Thu 28 May 2020 3:54PM

Making Microsolidarity Presentation - 30/05/2020

JG Joshua Glass Public Seen by 117

On May 30, 2020 @Joshua Glass and @Beatriz co-hosted a presentation to share the process of starting a new mutual aid community originating in Maastricht, NL.

This thread holds

  • Q+A from the event

  • The recording of the event: https://youtu.be/mqaH-9uGC9c (accessible only through this link)

  • A place of contact for event attendees (and others interested to connect with them)


Joshua Glass Wed 3 Jun 2020 9:47AM

Hey everyone, here's the recording of the event (accessible only through this link): https://youtu.be/mqaH-9uGC9c


Joe Lightfoot Tue 2 Jun 2020 8:34AM

Awesome, found this really interesting, thank you for sharing it here :D


Simon Grant Sat 30 May 2020 7:22PM

Super, thanks Joshua!


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 1:07PM

I've not yet been asked, but Bea and I are currently working on defining different audiences who would be interested in drawing on our methods of social organising. Corporations are on the list. So we'll be reaching out to them soon enough!


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:52PM

from Tony: Have you ever been asked to introduce this way of working into a large corp that is basically tired of its current way of working?


Beatriz Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:34PM

Yes, some people joined during the corona lock down!

Josh, Timmy and I started by inviting a small circle of 10 people. We met in person in March pre-Corona.

Since then, we have had two more similar Welcome Meetings which took place over Zoom instead. These meetings were 3 hours to orient new friends who were considering joining the Congregation.

In fact, everything we have been doing has been on Zoom since March. And yes, some of us haven't met in real life yet. We try to make our Zoom Rooms as safe and fun as possible, so that all of us can quickly trust and be vulnerable with each-other. It also really helps that we know that everyone around has been invited by someone else in the group - in the end we are just friends and friends of friends!


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:52PM

from Weronika: Are there any new people in your congregation joined during „corona lock down” so they haven’t been meeting life?


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 2:24PM

Hey @Angelo John Lewis. Yes, there are certainly crews who do not have a specific economic or livelihood focus! In fact, the folks at Enspiral distinguish between "care pods" and "livelihood pods". The latter being concerned with livelihood and the former being concerned with emotional-spiritual/other interest.

Crews revolve around a certain topic that is relevant to all its members. Maybe some people want to Crew so that they go through a certain online course together, or so that they can support each-other in learning more about a certain topic, or even so that they can create a business or project together. They can also crew to experiment with economic intimacy, but this is not crucial.


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:51PM

from Angelo: Are there crews that don't have a specific economic, livelihood focus? Or is this baked into the microsolidarity theory?


Beatriz Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:32PM

@Peter Farwell even though I know Rotary as an organisation, I'm not too sure of its structure or of how it works and runs.

On the top of my mind, there's a few things to consider:

  • In our Congregation people are welcomed by invitation, and on a basis of trust.

  • Our Congregation is not a formal legal entity with a mission, but an informal network of people which Gathers around a specific purpose and with clear intentions (to help each-other as friends in doing financial and emotionally fulfilling work).

  • Rotary is a world-wide organisation, with thousands of members. Our Congregation (and Microsolidarity in general) propose a micro approach to doing things - the Congregations shouldn't get much bigger than 150 people, and Crews work in groups of 3-6 people.

These are three aspects in OUR Congregation that I think may differ from Rotary's structure. However, this is the Culture of our Maastricht Congregation. Feel welcome to check the original microsolidarity proposal and see what else you can find there!

Perhaps @Richard D. Bartlett or @Nati Lombardo have an idea of a larger biz or social org like Rotary who are using Microsolidarity-esque practices. Perhaps one of your clients?


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:51PM

from Peter: Could you address how the congregation structure of microsolidarity differs from biz/social organizations such as Rotary?


Joshua Glass Wed 21 Oct 2020 4:32PM

Thanks Rich! Should work now.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 21 Oct 2020 2:58PM

alas somehow these links seem to be broked?


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 1:05PM

We haven't actually crewed yet, but some ideas that have been floating around our Congregation are: an online course, a reading circle of identity politics and activism, the intersection between politics and arts. Some folks could crew to learn and practice how to organise people, or just a place for you to come every month and check in with where you are emotionally.

About 14 people of our Congregation recently had a 2.5 hr workshop to explore alternative ways to share and relate with money. Out of this, I would personally like to call for a crew to experiment on a small scale with a shared pot of money. In this I'd like to explore at which moments in the process we are triggered and ask: what can we learn about ourselves and relationship to money from these triggers?

It depends on people's desires and needs, and of where they are in life. I hope this can give you some more clarity!


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:51PM

from Rowan: What topics have you crewed about in the past? Or, can you give some examples?


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:52PM

There are certainly similarities between the ideas of 'commoning' & the commons and Microsolidarity and our Congregation's implementation of it.

Firstly, I've not researched deeply into 'commoning' from Peter Linebaugh. However, from what I understand, commoning is simply the actions taken by people to create and share resources with each other. It's my understanding that commoning includes a practice of reciprocity (my gain does not mean your loss; we exchange vs. profit from each other).

The original proposal for Microsolidarity actually includes a section called "The Reciprocity Game". This is a fun idea to move through layers of building trust from listening with attention through co-owning a company, income or assets.

Additionally, I'll add that our use of Microsolidarity is especially concerned with emotional intimacy – how to act in a group of people you can trust highly and speak vulnerably with from a deeper emotional/psychological/spiritual level. Microsolidarity first creates and then builds upon this trustworthy foundation based in relationship between people. The method goes on to then provide space for us to know deeply that we can trust the people we are sharing the commons with (e.g. income, a company, assets) therefore feeling safe to do, as well as knowing that we are supporting ourselves in supporting others.


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:51PM

Romy R: how does this idea and your work relate to ‘commoning’ and the commons, there are similarities right?


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 11:52AM

I'll have to answer this one out of forethought more than from lived experience since none of us have crewed just yet. I've learned from @Nati Lombardo that the following is important:

Intention: purpose, why are we meeting?

Norms: how do we want to be together? explore needs, desires, fears

Structure: the meeting format. Follow a pre-made one, or design your own

Rhythm: how often are you meeting? For how long?

Cycles: when do you finish or stop to reflect? Start with the end in mind


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:50PM

from Simon: What shared information can help the formation of crews?


Beatriz Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:15PM

Josh and I prepare our sessions in advance, after having asked around what are people's needs and desires.

We always take into account and try to balance at least two things:

  • Giving interesting content and information so that Congregation members can get inspired and learn new cool stuff.

  • Allowing space for people to bring their own voices, and to create exchange of information and experiences.

Additionally, the format usually has a basic structure of:

  • Context/remember why we're meeting

  • Check in so everyone can see and be seen

  • The content at hand (often includes small group breakouts)

  • Collect and reflect together on content

  • Check out - with what are you leaving this meeting? another moment to see and be seen

In here you can see in good detail how our meetings are organized (Congregating: the Process > any of the meetings).


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:50PM

From Weronika : How does your work look like at the meeting sessions? Is there a specific structure?


Simon Grant Mon 1 Jun 2020 1:00PM

A percentage into common pot is a common first step. The kind of crews I'd like to be involved in would be ones where crew members are actually helping each other materially in that process of earning money. In which case, it makes sense to share it... maybe when sufficient trust and mutual knowledge is there, one can work towards everyone feeling responsible that everyone else is employed, within their stated capacity. (I.e. some people may opt to be part time and aim for an income proportionate to what others aim for)


Joshua Glass Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:10PM

@Katherine Glass Meaningful work in our case includes earning incomes. That form of income can be defined as financial or otherwise. For now, our specific Congregation holds a collective vision that we intend to move into work which does support our needs for money.

To answer the second part of your Q in an example: If I make money from the work I do as a freelancer, I will keep that money for myself. However, we have begun exploratory talks within our congregation about sharing money. There are no real systems in place for it yet, but it's definitely possible that, for example, a % or a self-defined amount of everyone's income would go to a common pot. The way in which the money in the common pot is used is to be defined by the collective that contributes to it.


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:49PM

From Katherine: When you focus on Meaningful work, is that also about earning incomes? And are the incomes separate? Or intertwined for the community ?


Simon Grant Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:56PM

Maybe, simply, if a topic feels like a shared vital interest to a number of people? What they then do about it can vary. But for a crew with an extended life (not just short term) my guess is that is has to be rewarding and sustaining in meaningful ways. If the crew members need income, then the crew will probably have to focus around income ... etc. But that's not always the case.


Beatriz Mon 1 Jun 2020 12:08PM

In our understanding of the process of Crewing, it all starts with someone's idea, desire or curiosity. This desire is then turned into a "Call" - a call for a few others to join around the topic of curiosity.

What makes a topic worth crewing ? There's no absolute answers, but usually you can consider...:

  • Whether the topic feels important for you in your life.

  • Usually we Crew after being in the Gathering with all the Congregation. You can also take into account what conversations were predominant in the Gathering and collect something from there.


Joshua Glass Sat 30 May 2020 5:49PM

From Julan: what makes a topic worth ‘crewing’ about?

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