The removal of money as a barrier for exchange, as many of us have experienced, feels very liberating when you do it. It ignites in your soul innumerable possibilities; instead of being accountable to a dollar amount, you are accountable to a person.

One might imagine: could the Bay Area Community Exchange (aka the Timebank) be a tool for addressing inequalities in our society?

Although the Timebank treats everyone’s time equally, achieving equality in an unjust system isn’t so simple. To work towards that goal requires some really heavy lifting.

Accountability towards ourselves, our groups, and between groups, is essential practice for this work. Here are some ideas on finding a place to start.

Accountability as an individual:

  • Connect to your own inner vision, whatever that means for you. Many people do this through yoga, meditation, art, play. Spend time with yourself that actually feels good.
  • Share your truth. Be aware of your own ongoing story as a self. Sift out the myths, and test what really holds meaning for you.
  • Recognize when you need assistance, and ask for help. You can post a request on the Timebank, even if it’s just for someone to keep you motivated.

Accountability within a group:

  • Get to know each other. Eat and talk together, share goals, plan events, etc.
  • Treat each other’s stories respectfully; hear each other with gratitude.
  • Learn ongoing histories of the lineages, groups, movements, nations, systems, and land you are a part of. Read, talk to people of different generations and viewpoints. Write and share these valuable stories — with permission, always!.
  • Keep your commitments, and let people know your limitations. Regularly check in with other people to keep you grounded.

Accountability between groups:

  • Educate yourself and your crew on the struggles and oppressions that face different groups in our society.
  • Stand in solidarity with causes you agree with, even they don’t reflect your own immediate interests; often our struggles are intertwined at the roots.
  • Reach out to allies, and communicate your needs and what you can offer.
  • Work to identify and actually feel what privileges are associated with yourself and the members of your group. Study how you can best use them towards creating an equitable world where those same privileges don’t exist.

For more resources, check out these links:

The Basics of Zen Meditation

Queer Zine Archive Project

Anti-Racist Organizing to Build the 99% Movement

Love, Race, & Liberation: ‘Til The White Day is Done

Personal and Community Accountability on the BACE Timebank

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