Happy 2021! May this year bring all the beautiful changes we dream of.
As the founder and Creative Director of the HUMANs (Humans United in Mutual Aid Networks) global cooperative network, I often say that the best part of my job is helping people see we can afford to dream better.
Now it’s more important than ever to keep sight of our dreams and move together to make them come true.
As a step toward that, we’re highlighting a few of our sister Mutual Aid Networks and inviting you to get to know us, and work and learn together, at our upcoming January 23-24 Solidarity Summit — and beyond.
Here are some of the folks you’ll meet, from different places and networks around the world:
The Sustainability Demonstration Center is a non-profit community-based organization located at the base of the Monteverde Cloud Forest in a rural community called Guacimal which lies amidst rivers and mountains. The Center was born out of a great need to protect a river from developers, and since 2014 is collaborating in Costa Rica to improve the quality of life of all sentient beings through trading and other ways. We have our own unit of exchange called the Guacimo and a trade route called RuTaCom that we are actively expanding to the entire territory and which includes people who produce food and items and people who provide services of all types including dentistry and medicine. We have limited participation from abroad, but hope to bridge the gap in 2021. In 2020, MAN and the SDC became Sister Projects. Visit us at www.sustainablecostarica.org and write to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our programs and our intentional community.
Bien Sur Terre
“Learning Third Places, places of cultural transformation”
The mission is studying, developing, and putting into practice the concept of Learning Third Places, the embodiment of successful learning cooperation.
This is manifested in emergence dynamics where the idea grows, a dynamic gets organized.
Consultancy and management dynamics for structures willing to evolve and focus on their core.
And finance dynamics so that money is a tool at the service of the Solidarity economy.
- We are setting up different cooperation packages including methodologies training + apps
- BST idea: to make fruitful ideation (design thinking + IdeaLoom)
- BST net-up: to empower synchronization among network members (projects community + Nextcloud-OnlyOffice-Rocket.chat)
- BST team: to empower projects team (group dynamics, projects management + Nextcloud-OnlyOffice-Rocket-Open Project)
- BST co-op: to boost coop management and development (strategy and operational skills + Odoo)
- BST room: to allow fertile and secure visconference (collective intelligence + BigBlueButton)
Lodève Tiers place: we may accompany an inclusive Third place in a devastated area
Commons Digital co-op: we are since 3 years nourishing a coop project based on a disruptive political and economical model in order to be able to develop and serve all digital services needed while giving jobs to youth and old excluded people.
HULL AND EAST RIDING MUTUAL AID HUB
The Mutual Aid Hub has a community space in East Hull with land, a professional kitchen and soon to be business incubator co-working space. The Hub hosted by TimeBank Hull and East Riding is however a network of networks that covers the region of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. The aspiration, to be at the heart of building a regenerative system of mutual aid in our area. Focussing on a process of connecting, collaborating, creating, and celebrating this network of networks is weaving connections between community members, organizations, and businesses to unlock strengths-based collaboration utilizing the tools of mutual aid. Through the pandemic, the organization has been holding space for members to connect, process, and learn together. Many projects led by members have emerged through this period which will impact health and wellbeing, food security, community resilience, climate change (living with water locally), employment, and ethical business incubation.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a parallel network of formal and informal local groups bringing together diverse neighbors to aid each other in times of crisis through “Solidarity Not Charity.” Responding in the last few years to unprecedented hurricanes, fires, and floods, this network has grown rapidly and increased local groups’ skills and connections exponentially, really making a big difference in communities’ abilities to respond to the pandemic crisis. During 2020’s unprecedented uprising for human rights and dignity, many pandemic mutual aid groups, as well as more experienced street medics, community kitchens, and all kinds of organizers, collaborated to supply the people with food, water, and safety gear, vividly demonstrating the better, more compassionate and loving world that we know is possible. Alongside HUMANs and so many other (often unnamed) mutual aid networks, MADR local groups are actively creating a new paradigm based on shared responsibility, egalitarian cooperation, and imaginative innovation. The MADR network has a different style than HUMANs, with local groups completely independent (and with a variety of names and priorities), and the all-volunteer non-profit organization that maintains the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief website acting solely as a conduit for information and resources, interconnecting local groups, finding grant money (which is passed 100% to those who need it most), and organizing trainings and skill-shares. Some local groups engaging in mutual aid disaster relief (it’s an action, not a brand!) will join us for the Solidarity Summit. Any groups or individuals running mutual aid or related community uplift programs are welcome to join this expanding movement, because in the face of climate catastrophe and hateful violence, only “WE keep us safe.”
Community Rights US is a fledgling organization – small but inspired! – that is educating communities across the nation about Community Rights, an innovative new strategy also sometimes called “Community Bill of Rights,” which opposes corporate rule and asserts communities’ autonomy to stand up for themselves and decide their own destiny. CRUS builds community connections and helps to further a movement that seeks to upend the ridiculous privileges of fictional “citizens” called “corporate persons” and return to the path that We the People have been forging over generations, insisting on human rights and dignity as well as responsibility and care for our shared home. So far, the community rights strategy has been used to block extraction and pollution in hundreds of communities, including a fracking ban in the entire state of New York. The concept is closely allied to the idea of “Rights of Nature,” which is beginning to take hold in many other countries. Visit CommunityRights.US to learn more.
The Madison MAN (Mutual Aid Network) Cooperative, the hometown MAN of the HUMANs global network, focuses on a few key projects:
Everywhere Gardens matches un- or under-stewarded land with gardeners learning together, then we share the bounty. We’d love to see Everywhere Gardens everywhere!
Unify, Build and ReCreate is our partnership with people and organizations in Madison and Milwaukee who are working to create housing solutions with, by, and for people currently without safe or stable housing. Milwaukee’s Build Center, Madison’s Unify, Dandelion Roots ReCreate, Occupy Madison, the Social Justice Center, and individual members are coming together to build this vision.
The Mutual Aid Workspace at the Social Justice Center is our cooperative co-working and collaboration space, just turning 2 years old this month. As you might imagine, it’s been quite a year to build an enterprise built on physical togetherness. So we’re trying to figure it out, while helping the Social Justice Center shift to fill more of our community’s real needs during these multiple crises. We’re working together as a partnership, spearheaded by SJC, called the Willy Street Support Squad. The Squad is hosting an outdoor free pantry of food, toiletries, and other supplies. Annie, the SJC director, is doing a lot of on-the-fly crisis support and material support for residents of our neighborhood tent city. And Madison MAN members – especially Kacy of ReCreate and Tim Jones – have been helping tent city residents to connect with Occupy Madison’s tinier homes project, and have been helping organize, train, and build the tinier homes. We’re aiming to help find ways to continue, sustain, and support all the work necessary to have healthy tiny home communities and make more available to more people.
We’re currently getting ready to try out some new exchange software, and launching a member drive that will give us the opportunity to organize our work more thoroughly mutual aid style. We’re aiming to scale up our Common Fund and create some real capacity for just land and housing access, build up local business participation in all of our efforts, especially with the Common Good card, and contribute to community peace and justice work on the ground.
And more! We have more official sister sites that you can read about at mutualaidnetwork.org, lots of ‘unofficial’ fellow travelers, and others joining all the time. What about you and your project? Hope to see you at the Summit.
United States / Washington, D.C.
LinkUp is a collective of organizers, artists, and entrepreneurs building a cooperative ecosystem with a community-involved process for the collection and distribution of resources to communities. Our model includes (1) a digital crowdfund and community organizing tool, featuring opinion-based surveys and cash prize competitions, where winners are selected by participants through a live and transparent voting process, (2) a digital banking platform that facilitates the exchange of skills and services using a time-credit currency, (3) a prisoner-centered magazine to elevate the voices and political agenda of the most oppressed, (4) a gaming tournament, and (5) a business directory. The LinkUp model addresses three primary challenges that communities face in these unprecedented times: low wages, lack of safety net, lack of access to resources to positively advance youth and communities.
And many more…
Meet these folks and many others – and learn how to stay connected in meaningful ways – at our Solidarity Summit January 23-24. Participatory learning, skillshares, roundtables, and some art and music too. RSVP here. More information at mutualaidnetwork.org
Editor’s Note: The Response will also host a special screening of their documentary during the summit. Stay tuned for more details but save the date for Jan. 23.