Co-op newsletter 4

Racism in the UK

In the last two weeks, we’ve seen a historic global uprising against racism and police brutality. Over the weekend, the statue of Edward Coulston, a man who sent over 19,000 people to their deaths in the slave trade, was thrown into the harbour. However, with hate crimes on the rise, Boris Johnson has the nerve to say that Britain is not a racist country. This is lie. Black people are twice as likely to die in police custody. Black people are over four times more likely to die of coronavirus than white people. We will not stop protesting until racism is well and truly a thing of the past.

Shall we reactivate this? I am happy to support you with editing @Rida if you’re busy,
This is the list of article suggestions from the other post:

  • Article on the Lucas plan / Green jobs Oshawa - and what could happen in terms of solar/renewables with the industrial base in the midlands (for example RR sacking thousands). @sean_f [https://angryworkersworld.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/lessons-from-the-lucas-plan-dont-waste-working-class-creativity-on-labour-and-the-state/]
  • DIY fitness at home guide - where to look for good instructions how to do it low cost, the benefits etc [we could use the inhabit exercise guide for this, or I would be happy to write something - BH]
  • Mutual aid self defence & co-operation jackson introduction
  • low cost / free guide to get composting at home
  • There’s power in a union: unionism 101 why join them, how the power comes from the rank and file, how they link with co-ops.
  • Stirchley co-operative development plans
  • Mother garden project @Mapu
  • indepth look at co-op cycle
  • join the forum!
  • Commoning, peasants, capitalism and the coming great depression. The BoE predicts the worst crash in 300 years (since before industrial capitalism). People are saying that bezos becoming a triollionarie would be neo fuedalBefore then we had a feudal system based on commons and tithes from rich people - we need to work to recreate those in a modern way in this crisis and not go to something neo feudal (one because that’s not what bezos is offering - he’s just doing hyper capitalism), but to something which has the commons in mind. (this might be too conceptual and something for the blog instead, but happy to work on it with other people @sergio @sean_f)
  • black panther breakfast club
  • Plan C

Shall we set a submission deadline? How about next Friday 26th of June?

All of this sounds good to me. I’m happy to edit the articles if they are posted on here!

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  • DIY fitness at home guide (300 words @ben, would you be able to write this in the next days?)

  • Commoning, peasants, capitalism and the coming great depression (300 words @sean_f and me)

  • Join the forum, why is it important and what are the benefits of using an online forum as a discussion platform? (300 words, maybe @Carlos or @Leo would you be able to write this in the next days?)

  • Possible topics for filler: changes in the kitchen, now delivering every other day; update from the futures meeting; …

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ocnIprO09s&feature=youtu.be this is great! I’ll ask for the text and maybe we can put a bit of it in

I have written a thing or rather 3 things… it’s not really possible to say anything worthwhile in just 300 words so I’ve made a series - do we think this is helpful or is it OTT?

Social Distancing Strength - part 1

Even though the UK’s lockdown is being loosened, it will be a long time before things return fully to normal. This means lots of us have lost access to gyms, outdoor facilities and the places where we train our sports or martial arts. Developing our fitness can be tough in times like this, but both our physical and mental health can be improved by a simple exercise plan to practice at home. The basic ideas are suitable for everyone, whether you’re totally new to recreational exercise or an experienced trainer. In this edition of the newsletter I’ll describe some principles to bear in mind. In the next edition I’ll describe the exercises to try, and the next one after that I’ll outline two versatile programmes to work on.

Here are the three principles we’ll follow to make our training fun and productive:

  1. Practice, don’t work out: most of getting stronger is about using your muscles effectively, which means paying attention and being strict with your form. For our day to day sessions we don’t want to be punishing ourselves or going to our limits. Take long rests and keep yourself fresh for the rest of the day.

  2. Maximise tension: even if an exercise mainly works one part of the body, the rest of the body should be held as tight as possible. This increases the effect on the whole body, protects the joints, and allows the working muscles to produce more force.

  3. Keep it simple: work only a handful of exercises, but choose them carefully and do them perfectly. You won’t need all day or a whole home gym of equipment.

If you’re training already, try applying these principles to what you’re doing already. Otherwise, look out for our exercise selection next time.

Social Distancing Strength - part 2

Last newsletter I outlined 3 principles to help anyone develop their strength during lockdown: 1. Practice, don’t work out; 2. Maximise tension; and 3. Keep it simple. This week we’ll cover 3 fundamental families of exercises to do at home without any equipment, and next time I’ll describe how to plan your exercise programme.

These three exercises cover most of the main muscles of the body, and are easily adapted to suit your ability. Each one has ‘regressions’ which are an easier version, and ‘progressions’ which make it harder. You’ll pick the one which allows you to do the right number of repetitions (more on that next time)

Pushup

Lie flat on the ground with your hands close to your body at chest level, and your elbows tight to your side. Squeeze the muscles of your stomach and butt, lockout your knees hard, keep your shoulders away from your ears and push yourself up into a plank position. Screw your shoulders into their sockets by twisting your hands against the ground as if you were trying to turn your thumbs outwards. Lower yourself down until your chest or nose touches the ground and that’s it. Take about two seconds to go up and down, and pause for a second at the bottom and the top. Breathe out forcefully just as you get to the top.
Regressions: wall pushups (hands on a wall rather than the floor), upward incline pushups (put your hands on a worktop, chair or table)
Progressions: downward incline pushup (put your feet up on a chair etc), archer pushup (one hand underneath the body and one out further to the side)

Squat

Put your feet a bit narrower than shoulder width with your feet facing slightly outwards. Tighten the muscles of your stomach and butt, pull your shoulders down to lengthen your neck and pull yourself down into a deep squat. Keep your back straight all the way down to your tailbone, and your knees pointing a bit outwards to match your feet. Use the same 2-1-2 tempo as before.
Regressions: shallow squat (upper legs parallel or above parallel), assisted squat (hold onto the thin edge of an open door to steady yourself)
Progressions: cossack squat (one leg out to the side and one beneath you), pistol squat (one leg lifted up in the air in front of you, the other leg does all the work)

Supine row

Lie underneath a sturdy table, holding onto the edge with hands about shoulder width apart. Tighten your entire body in the same way as for pushups and pull yourself up towards the table. As you do, twist your hands outwards as if the table edge was a stick you were trying to snap. Use the same 2-1-2 tempo.
Regressions: bent knee row (bring your feet closer, but keep tension up by pushing them against the ground as if to straighten your legs)
Progressions: raised feet row (put your feet up on a chair), pullups (if you have a pullup bar!)

These are the three exercises families we’ll be using. For now, try some different variations, doing no more than a few at a time. Remember you’re learning a skill, not trying to wear yourself out! Next time we’ll describe some simple programming options.

Social Distancing Strength - part 3

In the last newsletter, we went over three simple exercise families that work most of the body and work well with the simple principles that make our training fun and productive. This time, I’ll explain two different programming options to fit your practice into the reality of living during the coronavirus outbreak. In either case, train nearly every day if you’re new to exercising, or every other day if you’re already training.

  1. Furlough boredom-breaker: a programme for those furloughed, working from home, laid off or otherwise with too much time on their hands.

This programme is about frequently practicing a strength skill throughout the day, without tiring yourself out. Pick the regression or progression for each of the 3 exercises that you can do 8-10 of in a row without a break, with each repetition looking exactly the same as the one before. This means that the last rep is no slower than the last, with no cheating, wobbling or grunting!

Do one set of each exercise roughly every hour, spread out through the day. If you know you could do 10 reps, do 5. Do a set every time you get up for a break, or make a cup of tea. Some days you’ll do lots and some less, and that’s fine. Each mini-exercise should take about a minute.

  1. The daily dose: for those whose frontline jobs or care responsibilities mean they have even less time than usual.

This programme compresses all the exercises into a single quick session, but it’s still important to take long rests so each set is as strong as the last. Pick a regression or progression that you can do about 4-6 repetitions in a row with perfect form. We will be doing ‘ladders’ of repetitions to get a good training effect without getting fatigued or fed up.

Do 1 pushup, 1 squat and 1 supine row with a 10 second rest in between. Take a 1 minute rest
Do 2 pushups, 2 squats and 2 supine rows with a 20 second rest in between. Take a 1.5 minute rest.
Do 3 pushups, 3 squats and 3 supine rows with a 30 second rest in between. Take a 2 minute rest, then start again.

Do this cycle 3 times, for a total of 54 reps. This should take about 25 minutes.

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hey all below is the collated text from the four articles we have so far please edit it before midday if there are any typos etc - their likely are!


Black Lives Matter
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a historic global uprising against racism and police brutality. In Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston, a man who sent over 19,000 people to their deaths in the slave trade, was thrown into the harbour. However, with hate crimes on the rise, Boris Johnson has the nerve to say that Britain is not a racist country. This is a lie. Black people are twice as likely to die in police custody. Black people are over four times more likely to die of coronavirus than white people. We will not stop protesting until racism is well and truly a thing of the past.


Aftermathematics find the authors on twitter @ftermathematics

A tiny virus has exploded into a global pandemic. It’s delivered a massive shock to a world that is already rife with injustice and inequality. The repercussions look set to last for years. To put it another way, we’re facing a shit-storm on a massive scale. It feels like almost everything has changed. Overnight, things that we’ve taken for granted have just disappeared. Things that we were told were impossible have suddenly become very real. And the idea that “there’s no such thing as society” turns out to be a big fat lie. Life has become much more uncertain. Thousands have died – many at the hands of an uncaring and distant elite. At the same time, this disruption is an opportunity. An opening.

The message of disaster is that anything can happen. But if anything can happen, that means anything is possible. The word “aftermath” originally referred to the fresh plants growing after a crop has been harvested. This pandemic, cutting through “business as usual” and throwing everything up into the air, gives us the space to try new ways of living together. There’s space to question the assumptions behind a system that only favours a very few people who is a key worker and what are the key jobs? who does the care work? what do we value? can we build a better world based on mutual aid and sharing? The aftermath could be something positive, alive, growing – not a stale return to a deadening reality.

The aftermath is about looking at a different type of calculation. Instead of slicing up profits to pay dividends, we could be thinking about the divisions that exist in our society. This is about multiplying our power, subtracting ourselves from work, discovering a different set of equals. Rather than return to the misery and inequality of the pre-COVID world, how can we make a life that is better, richer, and more fulfilling for all of us? Another world is not only possible, it is on its way. On a quiet day, we can see it coming


Social Distancing Strength - part 1 – Ben from Punch up community gym

Even though the UK’s lockdown is being loosened, it will be a long time before things return fully to normal. This means lots of us have lost access to gyms, outdoor facilities and the places where we train our sports or martial arts. Developing our fitness can be tough in times like this, but both our physical and mental health can be improved by a simple exercise plan to practice at home. The basic ideas are suitable for everyone, whether you’re totally new to recreational exercise or an experienced trainer. In this edition of the newsletter I’ll describe some principles to bear in mind. In the next edition I’ll describe the exercises to try, and the next one after that I’ll outline two versatile programmes to work on.

Here are the three principles we’ll follow to make our training fun and productive:

  1. Practice, don’t work out: most of getting stronger is about using your muscles effectively, which means paying attention and being strict with your form. For our day to day sessions we don’t want to be punishing ourselves or going to our limits. Take long rests and keep yourself fresh for the rest of the day.
  2. Maximise tension: even if an exercise mainly works one part of the body, the rest of the body should be held as tight as possible. This increases the effect on the whole body, protects the joints, and allows the working muscles to produce more force.
  3. Keep it simple: work only a handful of exercises, but choose them carefully and do them perfectly. You won’t need all day or a whole home gym of equipment.

If you’re training already, try applying these principles to what you’re doing already. Otherwise, look out for our exercise selection next time.


Common People

Where should Co-operation Birmingham go next? What we have achieved collectively over these past few months has been monumental. From a small idea of repurposing a cafe we have grown into an organisation delivering over 10,000 meals and supporting our city in such a fundamental way have been inspiring but we know from economic forecasts and from what we see with our own eyes that even as the loosening of the lockdown begins we are faced with lots of other pressing matters affecting our community.

In the last decades, the idea of the commons have gained ground around the world. In feudal England, the commons were shared areas (mostly woods and pasture lands) that people could access and self-manage to get basic resources such as firewood, foraged food or grazing for their cattle. In a mostly rural society, peasants were exploited by landowners and relied on the commons for survival. In a 21st century urban context, the commons need to be reinvented. However, they respond to a very similar problematic than they did centuries ago: the dispossession of the working people of the wealth they produce.

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating the already existing inequalities in society: the rich are getting richer and the rest have direr futures than ever. That is why we need to reclaim a new commons as a self-organised alternative to provide for ourselves. Solidarity is at the heart of the commons. We need to stand together with each other regardless of our race, gender or nationality; and support those who are worse of than us. Self-organisation is another important concept. Building a new commons means taking control of our lives… Democracy is the third pillar of the commons. But a form of democracy in which we all have the possibility to be part of decision-making and where we ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to being part of the process.

We have been thinking about all this in Co-operation Birmingham and trying to work out collectively where to go next. Food is such an important part of what we do but there’s more to it than just eating, there’s soil and growing and there’s the delivering and sharing too - how can we link these together and form a new commons in the city?


As the situation changes we are adapting!
Our base, The Warehouse Cafe is beginning to plan for reopening, and the governments furlough scheme is being rashly cut short forcing many of our participants back to work, so we are looking for ways to keep going sustainably.

We have already stopped taking new orders, so that the overall number of meals to prepare starts to go down. We will continue to support existing orders for as long as we can.
From the end of June we have switched to preparing meals four days a week and doing double deliveries of food to make it easier in terms of participants needed in the kitchen and backroom/ The kitchen will continue to prepare the same number of portions overall though.

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@leo here is the image for the podcast and the full pdf has been emailed to the podcast email address. I’m going to try get the audio together in the next day or two

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Awesome. I’ll get the post ready.