Autonomía digital y tecnológica

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Linkoteca. Richard Bartlett

Each of the events were 4-nights. One was more “professional”, with people paying €1500-2500 for a ticket. The others were more lowkey, with tickets between €200-500. All of our events are priced on a sliding scale so people with more income contribute more, making it more accessible to people with low income. Co-living guests paid €200-350/week (all inclusive)..

Nati & I were left with a €5k profit for the co-living period, and about a €10k profit for the 4 events we facilitated. €15k for 3 months is not an amazing salary for two people, but considering all our living expenses were covered, and the work is satisfying, it’s quite doable.

Next to the dinner table was the “community mastery board” – a facilitation tool we learned from our friend Drew from Agile Learning Centers. This is an easy way for people to name small problems and quickly come up with solutions together, like “the downstairs bedrooms have poor sound insulation” → “let’s keep the noise level down in that part of the house between 10pm and 8am”

If you’re an aspiring community-builder: I would definitely recommend you run an experiment something like this. But I should note there are other factors that enabled us to be successful.

For one: reputation. We’re well connected in multiple networks: TPOT, The Hum, Microsolidarity, and Enspiral. From my position in that web, it’s pretty easy to get an invitation in front of a few thousand people, so that takes most of the effort out of event promotion. 96% occupancy across 4 events is exceptionally high, and it’s the result of a decade of network-building internationally.

Another factor: skills for living in community.

In late 2018, Richard D. Bartlett published a proposal to start a «microsolidarity» community in Western Europe — a small group of people supporting each other to do more meaningful work.

Reader reactions prompted him to start this website, to collect resources for the co-development of multiple such communities.

Microsolidarity is a set of practices for mutual support between peers. These methods bring us out of individualism and into a more relational way of being.

Most of this support happens in a Crew: a small group up to about 8 people growing trust in each other through emotional & economic reciprocity. Crews are always designed for intimacy, and may also produce an output (e.g. a software product or an activist campaign).

The Congregation is a space for Crews to co-develop in the company of other Crews. Congregations have less than a few hundred people, so they can be primarily governed through trust and dialogue.

Many Congregations could form an Assembly.

The book is broken up into chapters and sub-chapters. The chapters are:

This is a book about working in groups, based on 7 years experience in community projects and startups.

I’m not so interested in what you’re working on together, I’m just going to focus on how you do it. To my way of thinking, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to build a better electric vehicle, or develop government policy, or blockade a pipeline; whenever you work with a group of people on a shared objective, there’s some stuff you’re going to deal with, some challenges. How do we decide what we’re working on? who does what? who can join our team? what are our expectations for each other? what happens when someone doesn’t fulfil those expectations? what do we do with disagreement? how do decisions get made?

I’m convinced there is not a “one size fits all” recipe, a management structure that you can take off the shelf and install in your collective or your company. But my hypothesis is that there are patterns: common design elements you can draw on as you construct a recipe that’s right for you. Each pattern in this book names a challenge that you are likely to face, and offers tools and techniques you can try in response to that challenge.

This is a book for community organisers, leaders, managers, consultants, coaches, facilitators, founders… if you work with groups of humans, these patterns apply to you.

I believe that this fascination with “hierarchy” and “non-hierarchy” is a major problem. Focussing on “hierarchy” doesn’t just miss the point, it creates cover for extremely toxic behaviour.

I’m guilty of this myself: having declared ourselves to be a “non-hierarchical” organisation, I’m unable to clearly see the un-just, un-accountable, un-inclusive, un-transparent, un-healthy dynamics that inevitably emerge in any human group. Calling ourselves “non-hierarchical” is like a free pass that gets in the way of our self-awareness.

Jo Freeman named this beautifully in The Tyranny of Structurelessness, where she argues that the informal hierarchies of a “structureless” group will always be less accountable and fair than a more formal organisation.

Freeman uses the word “structureless”, which is specific to the context of her 1960’s feminism. Today, you could swap “structureless” for “non-hierarchical” and get a very accurate diagnosis of a sickness that afflicts nearly every group that rejects hierarchical structures.

We’re coming up to the 50th anniversary of this essay, and still it seems the majority of radical organisations have missed the point.

So I repeat: I don’t care about hierarchy. It’s just a shape. I care about power dynamics.

I think words like “non-hierarchical”, “self-managing” and “horizontal” are kind of vague codes, pointing to our intention to create healthy power relations. In the past, when I said “Enspiral is a non-hierarchical organisation”, what I really meant was “Enspiral is a non-coercive organisation”. That’s the important piece, we’re trying to work without coercion.

Playing for Team Human today, master of human connection and consensus, Loomio co-founder Richard Bartlett. Bartett coming all the way from New Zealand, stopped by Douglas’s home studio while on a community organizing workshop tour of the US.

On today’s show, Bartlett and Rushkoff discuss the challenges of building consensus in an all too often top-down, winner-takes all society. Together we’ll learn how Loomio, inspired by the general assemblies of Occupy Wall Street, strives to amplify collaborative power and foster more participatory democratic practice. It’s a project that starts with small-scale, human-to-human connection and grows outward from there.