy looks to me to be a super practical way to build really good work and communication flow and governance into any group process. I look forward to using what we’ve learned to shape our work. It’s already clarified things enormously and the bits we’ve used so far have been delightful.
Sociocracy! … like I said…
Fractal organization – this was part of the Sociocracy training and we used the principles James introduced to figure out how to shape the work of MANs, the relationship of pilot sites to the Main MAN, the operations and governance processes for it all… (my first inarticulate stab at a summary, more to come of course…)
The food organizers and cooking team! As is often the case, I left food out of my worldview in terms of planning for this summit. But because I’ve lived in timebankland for the last 10 years, I had faith that people would step up and make something beautiful happen. And they did! First, Lora Garrett appeared in MAN web meetings beginning a couple months ago, which is when I learned that she lives here in Madison and wants to help build the MANs. She stepped up in a million ways, organizing food carts to come out, catering our Burrows Park event with her and her husband’s awesome food cart, Cafe Costa Rica, managing a bunch of logistics. And she lined up the FEED kitchen for a location for cooking our food.
Then we asked for a cooking team and the most wonderful people stepped up. And Sue Hessel jumped in the coordinate the work. They fed us delicious feasts for three full meals plus snacks for our launch party, and cakes for the Allied Coop’s first birthday celebration. It was incredible! All in all we spent about $550 on ingredients for all these feasts. Pretty amazing, and demonstrating our power to become less dependent on money through cooperation. Oh, and the team baked 3 delicious cakes for the Allied Coop Birthday party!
Allied Coop workshop and party! And field trip report!!! As you may know from reading this blog, the Allied Community Coop is really one of the parents of Mutual Aid Networks, as the first vision of using timebanking to help ‘grow’ a pool of shared money that would support collectively-owned resources (a van) was born when we created the vision for PowerTime II. Now Allied Coop is a going concern, we’ve put PowerTime II on hold while we work toward making a neighborhood-owned and -operated grocery and resource center, while taking steps to ameliorate the food emergency in the meantime. This event was an Art of Hosting workshop with Lina Cramer and Renee Haynie-Jackson, followed by a celebration of Allied Coop’s first birthday. We also had a lovely short session of stress-reduction breathing and light chair yoga with Mary Bue. Plus a report on the field trip we took in June to St. Louis and New Orleans! It was great to be joined by a few of the people we visited in St. Louis, who were here for the summit. And the sparkle when LaVern, Sina, Gloria and Cassandra reported on all the learning and fun we had! We gave out Mardi Gras beads, ate cake, and learned about the original Mutual Aid Societies, the African-American tradition that the private insurance industry has worked to coopt and destroy, and which we’ll help to revive within MANs. Plus reports on our restorative justice conversations with the St. Louis people, learning from the Patch timebank store there, new timebank ideas from New Orleans, and new MAN ideas in both places.
Monday August 24, at the great High Noon Saloon — our big MAN Launch Party with The Yes Men!!! They were hilarious as always, and showed clips from their new film The Yes Men Are Revolting. And Bayo Akomolafe, our great advisory board member from Nigeria by way of India, really moved people with his talk. As did the short stories about what various pilots (Hull, Lansing, Providence, Allied Coop!) are doing, and all the musicians – Wendy Schneider, Shawn Neary, Cat Capellaro and Andrew Rohn, Hanah Jon Taylor, and me. It was quite an extravaganza. And a very special treat to have The Yes Men, long-time heroes of mine, up on stage talking about the MAN like a thing that actually exists. Because it does!
On August 25 we had our 3-hour Savings Pool workshop. Guests Stephen Hinton of the JAK Bank in Sweden and Phil Stevens of New Zealand’s Savings Pools, plus Janelle Orsi of Sustainable Economies Law Center dug deep with us to help us learn the possibilities community savings pools can create. Janelle helped us understand what laws we need to pay attention to, navigate around, work to change. We’re up for it! Plus cooperative legal structures go a long way… more on that later…
The savings pool session was followed by our Robust Budgeting and Work/Life Description workshop. I decided to use myself and my own real life as the case study. Because I’m really going to be doing this! This was somewhat shockingly cool, so reassuring, so exciting, so freaky… First off it was great to get help making a budget, because I hate to do it or think about it. And I’m not always that realistic and my good friend, bandmate, and DCTB Co-Director Lorrie Hurckes was there to give friendly reality checks… But then we easily saw how I could, while doing exactly what I want to do with my time, cut my money expenses by 37% and end up with a surplus of timebank hours (that I can easily allocate to getting help with music booking and promotion, which would help my other kinds of income) with resources that can be readily available within the coming year. This is super cool. We’ll be doing more of this together, most likely as the continuation of our online learning series. (Sign up on our mail chimp list or keep checking back to see how to join)
Wednesday we did a software development, cooperation, team-building, capacity-building workshop in the afternoon. Julien showed us around Wezer and we talked about how it works now, how we aim to make it work, how we will connect it with other tools and exchanges systems to create a well-functioning and resilient network. Exciting!
Thursday August 27 was The Main MAN’s first ever General membership meeting and John Rogers showed up! And joined the Board!! Along with these other fabulous folks.
Then we spent more time working with James in open space, getting into the nitty gritty about how we’ll operate. What a wonderful opportunity to have him with as as we stumble through our learning curves. I’m really looking forward to honing our skills and seeing how well we can use this to be a super well-functioning team. Of super well-functioning teams. etc.
The last day, Friday August 28, we had the great treat and very well-timed workshop on Coop Law – how we can apply it to meet our goals. We’re really lucky to have good cooperative law here in Wisconsin, and great people to help us with it. David Sparer, the wonderful lawyer who has helped us with bylaws and vision for the Allied Community Coop and the Main MAN, has decades of experience in the field of coop law and helped to found the Willy St. Coop (incorporated at the same address as the Main MAN, DCTB, and Madison Hours by the way. And you might recognize the Willy St. Coop as our super-supportive partner for the Allied Coop, helping us establish our buying club and work toward a grocery store). David joined us, along with Anne Reynolds of the UW Center for Cooperatives, another great supporter, adviser and helper to us and the Allied Coop. We talked through our goals and how we can apply coop law to meet them. Organizing as cooperatives helps us accomplish some of the wealth-sharing and wealth-transfer goals that we have while keeping us out of things like banking and insurance regulation. More detail at the website as we write things up and edit video. But the long and short of it is, we’re all systems go. And one other cool thing: Wisconsin has great coop law but many states and countries don’t. We learned that as MANs spin up in places without coop law, they can either incorporate as a basic LLC in their state, commit to cooperative principles, and call themselves coops. Or they can incorporate in Wisconsin and operate under Wisconsin law. I got kind of excited about the possibility of becoming the Delaware of Coops!! (in case you don’t know, Delaware has low corporate taxes and tons of businesses incorporate there. One street address is home to 285,000 corporations! I generally like the idea of coopting these kinds of things, why do you think we call it The MAN?)
We closed with a harvest of the summit, and next steps. And a nice little cheer – Let’s rock! Then we went (those who didn’t have a plane to catch) and danced in the rain to a reunion of one of my favorite old-time (well, early 90s) Madison bands (Bootyfroot) at one of my favorite neighborhood festivals (Orton Park), made more pleasantly lightly-attended (it’s generally a zoo) by the nice warm rain. Ahhh…
It was definitely a highlight to be able to host people here and show them what’s great about my city. And of course the biggest highlight was every single person who came to each of the events. They were all better attended than I expected and the enthusiasm and depth of participation was beautiful.
And most of all, it feels like we’re going out into the world as a team of people well-connected with each other, well-grounded in shared philosophy and practice, with a clear commitment to working through our learning curves together, supporting each other to do the best work we can. All in the spirit of Mutual Aid Networks, creating means for everyone to discover and succeed in work they want to do, with the support of their community. Starting with us!
MAN Up Summit is going great so far, and you can still be part of it!
We have a few added online sessions, plus here’s a friendly reminder about this first one which was always intended to be online – all times CDT:
12pm – 3pm Community Savings/Investment workshop – featuring (via web) Stephen Hinton of Sweden’s JAK Bank, Phil Stevens of New Zealand Living Economies, Janelle Orsi from Sustainable Economies Law Center. — Art In, 1444 E. Washington – available online SB TB
3:30-6pm Skill shares – Robust Budgeting, Work/Life Design, others by offer or request — Art In, 1444 E. Washington – available online SB TB
1pm – 5pm Software – building tools that work for us — with Bob Haugen, Lynn Foster, Matthew Slater, Julien Dussart Art In, 1444 E. Washington and nearby locations – available online TB
And by the way, the summit is amazing so far. Including but not limited to last night’s fabulous party at the High Noon with The Yes Men, Bayo Akomolafe, a bunch of great pilot site leaders sharing a tiny bit of their vision with us, music by Wendy Schneider, Shawn Neary, Hanah Jon Taylor, Cat Capellaro and Andrew Rohn (of VO5 etc), and me. Indescribably awesome. So many of my favorite people were there, from all over the world. And others in spirit and missed, of course.
- Please read this paper-in-progress as background to our Community Justice discussions.
- Check out the still-evolving summit schedule here.
- Contribute here — and then pass it on to your friends with a personal note asking them to help.
Want to help out? You can be part of the cooking team, or provide rides, help with facilitation, help make the MAN Up simulation game, or offer skill shares in your areas of strength.
One of the major aims of the summit is to play with how these resource flows can work in real life. We’ll do that by exchanging different types of credits for the work we each put into making the summit happen. And we’ll log those credits in the Main MAN and/or various local exchanges as that makes sense. Feel free to suggest ways to experiment with this.
And last but not least, our first General Membership Meeting of the Main MAN will be Thursday August 27, 9:30-12:30 CDT. Please join us! This is available to join online so geography is no barrier…
And here is your packet to be prepared for that meeting.