Project funding

Robin Hood Coop funds 3 commons building projects

Press Release, October 2, 2015.

Robin Hood Coop is proud to announce its first round of funding for commons producing projects. The coop supports Casa Nuvem in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with 5000 euros, the P2P Foundation’s project with the Catalan Integral Cooperative and Commons Transition in Spain with 4000 euros, and the Radio Schizoanalytique and the Steki in Northern Greece with 6000 euros.

Robin Hood Asset Management Coop was founded in 2012 as an investment bank for the precariat. The goal of the coop is to build new economic space by giving its members access to investment banking (just 60€ is enough) and by allocating a part of the profits to building the commons through sponsoring projects.

Casa Nuvem is an autonomous self managed space in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, resulting from the convergence between art, activism, sound, audio-visual and new technologies experimentation. It was born early 2013 from the desire to think and build the future collectively, and to provide grounds for resilience and mobilization in the context of Rio’s wide social injustice and lack of basic rights, continuously intensified by the state policies related to the mega events such as the upcoming Olympics next year. Casa Nuvem is a place of work, research and production that hosts several independent collaborative projects focused on the creation of new exchanges between people and the public space, guided by a festive occupation of the city. Regular actions, workshops, seminars and other open activities are organized in the house, besides frequent interventions in outside target locations. It cooperates intensively with other groups and actors in a network of interactions that values above all the respect towards differences, respect for freedom of expression, freedom of the body, multiplicity of gender, the right to the city and alternative mobility.

The P2P Foundation in involved in a practical, grassroots effort to animate a Commons Transition strategy, in real time and real community. The foundation is working as a team with the Catalan Integral Cooperative (aka the CIC) to achieve a self-managed, post-capitalist society based on P2P principles and environmental and social realities. The ultimate goal is to realize a well-expressed, researched and tested set of plans and proposals, ultimately providing concrete examples in real time. In the project, CIC expands and implements the theoretical material proposed by the P2PF in the Commons Transition platform, and the P2PF produces an updated body of work to reflect the experience and shares it with other collectives.

Radio Schizonalaytique and the Steki are a project in the Skouries-­Kakkavos mountains in Northern Greece, where the Canadian “low-­cost” gold mining company Eldorado owns and operates mining sites. Local communities have been organized against the construction of an open pit mine and processing plant since 2006. After a house built to monitor the activities of the mine was destroyed, the main organizers transformed an empty storefront into a community action center for hosting workshops, lectures, screenings and cultural events, and as a social center to nurture the creation of a sustainable future for the region. One of the key features of the Steki is the online and FM radio project “Radio Schizoanalitique”, a collaborative project between the activists in Megali Panagia and artists in Berlin, designed to break the control the mining company and its proponents have on the local media.

Robin Hood Coop is an activist hedge fund with a twist. Individuals who buy shares become members and decide how the coop is run. One member, one vote. Per the Robin Hood principle, part of the profit generated by the fund is invested into projects building the commons. Third, the money put into the fund is placed in the stock exchange by a big data mining algorithm.

During its first two years of operation, 2012 – 2014, the coop’s portfolio was able to generate enough profit so that the coop decided to allocate 15 000 euros to projects that build and augment the commons. Members of the coop made proposals of projects to fund during March 2015. In total there were 49 proposals. The selection was done in two steps. First, a committee of three members was chosen by lottery out of volunteers. The committee went through all the proposals, discussed on criteria and negotiated, and came to an unanimous agreement of suggesting 3 projects to be funded. The committee’s proposal was then ratified by a general member’s meeting of the coop.

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Organization of the Robin Hood Projects

RHP Organizational principles 

–       Projects cannot apply themselves

–       Project can only be proposed by members (in practice when a project is interested to apply it needs to find a member, or become a member)

–       But Projects can get money without being members, without having applied and without knowing they get it.

–       Members propose projects to the selection group

–       The selection group consists of three members who are chosen randomly out of members that made The Office know to be available for the selection group.

–       They are chosen for one year and are not re-electible for at least two years

–       The selection group can only select projects by consensus (all three have to be in favor of it)

–       The selection group cannot invest more money than is available

–       The selection group is free to give the whole budget to one project or to many different ones

–       The selection of the selection group needs approval from the board, but the board can only reject a proposition on a strict argumentation, like for instance when it is illegal or strictly against the principles of selection. The board’s decision will always be subject of assessment in the next general meeting of the members

–       The general meeting will finally approve the selection. Also here: the general meeting can only reject or accept, they cannot propose other projects

–       The money granted can be in the form of investments, donations, grants, loans, shares or whatever form found the most suitable in each particular case

–       The proposals will be published on the website, to give all members the chance to influence the selection group or to start a discussion before the final selection, which will be held at least two months before the next general meeting


RHP Selection Principles

–  Robin Hood Projects can work on any area of life: art, finance, economy, society, organization, politics, knowledge, technology, health

– Robin Hood Projects should be generative and expansive, generating growth in subjectivities, in possibilities, in organization, in sharing, in scale, in mobility, in access, in independence, in desire. They should make our existential territory more habitable

–       Only projects that are bigger than only for themselves can be selected: projects that open up the common space, that produce the commons. The commons are any shared space or resource or means of production, whether in the form of goods, knowledge, processes, intelligence, rights, procedures, institutes, commodities, ideas, space etc. The projects can be existing means of production or creating new means of production.

For example: the creation of instruments like an alternative school, hospital, prison, old peoples house, shared living; the creation of a website or the programming of a project that focuses on sharing knowledge and experience; a magazine or journal or any publication that is bigger than the representation of oneself. In a way Robin Hood Cooperative or Performing Arts Forum or websites like could be very good candidates. But also political projects which aim at reinforcing the common are possible like supporting the Zapatista movement, undermining a market or restrictions on the access to knowledge or on movement of people and thought.