Drinks Books Community

DC'S FIRST WORKER OWNED BOOKSTORE CAFE.

We are a group of activists, educators, workers with a shared goal of establishing Bol; a worker-owned cafe, bookstore, and event space in Washington DC. The word Bol means speak in Urdu and Hindi. Bol Cafe will set itself apart from other bookstore cafes by adopting the worker-owned cooperative business model and is based on the ideals of racial justice and economic democracy. We aim to serve as a model for creating wealth in the community by becoming a destination for DC residents who are interested in social justice, engaging conversations, reading groups, and stimulating talks in a relaxing atmosphere.The storefront image above is a rendering but your support can make it real.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: MUBBASHIR, ZAINEB

Mubbashir Rizvi

Mubbashir Rizvi is a hopelessly optimistic immigrant, a father, a husband, a cultural anthropologist, a believer in people’s power but skeptical of institutions of power.

Zaineb Majoka

Zaineb is trying to find home in two different worlds: Pakistan and the US and so far, has only managed to create a sense of community for herself and for others around her. Along the way, she has dabbled in economics, human rights, grassroots initiatives and adulting. She believes in change and constantly tries to keep her optimism alive.

Where does your money go?

Your contributions can make the difference in turning Bol Cafe into a reality! Bol worker-owned bookstore cafe is inspired by the DC communities we serve and the communities we represent. All the funds raised from this drive will go directly to securing the down payment to the salary fund. This gofundme represents an important initial portion of our capital drive. Your support will send a clear message to other investors and grant agencies!

Manifesto

The Virus was a sign. In the last five years, the scientific community has come to a consensus that Global Pandemics will recur if we don’t change the current model of capitalism. We are a group of international and locally-minded activists who aim to reverse this trend by establishing an alternative worker-owned cooperative business model based on fair trade coffee, printed books, and convivial conversations. We aim to promote herd immunity from the rapacious viral logic of finance, insurance, and real estate economics (FIRE) with Drinks, Books & Community. The FIRE epidemic has depleted our public ecosystems, our physical, and mental health. We aim to provide a cooperative worker-owner organizational model that will bring down the viral load of greed and the exploitation epidemic that has diminished the life expectancy of poor, racially discriminated and working-class people in the US and throughout the world. This project promotes democratic principles of cooperation that provide resilience, redundancy, and protects diversity. We aim to germinate change in the Post-Covid era to model a program of democratic Cooperation that is attuned to the GHI, Gross Happiness Index, and a long-term plan of franchising worker-owned cooperatives and promoting Universal Subsistence that will infect corporate governance and dismantle the anti-democratic pyramid model of Fortune 500. We urge you to support BOL; the world depends on it.

What are worker COOPs?

Worker cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose. In contrast to traditional companies, worker members at worker cooperatives participate in the profits, oversight, and often management of the enterprise using democratic practices. The model has proven to be an effective tool for creating and maintaining sustainable, dignified jobs; generating wealth; improving the quality of life of workers; and promoting community and local economic development, particularly for people who lack access to business ownership or sustainable work options.

International Cooperative Alliance Statement on the Cooperative Identity

Definition
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Values
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Principles
The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5th Principle: Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7th Principle: Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

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