[NorCal • SFBA] In Search Of Co-operative Creative Partners for Community

It is an indisputable fact that generations of Black, Indigenous, and other Communities of Color around the world have succeeded in liberating themselves through cooperative labor. Instead of hero worship, rallying around cults of personality, and competing for status, we are free to choose at different path, the power is within our hands to organize as co-operators who own the means of production, economic democracy for social democracy.

While open to all, it is a practical vision deliberately centred on the equality and equity of violently disenfranchised BIPOC Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Agender/Non-Binary, and the Disabled struggling to thrive beyond systemic oppression promoted by law and custom.

About me
Hello to all, I’m Muirén (muir + éan) and I’m a 66-years-old Black Trans Woman (AMAB — She, Her) who lives alone in a modest apartment located near Shattuck Ave, downtown Berkeley, California. In the sense that bell hooks defines in her books, papers, speeches, I am unapologetically Queer; Gender Non-Conforming, Lesbian, ACE (Romantic Demisexual), and expressing a diagnosed Neuro-Divergence.

I’m primarily self-funding a concept of community rooted in cultural and economic solidarity, an intentional, cooperative common sense. The ends a social movement seeks to achieve are shaped by the means it employs, so we are a cooperatively organized, sociocratically managed community of creatives supported by its own efforts.

The Co-Founders’ Homestead
My proposal is the development of community in progressive, sustainable stages; beginning with a modest place for residence, learning, and making to be purchased in a re-greenable, mixed-use zoned suburban setting. With a focus on cottage industry level production that serves to ensure the self-sufficiency of our fledgling troupe while elevating visibility and raising awareness of our mission.

M3iT ∙ The Cornerstone Cooperative
The means for this non-profit community to be self-supporting by its own efforts cannot be a vague matter. Part of the cottage industry operation is intended to bootstrap the incorporation of a for-profit, our first multi-stakeholder cooperative as a California Benefit Corporation, dedicated to Social & Technological Innovation in Performing Arts, through research, manufacture, integration, and marketing of hardware, software, and wetware (culture as a technology).

This worker owned cooperative has its pro forma roles, but within a radically flattened, flexible, fluid, adaptive hierarchical structure, circles of this sociocratic ecology may be described as:

➤ Coordinators: Community Modelling and Relationship Management, DSS or Decision Support System, Critical Infrastructure and Support Staff, Intellectual Property and Patent Management;

➤ Creatives: Scientists, Engineers, Technicians, Artisans, Artists, Performers, Vloggers and Media Mavens;

➤ Patrons: We serve kindred creatives engaging with passion and discipline at the intersection of ArtScience, Hacker/Maker Cultures.

While there are a few laudable examples of technology-based companies creating user forums and Discord servers, the needs of this community demand the bar be raised to an unprecedented level, a path of co-operative personal engagement that absolutely no traditionally Incorporated business can legally follow.

We will pioneer a system of continuous Participatory Action Research and Design where the contributions of each Patron are documented, recognized by their peers, and substantively rewarded. Moreover, access to the means to create by Member Patrons will not be limited by their access to capital, what matters is their passion, discipline, skill, commitment to the art, and their willingness to co-operate.

Atypical of such proposals is the inclusion of voting power granted to representatives of the regional community where we are based, this includes their free correspondence with the independent third-party auditors who do not vote, but whose duty must be demonstrably more than a performative exercise in progressive whitewashing.


I’m interested in joining forces with you by merging Willowhaven - however I think an alliance may be more productive. Most of the more committed members of our project have non-negotiable ties to WA, so we can’t be in CA. What would an alliance look like if not direct co-operation?

I also wonder what an elevator pitch of this project would be. If summed up in 1-2 sentences, how would you describe this?

I worked successful for decades in the hyper-competitive corporate world of finance and banking as a Systems Analyst and Project Manager, researching, writing, business plans and presenting them to SVP and C-Suite executives at Fifth Third Bancorp, an ultra-conservative institution and major contributor to a GOP Super PAC headquartered in the ultra-conservative town I grew up in, Cincinnati, Ohio.

I wasn’t hired to do that, but when I realized my division was about to do something incredibly stupid I wrote a report explaining why it would be a disaster and what we could do to amend the plan without that costing a small fortune.

My AVP read it and gave me a written reprimand for doing it. I went outside the chain of command and personally delivered it to our SVP. My AVP terminated my employment on the spot in an unhinged fit of rage. As I was getting on the elevator my SVP was getting off, and order me to wait in his office.

It took and long process of intense Q&A, but eventually, my analysis and “seemingly” unorthodox plan were accepted, and I was put in direct charge of the project. Despite my repeated successes, being threatened with termination was almost an annual event in the years that followed, achieving the status of insider cultural meme, where people would ask who fired me this week.

What I learned and later discovered supported by peer-review studies, was that systemic problems demand systemic solutions; that a paradigm shift can’t be neatly fit into the cultural shorthand of an elevator pitch, a tweet, or meme, but more often requires an uncomfortable change of perspective, study and fact-facing by one’s audience.

To be clear, if you are innovating, thinking outside the proverbial box, that logically means there cannot exist common unspoken assumptions that a quick, catchy explanation would rely upon.

This is not Shark Tank, and we, or at least I, am not a subscriber to the pseudo scientific cult of neoliberal capitalism that elevates intellectually lazy social constructs like the “elevator pitch” to the status of common sense.

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Competing for socio-economic status is deeply encoded into the cultural DNA of America.

Any attempt to change or provide an alternative provokes an autoimmune response, and even the people suffering the most from that corrupt system will organize to defend it and their tiny place within where they enjoy the illusion of security.

Outside a few key urban centers there are few safe spaces even for Indigenous people, much less, people of African descent who are LGBTQ+ in the far north of California, Oregon, and Washington.

It took a great deal of work to locate undeveloped land that fits this community plan while still being close to urban and suburban cultures that would not be anti-Black to the same degree common throughout rural Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.

Over an almost 10-year period I reached out to Black community business organizations and activists in NorCal, Oregon, Washington, as well as Black and BIPOC LGBTQ+ organizations to discuss both establishing this first worker cooperative and mixed-use zoned campus for intentional community.

When I asked the Black Chambers of Commerce in Oregon and Washington what programs they had supporting Black Women and LGBTQ+ led businesses, each one of them stopped responding.

And none of those Black and BIPOC organizations have responded to voicemail, email, comments, or DMs on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, though someone claiming to represent one organization sent me a request for a donation.

All these organizations seem to only exist to aggrandize a few heroic leaders while soliciting funds. Outside a narrow handful of organizations focused on cooperative land acquisition, food service, and service sector labor like bike repair, there is no interest in systemic cooperative approaches to address education, employment, healthcare, housing.

Again, that is the point. This is a different paradigm here in the US. Throughout Europe cooperativism is a social and business norm, while in America, it is not just unknown, but actively attacked using disinformation about what cooperatives are, while also corrupted slowly from within major cooperative institutions by bad actors with great power and influence.

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How This Aquaponics Farmer Is Reinventing Urban Agriculture | PBS Terra
There are so many barriers in place when it comes to growing food in urban and suburban locations, but education and lack of access to space are the hardest to overcome. Yemi Amu has dedicated her life as a farmer to solving this problem, by starting the only Aquaponics farm in NYC. Oko Farms in Brooklyn is both a working farm which provides fresh food to surrounding neighborhoods, while also actively engaging the public in education on how to grow food for yourself in urban environments.

Women of the Earth is a new show on PBS Terra, produced by Summer Moon Productions, featuring stories of women across America who are leading a new movement to restore and protect the land. By focusing on women in land stewardship roles like farmers and shepherds, the series will explore women’s unique relationship to the earth and their innovative undertakings to heal the earth from climate change.


How This Indigenous Farmer Is Solving Food Insecurity | PBS Terra
As climate chaos increases around the world, Michelle Week, a farmer outside of Portland Oregon is drawing on her Sinixt indigenous knowledge to adapt her farm to the changing seasons. By practicing techniques like seed saving and dry farming, Michelle is combating the increasing food security crisis while continuing to provide fresh food to her local community.

Women of the Earth is a new show on PBS Terra, produced by Summer Moon Productions, featuring stories of women across America who are leading a new movement to restore and protect the land. By focusing on women in land stewardship roles like farmers and shepherds, the series will explore women’s unique relationship to the earth and their innovative undertakings to heal the earth from climate change.


People only saw old tires & poverty. He makes “Slow Shoes” from it👞 | Kirsten Dirk
Juliano Lima likes to bring things back to life. At home, his furniture is made from old pallets, scaffolding, and salvaged leather from the auto industry. At work, he turns old tires and vegetable-tanned leather into high-end shoes while simultaneously giving jobs to dozens of craftspeople in his home country of Brazil.

In the Cariris region of Eastern Brazil, Juliano found skilled artisans working in a centuries-old tradition tanning leather without heavy metals (like chrome) and crafting shoes in the town square. He also found people like Mr. Zeca, who has been collecting old tires for forty years. He combined the two and began designing shoes of leather and recycled tires that could be 100% handmade in Brazil and sold in his stores in Barcelona and his Caboclo line online.

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Forestiere Underground Gardens: A 10-acre underground village & orchard | Kirsten Dirk
During the California heat wave of 1906, Baldassare Forestiere dug a home underground with just a pickax and shovel. He spent 40 years excavating 10 acres of rooms, tunnels, a chapel, an underground aquarium, and courtyards to experiment with underground farming.

With no budget, he mixed mortar from the dirt he dug out, creating his own concrete and bricks. Despite continuing to work as a day laborer during the day (mostly digging irrigation ditches), by the 1920s, he had completed about 50 subterranean rooms.

A Sicilian immigrant to Fresno, California, Forestiere had planned to farm citrus until discovering that his 80 acres of “hardpan” soil were unusable for planting. Digging as far as 20 feet below the surface, Forestiere reached depths where the soil was good, and his trees were protected from Fresno’s extreme summer heat and winter frosts. After about 20 years of digging and underground farming, he could quit his day job and live off the fruits of his subterranean orchards.

Despite having just a fourth-grade education and no architectural training, Forestiere - inspired by the catacombs of Rome - built arches for support, and to this day, none of his underground construction has collapsed. In areas where he wanted more natural cooling (like near stoves), he created cone-shaped openings to encourage the venturi effect, pushing the hot air out and sucking the cooler air down.

His underground home had a kitchen with a wood-burning stove, an ice box and a dining room, winter and summer bedrooms, many skylights, a subterranean fish pond, a car garage for guests, and a three-floor aquarium with an underground glass viewing area. He had plans to open an underground resort to the public as a place to cool off in the summer, but he died before it was completed. His brother and family took over the site, and today it’s open to the public.

For more information or join a tour: https://undergroundgardens.com

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Mother Seeks Refuge For Trans Son | Camille Ray | The Majority Report w/ Emma Vigeland Twitter

Emma talks to Camille Rey, a mother of a trans child who left Texas and moved out of state due to Texas’s extremely restrictive anti-trans laws. Camille discusses her experiences as the mother of a trans kid in Texas as anti-LGBTQ legislation gets more and more repressive, painting a picture of the impact of the mere existence of this legislation on trans kids, and the exclusionary and transphobic tactics that they employ.

Wrapping up, Ray and Emma look at the reality of being a trans kid in the US, walking through what gender-affirming care ACTUALLY looks like, and what her and her son’s post-Texas life has provided.

So what you plan to do is establish a housing co-operative that serves as more than housing, but community space for people to grow their own skills and produce/innovate for the greater good, rather than for profit. Am I getting this right?

Definition of Homesteading: A household characterized by self-sufficiency which can include for example, subsistence and-or supplemental agriculture, home processing and preservation of food and dry goods, as well as small scale production of tangible goods, historically textiles, clothing, and craft work for sale.

The Co-Founders’ Homestead location must be accessible by ADA-compliant transportation and mobility services, to ensure that no prospective creative co-founders be potentially excluded. Neither should personal finance, and-or lack of a personal vehicle limit anyone’s opportunity to reach us and participate in their search for a better life. To sum up this point, being pedestrian and transportation oriented isn’t some buzz-worthy idea we include now and hope to shoehorn in at some later time, but a scalable core value established from the beginning.

Mixed-Use Zoning live-work cohabitation is the centuries old and sustainable way of life throughout the rest of the world, even in the larges urban centers: London, Paris, Cape Town, or Istanbul that straddles the line between Europe and all the Asian states to name only a few.

The concept of mixed-use zoning for housing was also normal throughout the US for most of it history until a small group with great wealth and influence placed personal ambition above the people and values thought of as the bedrock of American culture for generations, set about convincing civic leaders they didn’t need their town’s main streets, told them to prioritized cars above pedestrian traffic, and began running expressways like sword through the heart of communities all over the nation, particularly BIPOC communities.

American mixed-use cohabitation has experienced a resurgence among urban and suburban planners over the past 30 or 40 years with demonstrable social and economic successes’ coast to coast, and that is despite repeated abuses by wealthy hipsters and corrupt officials particularly during the Trump Era, where people were given tax incentives to deliberate undermined affordable housing development, the President openly stating this as his intention in a public address.
Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing — ProPublica

Definition of Cornerstone: The first stone laid when constructing a masonry foundation. It is considered the most important stone in the building, as all other stones are laid in reference to this first, cornerstone.

The Cornerstone Cooperative: is the cottage industry FabLab starting point for M3iT Co-operative for Social and Technological Innovation in Performing Arts, a self-supporting, intentional community of creatives engaged in participatory action research, manufacture, integration, and distribution of hardware, software, and culture as a technology.

Clarification of terms:
➤ Cottage Industry: The term originally referred to home workers who were engaged in skilled crafts such as sewing, lace-making, wall hangings, and many other household manufactured goods that are now usually operated from large, centralized factories that evolved during the Industrial Revolution, and now proven unsustainable, extractive, exploitive, and structurally incapable of adapting to change.

➤ FabLab: A fab lab is typically equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”. Of critical importance is that FabLabs can create technology-enabled products that most people believe only possible through multi-millions of dollars capital investment and mass production.

Through a judicious balance of traditional handcrafting and electronics integration paired with computer controlled production methods: Desktop Subtractive (Milling) and Desktop Additive (3D Print), and Desktop Laser Engraving/Cutting.

Already in active development, I’ve been leveraging membership in open source Arts and Sciences communities, with a short list of the open source communities I’m working with is clearly listed at the M3iT website HTTPS://M3iT.APP

In 2003, Dr. Adam Nieman created an awe-inspiring image that visually depicted the vastness of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. Rendered as spheres next to our planet, these representations showcased the sheer magnitude of these essential elements.

However, this image also reveals a startling fact: If every drop of water on Earth were collected into a single sphere, it would measure a mere 869 miles (1400 km) across, just enough to cover Eastern Europe. This visual representation highlights the limited availability of freshwater resources and the importance of conservation efforts.
Read the full article here

All the Earth’s water and air. Illustration: Félix Pharand-Deschênes, Concept: Adam Nieman.

Non-Profit isn’t automagically ethical or accountable.
This Is The Greediest “Non-Profit” Hospital In America | More Perfect Union

UPMC is a healthcare giant. It employs more than 92,000 people, has an operating revenue of roughly $26 billion, and as a “non-profit”, it’s technically supposed to provide affordable healthcare to the people who need it most. But its flagship hospital recently made headlines for being the least charitable non-profit hospital in the country.

The Messy, Liberal Transphobia of TYT | Kat Blaque
Apparently, despite it becoming increasingly clear that anti-LGBT legislation isn’t helping republicans win, if we want Democrats to win, we should stop “fixating” on trans rights? Not.

When even corporate owned news sees the problem…
GOP confronted over ‘Straights Only’ discrimination, after SCOTUS echoes parts of Jim Crow

Cynical complacency or fleeing to the imagined safety of a private haven? We have climate-driven disasters one after another; all because we (and the leaders we chose) engaged in denial and self-deception, over facing uncomfortable truths, to ended our obsession with class competition, and choosing instead to engage in cooperative problem-solving, the re-learning of how to adapt to a state of change that will continue for millennia to come.

Obama Delivers Catastrophic Climate Prediction With Cynical Optimism | The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder
Barack Obama spoke with comedian Hasan Minhaj about what advice he’s given to his daughter Malia and her friends when they feel cynical about enacting any sort of significant change in the world.

Poverty in America is by design w/Matthew Desmond | The Chris Hedges Report

Some 50 million people in the United States live in poverty today—and over 108 million people survive on less than $55,000 a year. Despite having the largest economy on earth, poverty in the US is often grinding and brutal. From millions who live without running water or reliable power, to countless children who experience food insecurity and homelessness.

The data on poverty only becomes exacerbated when race is taken into account. In 2019, the median white household had a net worth of $188,200, compared with $24,100 for the median Black household. Matthew Desmond joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss his new book, ‘Poverty, by America,’ which delves into the reality of American poverty not as a condition earned by individuals’ poor choices, but a phenomenon produced by the knowing and unknowing choices of the wealthy.

Matthew Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography.

In 2018, Desmond’s Eviction Lab at Princeton University published the first-ever dataset of more than 80 million American eviction records. The Lab currently is pursuing nearly a dozen lines of inquiry analyzing this groundbreaking dataset that will help scholars, policymakers, and advocates better understand eviction, housing insecurity, and poverty.

Sociocracy + Social Ecological Theory #simplified #psychology #sociology
My proposal for intentional community is predicated on a sociocratic model of relationship management informed by a Socio-Ecological perspective, better known as Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (critical analysis and understanding of people in context).

The intention is to automate and augment many tedious aspects of Cooperative Relationship Management, affording more time for higher quality social interactions that no mechanized or digital system can replace.

This CoRM+ DSS or Decision Support System takes the form of a secure community Intranet as Infranet: a secure local network with Internet access as public infrastructure, for democratized personal and collaborative labor + task sharing, resources and economic management, community systems modelling and analysis, planning and decision-making.

In this way, we enabled a high degree of personal autonomy with equally high communal awareness and social cohesion. A homeodynamic, creative, adaptive, agile permacultural approach to maintaining healthy equilibrium and resilience.
“To Optimize Human Strengths ― Accommodate Human Limitations”

Self-Centredness is NOT “Self-Care”: Losing the Human Face Online | oliSUNvia

Gen Z seems to have two opposing attitudes: 1) On a macro scale, we should make the world a better place; 2) On an individual scale, my needs come first before everyone else. why is that? how should we treat people in our individual interactions? let’s explore a history of western philosophy and see how that influenced self-centred attitudes of today.

@Muiren After Thought
Being self-center and self-serving at the personal level is not unique to Gen Z and Alpha, they’re perhaps a culmination, a distillate produced by the most destructive vision of intersectional class warfare and exploitation, with each person taught from cradle to grave they are in competition with everyone else, an individuation, that most serves the Oligarch class divide and conquer strategy.