Idead and thoughts on what RH could do. If these catch on, we can move them to Sherwood to be developed and implemented.
Can we help the refugees from the Middle Eastern wars somehow? For example giving out symbolic coins/notes that would convey that someone cares, perhaps giving a Robin Hood person as a contact, who could try do something to help? For example, communicate the stories and struggles of the people who are suffering to make them human to the rest of us. Give names and stories to the faces now seen in press. Maybe also the RH coins/notes could be exchanged for food and water in RH pop-up shelters. At a minimal, we could show empathy. Such acts might also lower the phobia in Europe against people who are perceived different somehow. And, we might gain many new members!
In the UK there is this organizing effort: http://calaid.co.uk/
Does anyone know of projects which are up and running already? Perhaps we could find a way of feeding into those efforts?
RISE is a grassroots refugee organisation which is entirely
controlled, staffed and run by refugees, asylum seekers and
Due to the high demand for our services, RISE is expecting to
relocate its Drop-In Centre, which currently operates in the Melbourne
CBD. RISE has been operating this small drop-in space since March 2010.
Initially, it could barely fit 20 people. With 2600 registered members,
the demand for our services has grown exponentially. We have outgrown
our current space to the point where we are quite often forced to turn
away members including those with critical needs.
Within the City of Melbourne, there very few places which offer a
safe haven for asylum seekers and refugees; our aim is to have a space
that is open 7 days a week and allows people to build social networks
while gaining confidence and support.
RISE has been advised that a larger drop-in space will become
available later in 2015 at Ross House, the building we are currently
located in. The new venue will enable us to engage more volunteers to
assist our members, and will alleviate their waiting time to seek
assistance. In addition, we will be able to deliver more
capacity-building projects. With your support, we are hoping to increase
our services and resources. Your donation will support 10 key areas,
A free Computer lab (with Internet facilities, as well as free refreshments and snacks) and weekly computer literacy workshops;A crisis service referral hub (including emergency accommodation and
medical information); and assistance with accessing and navigating
legal services;Employment & Resume Clinics: The Centre will facilitate pathways
to employment for refugees by providing training, job search support
and assistance with resume and interview preparation;Settlement support services that will offer flexible settlement
solutions that are individually tailored to address the circumstances
and preferences of each of our members, on a best fit basis;Drop-in centre Resource Library (books, magazines, news articles and settlement support materials);The RISE Food Bank: The Food Bank will address the initial critical
needs of refugees and asylum seekers within our community by providing
access to free dry food, fresh and canned fruit/vegetables;Homework and language support programs on weekends as well as after school high school tutoring programs;Workshops for ‘L’ and ‘P’ plates including preparations for driving
tests, road safety workshops and theoretical driving lessons;A social networking space and community message board (including
information on festivals, upcoming events and news pertaining to
relevant creative industries, including visual arts, performing arts,
music, theatre, writing and publishing and exhibitions);Music, poetry, creative writing, and arts residencies for adults and kids.
While most of the goods, time and resources are to be volunteered and
donated, the new RISE drop-in centre will cost us over $35,000
including installation of computers, desks, accessories, printers and
rent, while any further extra donations will be allocated to our
educational, welfare assistance or arts program.
We urge you to lend us your support by making a tax-deductible
donation. We need your help to keep this organisation thriving. Your
donation will assist our dedicated volunteers to provide essential
services directly to refugees, asylum seekers, adults and entire
families. With your help, we can build a better and stronger future for
Support the self-determination of refugees, ex-detainees and asylum seekers in Australia by supporting RISE.
THE RISE TEAM.
There’s the BITNATION Refugee Emergency Response based on the blockchain and Bitcoin: refugees.bitnation.co. I have direct contact to the founder of the project, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, and could liaison talks for discussing options - or even better, implementation of options we come up with here.
1. Special shares/notes
Maybe we can do a limited edition share issuance that directly benefits that effort? Where for a 30 day period, or even longer, an option appears to fund refugee shelters when buying new shares.
2. Custom parasite "Saint Alban"
We could build and run a custom algorithm tailored to feed off actors benefitting from sponsoring wars in their countries, thus introducing a feedback loop into geopolitics and the system of arms dealing. I really don’t know anything about how difficult an implementation of this option (or a similar one) would be, but it for sure would be ART & JUSTICE at the same time. And isn’t that something we are about?
This type of modularity and granularity of operator by operator choice is exactly what is proposed in future designs of a platform that could be used to make new economic spaces available…
Very cool project - thanks for sharing!
Here is a good doc on the rough directions proposed for the new platform (believe you have seen it before, but just sharing it for completeness):
This seems interesting; anyone have any thoughts:
Yeah, check my comment above.
I have been involved with the project before, though I left it after some issues between the high level people which obstructed the work. Now that they have resolved that, I have a good relationship with the founder Susanne.
BitNation in general is an interesting approach to governance, because it uses blockchain technology to offer a host of services usually seen as reserved for states. It is still far from where it needs to be, but I appreciate its efforts to be relevant to the lived reality of people all over the globe. One of those efforts is the refugee emergency response.
Do you have links to any good talks / podcasts / whitepapers / discussions?
In particular in relation to new governance approaches and experiments on the blockchain?
A good and timely example of why we’re interested in this is our currently Annual members meeting, which is running in Loomio.
For regulatory reasons we have to follow a rigid set of rules (a legacy of cooperativism in the face of industrialized society) - it would be great to be able to see more flexibility in governance that more suits our desires and needs at this time.
Thanks for the stimulating links so far!
You can learn more about the founder and her story in this interview:
Whitepaper, dev plan etc. are available on the website bitnation.co here:
Ah, sorry, I seem to have jumped straight to Saint Alban while reading it.
Hmm. I’m wondering about the special series. Maybe we could do one with BitNation, where the possible proceeds would go to their Bitcoin refugee aid.
What would be the problems with this? Well, at least the proceeds would take some time to manifest, if they would manifest at all. Then there would maybe have to be some sort of time limit, or would the proceeds continue to go there forever?
Agreed. I hadn’t thought that far ahead… Haha. The issuance is then not the best idea, I presume. At least not one that does has measurable effect right now.
Perhaps for now we have to resign ourselves to helping them out with publicity and personal donations.
Certainly better than nothing when things are looking seriously as distopian as they are right now.
Helping refugees seems like a tangent for a group which is working to rebuild finance.
Following my last blog post
in which I proposed that the collective shift its focus from
hedgefunding to more mundane financial services, I now have a real life
use-case which I hope will be of interest.
My friend Brian owns a flat in London but collects rent from it while living in an
ecovillage in Germany. He wants the 200K value stored in the flat to be a
benefit to the ecovillage while he lives there, but still to pass it on
to his child.
So the question is, if he could sell his flat, how could he make that capital available to the ecovillage, but have the assurance that the ecovillage would return it within, say six months on
demand? How could he protect it against inflation, and could he avoid paying exchange rates twice over? What kind of intermediary would be needed, and what kind of legal fees would be demanded?
I think the answer could help a lot of ecovillages with their capital shortages and empower ordinary people to use their retirement pots with low risk and keep them close to home.
A very intriguing idea. Possibly some kinds of blockchain enabled ‘smart contract’ could govern the ownership and the capital. I don’t think such service exists, as of yet.
As for the refugee idea; I don’t think we have to be exclusive here, we can work on several ideas at the same time, depending on people’s interests.
Record keeping is the easy part!
As with bitcoin, we can keep records of who owns the currency, but some kind of law or contract is needed for a currency or contract to be worth anything.
Brian needs a contract that says if the ecovillage cannot produce the cash within six months of its being recalled, then a whole family can live there, cost free, until such time as they can scrape together the cash. i.e. it would be cheaper for the ecovillage to borrow money from the bank than to not pay him back.
What kind of enforcement can there be without involving the courts? Do we need financial hackers to design ways or do they exist already?
IMO the best way we can help them is get tools to them that they need. The one tool that we can provide - where we have an advantage - is in the group-economy area. From RH’s perspective, if you can provide groups with the groupware tool that more or less manages their financial interactions that would be worth a lot to them.
This would be similar to RH phase 2 if I have the name right. It hasn’t been built as yet for RH but I have an app that does some parts of what they need - so I know it is possible, I know we have the elements in place and knowledge to do it.
postscript: There are two critical questions that need to be answered with any “help others” project
- what do they need, and
- can we provide it?
(1) The first is by far the hardest. Because we’re not there, we’re working from fairly limited information, so before anyone gets into it deeply it probably would help to check out the ideas with someone who’s got a lot of experience in this area. For my part I’m only guessing that the experience I have with savings groups relates to refugees. It’s just a guess.
Then (2) can we help? For that I would say, can we shift the requirements of phase 1 to include the requirements of say refugees, as determined before?
Reposting here, as requested, the proposal mailed a month ago.
This post contains the preamble and digest. Whole proposal, see a pdf here: https://freelab2014.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/robin-hood-thermaikos-proposal.pdf
Groundwork for Freedom
Towards Liberatory Technologies
Development and proliferation of open technologies to support independent society development in Rojava, Greece and beyond.
Proposed model, set of activities, system of seed funding and cooperative investment fund.
In the search for „alternative” social models, a lot of effort is spent on finding political and economic constructs. Much less attention is paid to the fact that technology (or, as somone may say, „technical culture”) is closely related to those two areas. In fact, every political and economic system introduces its own way of dealing with production, services and logistics, which in turn makes certain technical solutions privileged, while other ones
obsolete. Some of the most subversive concepts are plainly excluded from circulation and labeled as hoaxes.
If we want to support the construction of new society, we need new technological ecosystem.
I propose to create a center (house) for advanced open technologies, aimed to support the development of resilient, self-governing societies in Greece and Rojava – and possibly beyond.
Assuming rules of self-governance based upon Murray Bookchin’s municipalism. social economy based on the cooperatives, open technologies will complete the system, providing ways of production tailored to the political and economical needs of the society.
This proposal integrates my previous thoughts and concepts, until now separately developed for Rojava and Greece.
The goal of the house will be:
- To interact with communities, identifying their current and future needs. Chief criteria of the selection will be: resilience, sustainability and compatibility with the social system.
- To select, elaborate and implement open and appropriate technologies meeting the identified needs.
- To monitor and audit previous implementations, providing learning feedback loop.
The house will be formed as a cooperative, with stakeholders being various entities of the solidarity society. The cooperative will not be scaled up beyond regional level. Instead it will work as an example to be replicated in case of need. The house will develop a business model (subject to stakeholder decisions) to become financially independent.
The testbed for the house will be the Thermaikos region in Northern Greece, near Thessaloniki. Initial team will be created by the local citizens’ association members, a group of volunteers in Rojava and several open source activists from Europe and beyond.
I propose that RobinHood Coop would become one of the f(o)unding stakeholders, assist in setting up the general financial framework, provide seed funding and establish a cooperative investment fund to support implementation of the solutions developed.
A quick update on our activity in Thermaikos:
- We have completed “dry” assembly of a prototype solar heating panel following the documentation published here: http://www.iedu.com/Solar/Panels/index.html If the tests go well, we will prepare simplified design for mass production (Assemble-Yourself kits) and be ready to provide unlimited number of such heaters for refugee camps and post-war reconstruction areas (think Rojava). We have a deal with a local woodworking company that they will not only manufacture these kits for every interested party, but also employ (paid positions) our people in the manufacturing process. It means – apart from the fundraising aspect – that we shall be able to provide training both in the area of assembling/installation and manufacturing process.
- Today we had the meeting, initiating our local “Refugee Welcome” team. The goal is to organize a long-term, optimized support for refugees/migrants going through Greece in a smart and organized manner.
The plan includes, for starters:
- Design, prototyping and manufacturing of a “Refugee Welcome” pack (aka refugee survival kit). a compact set of utensils, provided to a migrant person at the beginning of their route in Grteece. The pack will contain various equipment (example: personal water filter, first aid kit, thermal blanket/poncho, thermal accumulating pack, etc.) and information sources (European field survival guide, cultural shock absorber, language helpers).
- Introducing the “repair, reuse, recycle” system for the equipment dopnated to refugees. The operational life of certain elements (slleping pads & bags, tants etc.) is longer than one trip from Greece to Stuttgart. If possible, we shall try to get these items back here to Greece and give them to those, who cannot/do not want to buy new ones.
- Getting local people, along the migration route, involved in a positive way in the support for migrants (providing - on fair terms - shelter, food and transport) to create friendly (but not exploiting) attitude among them.
Let’s think about this a little.
So what if RH launches a special series of shares, branded to refugee rescue;
- when buying a share, a sum goes directly to bitnation refugee aid (e.g., with a 30€ share, 5€ directly to aid)
- then profit from the 25 is pledged to bitnation refugee aid, for
instance, for a year; after that the share is “released” and the member
can decide over profit allocation (according to standard model)
plus for RHC; new vehicle, possibly new members, etc.
plus for Bitnation; new source of funding
plus for “customers”; can give directly and continuously, “a gift that keeps on giving”
would it be attractive enough?