The Stone Soup Collective is a community space and “info-shop”. We’re a place where activist groups can meet, organize and hold events — a space where people can empower themselves to take back control of their lives and work for positive social change. We’re an alternative information center — a place where people can educate themselves — with over 2,000 books and lots of other materials (‘zines, CDs, videos) that won’t be found in corporate bookstores or government-funded libraries. We’re a forum for personal expression and grassroots culture — art, writing, open-mic poetry and music shows, punk, hardcore and folk, mostly.
How do we do this?
We do all this without any State money or foundation grants. We get by with a little help (mutual aid) from our friends in our community who become members or make donations — and give of their time and energy staffing the Collective. Our volunteers do the never-ending work that helps keep our doors open. For the record, the State at all levels classifies us as a non-profit group (we even have 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service, so all donations are tax-deductible). We opened our doors on Sept. 11, 2000; our Collective was founded in June 1998. Individual memberships in our Collective are $10 to $45 a year (it’s a sliding scale, you decide how much you can afford to pay within that range). Organizational memberships are $50-$200 a year (also on a sliding scale).
How we’re organized.
The Stone Soup Collective is a non-hierarchical organization. We have no leaders, no authorities and no one has a title. Our Consensus Body (decision-making committee) collectively makes all decisions about how our Collective operates. It meets the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 6 p.m. We decide things by consensus, the most democratic form of group decision-making yet devised. This means that everyone must consent (agree) to a decision before it’s implemented. Anyone can become part of the Consensus Body: the only requirements are that you must join the Collective, must work 10 or more hours a month at the Collective and must attend three out of five consecutive Consensus Body meetings before you can consent to or block (stop) a proposal. Anyone can attend the Consensus Body meetings and speak, however.
Who belongs to our Collective?
As you may have noticed, our Collective is organized according to egalitarian principles (which some may consider anarchist principles), but we do not call ourselves “an anarchist organization.” Anti-authoritarians are part of our Collective, as are Greens, socialists, people who call themselves radicals, leftists, liberals, etc. Some of us don’t label ourselves at all — we just want to help make a real difference in our community by being part of an institution that represents positive social change. We want everyone in Central Florida who believes we need a non-profit, grassroots community space and shares our goals of autonomy, empowerment, equality, mutual aid, cooperation, non-violence, personal growth, free expression and consensus to participate in our Collective.
We say NO to oppression and discrimination.
The Stone Soup Collective opposes oppression and discrimination. Oppression or discrimination because of ability, age, color/race, ethnicity, gender, religion or socio-economic class, along with harassment and the use of force, against any member, staffer or guest within our space is unacceptable and will be addressed by the Collective.