[TheThinkTank] THE LIST

Angel York aniola at gmail.com
Sun May 24 17:32:49 PDT 2015


*As long as co-op are exploring ways of distributing decision making power
than I think they qualify for my purposes.*
For instance, I can think of a food *co-op* that is run by a board of
directors, and a has a *standard hierarchical management structure*.  The
owners (many of the shoppers) in theory can vote on big decisions, but if
the food co-op already has an outcome in mind, that is absolutely going to
skew the vote.

My current food* co-op *is run by a board of directors, and has a*
collective management structure. * The owners (many of the shoppers) in
theory can vote on big decisions.



On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 5:19 PM, Angel York <aniola at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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