New Year, who dis?Feb 06, 2024
Phew! It's been a Wild Year. So..so..sooo much has happened that it's hard to even think about where to begin to update our community. It's even harder to think about how to put all our exciting upcoming programs into the proper context. Perhaps it's best to start at the beginning!
Community Discernment Process
In the Spring of 2022 the WildSeed Society embarked on a community discernment process to help us figure out how best to put our emerging vision into practical community use. It was at a time when we felt like we had this huge, gorgeous vision that existed mostly in the extreme abstract. It wasn’t clear how to begin the labor of making that vision real let alone how spirit was calling each of us individually to contribute to that endeavor.
All we knew was that the WildSeed Society needed to be a communal process so we needed to process these questions in community. So we decided to host 5 public discernment events where we would talk openly about who we are, what we believe and what we seek to do. It wasn’t just that we needed to educate our community on our thinking but also that we needed to find internal clarity on where each of us stood on those questions.
The process was a great success as it led to a much deeper understanding of what we were trying to accomplish and how we could accomplish it. Most significantly it gave us a sense of what our community wanted and needed. You can see a report from a survey we did as a part of the process here.
Perhaps three of the biggest takeaways from those sessions were:
- People really valued the vision we bring, especially when it was tied to concrete examples of how to do it.
- The program people were most interested in seeing us develop were experimental economics outside of capitalism.
- We realized we didn’t have the capacity to actualize much of our vision yet.
Regrounding In 2023
Once we took stock of the lessons from the process, we realized we were this really exciting and visionary group of people who had figured out some really cool ways to be with each other but didn’t yet have the capacity to make that sustainable or invite more people into it. After some internal reflection, we also realized that we really didn’t have the basic organizational structures in place to pursue a vision of any scale. We would have great meetings but take no notes! We developed great ways to share money internally but didn’t really have a great plan to fund ourselves! Most importantly, we were operating too haphazardly and–frankly–weirdly to invite any other team members to expand our capacity.
So we have spent the last two years working to make a vision more concrete and build our internal capacity and the capacity of our community. We did this, all while continuing to share our vision and live our praxis out loud and transparently, hoping to inspire others to do the same.
Over the past two years we have accomplished so much:
- We spoke at over 30 events (both external events and our own spiritual talks) ranging from speaking about our needs based compensation model to talking about the intersection #MeTOO and healing.
- Offered coaching to dozens of people
- Got trained up a diverse range of skills from Energy Body Work Mastery to the Next Economy MBA course.
- Created over a dozen different policies including new by-laws for being a self-directed non-profit, hiring procedures, employee handbook and a sabbatical program.
- Conducted over 300 one-on-ones with organizers from around the country
- Supported over a dozen people with Revolutionary Aftercare including creating crisis plans, wellness plans, support to avoid eviction and money for sabbaticals to recover from cancer treatments.
- We have written thousands upon thousands of words better clarifying our vision and program.
From Vague Vision To Concrete Program
Perhaps the boldest, clearest and most comprehensive artifact of our new found clarity is in the WildSeed Program.
A program, in this sense, is an outline of our ultimate aims, worldview and strategy. We think that there are some really important developments that movements have made in pointing out the aspects of the modern world that are problematic. Yet we don’t have comprehensive and value- aligned explanations of the history of the problems we face, what makes them a problem and what we might do to solve them. We felt like this can leave us well equipped to critique the system but poorly equipped to build a better one. Therefore we offer our program less as a manifesto and more as a struggle document.
That is, its a document to be read and struggled with and through that principle struggled to refine and make better. It's both a conversation sparker and a “good enough” platform to run some experiments on. We really invite our community to read the program and sit with some questions:
- What in the program resonates with you?
- Which questions does this program raise for you?
- Are there any things that don’t sit right with you about this program?
- Where does the program go too far? Where doesn’t it go far enough?
- How realistic do you think the strategy this program lays out is?
- What would you add to this program?
In the coming months we hope to have dedicated time to meeting our community to discuss this program and its implications.
Exciting Plans For the New Year
One of places where we expected to dive into this is in our up-coming Virtual Village (we are still working on a name…suggestions?). The Virtual Village will launch in March through the WildSeed Patreon. The virtual village is where folks who want to explore and experiment with us in how to get free can find community. The space will encourage being in caring community with ourselves and one another.
This virtual space is an intentional container created in order for us to move into the type of new society that WildSeed aspires to become; a world where we are not turning towards the system for our needs, but rather, turning towards each other to get our needs met with joy and dignity.
Through our new Virtual Village, members are offered on ramps to our new Sanctuaries. These sanctuaries are ways that we think about and communicate our work.
- Community Sanctuary
- Our community Sanctuary will be the heart of our work. This will be a place for people to step into the praxis that Sacred Warren has developed and co-evolve it with us.
- Gift and Offering Sanctuary
- Our Gift and Offering Sanctuary hopes to be the heart of our economic revolution praxis. Our goal is to develop institutional structures that would allow others to live into the WildSeed Way and provide off-ramps from capitalism into a Sacred Economy.
- Spiritual Sanctuary
- Our Spiritual Sanctuary hopes to be the heart of our Spiritual Liberation praxis. Our goal is to develop a spiritual home for socially engaged mystics that can provide grounding and movement chaplaincy to our ecosystem.
- Movement Sanctuary
- Our Spiritual Sanctuary hopes to be the heart of our Social Transformation praxis. Our goal is to provide Revolutionary Aftercare to movement stewards working to build and protect a better world.
Finally, each of these Sanctuaries will be prototyping some really exciting new infrastructure for the future. These new structures all work together to further the strategy outlined in our program–building a new class of people called the Liberating Common Class [LCC]. The LCC is a large group of people who meet their needs through communally governed commons. The mainstream economy is based on working for a wage at some company started by a person you will likely never meet for reasons you will never know and spending that wage with strangers to buy things. The Liberated Commons is based on commonly stewarded resources that developed by the voluntary labor of the members.
Those prototypes are:
- Revolutionary Aftercare which seeks to help people working to build a better world heal, get stable and re-ground in their values and purpose
- Collective Commons which a project that seeks to build out spaces of autonomous anti-capitalist production, distribution and exchange of goods
- WildSeed Mutual Benefit Society a project that seeks to allow for both large scale mutual aid and build an autonomous economic space that could support a ladder of engagement moving people towards working to build a better world as a full time vocation
- The Votary a project that seeks to build a cohort of people aligned with their own sense of intrinsic purpose who believe that WildSeed’s infrastructural interventions provide vehicles for them to be community supported while meeting real community needs aligned with that purpose
Of course, a strategy of this scope won’t be accomplished without being resourced. Once we understood the full scope of what we wanted to experiment with we started planning how we were going to resource it. We started meeting with connections we had in grassroots funding, purpose driven business and philanthropic about value aligned ways to resource this vision. Out of those conversations came a deeper sense of what this would actually take which has culminated in our 2024-2025 capital campaign. Take a look at it here. We are still looking at how to get those resources! But more on that later.
The short of it is, we are seeking to expand our team. In general, we want to free up the 5 of us (the Sacred Warren) to be able to put more time into our sanctuaries by hiring some administrative and operations staff. Then we want to run a two year fellowship program that gives folks basic income, healing support and political education. Our hope is that some of those fellows will feel called to help us build out these prototypes and get them to a place where our community can join and participate.
We imagine that this will take around $7.5 million.
We know. It's a lot of money. Yet honestly, it's a bargain considering the potential impact of our strategy and scale of the crises we face. As you can imagine all of this is still in draft form. Let us know what you think!
Over the coming weeks we will dive deeper into all of this, starting with our February Spiritual Talk: Black to the Future!
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