Some say it was about time…
In 2015, the project that started as timeFTW has moved on to become The MAN (Mutual Aid Network) – and recently we have started to post updates on our new MAN website: http://www.mutualaidnetwork.org
If you had subcribed to our blog by email, you don’t have to do a thing, we migrated your subscription.
If however, you had previously followed us through your wordpress.com account, or do not know what any of this means, please enter your email again on our new website :)
This website will soon be discontinued altogether, so if you made bookmarks or links to it, please change them to our new website, too. All previous blogposts from the timeFTW site can now be found in the MAN archive.
See you on the MAN side/site, or if in doubt, just get in touch!
We held a Builders Workshop, the 20th in our 2 year (nearly-) monthly work and learn series, last Wed. January 28. The title was “Mutual Aid in Dane County and Beyond” and the focus was on how work in and around Dane County TimeBank is coalescing in ways that make us ripe to go granular, with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Care Teams helping to create more neighborhood-based systems of coordinated mutual aid, helping timebanking to fulfill its potential as part of a system of informal care and support. And the conditions in Dane County seem ripe for MANs to emerge out of several of these projects.
I began by presenting these slides to demonstrate the new developments here – including our partnership in the Brighter Futures, Early Intervention Program, and Homelessness Restorative Court Restorative Justice initiatives. Plus Allied Community Coop, our Capacity Building Care Team project in Sun Prairie, our medical transportation project, the time and talents of our wonderful DCTB members, and a host of current and potential partners. We discussed examples of connections already being made and then brainstormed new connections. We saw how N2N Care Teams could help current systems to flow better and also how forming Mutual Aid Networks could help to boost a few projects into new levels of effectiveness. An example of the latter – a group of people using timebanking to provide preventive wellness services to one another may now choose to form a MAN, under which they could create a savings pool where the money they save together can be available to members for their health insurance deductibles, clinical care, and other expenses not covered by insurance. This is an example of how a MAN can increase the resources available to a group. The group would have template agreements and help with governance and decision-making processes from the Main MAN umbrella cooperative.
The next steps for workshop follow-up are: Stephanie is sending an email with these notes, plus an invitation to the February 25 Builders Workshop where Kathy Perlow will present N2N Care Teams and the possibilities for her own health-focused MAN project in Pennsylvania, and how we can learn from each other as we develop similar projects. We’ll also invite participants into DCTB, its Front Yard Garden Project, the MAN email list, and MAN working groups.
Notes are here. And you can see the rough ideas discussed on the white board notes below.
As always, thanks for reading.
Builders Workshop #8: TimeBanking and Cooperatives: Better Together? — this was a really interesting and somewhat different Builders Workshop. We decided to maintain a pretty internal focus. I didn’t send a press release or encourage far-flung participation (although it was available – our only taker asked at a time that day that I wasn’t able to accommodate, unfortunately). Instead we encouraged partners in the Allied Community Coop and other local timebank members and participants to come to further our discussion of the coop itself, along with a possible energy project we’re exploring (more on that elsewhere in this blog and at http://buildftw.org)
We began with this slide presentation to give an overview of the timebank, cooperatives, and how those plus a few other cooperative economic tools might fit together to create a much more powerful system, both on an economic and a community level. Anne spoke about coops in general, Anne and John discussed the cooperative principles, and John gave a few examples including the Worcester Roots youth-led cooperative. We wanted to present a wide range of models, from social cooperatives to business cooperatives, incubators and job creators, small and scrappy to large and well-funded. We ended with Edge Brussel’s video from the Philippi West Virginia Solar Energy Cooperative New Vision. This project incorporates timebanking into their solar coop in really exciting ways. We’d love to incorporate some of their ideas and build on them to create our own unique model. This will also give us an opportunity to test out some of our ideas about Deploying TimeBanking for Human-Scaled Economic Development and share the results and resources with the rest of the world through http://buildftw.org.
After the presentation we began the discussion by going around the table, with about 20 participants including Michelle, Sina, Gloria, Barry and Susan from the Allied Community Coop, and identified the issues we wanted to discuss.
While planning the event Anne, John and I had guessed that we would break into discussion groups based on our geographic location and/or issue interest area (housing, energy, health care, education).
What we learned though, was that many of our participants were more interested in discussing healthy communication and work relationships, overcoming barriers and conflict, and providing avenues for harmonious and satisfying work situations. The group was about even in its desires to discuss these internal dynamics and, separately, to diagram what a timebanking-oriented cooperative might look like as applied to a particular need, in this case housing.
So we ended up with two groups, one focused on internal working dynamics and one focused on how we apply this design model to housing.
Interestingly, the housing group also ended up spending a fair amount of its time discussing power dynamics in case management relations and elsewhere, the complications of joint ownership and in establishing a common vision (or commonly tolerable?) for shared space, the need for challenging zoning laws, a need to establish a precedent for building very small, and the need to divorce our concepts of income and employment and to create a society that doesn’t require constant paid employment. In addition we talked about how we can use timebanking to facilitate the kinds of activities that a lot of people are able to do, how we can use community saving and lending to pool our community resources, and how we can engage a cooperative structure to leverage larger concentrations of resources.
The group focused on internal dynamics had a much more robust discussion than I can represent here, having been in the other group and not having access to their notes. But one result of that discussion was an identification of Non-Violent Communication training and practice as a very valuable resource, although one that requires time, attention and practice. They also acknowledged that we (collectively, broadly speaking) have a tendency to be reluctant to devote meeting time to these communication-oriented activities, because we have so many agenda items we want to cover. It was acknowledged that it’s worth spending the time and effort on the internal dynamics.
We adjourned with a plan to meet on Allied Drive for a more comprehensive Allied Community Coop discussion, and an invitation to Builders Workshop #9: TimeBanking and Community Justice, January 17.
One more step on our endlessly fascinating learning, doing and sharing journey. I look forward to seeing what this will bring!
Thanks for reading,
Builders Workshop #7: Healthy Community Economy Part II was a great wrap-up of our explorations, from the Healthy Community Economy Part I workshop as well as the intervening Economic Democracy Conference, of how multiple currency/cooperative economic models could work in concert to achieve powerful community goals. In the Economic Democracy Conference open space Action Summit session we applied this thinking to the outcome of food security.
In Builders Workshop #7 we applied similar thinking and modeling to the goal of reduced fossil fuel consumption.
We had 14 people in attendance. While smaller in number than other Builders Workshops, this group proved to be a perfect size and makeup for the work that we needed to do. I was particularly excited that David Boetcher, an IBEW electrician who co-presented (with Justice Castaneda of MIT Colabs and Chris Meyer of Sector67 co-working space) the New Approaches to Science and Industry workshop at the Economic Democracy Conference, attended and contributed his knowledge of energy systems, surrounding economies and potential partners.
First we gave a slide presentation that recapped and expanded on pieces from Healthy Community Economy Part I.
It’s shared here.
Then we decided to use a case study of a hypothetical community goal in order to see how we might apply different cooperative economic tools to different pieces of the systems we’d need to affect to achieve our desired outcome. The group chose reduced fossil fuel consumption as the focus area. This is what we came up with, sort of a general map of where each piece would be employed to corral various types of resources, finishing with people taking on pieces to research/explore potential partnerships. In the rough maps in the first and second slides M$ stands for Madison Hours and/or price-based mutual credit; T$ stands for timebank hours. The first map was the brainstorm, the second was an attempt to show some chronological representation of how you would develop the project.
As you’ll see from the third photo, we were blessed with participants who offered to carry some work forward! So some of us will be researching existing renewable energy/efficiency efforts, some will research JAK-style bank community saving and lending possibilities, some will be meeting with local businesses to pursue price-based mutual credit and Madison Hours possibilities, and some will be meeting to explore a potential energy project here in Madison.
Stay tuned for further developments…
And follow it all on Build For the World (and post your own projects there – we need to learn from each other!), http://buildftw.org
Thanks for reading,
In February we gave a presentation at the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies in Lyon, France. Here is video and our slideshow from that presentation. Let us know what you think! We continue to build on and advance on this work as part of the project.
It is best viewed full screen.
We are currently in Lyon for the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies. Here is our presentation. Let us know what you think. Please note, this is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Thank you.
Well the day has come – Stephanie and Marc are finally traveling to Lyon to present our paper at the Complementary Currencies conference, then to Tiocan to meet with other complementary currency folks to see what we can do together.
First, Our intention in going to Lyon is to learn all we can about what’s currently happening with complementary currencies, what’s happened in the past, and how we can use that knowledge to create a better future.
Second, and why we’re making the trip – we see an urgent need to ensure that timebanking and its values-based inclusive properties be included in our economic future. We’re big fans of lots of models of complementary currencies, but also recognize that most continue to focus on the kinds of exchanges that normally happen in the marketplace. That may continue to exclude or inadequately meet the needs of the core economic functions of caregiving, creativity and civic engagement. By joining forces with other complementary currency systems and actors, we can create something that is more effectively complementary – that makes room for all people in our economy and uses appropriate tools for appropriate exchanges.
For example, since caregiving is both abundant and widely needed, we want an abundant medium of exchange to facilitate needs being met. Timebanking is perfect for this. But storefront space in our downtown is scarce – so it stands to reason we would use a more competitive, price-based currency for conducting business activities in our cities to best allocate such a resource.
Third, we’re going to meet lots of people who have similar interests, with huge bases of knowledge that we haven’t yet learned of and lots of connections with others who share our goals.
After the main conference, there is a day for Complementary Currency actors and on this day we really expect to find some people to work with into the future, creating and maintaining an international learning community and identifying ways we can work together to create the systems and tools we need to succeed in creating a human-centered economy that values people and the planet.
Once the conference is over our work in Europe still continues…
Feb. 19 and 20 we’ll meet with more complementary currency actors near Geneva, in an action-oriented conference hosted by Matthew Slater of Community Forge. Once again we’ll have an even more in-depth opportunity to see what we have, what we need, and what we can do together to push our collective work out into the world.