Encouraging a culture of community service and mutual aid / Fomentar una cultura de servicio a la comunidad y de apoyo mutua

Encouraging a culture of community service and mutual aid

While our immediate goals are to involve members as volunteers in doing this work we want to directly counter the capitalist internet providers’ practice of abusing a mindset of volunteerism for the purposes of crowdsourcing free labor.

We propose that members should view participation on our technology team is a form of community service in support of their own cooperative. This is work that implies an enormous responsibility to the community and it should be both recognized and respected.

As a long term goal we should idealize a level of an organization in which the rotating participation of all members in helping carry out the tasks needed to support their own infrastructure becomes a practice both normalized and celebrated.

¿What do you think of this proposal?

Aunque nuestros objetivos inmediatos son involucrar a la membresía como voluntarixs en este trabajo, queremos contrarrestar directamente la práctica de los proveedores de internet capitalistas de abusar de una mentalidad de voluntariado con el fin de obtener mano de obra gratuita.

Proponemos que la membresía vean la participación en nuestro equipo de tecnología como una forma de servicio comunitario en apoyo a su propia cooperativa. Este es un trabajo que implica una enorme responsabilidad para la comunidad y debe ser reconocido y respetado.

Como objetivo a largo plazo deberíamos idealizar un nivel de organización en el que la participación rotativa de toda la membresía en el trabajo de llevar a cabo las tareas necesarias para apoyar su propia infraestructura se convierta en una práctica tanto normalizada como celebrada.

¿Qué opinan de esta propuesta?


Thanks for launching this Jaime - I think “volunteer” often implies charity at best and at worst an expectation that you should be happy with whatever you get. I like the idea of turning it around into something more collaborative and intentional. I think the flip side is that more work and resources have to go into making the community service experience a community-building one - in other words, not just building technology tools, but building the social/cultural/political relationships that sustain the people in it.

I agree. I think in most cases commitment and engagement are directly proportional to a sense of connection and shared ownership of the project/process. As members of the cooperative we don’t immediately share a sense of community or any common experience. Holding space to build that social fabric is the challenge.

I also think we need to be careful not to throw around the term community service without context. It has a punitive connotation for lots of folks in the US which has everything to do with repressive institutions and nothing to do with the practice we are imagining here. Acting in service of your community has to be more expansive than compulsory service. We want to raise up everything that is caring, considerate, essential, recognized, and reciprocal about community service.

I also believe that we need to create space for this. And something that may support this initiative too is recognizing somehow those efforts, participation or results.

At this time, I don’t know how could this be achieved exactly.

Maybe each member can have an amount of kudos to give, and regularly (once or twice a year) somehow the distribution of kudos could result in something of value (but not money) in terms of our services (more space, level up from where you pay, etc.) and ideals (a recognition or badge or something similar) of our community.


Yes I agree and it is important to find meaningful ways to show our recognition and gratitude for community service. We want to be careful to avoid creating strictly transactional relationships but I am not too worried about this yet. We have a long road ahead of us. I think the best reward we can provide for now is to create a welcoming and safe environment for anyone who shows up and is interested in participating. I think the rest of the details we can begin to develop together over time.