Re: Continental Coho Org. - PROPOSED Mission,Goals,Projects
From: Michael Mariner (
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 13:19:50 -0500
David Mandel said:

>4. Let's create the organization, but very modest in scope. Let's make it a
>clearinghouse for information in all directions, among different
>communities, burning souls of new groups, media, researchers, federal
>government agencies or interstate financial institutions when a united
>lobbying effort is called for. 

David, I hope "Phase One" in the proposal is the kind of organization 
you're looking for.  This is the "minimal" piece that the RMCA has 
discussed (I wasn't clear in my intro to the proposal - Phase One wasn't 
my origination -- the RMCA board proposed most of Phase One).  

Although I didn't say so in the proposal, I feel there should be a 
decision point when Phase One goals are completed.  At that point the 
membership should be consulted to see where the organization goes from 
there.  Maybe it never goes beyond Phase One. (?!) Any healthy org should 
perpetually ask itself "what value are we adding and at what cost?"  If 
indeed things are being done perfectly well at the local level, then 
hands off.  My hope is that those involved can look clearly at each 
situation and make  non-self-serving decisions that will minimize 

>Let's not create grandiose expectations that
>the organization will supplant our local efforts to build communities.
>Therefore let us not create a big bureaucracy that requires a lot of staff
>and therefore a big budget. Whatever we initiate, let's have a clear vision
>of how it will be funded on an ongoing basis.

By definition, creating a community has to be a local effort.  All a 
nat'l org. can do is to help share information and maybe other resources 
and perhaps influence governments and businesses to be supportive or, at 
a minimum, be less resistant.

And, I agree with Diane Simpson's post awhile back saying something to 
the effect that she couldn't support a nat'l. org. that just helped 
well-off people create communities -- that the purpose had to be more 
altruistic.  And maybe the best way to accomplish "cohousing for 
everybody" is to mostly to find ways to further publicize efforts like 
Southside Park, On Going Community, N Street, Ganas, etc.  

And I'm sure much can be done without vast bureaucracies and fund raising 
efforts.  One of my favorite models is "micro-loans" to groups of people 
who just need a spark to get started.  This has been highly successful in 
poorer countries where top-down aid just vanishes in bureaucracy and/or 

Michael M.

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