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.
The start of my trip to the UK seems so long ago…
July 5 Lorrie Hurckes – friend, Ladyscissors bandmate, and Co-Director and Youth Court Coordinator of the Dane County TimeBank – and I set out for a nice little work/music/fun tour of the UK. The impetus for the trip was the Leading Wellbeing research festival hosted by the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at University of Cumbria in the Lake District. I was invited by event host Prof. Jem Bendell to present about Mutual Aid Networks and play some music. Of course! The event was great, as I’ll get to in due time, and was also a fine excuse to book a little UK tour.
It was great to have Lorrie with me. She presented a lot on our restorative justice Youth Courts and really inspired people, including many who have the capacity to make things happen in their locales (youth justice workers, local council members, organization representatives). And it was cool to have her recognized as the great leader and speaker that she is.
First stop was London. We just kicked around the first day and a half, then went to Lewisham to get together with Philippe Granger and timebankers from Rushey Green. Plus people from the council and the juvenile justice systems. Everyone was interested in restorative justice at each stop we made. Pretty cool.
Then we went to Milton Keynes to Anna Peters’ (we met when she was in Kent, Ohio on a learning tour of timebanks) teen center (well, it’s not Anna’s personally, but she does a lot to run the place, along with her amazing co-workers at Making a Difference), the Buszy. I’ve posted about this place before. Last time I visited, Matthew Slater and I helped Anna set up a timebank. Now it’s up and running solidly, the kids are using it, and the whole center just gets cooler with time. And we got to shop in the thrift store, which had exactly what I was looking for for stage clothes. Plus the guy who was working at the shop might get connected with a New York tour guide, through a timebank partnership.
After that, much fun with Anna and her friends/co-workers. We’ll be taking a trip to New Orleans together soon…
From there we drove to the southwest, to Totnes, where we’d been invited to stay with the wonderful Inez, and attend Three Acres and a Cow, a really cool performance described as “a history of land rights and protest in folk songs and story.” Going in I have to admit I thought it really might not be my kind of thing. But it was super cool. I learned a lot about the history of various forms of oppression, and effective resistance movements and how they worked. And part of the story was told through the songs people were using to communicate at the time. It ended up feeling extremely relevant to me in many ways, and the history lesson was a perfect early step in this trip.
And then of course Totnes is beautiful and old, and it’s very near a gorgeous seashore. We went to Blackpool Hills and it was absolutely lovely. The beach was made up of smooth little pebbles, each one beautiful on its own, and you can dig your body into it so it feels like a nice little massage as you lie in the sun. It was a perfect way to spend a warm sunny day. Afterward Inez hosted a potluck so we were able to meet many of the other cool people in Totnes too.
From there, Bath where we stayed with Carmen Smith, a PhD student who came to study DCTB for a month and has now finished her PhD which includes us, and which she presented at the Leading Wellbeing Festival (DCTB was well-represented there!)
We mainly relaxed and touristed around Bath. And then Carmen and I met with the director of Bath’s Time Bank Plus, which is doing great stuff. Like most other thriving timebanks I’ve visited, Time Bank Plus focuses a lot on group activities. We learned about their history and what they’re focused on now, and talked about ways the Mutual Aid Network structure could help timebanks with self-sustainability.
After a quick stop in Bristol just to marvel at the awesome street art, we headed to the Lake District for the research festival.
So, the Lake District… So much happened there and it feels like long ago. I’ll just write up the highlights (and not all of them, there were too many)
The place itself is stunningly beautiful. And serene. And the Leading Wellbeing Research Festival was really cool and inspiring. I’ve thought of it a lot as I plan the MAN Up summit.
We arrived on July 14 to have a little time to chill out and see friends. Leander Bindewald, who some of you know from when he was here working with Time for the World, or from New Economics Foundation, or from his help with Knit a Network, or various and sundry, has just moved up there to pursue a PhD at festival host Institute for Sustainable Leadership at University of Cumbria. He was one of the festival organizers alongside a team led by Prof. Jem Bendell.
Charles Eisenstein was a keynote speaker on Day One. There were excellent talks and panels throughout. As usual, I’m going to count on other people’s reports for detail (check out this blog) and I’m going to detail just the things I helped lead.
On July 16 I played a short set of music as part of the evening festivities, following the great Cate Ferris. Lorrie joined me on a few songs, which was really cool. I had the fortunate misfortune of having no drum available (apparently there are NO DRUMS in the Lake District!) so the sound guy suggested playing the podium. Brilliant. Worked like a charm. It was nice and loud with several different tones easily available, and a nice lip to contain the tambourine I was using as a cymbal. We used this set-up for To the Nines and Mama’s Little Baby. Very fun.
July 17 was my big work day. It started with a workshop that was structured as a half-hour conversation between me and Leander about the Dane County TimeBank and how its lessons can be applied globally. That was pretty easy! And fun.
Next Lorrie and I presented our paper, The Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex: We Can Do It! That was really cool. It was a bit intense to bring the kind of dark realities we were bringing into this particular setting that had so far focused on healthy trends in residential learning. But people were very receptive. And our paper ends on a pretty positive note, sketching an achievable way forward. The gist of the paper is that the US economy is built on exploited labor, and dependent on it intrinsically, with the prison-industrial complex and its many tentacles at the center. And that in order to dismantle it we need to take an approach, somewhat akin to a demilitarization/retooling/retraining campaign, that builds a new economy on precisely the work needed to dismantle it and to reintegrate its victims and perpetrators into a healthy society. If you can dream it you can do it.
Finally, I had the opportunity to serve on a panel about community well-being. This was a cool opportunity to address the whole group (other sessions were breakouts). And the group was quite diverse in perspective, from around the world – executives of large companies, owners of successful large-scale sustainable businesses, non-profit sector leaders, small community project leaders, academics, activists, radicals, consultants to corporations, managers looking to instill wellbeing in their corporations, film stars, music producers, hard core human rights lawyers, philanthropists, investors, etc etc etc.
For my 5-minute overview I talked about how timebanking applies to community well-being, especially by reducing social isolation but also by providing economic opportunities. In the ensuing discussion, with the other 3 panelists (Professor Margaret Ledwith (University of Cumbria), Chris Batten (Francis C Scott Trust), Kim Farr (Incredible Edible), we got to discuss topics ranging from small scale community garden projects to funding dysfunctions to poverty, capitalism, and the need for networks of mutual aid and support. I had some good opportunities to talk about Mutual Aid Networks and made some really valuable connections because of it.
Then work was done! And it was just fun for the next few days in the Lake District..
…and continued to be fun throughout our last stop, Hull.
Hull is a really cool city. And very old, first established as Hull in 1299 according to our tour guide, Steve. I’m not going to write much more about the city other than what we did there, just to finish this thing finally..
We were there at the invitation of Kate MacDonald, the wonderful coordinator of the Hull & East Riding TimeBank. Kate is exploring creating a MAN pilot site in Hull and organized some really great events for our stop.
First, we did a day-long workshop, first half on restorative justice and our Dane County TimeBank Youth Court program, and what elements could be useful in Hull. Second half was on Mutual Aid Networks. It was great. Notes are in these photos and I’ll type them up when I’m not organizing a big summit (sorry for the delay!)…. But in a nutshell, we had attendees from the local gov’t council, juvenile services, human service orgs, Hull Coin (a nascent city gov’t supported cryptocurrency for human service applications), the timebank of course, and much more. And they’ve decided to pursue a small group discussion about pursuing more restorative justice options and connecting them more closely with the timebank and other community partners, and to explore connecting the various exchange and sharing systems into an ecosystem, as we aim to do in Mutual Aid Networks. Hopefully they’ll become a pilot site!
After enjoying the rest of that day exploring the city, the next morning we went on the BBC Radio Humberside show with David Burns. It was a great opportunity to let more of the world know that many Americans resist the violence, racism, and institutional repression we’re witnessing here. And that many of us really dislike guns and their ubiquity! And we were able to talk about what’s working here locally, in the context of being the most disproportionate in an extremely disproportionate prison state. All in all it was a good show. You can listen here, we’re about an hour and 45 minutes in.
And last but not least, the rock show. Kate set up a show at the Adelphi, a super cool classic kind of rock and roll club. Awesome! I played with 2 really cool bands (Nick Rooke and and the crowd was really fun. Lorrie joined me for a few songs again, this time on a proper drum kit courtesy of a new timebank member. We played to the Nines, Down Down Down and Last Lucky Song. Great sound, great times!
After a celebratory last night, the next morning Lorrie and I drove our rental car
straight to Heathrow and got on the plane…
Whew! and that’s that. Done with this report just in time to get started on our MAN Up Summit…
Another quick one (while I continue to chip away at my UK report – I’m inclined to publish that in just one massive post, so those who want to know about the trip can just read it at their leisure and those who don’t want to don’t need to get several doses – but you can make suggestions to me if you like)
The MAN Up Summit is shaping up beautifully! Register today. Really, if you can swing a last-minute trip to Madison I think it’s worth coming in person. And you can join several sessions offline if that’s just not feasible.
Our main location is a really cool space and we’ll also get a chance to see more of Madison. By bus, bike (you can use DCTB members’ bikes for time credits, rent from B-Cycle or one of many local cycle shops), carpool (again courtesy of summit attendees and DCTB members). We’ll be weaving music into many of the events. Plus we’ll have some yoga, some natural vision improvement sessions, some outdoor sessions, some other things to appeal to mind, body and spirit. We’re creating space for people to offer and request skill shares from one another.
And the MAN Up simulation game is shaping up to be really fun. And The Yes Men are going to be featured at our launch party!
The people who are registering have already guaranteed that this will be a productive and rich event. Too much to mention here without writing yet another book of a blog.
Check out the still-evolving schedule here.
And hope to connect with you during the summit! August 20-28, right around the corner…
Thanks for reading,
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.
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
In 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!
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,
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 JusticePosted: 29 Jun, 2015
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 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 Macy’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 field 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 on 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 Orleans. 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, organized 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 Backstreet Cultural 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 excited to take my fellow ACC leaders there so they could see the real deal, and think about 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.
Later that day I left my cohorts to get some rest and hang out with a Louisiana-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 educational 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…