In the title of this editorial, I describe Occupy as a business model and link it to the possibility of a new civilisational model. We can do this by expanding from the already-existing institutional logic of peer production in knowledge, software and hardware, to a vision of the macro-economy.
Today, we assume that value is created by for-profit companies and conceive of civil society as a “remainder” category: it’s what we do when we come home, exhausted after our paid work. This is reflected in the language we use to describe civil society, when we call them non-profits or non-governmental.
Civi can do a lot of things. The simplest, and easiest to get started with, is broadcast email lists. We highly encourage all New York-based OWS working groups to move their email announcements into Civi. Unlike a Google Group, Civi lists: don’t require contacts to accept an invitation; support templates for mailings; support scheduled mailings; support sub-lists based on a project or interest without requiring a separate signup; can have a signup form easily embedded on any website; allow you to track how many people receive each email, open it, or click on a link; and integrate with a lot of other outreach functionality. It’s also easy to import your contacts from any spreadsheet or text file. And if you import your contacts into the Civi managed by Tech Ops, we can also offer them a weekly newsletter with events and updates from around the movement (the first of these went out today, using Civi).
Civi also supports, out of the box, events with RSVPs, and keeping track of information about people you’re in touch with including email, phone number, skills, and interests, in a searchable way.
Tech Ops will be hosting a training next Tuesday evening, March 13, at 6pm, in Brooklyn, with more to follow. You can RSVP (using Civi), and we’ll give you the location details.
The training will cover:
- How to create a newsletter for a mailing list
- How to import contacts & dedup
- How to create multiple newsletter/mailing lists
- How to create profiles for newsletter subscription and contact management
- How to create events and track RSVPs
- How to create campaigns
- How to track/review contact engagement and follow-up
We do ask that, before we give you admin access to Civi, you attend a training, and can demonstrate that you have been trusted with this task by your working group.
After hearing about Mike Bloomberg’s $250,000 donation to Planned Parenthood, we started thinking about what that kind of money is worth to somebody as rich as he is. It turns out that it’s not that much money at all…see for yourself.
An amazing gifting phenomenon emerged during the occupation of Zuccotti Park (Liberty Square) in which strangers spontaneously organized themselves to provide food and shelter to anyone in need. This organic emergence of mass generosity flowered for two months amidst the sky scrappers of multi-national banks and the cynicism of abused souls who looked upon the ‘occupation’ as an unsanitary oddity.
While it may seem odd to the mainstream personality that people would work night and day to feed, cloth, shelter and secure each other without receiving any type of financial compensation, to those who participated in the process of occupation, nothing could be more natural – or rewarding.
Mainstream society is build on the assumption that “resources are scarce” and that “incentives drive decision-making”, but gifting society see things differently. Gifting societies assume essential resources such as sunlight, water, food and shelter are abundant (but possibly mis-allocated) and that personal passion drives decision-making. The assumption of abundance allows people in gifting societies to escape the crippling fear of poverty that most people in mainstream society experience on a day to day basis. When people let go of their fear of poverty, they can begin to embrace their true passions, but the transition isn’t always smooth – in fact it can be quite frightening.
The occupation of Zuccotti Park frightened many people not because it was unsanitary or dangerous, but because it showed people that another world is not only possible, but practical – and possible more competitive. Everyday that the occupation provided shelter to hundreds, food to thousands and entertainment to millions, was a day that the mainstream world-view was not only challenged, but replaced for something more interesting and authentic.
The original occupation of Wall Street is over, but the gifting society that spontaneously emerged out of it is not. Those involved in the occupation experienced, for a few short months, a society free from money, coercion and hierarchy. Occupy activists are not going back. In fact, they’re determined to recreate the experience and spread it far and wide.
The mission of PermaBank is to give people the tools they need to engage in and spread the experience of gifting. Our first feature is a simple gifts/wishes application in which people “offer a gift” or “make a wish.”
All of PermaBank’s code is free/libre/opensource software designed, developed and deployed by folks from the New York General Assemblies Technology Operations Group. Check out our other projects and please please please let us know if you’d like to get involved in the PermaBank project. We need your unique gifts, seriously!
…Solutions through Solidarity through Solutions through Solidarity…