Friday, 18 March 2011

Anarchist task-division (by Lotte)

It is ALL going on. Srsly. There are a lot of things we need to do, and we've divided the tasks up in a fabulous and apparently random way.

Back in the early days of the co-op, I was somewhat apprehensive about organising something in an anarchistic fashion. If tasks were assigned according to personal skills and enthusiasm, I thought that there'd be an unfair division of labour. Some people will be naturally more enthusiastic about helping the co-op, and some people will just sit back and let them take that work on. Perhaps some things just wouldn't get done. I thought this would annoy me, and it was one of my (few) anxieties.

However, this is so far not the case. Other people see things differently, I'm sure, but this is why I think it works so well at the moment.

Everyone in the co-op is really passionate about getting this project off the ground. Failure isn't an option! If something needs doing, someone has to do it, and so someone will volunteer. This might not always be the case, but it is now.

Also, some people in the co-op can't volunteer for much because they have a lot of work to do in their own life and/or they don't have the energy to spare. This is what I thought I'd get annoyed about, but actually, that's fine too. We all know each other well enough to know that if we can't take on much work it's because of other factors that can't be helped, and so I don't resent people who can't work. This seems to have happened without me noticing.

Even the people who don't do much still do something, and it's something essential. If it wasn't done, we'd be doomed, I tell you, dooooooooomed. Like, I'm a bit of a hermit and can't go out and about to meet people and make lots of organising phone calls, but I can learn about and understand things thoroughly and be a point of contact. So I've happily taken on the task of organising the solicitor, and if it gets more social/travelly, someone else can help me. Others are good with numbers and have attention to detail and will handle the financial aspect of things; others are good at talking and knowing who to talk to, so they're handling the people-organising. And even the people who aren't doing any of this don't worry me, as there's always plenty of varied stuff to do, and they'll find ways to help later on in the process. Even now, everyone's cooking for the co-op, and I think that helps more than we all realise.

Some people are taking on loads of stuff, because they feel able and because they're good at it; hopefully later on when we're settled in a home, be it Mould Mansion or somewhere else, they can take a well-earned break and let others keep things ticking over.

So things are a little quiet here, blogwise. But IRL, we're doing loads. We've got something co-op-related going on every day for the next three days, and that's just what we've planned so far.

It's all very exciting, and we've not even put in an offer!


  1. Have you considered (and I'm not being facetious) squatting? There are lots of empty homes going for free... I would be very tempted. Isnt property theft?

  2. No facet taken. We are quite supportive of squatting, but our feeling is that we'd rather set up something more long-term. There are a number of advantages we'd get from this that squatting wouldn't really let us to do. We can take out long term improvements to the property including eco-renovation, and provide affordable housing that has the potential to continue to exist even after we don't necessarily want to live in it anymore. And since one of the co-op residents will be a child, we'd prefer to have a level of security that you just can't get with squatting.

    That said, there are a lot of people now living in housing co-ops who have squatted in the past. There is even a housing co-op setting up to support an active squat network in the city it is in.