[note: these notes should be check by koumbit afterwards...]
- Spun off Quebec Indymedia (CMAQ), 2 years ago
- At some point people started offering services to other groups and people on the indymedia server, at the same time worries that hosting (or people without money) wouldn't last.
- legally: a non-profit organisation, works with activist and community groups but also commercial customers.
- 60% from web hosting
- 20% gfx design
- generates enough revenue for 4 parttime staff, other people with recurrent contracts - accounting, sales, sysadmin (roles for rotation), still quite a few tasks are still done unpaid
- salaries: internal work has either not been paid or only little (20$/h) while workers who do work for outside customers get 35$/h. How to measure equal pay?
- koumbit organisation, not top down:
- general assembly of members (5 c.dollars a year, or 25 c.dollard for non-humans), meets once every year (members are not forces to be customers)
- board of trustees (CA) (12 people)
- workers' collective (WC, CT) which runs the things and takes the day-to-day decisions, delegates 2 people on the CA (10?)
- legal side: registered 2 years ago as an NGO
- customers (private sector as well?): not forced to be members
Decision on corporate contacts: "Not to refuse contracts, but not to pursue them as well." Offer the same terms for the private sector. Weekly meetings to review new contacts. Refused a helicopter company which trains for the Canadian army. (this also allows people to bring their old contracts.)
[there is a graphic explaining this, which might be photographed and included later on the wiki]
Koumbit has always been those two sides:-
- (1) provide hosting to aktivist and community groups (2) find a place to work for geeks
there is a confict between the work for geeks and the being an activist.
"Koumbit" = haitian word for "collective of workers"
Koumbit needs new members because they have contracts. You have to be a member (but not necessarily the workers' collective) to do work in/by/through/for koumbit.
A short introduction to one of the principles behind Koumbit. It stands in between centralised communist planed economy and the capitalist free market.
- Economic efficiency
Theres is no private ownership of the means of production. There shouldn't be hierachy in the workplace. There shouldn't be consumer relationship: Everybody has power on a decision to the degree to which the decision will affect them. For this to work the idea is to have consumer councils organised in onion rings (street, city, region, ...). Neither a global negotiation system, neither a central top agency.
Organisation of Labour in the workplace
- Getting a "balanced job complex"
- How we assure the equity and the solidarity
- Each person's job (or job complex) has equal desirability and empowerment.
- A balanced job complex is a balance of the different tasks. Balance within Empowerment and Desirability.
- Example: if you work in a place where everyone likes doing computer programming and no one wants to change the light bulb, you have to balance the task between everyone and not hire someone to do the "dirty" jobs.
- Empowerment: power from the task, eg. sysadmin, appreciating the freedom and choice from working as 'root'. counter-example: swiping floor (unless you hit people with your broom)
Google (*ahem* for ParEcon to know more.
- Q: How is this Koumbit/ParEcon different from (in american sense) Libertarianism?
A: Koumbit doesn't implement ParEcon (yet? There aren't many ParEcon organisation an example is Mondragon coffee shop in Canada. They have mostly all their job with the same desirability so they have less problems.
- Salaries are a problem in Koumbit because ASBL doesn't get a lot of money. Most libertarians think that the economy is right. So they have their hierarchy of values with ownership on top. Big difference.
MarsNet (Assodev) is close to Koumbit in terms of working model. Classical economy system works by competetivity and its always interesting to show that a cooperative model can work. They always consider other organisations as "co-workers" and never as competitors. Sometimes it opens other organisations' mind.
- Q: Does contractors force you to work in the model they are expecting?
- A: There is a problem in Koumbit, the people who get work can be those who talk the loudest when there is a contract on the table, we don't have a traditionally competative spirit, but some entering the group were, but we need a system. One thing we did (from wiki.koumbit.net - a system of criteras for giving out jobs to people, competence, reliability, status in the Workers' Committee or not, how much work they do, availability, volume of work already done, affinity, external revenues/dept...). Ext. rev/dept means that they consider the personal financial status of workers.
No one higher than anyone else in the decision making process, this has to include dealing with personal inter-relations. When people are faced with the problems they are forced to deal with them. There is space for people to express themselves, which leads to situations.
One for sales and administration, one for sysadmin, one for accounting. They all have much more power, and needs to work a lot more. Not something they want, but something that happens.
- Q: So people getting the reproduction of the organisation work get paid less, but end up with more power within the organisation
- A: It is difficult for an open organisation to work out how much people should get paid...
- One solution put forward was a complex system of participation-share. Pretty much it means that workers unpaid hours get shares in the remaining money at the end of the month.
- Q: Are people exchanging money in Koumbit depending on their needs? So that not everybody has equal pay but that they are paid according to their needs.
- A: No one said "I don't need such money." It would be very nice, though. But people show up in Koumbit to work and get money... 10 people but there is only 4 people full revenue, so at the moment there is unpaid work done anyway. including typing up minutes tidying the wiki, search for contracts.
- Q: What do you do if you get a lot of gfx design and no sysadmin contracts?
- A: Sometimes if i wanna eat i do webdev work. That's an issue.
Actually killed Anarcat's time to do activism, but suceeded in sustaining CMAQ (Indy Quebec).