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Rochdale College Corporate Meeting, December 12, 1974

28 Jul

Rochdale College Corporate Meeting, December 12, 1974

by John Sullivan and David Lawrence

[This article is from the TUESDAILY of December 12, 1974. It was written by John Sullivan (now Lone Wolf Sullivan) and David Lawrence (now Dr. David Lawrence) immediately after the meeting. Then David printed the Tuesdaily and it was distributed to all tenants in Rochdale that same evening. Lone Wolf is convinced that the election at this meeting was rigged and the details are in his non-fiction historical novel “A Wolf Among Sheep”. Please contact Lone Wolf if you have information regarding the dishonest “election”. If you disagree, Lone Wolf doesn’t give a shit. I was there and I co-wrote the article here 36 fucking years ago. If you think the election was honest, you are na├»ve and don’t know fuck all about it.]

The Rochdale annual corporate meeting occurred on December 12, 1974. Ian Argue was chairperson. A diverse crowd, mainly residents, met in the second floor lounge. Out-going President Jay Boldizsar gave a brief corporate legal summary, saying the corporation is smaller yet healthier than it has ever been. “Tighter, always tighter,” added Chrlotte von Bezold. At this point Dan Dickie moved that we stop smoking because he and others found it offensive. The motion was carried, but was not followed by all smokers. Mike Randell gave a quickie financial report, saying that we have $10,000 left from the farm sale in a bank and that at the present rate we are spending our money we can last 18 months. The only source of income now is degree sales.

The next topic of discussion was Landlord and Tenant legal battles. Resident lawyer Mike McLachlan gave March as the earliest time all the communes will be out, including appeals. A chant of “OM” began in one part of the room, soon spread out, a reverberation of Moody Blues that prompted the legal battle. Charlie Taylor suggested we stop playing the legal game, gave anarchy as the solution, qualifying it with, “There’s nothing wrong with anarchy, as long as it’s organized anarchy.” Nickie Morrison, later elected to the new council, voiced her frustration about consistently losing in courts. She asked, “Why let the courts rule our lives, why don’t we organize internally, take charge of remaining space, set up a token rent payment system?” Henry Pollard made a motion that she do it. Mike McLachlan pointed out that the legal machine will proceed without you, whether you recognize it or not.

As the meeting progressed, the atmosphere became anarchic. Lobbying at the federal and city level was discussed. Kevin O’Leary said that has become his pet project. Dan McCue rolled in on a case of beer, played his old records for us about elitist bullshit and people power, and threatened to smash Joel Scott’s face in if he ever came across him alone.

Jane Barnett wanted everyone to start going to court together, seeing as she was going to court the next day. When it came time to discuss the latest piece of diarrhea from the Clarkson Co., known as Memoir # 4, Bill King said he didn’t want to see a piece of paper (the agenda) which was written earlier that day; we should structure what is going on here and now. Many thanks to those who made the meeting so verbose, if not enlightening: Charlotte von Bezold, Pat Wilson, Mike Donaghy, and you if you were there.

Elections of the new Governing Council were abolished by a motion to select the new Council by drawing names out of a hat, carried by a two-thirds majority. All interested in serving on Council were asked to toss their names into a hat.

When all the names were in, the latest born Rochdale child (Christopher Adam) and the first born Rochdale child (Brendan) grabbed 13 names out and here is a list of members of the new Governing Council:

Nickie Ashley
Donald Fergusson
David Harlowe
Cindy Lei
Michael McLachlan
Nickie Morrison
Kevin O’Leary
John Panter
Michael Randell
Joel Scott
Suki Wrench
Farouk Yourossie

Maybe…maybe, this time, since it was was chosen by our children………dingaling.

Democratic control seemed to be abandoned as an operating principle at Rochdale College’s annual corporate meeting. By choosing the Governing Council by lot, it may have appeared to be throwing Rochdale’s future into chaos. But a closer look shows that the community in the college finally does look upon itself as made up of members of equal worth. Cooperation has given us the trust that we could pick any 13 of us at random and still feel secure that these people would try to act in our best interest. Experience has taught us that no one here has the one solution but that any 13 of us working together have the capability of keeping the college going. Choosing leadership by lot has a long history of use by other communities in other environments. One of the reasons that it works is that all the people can feel that they are a part of the leadership. Instead of spending time strengthening factions to fight each other faction, we will guide our leaders by helping them carry the load.

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Thirty-six years later Lone Wolf’s memory of the meeting is it was very noisy and those who spoke usually could not be heard clearly. The only time people shut up and listened was when Lionel Douglas paid a surprise visit. His speech was about the danger of staying on the same course decided in the past, instead of considering a change in direction. Mike Randell read a newspaper report about something or other, but it was impossible to hear what he said. Syd Stern was quite generous with his hash, which may have inspired the election by lot, but Mike Randell and others were strongly opposed to it.

Each name taken from the election hat was preceded by the name of the position available, and President came first. Surprise! Surprise! Mike Randell won. What wonderful luck! (he wrote sarcastically) All the important council positions were taken by the elitists. Nickie Ashley took each name from the children, showed it to Mike Randell for verification, then read it aloud. As for the article I co-wrote, I remember that David and I wrote it quickly and it was fun. I came up with the lines about Dan McCue “rolled in on a case of beer…”, but I cannot remember much else about it. Most of the names of the elected Governing Council are a surprise to me now.