“A Community Right to Manage”

Take a look at this ReTweet:  RT @juliandobson: Communities should have a ‘right to manage’ rather than a ‘right to challenge’ – interesting from @markcwalton – http://tinyurl.com/67u5scc

It is an excellent UK perspective on getting community involvement including proposed legislation “the Decentralisation and Localism Bill”  http://www.waterways-civa.org.uk/2010/12/a-community-right-to-manage-the-localism-bill/.

As alluded to in the text, there are broader applications such as schools, clinics, hospitals, etc.

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) has called on the federal government to provide funding to support conversions to worker co-ops, http://www.coopscanada.coop/en/info_resources/Publications/CooperativeNewsBriefs/12/4#article6222, which is an avenue to managing a community’s resources and assets.  Their rationalization though is intriguing in that it is also a vehicle to withstand ‘the challenge posed by the imminent retirements of large numbers of “baby boomers”‘ and subsequent labor shortages.

Sherwood Forest Citizens

I generated the following in response to an e-mail from a rural businessman which I thought that I would share at the risk of beating the issue and solution to death:

“Technology exists to address the rural needs.  Your real problem is as you point out is a level playing field.  Oppression and bullying comes in many forms.  The general populace are peons, people held in compulsory servitude to a master for the working out of an indebtedness, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peons?show=0&t=1297959248, and are subjected to the feudalistic will of a symbiotic self-nurturing relationship between politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists complete with court jesters.  It is a political seesaw of phantom deception of resolve between two political parties inflicted on the masses.  Socialism does exist in America, but most of us peons aren’t in the tier of society to reaps its benefits, like health care and education.  It would appear however our saviour, Robin Hood, is virtual, as in the Middle East. 

Where we are being had is that we’re allowing the privatization of profits and socializing the debt, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatizing_profits_and_socializing_losses.  Most recently the citizens of Green Bay Wisconsin have shown us how to change this, at least in sports, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2011/01/those-non-profit-packers.html .  There are responsible capitalistic movements such as Conscious Capitalism, http://www.consciouscapitalism.org/, but no doubt will not be able to make the timely changes for us to be competitive in world markets as we fall further behind.

The solution is actually quite simple.  What you need to do is to form a Community Development Cooperative, consistent with your demographics and needs.  It would be a private/public partnership in that it would be made up of all the residents, businesses, institutions and associations with voting and non-voting members.  In addition, through the auspices of the cooperative you would form a community foundation.  Public lands and private donations could be transferred into the foundation to create a bond issue to raise the funds necessary to address your community’s needs with the cooperative members having first right of refusal.  Funds, such as the Universal Service Funds could be also be granted to the foundation, along with other grants applied for by the foundation.

We all need to stop reacting, and start responding and initiating these processes.  We are either part of the solution or part of the problem.”

Community Pride in Ownership

Every community is a tribe, “a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers”, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tribe?show=0&t=1297877445 .    There may be tribes within the community tribe with common interests such as a service club, farmers’ market, church, or association.  In understanding these relationships we merely have to look at instruments and methodologies that can facilitate the empowerment of a community’s tribe.   One of those aspects is a community’s pride in ownership.  Accordingly, what we are proposing is really quite simple and straight forward and that is to put two working tribal associations together in a community, that is, a community development cooperative and a community foundation.  

We would then propose  that any community, incorporated or unincorporated, is to transfer the ownership of public property to the Community’s Foundation.  Public property actually belongs to the citizens anyway.  Private charitable donations could also be made.  The foundation in return could through cooperative equity participation raise money for schools, multipurpose performing arts center, community media center, hospital, hotel, etc., by forming a private bond placement for the benefit of the Community Development Cooperative’s members.  Voting members would have first dibs, that is, right of first refusal.  The community’s cooperative members would then reap the secured benefit of the interest on their own bond. 

Basically, why should the citizens of a community privatize the profits and socialize the debt outside of their own community, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_for_the_rich_and_capitalism_for_the_poor ?  In other words, why should citizens carry the debt, while others outside of the community reap the profit, especially when the community could revel in a pride of ownership similar to the citizens of Green Bay,  http://www.thenews.coop/features/Worldwide%20Co-operation/1980 , http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2011/01/those-non-profit-packers.html .   

The formation of a Community Development Cooperative and a jointly held Community Foundation overcomes these issues and gives community not only empowerment but community pride in ownership.

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