We started Turtle Tank because...
… we got tired.
We got tired of not looking at our money issues directly. We got tired of believing that the very thought of wealth/ownership would inherently make us corrupt.
We got tired of seeing our communities get crumbs -- time after time, no matter how hard we work. We got tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Of being stuck in jobs that only pay the rent.
We got tired of struggling to do about 10% of the work we came here to do, with about 5% of the energy and resources (because we’re constantly exhausted by the struggle and broke because of it).
We got tired of feeling scared that we might lose our “radical street cred” for even saying this.
And most importantly, we got so tired of doing all of that… alone.
Our economic condition overdetermines everything we do.
From the water we drink, the seeds we are allowed to plant, the clothes we can wear to the education we might receive and the political candidates we can get elected.
It fuels and perpetuates all -isms, -phobias and -archies (racism, ableism, homophobia, patriarchy etc.) Most importantly, it is deeply insidious. It impacts our day-to-day lives, how we make decisions, how we organize, how much of our time we actually have control over, how much we get to rest, how creative we can be, how traumatized we stay.
Our economic condition is pervasive. And without addressing it directly, we cannot establish any kind of sustained change.
We, Radical Visionaries, need sustained and sustainable economic change.
So what does sustained economic change look like?
First, a little background:
For years, I (Samia) contemplated living off the grid. I thought about hermitting in mountain caves like a monk. I dreamed of walking onto a collective communal island populated by radical people with indigenous consciousness. Living off the land in closed-loop systems and making music for the rest of my life.
I prayed for an escape -- and sometimes I even prayed I’d die and leave this forsaken realm. I know some of you can relate.There is nothing wrong with wanting to live off the grid. Nothing wrong with our collective dreams for exclusive space. Nothing wrong with a desire to exit. For some of us, that may even be valid reality...
For me, these dreams were based in a desire to escape. Escape what?
My responsibility: the seemingly impossible feat of having and creating wholistic wealth (abundance of everything I need) JUSTLY while living in the corrupt and imbalanced world I was born into.
I was afraid that by seeking, having or creating wealth I would be participating in the very system that is setup to break and control us. The very system we are trying to change. And I am not alone in that.
Most of us are afraid of re-creating the dynamics that have broken us. Of making grave mistakes, of failing. So most of us struggle to even try.
Why? Because in our psyche, wealth = excess money, greed and corruption.
So how can I have and create wealth that is NOT equivalent to excess money, greed and corruption?
More importantly, why was I so obsessed with this idea of Wealth?
For years, I worked in environments that lacked the necessary resources (financial and otherwise) to create real, sustained change. We would start and eventually burn out, at best alleviating pain and band-aiding wounds. At night, I had (sleeping) dreams about money and money systems -- almost like a historical recap from feudalism, to slavery, to the industrial age and globalization. I would wake up in a cold sweat, staring at my ceiling with a conundrum: I don’t want to live lacking resources and in perpetual struggle, but I don’t want to be greedy and corrupt.
A desire for anything beyond my break-even paycheck felt like greed. I felt like I was waiting for things to change, for the system to be more socially just so that I could participate in it without "taking" from anyone or hurting anyone. I felt like making more money than I spent today would corrupt me. Maybe my father had drilled the "never take more than your share" in me one too many times. But what is my share? And what does that even mean? Did I really not trust myself that much? That if I came across some money I'd spend it on a Yacht? C'mon.
Could wanting access to abundance not necessarily stem from greed?
Could having Wealth, right now, in the right hands, lead to radical change instead of corruption?
Could we all have access to true Wealth, right now, while living in our broken systems?
We say: YES (to all of the above)
How so? Well, let’s redefine the concept of Wealth.
Traditionally, wealth = money, capital (in all of its forms: natural resources, human resources etc.).
At Turtle Tank, That’s not what we think Wealth is. Here's what we think:
Wealth is good health, loving relations, pleasure, creativity, justice, beauty.
True Wealth is born of balanced relationships to our bodies, our minds, our spirits, others, animals, and the land. Wealth is measured by our ability to live out our inherent purpose and contribute our gifts through balanced relationships.
And making money is just another form of making relationships that enhance Wealth -- we have the power to decide how to setup our money-making systems (our goals, purpose, limits, checks-and-balances) just as we have the power to determine how we want to be in relationship. No matter what systems we exist in.
Wealth = Living out our purposes through balanced relationships.
We do not ask or beg for Wealth (or money). We do not demand it or forcibly take it.
We are it, and we create it -- with every breath and decision. And we can create it NOW.
We believe that reframing our relationship to Wealth (and money), how we acquire it, how much of it we really want and need, how we can and should use it etc. will allow us to have and create sustained economic power.
We need our own systems of Wealth (and money) creation and dissemination -- TODAY. Not in some ideal future, while we wait for unjust policies and systems to change. We need those systems TODAY (maybe even YESTERDAY).
That is what sustained economic power boils down to.
So how do we create our own systems of Wealth today, and why Turtle Tank?
Creating our own systems requires that we know and own 2 truths:
ONE: We deserve to live wonderful, fulfilling, purposeful and wealthy lives - beyond surviving.
TWO: We have the power to create radical wholistic wealth TODAY - in ALL areas of our lives.
Easy to say, very difficult to put into practice. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try.
ONE: We deserve to live wonderful lives beyond surviving
More often than not, it has been drilled into us that we DO NOT deserve to live wonderful, fulfilling, purposeful and wealthy lives.
Take a pause here and really consider that...
Who drills this into us? And why? Don’t just think of the obvious… we’re being fed these ideas all the way from the corporate boardroom to some of our well-meaning activist friends to our parents who believe working ourselves to death is the only way out. Struggle is inevitable on the road to freedom, but it is NOT a way of life. Let’s not romanticize or normalize the struggle, from any direction. If we turn our struggle into a way of life, we are feeding right back into the systems of oppression that create those struggles.
So what does it mean to really, truly know that we deserve wonderful, fulfilling, purposeful and wealthy lives TODAY? It’s a radical act of realizing our worth, our value. And only when we accept our unquestionable value can we truly own our power to create radical, wholistic wealth.
TWO: We have the power to create radical, wholistic wealth TODAY
At Turtle Tank, we want to:
Awaken, educate, empower and connect Radical Entrepreneurs that want to create Radical Enterprises. We want to create a home-base for #RadicalEntrepreneurs.
Why? Because we see the Radical Enterprise (or Radical Business) as a way to directly own our power to create radical, wholistic wealth, right now.
We see a network of Radical Enterprises feeding each other. We believe that Radical Enterprises that create Radical Wealth are the building blocks of alternative, grassroots, economic structures. There are many viable examples of this today and throughout history -- we just want to bring them all together.
These Radical Enterprises are: emergent, grassroots, social systems where communities can envision, create and experiment with their own radical systems of relationship with a shared purpose and a sustainable economic approach. Radical Enterprises are the smallest communal step towards new, practical structures that will shape our future, without killing us in the process. And of course, they need to be financially sustainable.
We believe that Radical Enterprises can inspire root and large scale shifts because they engage us at the heart of our livelihood, our day-to-day affairs, our survival and beyond. They can provide meaningful jobs. They can produce food, shelter, clothing, education, technology ethically. They can rebuild local economies while allowing us to participate in fair global exchange. They are, at once, the change we seek and our bread-and-butter. They make activism an extension of our daily breath, our daily activities. They bring wholeness and integration to our lives so that we are not working on one side and fighting on the other. Our day-to-day lives become the change we are building. We can think more clearly, rest when we need to, create how we see fit and make better decisions effortlessly...
Alongside the powerful nation and world-wide social movements that are bringing awareness to systemic oppression, gathering communal power and shifting policy, we need to build a robust and sustained economic infrastructure that will not only feed our movements with the necessary resources but feed our bodies and spirits in the process.
We believe that Radical Entrepreneurship is the way to build that infrastructure.
It is perhaps one of the most sustainable forms of activism. Radical Entrepreneurship is the act of taking matters into our own hands and creating the new systems we want to transition into. No one will do this for us, it is ours to do.
And who are these Radical Entrepreneurs?
We, the Radical Visionaries (artists, healers, educators, activists and entrepreneurs) who can see the solutions we need from a deeply intersectional and wholistic place. We, in the words of bell hooks, who work from margin to center. We, who live at the intersection of our broken social systems (racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism, classism etc.). We who are simultaneously the most visionary and equipped to provide more wholistic solutions because we witness truth from the intersection. We who have been the most restricted due to oppression and lack of resources. We, the Turtle Tank community, who will lift those restrictions.
It is time for us to be Radical manifestors, Radical creators of sustainable economic structures. It is time for us to be the Radical Entrepreneurs that will change the global economic condition from the roots.
We are calling on all Radical Visionaries with wholistic seedling projects. We want you to be #RadicalEntrepreneurs. Whether you work on the inside of an organization, work independently, or run your own ship. We want you to manifest your Radical projects in sustained economic fashion! We want you to help us create radical sustained economic power.
We’re building a community of Radical Entrepreneurs and we are inviting you to join us so we can talk, connect, learn and grow together. We provide free and affordable education, resources and community support.
Share and invite those who you think should be a part of our community.
And don’t forget to join us:
Turtle Tank is an incubator for Radical Entrepreneurs.
We help you start and grow your radical enterprise to make way for economic justice.
Turtle Tank is for: Creatives, Educators, Activists, Healers, and the like.
- An innovative educational framework for radical entrepreneurs
- A community of radical thinkers-doers
- Resources: tools, systems and technology
- An investigation of radical economic theories
*This project is supported by Whale Wonder*