Venture Communists: Building Karass
For many months during the last year and a half, I have been going to the Point A events we have been organizing in NYC. This last September, we overshot and went up to the latest exciting development in the expanding egalitarian community movement: The Karass Inn.
For those of you who have forgotten your Vonnegut:
A karass is group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial links are not evident, that actually gets stuff done—as Vonnegut describes it, “a team that do[es] God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing.”
It is a wildly appropriate name for the members of this project (Amanda, Angie, Jac, and Milo) who connected through unpredictable links and are good at getting things done. While not God-focused, the team is certainly working to expand the communities movement and explore non-traditional investments.
The Karass Inn in Chester, Vermont, and is tentatively opening on Dec 16th. In September we took a minivan filled with people to Chester. We took organizers and artists and just plain hard workers. And in a handful of days, we cleaned up and painted a huge area of this inn under renovation.
Karass marks a new type of community start-up model. It is the venture communist model. Someone who has access to resources, instead of investing to maximize profit, invests to maximize social good. In this case, the investor purchased the building and provided start-up capital, and the communities movement is staffing it and will ultimately pay the investor back.
This is not what you do when you are trying to achieve the most money you can make personally. But we have plenty of data on what happens when everyone is trying to do that.
What we do get is another income sharing community in the FEC galaxy and a new type of cottage industry for us, hospitality.