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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 647)...

    Is it possible for the "owner" of a tribal company (by this I mean the person who organized the venture from the beginning and secured all the required loans for equipment, shelter, utilites, etc. under his/her name) to have a functioning part WITHIN the business? Or would his/her day-to-day presence dissolve the "equality" needed amongst members to ensure a tribal cooperation/organization? (Basically, I can say "no" to a man who is my boss if I think a "no" is called for, but saying "no" to a man who laid the groundwork for our enterprise, without whom we would not have the backing to operate, is very different).

    ...and the response:

    Of course it would be possible for the person who organized the venture to have a functioning part in the business. Why on earth wouldn't it be? The person who organized the Neo-Futurist Theatre Company is without doubt the tribal "chief." Rennie and I were the chiefs of the East Mountain News. You can't think so rigidly about this. "Equality" is not like virginity. Decision-making is a task that must be performed within any organization, including a tribal organization. When you join the circus, you become part of the tribe, but this doesn't mean you get to make the decisions; that remains the task of the circus owner. The founder of the Neo-Futurist Theatre Company (who is the only permanent member of the tribe--the others come, work within the tribe for a while, and then move on) is accepted as the one who must make decisions about the company. Rennie and I held that role in the East Mountain News, and everyone else knew (and were perfectly content with this); they knew they couldn't possibly make the decisions we had to make to keep the thing going.

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