[TheThinkTank] THE LIST

Angel York aniola at gmail.com
Sun May 24 17:19:16 PDT 2015


I think one is going to be able to find non-profit organizations that
choose to explore ways of distributing decision-making power and
collectives & cooperatives that do not, and that it may not necessarily
always be obvious which is which.



On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 9:34 AM, Joshua Hoffman <joshuahof at gmail.com> wrote:

> Angel, et al.,
>
> I appreciate the distinction you make between *co-ops* and *collectives.* It
> sounds like your shop is innovating with the power relationships that
> surround decision making. I'm excited to see how you grow.
>
> It's my understanding that capitalism is a firstly a description of our
> social relationships, and secondly our economic system. Because it's not
> just our economy but society itself that is capitalistic (in reality the
> two are the same) living a true alternative is actually impossible. We
> can aspire to take anti-capitalist actions by experimenting with new
> non-hierarchical systems for the production/distribution of goods and
> services. I'm interested in exploring those alternatives.
>
> To be clear, I don't think that hierarchical power structures are very
> innovative. Which is why I'm less interested in traditional non-profits and
> more interested in collectives and co-ops that may use a 501c status to
> explore what's possible. As long as co-op are exploring ways of
> distributing decision making power than I think they qualify for my
> purposes. What do you think?
>
> What I want to avoid supporting are people using a 501c status to
> "recycle" bikes for a personal profit (an astonishing number of people) I'm
> also wary of the religious non-profits using bikes as an evangelical tool
> (also a surprisingly large number).
>
> All that said, THE LIST is getting a lot of request from charities and
> educational non-profits. It's difficult for me to know who is actually
> innovating with social relationships and who is just filling a local
> material need. Both are important. Suggestions?
>
> The votes so far:
> Include ALL 501c bike related orgs - 6
> Include only collectives, etc - 2
>
> - Joshua
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 7:11 PM, Angel York <aniola at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi Joshua,
>>
>> Both of the bike collectives I have volunteered at are consensus-based
>> organizations.  The Davis Bike Collective spent a year putting together its
>> by-laws and running them past a lawyer to ensure that the board had no
>> formal decision-making power, but was instead beholden to the decisions
>> made by the core volunteers.  I believe the legal definition of a co-op has
>> to do with purchasing power, where as a collective we didn't have to have
>> that orientation and could instead focus on our priority, which was helping
>> people learn how to fix bikes. Food co-ops are usually co-ops because they
>> are about *buying* food. So I'm not sure that a co-op is actually less
>> capitalist, and given what I hear you saying you value, I would be also
>> asking how the various organizations are making their decisions.  Also,
>> have you checked the wiki page of community bicycle organizations?  It has
>> a long-standing list including the criteria that I believe more or less
>> helps guide who might be interested in participating in, say, this list.
>>
>> The more lists the better! I look forward to thr day when there are so
>> many lists of community bike organizations that you need lists of lists to
>> keep track of them! Thanks for creating one such list!
>>
>> Angel York
>> On May 21, 2015 1:17 PM, "Joshua Hoffman" <joshuahof at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Thanks to Eric, Paul, Jeff, Kevin, and Matt for taking the time to
>>> engage. Also thanks to everyone who shared new shops to add. I'll get on it
>>> (that includes you Jeff). It turns out I was only subscribed to the "list"
>>> email that arrives once a week so I missed a few of your replies.
>>>
>>> The line is fine but its clear. I agree that cooperatives and community
>>> shops are often different. I also agree that for-profit shops can engage in
>>> so called "non-market" activities. My main criteria is DIY
>>> (free/barter/cheap). If there is a second criteria it's a *free* EAB
>>> program. My not-completely-arbitrary preferences in descending order are
>>> cooperatives > community shops > service-oriented for-profit. That logic is
>>> based on my assumption that orgs designed with cooperative structures will
>>> find engaging in non-market behaviors easier. When we share the
>>> risk/rewards of acting there is less incentive to shirk, pass important
>>> ethical decisions "up the ladder", or use the "bottom line" as an excuse.
>>> Yes, cooperative work can be messy and slow, but it can also liberate. For
>>> many people their experience with a cooperative bike shop is the first time
>>> in their lives when their voice mattered.
>>>
>>> My reason for creating the list was to get new ideas for how people
>>> doing community bike work engage with their communities. Shops that
>>> focus on sales, or who use sales as their measure of success are going to
>>> engage in a different manner that is less interesting to my aims. We
>>> can start another thread on cooperatives if anyone wants. ;)  If anyone
>>> wants to learn more about worker directed non-profits there is a webinar
>>> next week.
>>> <http://www.theselc.org/worker_self_directed_nonprofits_20150526>
>>>
>>> PLEASE NOTE: I'm getting most of my information by snooping through
>>> websites and facebook pages. If I missed a shop or if I misunderstood what
>>> a shops/orgs mission please correct me. I think Eric pointed out that
>>> Uptown Bikes is for-profit (WB and Blackstone are both on the list). You
>>> can leave a comment on this google.doc
>>> <https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1S0FOc6ZJA-wYWo4qZ4yx75SBFq53aD8ELY1JGBt6UQY/edit?usp=sharing>
>>> .
>>>
>>> - Joshua
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 12:01 PM, Joshua Hoffman <joshuahof at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Here is a searchable document
>>>> <https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1S0FOc6ZJA-wYWo4qZ4yx75SBFq53aD8ELY1JGBt6UQY/edit?usp=sharing>
>>>> if you want to check for your shop.
>>>>
>>>> NOTE: So far THE LIST <https://www.facebook.com/lists/792013340883812>
>>>> only includes shops that run cooperatively or at very least include some
>>>> DIY elements. I've done this for a specific reason.... I'm an
>>>> anti-capitalist. I'm interested in how bikes build community and engage
>>>> people in acts of cooperation and self-determination. There are many
>>>> "non-profit" shops that sell used bikes for high prices because they
>>>> believe it will "raise the perceived value" of bikes. There is nothing
>>>> inherently wrong with this approach except that I'm not interested in money
>>>> or perceived value. I'm interested in more people learning to do more
>>>> things for themselves and for others. Cooperatives have the potential to
>>>> lower costs by focusing on mission rather than profit. They can also
>>>> transform the social relationships between humans by substituting hierarchy
>>>> for equality. The benefits of encouraging DIY are obvious.
>>>>
>>>> What do you all think? Should I include all "non-profit" bike shop
>>>> regardless of their mission? What are the arguments for/against?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, May 20, 2015 at 6:52 PM, Joshua Hoffman <joshuahof at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Hello,
>>>>>
>>>>> I've put together a Facebook list of all the community bike shops
>>>>> who's pages I could find. 133 in total from around the world. This list is
>>>>> constantly turning up amazing stories and new insights (lots of job
>>>>> opportunities as well).
>>>>>
>>>>> https://www.facebook.com/lists/792013340883812
>>>>>
>>>>> Please let me know if I need to add other shops.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
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