Today Sina, Selena and I met with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin to talk about the Allied Coop and ask for his support.
It was a really friendly, fruitful, concise and constructive meeting. That’s nice!
The mayor offered to initiate a meeting with city staff who can help us learn to better navigate city systems, including funding systems. He also offered to help us in our search for space, including a grocery store. We are very happy with the results.
The meeting, along with our ongoing experience in applying for government funding, have prompted a lot of reflection on how much our entrenched systems are currently stacked against regular people working in their communities. The conundrum, which the mayor quickly identified – he said ‘Your greatest strength is also your weakness’ – that we’re not professionals, we’re people in our communities doing the work we know needs to be done. And in the current system our two options are to hire a professional to come in and do the work we’ve all been doing, or to build our own capacity to navigate those funding systems. That’s exactly what the Allied Coop, and MANs in general, are being designed to do – to create the formal, legal, social and personal capacity to generate and steward resources collectively… and the constrictions these systems create and our lack of savvy working with/around them are our #1 barrier to getting this work done as quickly and well as we know we could. Sina and Selena continue to put countless hours of excellent work into their neighborhood, and it’s really hard to find funding sources to pay them to be able to spend the bulk of their time doing it. They have to do it in addition to paid work, which is simply too much to ask. We’re lucky they are so giving, so energetic and talented.
So, as it’s been for the last few years, I continue to swim in the irony of the fact that my deeply-felt need to change these systems and their effects on my community causes me to constantly have to navigate these same systems… I can’t wait till we make the MANs work so I can be done with it!! 😉
Coming soon… report from Feb. 26 Builders Workshop #13 on software, notes from our last legal team meeting, updates on MAN design team progress and initial pilot project discussions… but first I’ll be taking the weekend off and visiting the ice caves on Lake Superior.
Enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading,