Friends

Call For Presenters: Twin Oaks Communities Conference

Paxus - Tue, 01/05/2018 - 17:58

May is the month when the organizers for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference ask people to think about Labor Day weekend.  Specifically, we ask people what types of workshops they might be interested in offering at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC).  These come in two broad types.

Fixed Time Workshops:  This is the collection of 16 (or sometimes 20) workshops which are selected in advance and are all relating to intentional communities.  We are exploring different themes and it is likely we will choose a couple of them.  If you are interested in presenting on an intentional community related topic we would encourage you to submit this workshop proposal form.  The deadline for proposals is May 31st.  These workshops happen Saturday, Sept 1st and Sunday morning. Workshop presenters who are selected for these fixed time slots will get their registration fee waived.  And if you are coming from NYC metro area (or south of there) you might be able to come on our totally groovy bus.

Wolf’s Magic Bus is coming to TOCC

Open Space Technology Workshop:  There are way too many clever and interesting people at the TOCC to not provide a forum for them to demonstrate or propose their own workshop even if it has little or nothing to do with community.  The problem (from an organizers perspective) is which ones do you choose?  Fortunately, this problem has been well worked by others and there is a democratic, self selecting mechanism called Open Space Technology.  These workshops are giving Sunday (Sept 2) midday into the afternoon and typically we do between 10 and 20 workshops ranging in size from 25 participants (like at a urban squatting or polyamory workshop) to just a couple of excited participants (bird watching or Python blockchain programming).

Jenny from Compersia will facilitate scheduling this years Open Space Workshops

Even if you don’t want to offer any workshop there are three types of people who might want to come to this annual event, which often has over 150 participants and 40 plus communities represented:

  1. You want to find an intentional community to move into
  2. You are starting a community with friends
  3. You live in a community and are looking for new members

If any of these three things is true for you, then you can register for this event here.  If you want to see who is already coming and who is interested go to the Facebook event (35 attending and 215 interested so far (May 1), and we have just started our outreach).

 

Categories: Friends

MIT Workshop March 15 of Climate and Communes

Paxus - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 15:31

Feeling helpless and hopeless about climate disruption?  Some of the most powerful solutions are in places most people are not looking.

In 1985, Amory Lovins wrote the ground breaking article, “Saving Gigabucks with Negawatts,” where he argued that utility customers don’t want kilowatt-hours of electricity; they want energy services such as hot showers, cold beer, lit rooms, and spinning shafts, which can come more cheaply if electricity is used more efficiently.  Intentional communities and especially income sharing communes can use a similar approach to reducing their carbon footprint.

Same services, less electricity

You can think of communities and climate in a way similar to negawatts.  People living in community don’t really care if they own a car or bicycle or set of clothing.  What they want are transportation services and clothing services. If these can be provided more efficiently than through personal ownership then their needs are met.  This is where radical sharing comes in and changes the entire climate discussion.

access > ownership (shared bikes at Twin Oaks)

If you are in the Boston/Cambridge area this Thursday, please come to the MIT campus and come to our workshop (Facebook RSVP) on the techniques and philosophies which help these communities reduce their carbon footprint by 80%

MIT Campus 70 Memorial Dr Room E51-145, , Cambridge, MA 02142 – 7 to 9 PM

If you are not on Facebook, but wish to attend please let us know at paxus @ twinoaks.org

Categories: Friends

Gossip is the Fabric of Community

Paxus - Tue, 20/02/2018 - 13:39

I co-moderate a large diverse facebook group on intentional communities.  Recently someone posted:

Gossip gets embellished as it travels. Things heard second hand should be verified with the speaker. Beware words taken out of context, even if the context is the room next door. Good communities practice all that.

While this is true as far as it goes, it misses the tremendous complexity around the issue of gossip and how important it is to both the culture and success of a community venture.

What is gossip?  It is certainly more than an opinion expressed about someone who is not in the room.  “Trump is a misogynist racist,” isn’t gossip, unless you are close to him.  It is just an opinion.  “Cindy is gifted at fixing cars,” almost certainly does not qualify either, as most people think gossip is a negative opinion.

“Paxus is a poor driver.” What if this is something I have said myself and you are simply repeating it?  Is it gossip if the target is the source?

 

They did what?

Let me propose a harsher definition: Gossip is a critical judgment shared about a person or group, often in conspiratorial or secretive tones, while not directly communicating with the subject of the gossip.

Using this definition one might reasonably be concerned that gossip would have an acidic effect on the fabric of the community.  One of the common anti-gossip norms that exist in the communes is if you hear something critical about someone you could ask, “Have you told this to them?”  This is the antidote to gossip; being transparent with the subject of the rumor.

 

Back in the 80s, as I was just becoming aware of community living, when I was making a critical comment about gossip, my dear friend and mentor Crystal replied “Gossip is the fabric of the community,” and it took me a couple of decades to understand what he was talking about.

Even when using the negative it turns out gossip is important for a community to be healthy.  Members need to confide in confidants about their frustration with others in the community.  Ideally, this is less about spreading rumors and more about seeking advice.  “How do I deal with this headachy circumstance?”  or “Do you understand their motivations for this strange behavior?” or “I was so upset and they were clueless, what is really happening here?”

In the best light, gossip is the flow of self-critical and self-correcting messages which members share in the lead up to actually addressing the problems.  [Where the “self” here is the larger collective one, rather than the individual personal one.]  You talk about things which are on your mind with the people who you live with and they help you reflect back on what you should do about it.  Recognizing that if you are being critical of another member of your community, you are obligated to get back to them with your concern.

In this way, gossip within a community is different from what happens in the mainstream.  If I am being critical or concerned about another member, I have a larger obligation to do something about it than I do if it is a co-worker or random stranger.  If you have a substance abuse problem and we live collectively, not only can it blow back on me in a problematic way, but I have made some level of commitment to take care of you.  If we are part of the same intentional community and I am worried about your mental health, I can’t casually gripe about it to another member, we have to be considering what our course of action is regarding this problem.  Even less dramatic problems other members are experiencing like a poor choice of romantic partners or headache with a boss are much more shared in a community setting than when living independently.  Gossip in community has more obligation to it.

It is worth pointing out that Twin Oaks does not embrace this culture.  In my large commune, if you don’t want to deal with someone you can completely shut down communication with them.  This is terrible for clearing gossip but might make it possible for some people who really do not see eye to eye to be able to live together.  And because the community is so large these estranged members (including me) just try to avoid each other.

It is worth pointing out that when ex-Oakers founded Acorn with financial assistance from Twin Oaks, this was one of the most important things they wanted to do differently.  Acorn (and many other communes) have a communication covenant which makes it the community’s business when members are failing to communicate.  When you are designing communities one of the thorniest issues is when do you give power to the collective over the individual members.  And gossip is one of the few places you should seriously consider it.

 

 

 

Categories: Friends

Secret for a Day

Paxus - Wed, 14/02/2018 - 08:35

The morning after the super bowl more than half of Twin Oaks woke up without knowing who won the big game.  You might correctly assume that since these people live in this egalitarian, rural, income sharing ecovillage commune they might not prioritize this national event.  But this is not the whole story.  Quite a number of these members who don’t know the result are actually very excited about the game and are looking forward to watching it.  Let me explain further.

Twin Oaks has a long-standing “no live television” norm.  There is no place in the community that you can just flick a switch and suddenly view broadcast television (or even live cable television).  There is, however, a whole subculture of television and cable watching members, who draw from our huge archive instead of watching things live.

Apparently, it was here

But sports are somehow different.  People mostly want to watch sporting events as they are actually happening.  I’ve never completely understood this. I will leave it to some sports enthusiast to enlighten me as to why this is important.  And Oakers want to watch the Super Bowl; they want to watch it in their home, they want to watch it with a bunch of other Oakers.  So to get all of these things a few years back we stumbled onto a solution.  Watch the Super Bowl a day later.

 

Tell no one

 

This clever fix has its own problems and at the top of the list is that there are a couple of dozen Oakers who do not want to wait. They visit outside friends or nearby communes which don’t have such restrictive norms around the television.  And basically, the whole rest of the community agrees that they have to keep the game a secret for one day and especially not say who wins.

Is TV a social toxin?

 

Back in 2004, we were less into sports.  I remember walking into the Morningstar kitchen and asking the dozen assembled people “If I were to say ‘Janet Jackson’s left breast‘ how many of you would know what I was talking about?”  No one did.  Perhaps I got lucky that morning, perhaps the commune has become more accepting of major sports events.

 

 

Categories: Friends

Stepping Stone Commune

Paxus - Mon, 05/02/2018 - 07:35

 

Architecture shapes culture, so a guiding principle of Cambia is, if we can make it beautiful, we do.  Architecture is unique as an art form because it integrates function with form. This includes landscaping and outdoor play spaces.

Stepping stones are interesting because they have multiple functions; for example. they can protect clover, especially in the winter. The form also affects our local culture: when you walk on stepping stones, you are called to a child-like stance.

You can walk with your hands hanging down by your sides, and what tends to happen is that your arms raise up to maintain your balance.  The stepping stones can draw you into being playful and childlike.  As your hands go up, you are more likely to skip and as you start to skip, you are more likely to smile.

Kelpie, Sappho and some big nose guy on Trampoline with snow

Cambia also boasts a trampoline.  The trampoline draws kids from the surrounding communes.  We recently replaced our broken one, in an assembly effort which was guided by a gaggle of giggly kids.

The German modern architect Mies van der Rohe is famous for two sayings, both of which are applicable.  “Less is more” is the argument for minimalist architecture to achieve simplicity, using white elements, cold lighting, large space with minimum objects and furniture.

One of Mies’s iconic creation.

The second aphorism is “God is in the details“, expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly because details are important.

 

Cambia is a handcrafted commune, in sharp contrast to the grandmother commune, Twin Oaks, just down the road.  Twin Oaks is a large place which includes industrial spaces, warehouses, tofu production facilities, rope machines, gang drills, and sawmills.  All the spaces are closer and on a more human scale at Cambia.  Some of the art is tiny and temporary.

Ella sorts seeds into a mandala

Handcrafted means focusing on details: doorknobs from twisted branches, floors of pebbles and clay, tiny signposts, salvaged redwood around the hot tub and hyacinth pool.  It is these and dozens of other tiny aspects that makes this stepping stone commune so precious.

 

Other Blog Posts about Cambia:

Categories: Friends

Every gift is an obligation

Paxus - Sun, 28/01/2018 - 00:29

I’m lucky. My upbringing was affluent and comfortable and basically trauma free. I come from an advantaged class background. I am white and male in a world which has been designed to privilege these attributes. I have a low maintenance body and fairly good genes. I went to fancy schools and learned how to play some of the games which support the existing power structures and inequitable distribution of wealth.

So if one cares about fairness, how do you justify this unfair advantage? Some of my peers, like Sara, do anti-oppression work. Decoding their class privilege, calling out racism, classism and sexism where they see it. I’ve done a small amount of this work, but it is hardly my focus. And sadly, I am aware because of regular mistakes, I am still not getting this stuff.

Instead what I try to do is to look at this set of gifts as set of obligations. If I have been lucky, much of my work should be focused on giving back to others. Early on this drew me to activism. I selected anti-nuclear activism because it requires a certain unlikely combination of attributes. You need to be able to argue with people who come from these advantaged class backgrounds about technical and financial things. You need to be able to pour energy into long campaigns, which you are almost certain to lose and then you need to not get discouraged and keep on doing it, and even encourage others to join you.

One of my gifts is optimism. It is easy to have it, given my background. And the obligation (in my thinking) around this gift is taking on nearly hopeless causes. Not because you want to waste your time, but because there is social and cultural value to fighting the good fight in a world where the bad guys often win.

Some of the Point A folks went to NYC recently. It was quite an educational trip for me. And at first on it I was quite discouraged. If seemed like the idea of starting urban income sharing communities was nearly impossible.

On one hand you had the real estate developers. Especially in New York City, real estate prices are so out of control this often unsavory profession takes on especially monstrous dimensions. They have money to invest, tremendous motivation and their eyes everywhere for a bargain or opportunity.

On the other side you have the ugly force of gentrification. This is where often well meaning folks looking for inexpensive space inside the urban environment set up their artist’s lofts in economically disadvantaged areas, only to make these areas desirable and trendy. This in turn raises property values and ultimately they get themselves and, more importantly, their poor neighbors kicked out by the real estate developers described above.

I did not see a way around these vexing forces when we started talking with folks about the Point A project. And while I am nothing like confident we can figure this out, I am now feeling more optimistic about doing something we can be excited by and proud of.

[This was written over 3 years ago, since then the Point A project has made quite some progress in finding real anti-gentrification allies.  More on this in my next post.]

Categories: Friends

i make what you make [fiction]

Paxus - Thu, 25/01/2018 - 11:50

It started as a revolutionary coaching service. The PANYC project was going from Virginia to NYC almost every month and there was a desire to offset the costs of this travel by having regular Virginia based PANYC staff do things in the city which generated income and ideally which were portable. Ogtar had the idea first. He placed an ad on Craigslist which said approximately:

Revolutionary Coaching Advice $100/hour. What is it that you really want to do with your life? How do you move out of your current rut and into a trajectory which gets you where you really want to be going? Fill out this short, simple survey on RevolutionaryCoaching.Com and we will give you one on one, face to face advice on how to get there. First hour is free.

The first hour free part nearly bankrupted him. Applications flooded in. Because Ogtar wanted to do a good job, he had to do a lot of prep work for before the first meeting. This would include, of course, reading the client’s applications, but Ogtar would take it much further. He would research their stated desires, studying their personalities online (facebook stalking and the like), and even develop an understanding of the areas and topics the clients were excited about. All this before meeting them. He was usually several hours in before he gave away the first hour.

Then Max came along. Max was a development banker on Wall St and made obscene money. Max was very bright and very stuck. His relationships did not work, his work felt like a grind, he had manic tendencies which were lurking at the edge of his event horizon, he did not know what to do. A friend of Max had had an amazing session with Ogtar, who was unusually good at giving people advice that seemed both appropriate and daring. Max’s friend recommended Ogtar to Max and they hit it off famously. It might have been the mutual affinity for strange dystopia comic books or perhaps some slightly kinky anime style. Whatever it was, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Ogtar helped Max unravel his troubled romantic life. Ogtar coached Max into ditching his job and getting one with fewer hours, one which was still challenging and did not have the values mismatch of development banking. Most importantly, Max could feel the danger of madness receding the longer he worked with Ogtar. The two of them talked philosophy daily.

One day Max cut an unusually large check to Ogtar. “I did not work this number of hours,” Ogtar protested.

“I calculated it in a different way,” replied Max. “It is what I would have been paid for that number of hours. I don’t have any good reason to compensate you less than I am paid.” And with this dangerous thinking a bit of a movement was born.

Of course the idea of equal compensation for people based on time is neither novel or new.  But the right combination of social media and interesting initial offerings, combined with existing well developed barter and peer to peer services and imakewhatumake.com was a huge hit.  Some doctors, nurses and nutritionists stepped in and provided health services for a fraction of their total work time to cover especially acute health needs.  Other trained professionals from plumbers to lawyers were quickly followed by a myriad of other workers.

There were offshoots, groups which took the name in a different and literal sense, in which cross training and extensive wiki-knowledge bases permitted people to share skills and physically manifest the same thing that someone else in the network could train them to do.

Designed to make it easy to take care of workers and project cooperators, the software naturally formed union like organizations which were short on rhetoric and long on organizing results. Soon imakewhatumake.com was banging on the doors of organizations which had historically treated their workers ill.

 

Categories: Friends

Rent a room in NYC commune

Paxus - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 18:33
Cotyledon is the newest income-sharing commune aspiring to be part of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC).  Founded in Dec 2017, this Astoria, Queens-based community has a single room to rent, starting quite soon.  If you know someone who wants to be at the center of the income sharing communities movement but is not yet ready to be part of a commune, this might be exactly the right place.  Below is their roomate announcement.

Cotyledon is the energy packet for the first leaves

 

Join our cozy communal home! We are looking for a long-term member interested in income sharing but will accept a short-term collective member, for a room available February 1st.  If you are interested, read on about our house and continue to complete the questionnaire below. We receive many applications, and we appreciate you putting thought and care into your answers! We know this isn’t the best way to get to know someone… but we’re working with the tools we have to learn as much as we can and make informed decisions. Please submit your applications ASAP, we will be contacting people as the forms roll in! ABOUT US: Cotyledon is an egalitarian, income-sharing residential community, dedicated to environmental and food justice, radical sharing, personal growth and accountability, clear communication, and simple, cooperative living. We strive to practice equitable physical and emotional labor, and consensus-based decision making. We are currently a small group in a 4 bedroom home based in Astoria, Queens, but we have a mid-term plan to grow and move into a larger home, staying close to Western Queens. After organizing together since 2015, we recently moved in together. We are queer friendly, age-diverse, and welcome POC and all genders. While we do not bring parties home, we are organizers and frequently host meetings and social gatherings, often around shared meals. We participate in various urban farms and food justice groups in Western Queens. We also enjoy listening to music, playing games and going on outings together.

Roommate #1 – A 66-year-old white male bookworm, compost fanatic, systems devotee, and community networker. Technically retired but excited to be involved in many projects. Community is my passion.

Snake is not included

Roommate #2.0 – A funky woman in her mid-forties who loves cooking for folx, dancing, biking, being outdoors and, although I can be quite serious at times, playing the jester. My passions lie in food sovereignty, mushroom growing, gardening and bringing slow-medicine into our everyday lives. I help support our community working odd jobs, giving massages and occasionally teaching workshops on mushroom cultivation.

 

Turning tracks into gardens since 2010

 

Roommate #3 – Almost 40 y/o white male. Works various gigs offering environmental education, volunteers as a nonprofit leader and urban farmer. Enjoys bike rides, dancing, dumpster diving and participating with a local artist collective. Down-shifting towards a slower, contemplative life.

YOU:

Progressive (if not radical) and cooperatively minded. A good communicator and listener. You are interested (if not experienced) in living communally. This doesn’t mean you have to be the most social person out there! but you’re responsible, respectful, interested in participating in the community in some way (i.e. not simply looking for a room). You’re also financially stable, however, you make that happen. You’re compassionate and non-judgmental. You may be of any gender/sex/sexuality/race/ ethnicity/religion, and you respect those who align differently along those (and all) categories.

COMMUNAL LIVING
We are an income-sharing, egalitarian residence, and this differs from other collective houses (which can sometimes mean nothing more than sharing a big space).… But what does it mean? Basically, we pool the products of our labor, including monetary income, salvaged food, clothes, etc. helping insulate us from the corrosive and isolating effects of capitalism. Although scary to get into, once established, income sharing makes everything else we are trying to do easier. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

 

Cotyledons just finding out that they got their place in Astoria

 

As for the term egalitarian: Let go of the idea of justice and deserving. We’re making it all up anyway. What matters is that we’re being taken care of and that so is everyone else. Liberty, equality, community. By basing our economy on equal access to resources rather than an equal distribution of resources we celebrate and support differences and eliminate a lot of paperwork on our way to our post-scarcity utopia.

The three of us who are already income-resource-sharing meet every week, usually over dinner (or weekend brunch), to discuss and organize that aspect of our living agreements and general household concerns, norms, and ideas. Moving in as a non-income sharing participant, we ask that you commit to attending a house meeting every other week as a participant, while the alternate week you are welcome to observe, especially if radical sharing is of interest to you. We also want to be transparent so you understand that, although we are consensus-based, the income-sharing group may need to make some decisions that could impact you.
While we have yet to establish a schedule of household chores and responsibilities, it will be expected that you participate in the work of the house which could also include assisting us in developing communal norms and standards.

THE HOUSE & NEIGHBORHOOD:
Located at 21st Street and 30th AVENUE on the Astoria/LIC border, a short walk to grocery stores, post office, laundry, restaurants, banks, healthcare and cultural amenities including libraries, the waterfront, Socrates Sculpture Park, Rainey Park, Hallet’s Cove, Two Coves Community Garden, Noguchi Museum, Welling Court Mural Project, Boys and Girls Club, Astoria Park (& pool) and Hellgate Farm (where we bring our compost).
Transportation: Express bus at the doorsteps two stops to the F train and easy access to the W & N trains. Approximately 25 minutes to midtown transfers. Plus the NYC Ferry, Astoria route is 4 blocks away.
We share the basement and ground floor of a row-house (not a large apartment building) with 4 bedrooms and 1-½ bathrooms. A full, eat-in kitchen, separate and roomy living room, plus a bonus room downstairs that we are currently utilizing as a craft room and for visitor accommodations.

ROOM, RENT & EXPENSES:
Unfurnished (but we could provide shelving and/or a bed upon request) 14’x8-½’ and a closet with a south facing window. A wonderful blank slate!
Monthly cost: $950 (includes utilities!)
Move in cost (1st and last month’s rent): $1900
Couples are welcome, see question below.
RESTRICTIONS: Pets are negotiable, no smoking indoors.

Please complete this form

 

Categories: Friends

baby time

Kassia - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 23:39
people keep asking me if i like being pregnant.  its a weird question, basically asking if i fundamentally accept the changes happening to my body and mind.  why wouldn't i?  even though i miss my old, lithe, body and its ability to perform (rock climbing, biking, getting into whatever position seemed right, etc) i'm not going to actively resist the truth of this present physical form.  its also cool to have a little rumbly buddy rolling around down there, keeping me company.  The mood swings are formidable at times.  not that different from my usual highs and lows but perhaps more noticeable.  As well this weird, nostalgic permeating sadness washes over me at least a couple of times a week.  i imagine some part of me is nostalgically missing this part of my life, my last weeks as a free-form, autonomous being in the world.  many many changes to come.  
Categories: Friends

Interesting graph on growth inequality, for US

Dante - Fri, 21/09/2012 - 23:13

Interesting graph on growth inequality, for US :

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/who-gains/#/?start=1985&end=2008

( with sliding scales )

Between 1985 and 2008,
the richest 10 percent got 95 percent of the growth ;
the bottom 90 percent shared 5 percent of that growth

also see :

Categories: Friends

97% Owned – Monetary Reform documentary

Dante - Sat, 28/07/2012 - 14:41

97% owned present serious research and verifiable evidence on our economic and financial system. This is the first documentary to tackle this issue from a UK-perspective and explains the inner workings of Central Banks and the Money creation process.

When money drives almost all activity on the planet, it’s essential that we understand it. Yet simple questions often get overlooked, questions like; where does money come from? Who creates it? Who decides how it gets used? And what does this mean for the millions of ordinary people who suffer when the monetary, and financial system, breaks down?

Produced by Queuepolitely and featuring Ben Dyson of Positive Money, Josh Ryan-Collins of The New Economics Foundation, Ann Pettifor, the “HBOS Whistleblower” Paul Moore, Simon Dixon of Bank to the Future and Nick Dearden from the Jubliee Debt Campaign.

Political philosopher John Gray, commented, “We’re not moving to a world in which crises will never happen or will happen less and less. We are in a world in which they happen several times during a given human lifetime and I think that will continue to be the case”
If you have decided that crisis as a result of the monetary system is not an event you want to keep revisiting in your life-time then this documentary will equip you with the knowledge you need, what you do with it is up to you.

Categories: Friends

Pots, Pans and Other Solutions

Dante - Thu, 26/07/2012 - 16:17

I feel that the context and process described by some of the people interviewed in this documentary seems to correspond somewhat to an intentional approach I d like to support with a shared narrative process aided by a linked-data interface :

“Political Parties give the opportunity to people not to think by themselves”

“Political Parties and politicians maintain their own interests”

http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/iceland-after-the-meltdown-what-we-can-learn-from-their-realdemocracy-movement/2012/07/24

“In Iceland, the first European country to wake up to an economic crash, people became aware that they could and should intervene in society and started demanding more democratic participation. The payment of bank debts by citizens went to referendum. The government was forced to create a Council to write a new constitution: a citizens’ group – without politicians, lawyers or university professors – who opened the discussion process to everybody and managed to approve by consensus a draft proposal.”

Categories: Friends

Leipzig Legal Framework

Dante - Fri, 22/06/2012 - 21:15

From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM
Subject: Re:
To: tim.r

Hi Tim,

I feel enthusiastic when reading your message.

I am certainly interested in the potential to build on your experience,
including what concerns legal frameworks.

I wish to inform some friends, including in cc Leander ( who is currently in Leipzig, and co-organizes the Fairventure event ) ,
and in bcc Anthony.

Leipzig sounds like a good opportunity to meet up and discuss such frameworks more in detail.

Regarding the legal framework, as a first step for me is the housing aspect,
I was considering the “Mietshauser syndikat” approach ( http://www.syndikat.org/ ) ,
which indeed combines all three : Verein, Genossenschaft , and Gmbh.
( yet there are more models I will consider , possibly trying out several models for different buildings : http://www.stiftung-trias.de/infomaterial.html )

Regarding the development of post-industrial manufacturing, this is a chapter in which people involved in the german chapter of open source ecology are more engaged in

http://osede.org/

http://oseeurope.org/2012/01/creating-ose-community-in-germany/

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki

I try to see if there is way in joining potentials regarding a wider span of infrastructure investment.

Rewig sounds like an interesting model to do so.

For the moment, I have been mostly into researching opportunities in Leipzig,
and now try to focus on buying a first building.

I do not have money of my own, so I depend on investors.
I prefer a model with no centralized ownership.

For the moment, I have a list of friends interested in putting forward a few thousand euros to buy their flat. If a partnership can be made with Mietshauser syndikat, by setting up our own legal framework first, 3/4 of the money can come via credit guaranteed by Mietshausersyndikat, which reduces the requirement for cash, per flat, to 2500 euros.

I also found an investor willing to make available 100 000 euros to buy an entire building in Leipzig, at the condition that he remains the sole investor,
while enabling us to live there without payment of rent for a few years.
I imagine this as a first step to converge friends to live and Leipzig and further the broader project.

I am thinking about a building which is already in a good livable condition, such as this one

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expose/64017966?navigationbarurl=/Suche/S-14/Haus-Kauf/Sachsen/Leipzig/-/-/300,00-

Speak to you soon / see you soon,
Dante

On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM, Tim R wrote:
Dear Dante,

great to hear from you, I hope things are going well for you!

Also great to hear about the ecological ideas which you and your friends are trying to advance.

One of the many facets of the concept of regional economic communities is to provide a legal and communal framework for just such ideas!

My experience is that while it is “fairly easy” to have such ideas, it’s not so easy to implement them – so much to do with law and finances, contracts and obligations. The ReWiG München for example is a cooperative based on the above linked concept – and we’re currently about one year behind where we originally wanted to be, despite now having about 100 members, about 20 of which are more or less really active. But the good news is, we’re glad to support other initiatives with the know-how and official papers which we have accumulated on the way, so that others can have things go easier and quicker.

Please note that the concept is intended to be very flexible and all neccessary modifications for a local situation are welcome. If the local solution is still (within a large tolerance) close enough to the concept to be called a ReWiG, then the ReWiG München, which has patented the word ReWiG, will gladly concent to people using it. This in turn will qualify the initiative to participate in the “Rat der ReWiGs” Verband, where continuing exchange of experience and mutual support will be available.

As an example of flexibilty I mention the second ReWiG: ReWiG Schlehdorf eG. They are not yet planning to invest in local businesses nor to start a local currency – rather they are taking over an existing ecological farm which also offers nature experience for young people. But they have their hearts in the right place and they have founded a cooperative, and we’re glad to support them and grant the right to the name ReWiG. In a similar way I could well imagine a ReWiG in Leipzig initially dedicated to getting the projects you’re looking at instantiated, and at the same time being part of a movement could help (a) getting started, and (b) to expand horizons and take up further possible aspects of a ReWiG in due time (e.g. an own local currency and marketplace, or cooperation with local authorities).

Verein: I’d be a little bit careful if Verein is really the right vehicle. In Germany a Verein is traditionally a group a people furthering a pastime, sport or charity of some sort, or preserving local tradition and such things. Many of them are tax-exempt due to meeting the neccessary criteria for exemption. Normally a Verein is not associated with doing business. There IS however a type of legal body similar in quite a few ways to a Verein but intended for doing business, and that’s the Cooperative (Genossenschaft). There are constructs whereby a Verein is used as a tax-exempt body to aid donations, and uses a Plc (GmbH) or such as its business-arm (which can then make a profit), or others involving a foundation (for endowments), but personally I find these somewhat cumbersome – as though people are effectively trying to get around legal restrictions.

Leipzig: We’ll be at the fairventure Congress in Leipzig on 7. – 8. June this year, so that would be an opportunity to meet and discuss face to face.

Am 01.04.2012 14:01, schrieb Dante-Gabryell Monson:
parallel note ( sorry, in english – feel free to reply in german ) :

I wish to express my personal interest in the VAWT development process.
( but also in potentially parallel research, such as http://sharewiki.org/en/Tensegrity , including for VAWT structures )

Personally, I look forward to contribute, once I manage to set myself up in Berlin or Leipzig. ( am currently in Brussels )

A few , potentially converging points :

Regarding The construction place, and the legal platform , I may see some convergences I hope to be able to exploit together :

1)

I am attempting to further the Leipzig Housing Cooperative project , and potentially also abandoned factory space for post-industrial manufacturing ?

http://sharewiki.org/en/Leipzig_project

2)

I wish to set up a legal platform ( a “Verein” ) in Germany.

Who is willing to set up a Verein together in Germany ?

Did anyone set one up yet ?

Another option I consider, is the set up of a International Verein, in Belgium :

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/AISBL

internationale VoG (Vereinigung ohne Gewinnerzielungsabsicht)

as to facilitate the convergence of money invested in such kind of projects.
( starting with the purchase of a first building in Leipzig )

///

I also wish to investigate the interest or feasibility of setting up a not for profit investment scheme, with as outcome local infrastructure for resilient local economics.

One inspiration , midst others, may be to adapt/tweak/collaborate with the following model
http://regionale-wirtschaftsgemeinschaft.info/infothek/initiativen/ ? ( I bcc Tim )

Cordially,
Dante

Categories: Friends

critical networks

Dante - Fri, 22/06/2012 - 21:00

From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:09 PM
Subject: Leipzig ? Social Design – “critical networks” : requirements and development practices ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_design#Strategic_thinking

As Amartya Sen writes, poverty is seen as deprivation of capabilities. By focussing on capabilities, rather than e.g. income, Amartya Sen suggests that development within various social aspects of life can contribute to general development.

extrait – de Dante :

” In addition to development practices,
I wish to outline all of these requirement into modules,
that help define the costs on a context based approach for
“business plans”, packaged and sold as “use value insurance” … ”

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM
Subject: “critical networks” : requirements and development practices ?
To:

Hi Michel, Hi p2pf’ers

did you come across materials laying out a synthesis of very specific characteristics and requirements
around what I am tempted to call “critical networks” ?

Perhaps there is some other name for this ?

I think of “critical network” as distinctive from, yet potentially including , the concept of “critical mass”.

In the way I envision it,
“Critical Network” where the required “critical” properties for an operational or emergent networked system may not merely be a mass of users,
but specific properties ( such as measurable forms of reciprocity, physical location, resources, knowledge and skills, or other variables ) related to the constituents and context for specific intentional “process economies” to be enabled.

Including the mode of access to resources required for specific kinds of emergence.

I want to understand ( and have access to examples of ) various characteristics required to facilitate and multiply “local process economies” for viable and convivial living systems

http://p2pfoundation.net/Process_Economy

as to document step by step strategy proposals,

not merely in a “enclosed” / monetized approach,

but rather within a larger wealth acknowledgment system

http://p2pfoundation.net/Wealth_Acknowledgment_Systems

towards communal sharing in intentional economic networks.

I put an emphasis on understanding “starting points” for ( at first small scale )
“critical networks”.

I can find inspiration in homebrew revolutions ( and examples such as e-farm , open manufacturing, … ),
but also recommendations related to the set up of “transition towns”
( http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources/transition-primer )

I can also find inspiration in ( reading excerpts online )
of books such as

http://www.integralcity.com/

and the p2p urbanism and p2pf blog , wiki and lists.

/////

What I wish, is to define requirements more accurately,
offering post-industrial alternatives to sometimes publicly supported “gentrification urban development models” ( which I observe here in Brussels too ),
that seem to be aligned or inspired by Richard Florida’s Creative Class approach of development

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_class

I am also particularly interested in converging such understanding into building up “games” ,
and use such games as a form of synthesis practice to empower “critical networks”
for a intentional information and communication framework,
with incentives and related metrics, empowering collective intelligence and collaborative action.

I am aware such question may open up a large conceptual map, including the ones already layed out by you and p2pf peers.

I am interested in condensing it, into specifics, specific step by step examples.
e-farm may offer an example.

I want to know where and how to focus/aggregate attention as first steps,
and bring it into “real social” ( http://p2pfoundation.net/Real_Social )
“real games”.

For the moment, I consider “Housing Cooperatives” and “Group Purchasing Organizations” as starting points in post-industrial frameworks, as some first aggregator layers, on which to build other relational dynamics around food and housing.

Food production, food logistics, but also food as aggregator, such as http://sharewiki.org/en/Semantic_Kitchen ,
and then alternative currencies and wealth acknowledgment systems supporting more and more complex transaction potentials.

I also like the approach of learning spaces as aggregators for bringing together “Critical Network” requirements and development practices, such as the “University” project promoted by Dougald :

http://dougald.posterous.com/day-27-help-me-start-a-university

Perhaps some of you read ( I did not ) the “integral city” book.

Is there a comprehensive list of requirements set out ?

Also , what are the capital requirements for such kind of “ventures”,
as to converge or purchase infrastructure requirements to enable the functioning of a critical network for a p2p resilient and convivial civilization of collaborative individualists?

In addition to development practices,
I wish to outline all of these requirement into modules,
that help define the costs on a context based approach for
“business plans”, packaged and sold as “use value insurance” …

Categories: Friends

Thu, 01/01/1970 - 02:00