The Thursday Problem – why we can’t slow down
There has been a bunch of good news in the campaign to block unqualified candidates like Herschel Walker. Our effort has been acknowledged and appreciated as well, so here is the report.
As of Dec 1, these are the betting pools on the Georgia Senate Runoff election as forecasted by PredictIt with over 1 million bets placed for this race so far. Warnock is leading (85%/15%)
Please note that before the midterm election, Walker’s chance of winning was 65%/35%, then it dramatically flipped after the election. My read is there were several factors in this dramatic reversal
- Walker numerically lost the midterm election to Warnock
- Republican Governor Kemp was not on the ticket to bring out voters
- Walker received 210,000 fewer votes than Kemp in the November election
- Since the senate is not in play, those who were voting for Walker for GOP control (but were not excited about the candidate) now had to say they wanted just him
This is good news, but it doesn’t mean we can assume the election is already won. We’ll keep flyering and canvassing and more, because none of us want to see 2016 happen again- win or lose, we’ll know we did everything we could to help re-elect Reverend Warnock. And just like this prediction poll was wrong about Walker winning the midterm, or that there was an 85% chance Hillary Clinton would win, it could be wrong. 15% chance is about the chance of a day being Thursday. Thursdays happen all the time.
Black turnout outpacing Midterms
6 days into early voting, over 16% of the registered population has turned out to vote and 29% of the people who voted in the recent midterms, these numbers are encouragingly high. But what is especially important when comparing the racial identification of the voters, Whites are way down and Blacks are up 10% in turnout so far in the runoff. This alone (if the trend continues) would doom Walker. Blacks voted 89% for Warnock in the recent midterms, Whites voted 67% for Walker.
There is a reason for some of this racial disparity. The big primarily Democratic Atlanta metro counties (where half the state’s population resides) had early voting on Saturday. Many smaller, poorer, redder counties chose not to because of the expense (or because they assumed the Republicans would win the court case block voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving). So Democrat heavy areas got a head start, but as the days of early voting have progressed, this 10% higher Black voter turnout than ???White??? during the midterms seems to persist.
For those of us in the field this is quite inspiring information which is never available in most states because they dont track it and rarely available this quickly. I wish there were more we could thank the Georgia Secretary of State for.
It also does not help that Walker is running a terrible campaign, independent of the many scandals and seriously foolish statements (“I have always lived in Georgia” and “I want to be a werewolf”). Walker decided to take 5 days of the runoff period off, for Thanksgiving. That is a big piece of a 27 day campaign. And let’s not forget that Walker “described himself as living in Texas during (a) 2022 campaign speech,” and in fact still registers his $3 million Texas home as his primary residence- for the tax break.
The Warnock campaign alternatively is energized, outspending Walker in ads, working with churches, college groups, unions, LatinX and other immigrant communities. Obama comes today and speaks, Michelle has recorded some robo calls.
The Walker campaign has asked Trump not to come to Georgia.
We have been working with all 4 of the free ride services for the campaign. Each has it’s own advantages, territories and strengths. Especially, those with limited “ground game” are excited about working with us to compliment their virtual promotion approach. The largest free ride service in Georgia for the runoff is Plus1 Vote. They described us nicely in their pitch deck
Page 19 of the Plus1.vote Pitch Deck
And while this is uplifting good news, it is important for us to keep going full speed, to avoid the Thursday problem. Walker is down but definitely not out and we can not risk a long shot win in 2022 which mimics Trump’s surprise win in 2016.
So if things look good, why are we working so hard?
It is critically important to remember these election laws have been designed for Republicans to win, and that 2020’s runoffs were a statistical outlier- Republicans generally win runoffs in Georgia. 2020/21 was an exception because of the tremendous effort that went into that campaign. The Georgia runoff system was created by (mainly) white politicians to dis-empower the “Negro bloc voting” (direct quote). How do we know this? Because Denmark Groover, who proposed the runoff system admitted decades later that “I was a segregationist. I was a county unit man. But if you want to establish if I was racially prejudiced, I was. If you want to establish that some of my political activity was racially motivated, it was.” The runoff time has been cut in half.
Greg Palast (perhaps the best reporter on election fraud in the US) also warns that the 2020 voter suppression law was designed to basically eliminate mail-in ballots which were 2:1 in Warnocks favor. Those long lines and wait times you are reading about, that is significantly Warnock voters who are discouraged from voting.
If you can help our efforts please do support us in these last critical days.
Join the Air Team for Georgia
It is cliché to say “the internet has changed everything”, yet it is foolish to not examine how these changes should translate into changes in our behavior. For the Georgia Senate Runoff campaign, thinking about how folks far from us might use the internet to help is a daily occurrence. Here are our current ideas:
- Basic social media support. The easiest and cheapest way you can support us is to post things on social media. We would love for you to post our fundraiser but if you have any connection to Georgia at all, what would be really great would be for you to post the link to info about Free Rides to the Polls, printable flyers, resources for voters, and other voter support information.
- Help us find volunteers. We are working with a growing group of in state volunteers to distribute information about free rides to the polls. These volunteers fall generally into two groups. Partisans who want to be publicizing ways to get Warnock to win and non-partisans (often affiliated with churches) who want to just provide public information encouraging folks to get to the polls and how to get there for free. We provide both pro-Warnock and non-partisan resources when publicizing free rides
- Share our materials with people in Georgia. We can organize volunteers to put up flyers, hand out info for free rides, and remind people to vote- but you’re welcome to do so independently as well. We provide print-ready files for posters, flyers, and business cards on our website here. Currently those materials are available in English and Spanish, and we’ll be adding other languages as they become available. Speaking of translations…
- Translations– In 2020 we translated runoff voting materials into more than a dozen languages. While we likely won’t surpass that number this year, we’d certainly like to try! And if you have good contacts with language groups in Georgia, we would love your help with distributing translations via social media. If you’re interested in translating then something either comment on this blog post or get in touch with me at email@example.com
- Become a dispatcher. Some of the rideshare groups we are working with don’t use Uber or Lyft, but instead dispatch volunteer drivers to get people to the polls. This means calling and checking people are ready for their rides and making sure drivers can keep their connections or get usefully re-assigned.
- Hustle money for us. I know it is uber boring, but we still find that every dollar which comes in helps us do more things to get people the polls*. And our team is still expanding (with Zi arriving yesterday). Here is the GoFundMe link which you should send to that rich relative of yours who always talks about how people should do something to stop the Trump madness, well now would be a great time them to do something. Please post GFM link on your own social media, you would might be surprised how generous and engaged your friends are.
* And for our donors who are reading this as part of an update, we are especially grateful for your support. We launch these efforts unsure we can pull the money together to cover all our costs and we have been very happy with the response. Thanks for taking a chance with us, it looks like it is going to pay off. Record early voting, record young people turn out, tremendous enthusiasm for the campaign.
Canvassing for Warnock
Canvassing with Warnock
As a door to door canvasser, your better days are the ones when you get to tell someone at the door something that they might really be able to use. I canvassed with Warnock last week, and it was definitely a better day. I had two pieces of useful information.
The first is that I distributed a little calendar of the upcoming runoff special election. It showed the dates for early voting and gave QR codes for the closest polling place. I was happy to give out this card, and a handful of people, in the 42 houses I knocked on doors in East Atlanta, were happy to get the information.
But the thing which got the most response was when I told them that if they voted early, their names would drop out of the call-back rosters and that they would get few phone calls and emails! This seemed to ramp up the enthusiasm for a shortened early voting period. [As part of the wave of “election integrity” legislation passed by Republicans, the runoff campaign is half as long in its total length, it has fewer days of early voting, fewer drop boxes and has more restrictions on in-person and absentee voting.]
As an enthusiastic canvasser, you have to think about your audience. If your prospective voter is over 60, it is more likely they want the physical address written down, of which there is a place for on this form. But most of my younger voters were happy to be directed by the scan code. Thus, I could save the literature, which had the polling places and addresses on it, for the people I spoke with who wanted just that.
The first house I canvassed was one of the fanciest.
We encourage everyone who works for the Flip Project to spend time canvassing, because we want them to know what outreach methods they are outperforming. Our work on promoting free ride-shares, especially in non-English languages where we have good translators and existing assets will get more people voting than the half dozen Georgia residents I talked with on that brisk morning.
Facebook anarchist collective simulator
The corona virus lock down has exploded a number of social media destinations. One of these which i have been enjoying in small doses is the private Facebook group with the long winded name:
“a group where we all pretend to live in an anarchist collective together“
Here is an example of the content.
What is especially fun about this group (which you can join freely) is that many of the posts are right on quotes from actual community life and a whole bunch more are easy to imagine in places where things have comically gone wrong.
There are over 4K people on this group, having more than doubled in the last couple months. There is lots of traffic on it everyday, so i would recommend getting notifications only when your friends post.
There are other lovely parodies of commune life. My personal favorite is the Hollywood B-grade comedy is
If you have a favorite, put it in the comment section of this blog for others to enjoy.
Unity in the Communities Movement
This post is one in a series on workshops being offered at this years Twin Oaks Communities Conference. Nicole Bienfang of The Transition will be presenting a workshop entitled Where’s the UNITY in the Communities Movement?
When you look at the writings of many founders who started ICs their intentions were to create a concept that grew to global proportions, but how does that happen when there is no unity of vision on how to grow the communities movement? How can we build a global system that supports our growth on a grassroots and global level when each IC acts as an isolated silo? Nicole’s workshop intends to dig deep into these questions and many more like them. Through group participation attendees will find out what other participants are currently struggling with, what is working for them, how neighboring communities can better support each other, and what overlapping issues resonate with everyone present.
Through the workshop you will find practical advice and resources with opportunities for self-reflection using group participation to illustrate workable examples and determine the focus the workshop takes.
Things that will be covered:
- How each individual can contribute to the global growth of the IC movement
- How to prevent founder burnout
- How to create partnerships between individuals and ICs that are mutually beneficial
- How to tap into an IC mutual aid network for tangible items and skills
Nicole’s workshop is right for you if you are:
- Struggling finding IC members that meet your ICs needs or criteria
- Need resources or funding to get your IC off the ground
- Would like to reduce your stress in founding your IC
- Could use some sage wisdom from people who have “been there done that”.
Are you yearning for community? The Transition serves social change makers (including ones wanting to form intentional communities) and provides them with support, space, and resources they need to succeed in the work they do, through an Action Plan, personal development, training and and most importantly an online and offline mutual aid network. Through their research The Transition knows when you can connect and share assets, people and ideas, everything changes for the better. You can help them create the world’s largest database of assets and resources, owned and cultivated by social change makers from all over the world, by registering on their website www.thetransition.org. When you join The Transition and become active and engaged with their online and offline community many resources are made available to you as well, by taking part in their global family. The more registered users that are enroll on the site the more assets and resources become communally available to all who are part of their mutual aid network. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Free WiFi
- Spaces to assemble
- Work space for projects
- Household goods
- “Blueprints” and Case Studies (crafted from input from individuals who learned the hard way and what not to do)
- Funding to support projects or get new ones off the ground
Map with registered The Transition website users spanning multiple countries.
Living in Community?
The Transition website is useful to people in many different situations-those who live communally, those trying to create social change groups, alternative living situations or those already involved in growing networks of activists.The Transition can help your community by:
- Matchmaking (matching communities with specific needs, with prospective communards, interns, or volunteers who have those skillsets)
- Screening prospective community members to make sure they are qualified leads with aligned values
- Training (Non-Violent Communication, Conflict Resolution, Meeting Facilitation, Community Governance etc)
- Cross-Promotion, PR, Outreach for your community and your community’s cottage industries
- Syndication for blogs, podcasts, video, music created by your community and individual communards
- Providing access to mutual aid (tangibles,skill-sets, travel accommodation)
- Updating our “Community Brain” with the newest and latest information to benefit your community’s longevity
- Promoting your events (Open Houses, Work Parties, Parties, Speaking Engagements, Conferences etc.)
A page from their member’s skills searchable inventory which includes expertise rank, and expandable details for more specifics
Objects page on The Transition website showcasing objects available to website users.
Some things they have in the pipeline in various stages of development are:
- A radio show that can help elevate and create a positive image for the IC movement in Babylon.
- A benefits program (life Insurance, legal counsel, exclusive discounts and sign-up incentives for everyday and monthly expenditures online and in local communities etc)
- A “People’s Bailout Program” to help get individuals out of financial debt (so they can invest in creating communities and positive social change projects)
- A crowd-funding platform called The Cooking Pot built within their website, that will offer a match contribution for all funds raised
- Alternative Spring Break programs for Teens & College Students
- Alternative Scouts program for youth
- Emergency/Relief Fund
Their organization and website is co-created and 100% volunteer run meaning that every registered user is part of the transitional process from our current zeitgeist to the a more idealized version of what we want the future to be. By relaying their newly acquired resources and findings from their social change work made “in the trenches” every individual using the site is strengthened and can eliminate pitfalls other activists and organizers made before the dawn of the internet.
You can listen to a podcast overview about the organization @ https://tinyurl.com/yc3h7pj4
If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved in any capacity start Your Action Plan.
Nicole Bienfang: As a co-founder of The Transition, she has dedicated her life to increasing the positive impact social change makers have on society. She is a research driven, lifelong learner, who uses that knowledge to build stronger relationships among communities with individuals from around the world.
Love Letters to Strangers
One of the most pressing questions facing event organizers these days is “How important is Facebook in bringing people to events?”
I asked an experienced promoter “If you have 100 people saying they are ‘interested’ in my event (as opposed to ‘going’) how many can I expect will actually come?” They replied “Zero”. Which begs the question “Why bother working with Facebook at all?”
The answer for the team working on the Twin Oaks Communities Conference is that we can reach out to people who say they are considering the event and encourage them to come. Or in other words, we are writing a bunch of encouraging letters to strangers.
For this event which is happening over the Labor Day weekend, it is still possible for many people to make plans to attend. Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping those who are interested might come, we are using all the information which we have from Facebook to try to engage and encourage unsure possible attendees to come.
Even if we are not friends, the public information about you on your Facebook profile will help me assure you that this might be a good event for you to attend. If there is a picture of you with your children on your wall, we can point out we have a great childcare program at this years event
If your Facebook timeline shows you are interested in inclusion and racial justice, then we can alert you to the thread (sequential related workshops) on this topic, including the workshop by returning presenter Crystal Farmer
If it is clear you are interested in renewable energy or electricity independence, then we are happy to announce that Alexis Ziegler of Living Energy Farm is presenting on “How to make your community 100% energy self sufficient”
Turns out even strangers like love letters. People are writing back. We are coordinating transportation for organic farmers with families in Michigan. Racial Justice activists from Baltimore are asking us questions about work exchange to make it be possible to attend. Folks from various egalitarian communities are saying they are interested in our panel discussion on the advantages of income sharing and the Federation.
What about you? Is your community looking for new members? Are you looking to change your life and join an intentional community? If so, then this might be the right event for you to be at over the labor day weekend.
If so come visit www.communitiesconference.org or show up at our Facebook event.
An Empire of Vacant Lots
“All the trash comes here” Wolvie replied when i asked why they wanted to be in New Orleans. As a scavenger and builder from free materials, this is the carpenters equivalent of having a free lumber yard. But they went on to explain the much richer and complex relationship between the punks of this town and material wealth. It caught my ear because it centered around sharing.
The informal collection of people living in conventional housing and shacks and vehicles functions in many ways like the intentional communities i am more used to. Cars are lent for long periods, instead of buying or renting tools a distributed informal library provides for these needs, and friends are invited to move in. Wolvie comments that it provides access to the culture and services of intentional community, but they can still retreat to their own private space at the end of the day.
I visit a collection of punk homesteads where different “rent” models comfortably co-exist. Some folks are squatting, others renting, some residents are paying back taxes on abandoned properties in hopes of securing ownership of them eventually, still others have succeeded in owning places. The people i am introduced to flow between these housing options as luck, circumstance and employment permit. Work seems often to be gig based, to fit in with peoples needs for traveling or activism.
The names of collective properties make me smile: Kitty Meow Town, Liability Park and Squatopotomus. This flat rainy city is ideal for bikes and i have several offers for bikes to borrow in my first couple of hours in town.
Over a decade after hurricane Katrina, the effects of the disaster are often visible. “We have moved from shock capitalism to disaster tourism” Catrina tells me, referring to Naomi Klein’s brilliant book Shock Doctrine. Construction is everywhere.
“I am becoming a boat punk.” Wolvie confesses. And within an hour of this confession we are off rescuing abandoned barges of the St John’s bayou. Credit goes to Ruby for convincing the nay-saying boys that we could get these barges out of the water and loaded onto the truck.
With the help of a passing runner we landed this barge which had been built for a recent raft race and left behind. We are particularly excited by the US american flag paint job and make shift paddles.
NOLA is a party town. We stop at a Melba’s a laundromat/restaurant/bar which serves inexpensive frozen daiquiris and i find myself slightly smashed in the late afternoon. Mardi Gras is not just for tourists, the whole city celebrates for weeks with parades and musical performances and pub crawls. The colorful fabric of this place is woven by mixing diverse cultures and taking it to the streets.
All this begs the question, “Can we mimic the benefits of intentional residential community in scattered punk microvillages?” The New Orleans punk scene with its generous material cooperation, low cost and no cost housing, binding festivals and cultural events, and inexpensive social lubricants makes a compelling case.
why i am an anarchist
anarchism is the ultimate intellectual and ethical high wire act without a net. it starts with rejecting the principle extant political institutions and dominant paradigms – but to get very far you need to build something. you need not build based on great thinkers of the past (tho some are available). you can go where you find your passion and create something based on what you experience as true. it is a broad anti-orthodoxy and thus everyone has their own slightly different personal flavor. this is mine, i hope you like it.
i share. perhaps the greatest challenge to the dominant political models is the idea that you do not have to possess things exclusively. widespread change in only this cultural value could result in a far more economically just world, using the same or fewer resources. i own little myself and live in places where material things are held in common.
anarchism deals with more than just the physical. feminism is about sharing power. it is training people to listen, helping the quiet find voice, flattening hierarchy and finding consensus – this is the beginning of building justice. i like the adage that anarchism is the philosophy and feminism is the practice.
polyamory is sharing lovers – i do not claim sole rights to my intimates, and they as well have other lovers. i find it a great poison that intimacy should be locked up and made exclusive. it is the commodification of love. some of the hardest work of my life has been moving thru jealousy, balancing time and establishing clear communication.
radical spirituality is about sharing the planet with all of its life forms and respecting their rights. as pagans we seek to build relevant rituals. we explore how to move symbols and create meaning. this is the reclaiming of magic from the scientists and spirituality from the church. it also dovetails with environmental politics and the development of the connection to things greater than the self. these are the critical extensions of our language and culture we need to evolve.
i am a communard – i choose to live in an intentional community, where we work and live together, sharing income and resources, we build our own buildings, grow much of our own food organically, we don’t use money internally. there are basically no locks, no tv and virtually no crime. it is far from utopia – we have little shared vision, for example – but it is working model of what can be.
anarchism is embracing flexible strategies in face of structural dilemmas. a central example is the prefigurative politics versus the “length of the fuse” debate. it is intellectually attractive to say “we will limit the tools we use now for the social change to the ones we want to still have in our new society.” violence and property destruction are the tactics most often excluded by this reasoning. the length of the fuse argument is “if you are running out of time to change things you need to use fast tools”. sadly, prefigurative approaches are generally slow. the resolution is that there is no fixed strategy – the workers (or activists) decide, the people who are on the scene at the relevant time make the choices. it was a pacifist who convinced me that violence played a central role in ending nuclear construction in Germany. when you are looking at preventing thousands of years of uncontrollable toxins, can you risk failure because you could not reach consensus on strategy?
i smuggle – borders are perhaps the most offensive static structure of the state. i had the good fortune to help smuggle 3 Tibetan monks across a thousand miles of the Himalayas and into Nepal to see the Dalai Lama. i have carried banned documents and other contraband. i’ve gotten caught a few times, but i’ve been lucky and made it thru basically unscratched.
i am a lobbyist – i have run thru the halls of parliament and congress trying to get elected officials to behave as i thought they should. i am not especially good at it, but i have been the best available. simply because we can see that a governmental system is corrupt does not justify failing to engage with it. we have more tools than protest.
i am a propagandist – i don’t believe i or we have any monopoly on the truth – i have debated ideologues and i know they are sure they are right as i think i am in my most arrogant moments. we have an obligation to put out our beliefs brilliantly and we need to remember that we are trying to sway people to think like us, not because we know we have a better way, but because we believe we do.
i’m an outlaw – i shoplift, counterfeit, trespass, destroy property, break and enter, hop trains, panhandle, violate curfews, copyrights and security clearances, trade on the black markets, tax resist, enter and exit countries illegally, black ride (ride without a ticket), lie to the police, default on credit cards (for $50K), forge signatures, falsify visa’s, hitchhike, cut handcuffs, leak state secrets and don’t wear seat belts (for somewhat crazy reasons). i wish i could say all of this has been done for the greater good and to advance the revolution – in fact, some was self-serving and some just frivolous. But i certainly don’t start from the place of assuming laws are right – this is the anarchist prerogative.
i am a life style terrorist. someone who asks uncomfortable questions to people who are comfortable, about what they really need and what they can contribute. of course, this is only credible from a place of doing it yourself and is best served in a humorous and non-dogmatic way. when visiting people we don’t really know my Dutch lover Hawina and i try to be “ambassadors from where we want to come from”. this is about pushing the positive aspects of our lifestyle choices, hoping to inspire folks to try to do more progressive political work. This can be as small as recycling and using mass transit to as large as quitting your corporate job and running campaigns or moving to a commune.
i am a clown – my favorite fairy tale ends with the line “don’t take yourself too seriously”. i make a point to remember jokes and riddles and try to make people laugh. i don’t believe things are so bad we can’t make it without humor. similarly, one of the things i like the most about my community is that we strive to be a great audience – anyone willing to get up and perform is highly appreciated. i have watched it change the self-confidence of our kids and improve the overall quality of our cultural life.
i travel. i have hitchhiked on sail boats from Mexico to Australia, trained across Europe and Asia, crossed the Atlantic twice on polish tramp ships, worked briefly on the north slope of Alaska and the bottom of the ocean near Hawaii. years ago i quit flying, for energy and environmental reasons, but i continued to travel more than most people i know – i am writing this on the train across the US. i have had to change my perception about the importance of the time spent traveling – correspondingly, i make fewer but longer trips. but i have basically stopped going to places where i don’t know anyone – this is the difference between tourism and traveling. i strive to discover the culture thru the eyes of people who live there, rather than a guide book.
i raise funds – money is an oft necessary great evil. i learned how to make it come towards projects and campaigns which were important. i never escaped the feeling that there was something wrong with this solution, and my ego did unhealthy flops around successfully finding money. when i was doing this a great deal, it felt best to be homeless, without salary and living very cheaply.
anarchists seem to be either of the individualistic/loner type or cooperators looking for allies. i am always looking for allies. the success of the recent World Bank and WTO protests has been the ability of divergent groups to put aside their differences long enuf to come together to make an effective mass protest. globalization and these oft media-invisible institutions which drive it are now the subjects of popular debate and they can not continue unchanged. we are a long way from closing them, but debt cancellation is gaining momentum and the WTO fast track seems derailed – both good things. anarchists were central in organizing these actions.
anarchism deals with more than just the physical. feminism is about sharing power. it is training people to listen, helping the quiet fine voice, flattening hierarchy and finding consensus – this is the beginning of building justice. i like the adage that anarchism is the philosophy and feminism is the practice.
building these broad coalitions. and there are lots of other types of alliances – my wordsmith lover jazz edited this piece … almost every project of significant scale is a collaborative effort, and many which fail simply did not gather the right allies.
i am an organizer. there are several key differences between an organizer and a leader. the first is that no job is too low for an organizer. they are self-aware enough to know what they can teach and humble enuf to know there is still lots to learn. always pressed for time, good organizers don’t get stuck and don’t overwork problems. they replace themselves before they leave work undone (something i have often failed in) and they are most generally invisible to the eye of fame.
in a tiny train station in Czechoslovakia, i helped a man buy an international ticket and we got to talking. he told me he had the best job in the world, traveling from place to place telling stories. After listening to one of his stories and thinking about this for a while, i decided that it was a wonderful and important job and have been working on my storytelling ever since.
i am an optimist – if the anarchist principle is that “you can do what ever you want, but you must take responsibility for it” and you believe the new age principle of “we create our own reality”, then we have an obligation to be optimistic – or else we are creating the wrong reality. For seven years i lived in eastern Europe working with small anti-nuclear groups against the most powerful corporations and the state. i was constantly reminding them that it was groups exactly like theirs which had stopped reactors around the world. it is as papa Chomsky so well put it:
i am in the hope business. and that is why i am an anarchist.
Call For Presenters: Twin Oaks Communities Conference
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. These are also called “curated workshops” because they are selected by the event organizers. 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.
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).
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:
- You want to find an intentional community to move into
- You are starting a community with friends
- 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).
i make what you make [fiction]
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.
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