Gólya Szövetkezeti Presszó és Közösségi Ház
Gólya Cooperative Pub and Community House

Basic info
Gólya („Stork” in Hungarian) is a co-op pub and a community house in the VIIIth district of Budapest, Hungary. It has a large inner space as well as a garden, a separate office space, a room for material crafts and an attic that serves as a movie theater. It also has several basements that await potential future public use. There is bar and a kitchen that provides a selection of drinks and food (including daily lunch menus every weekday). There are live music events every week, and other programs such as film clubs, presentations, lectures, debates, board game playing, art exhibitions, regular mutual exchange markets of used products. Gólya hosts public and closed events of groups and organizations – birthdays, proms, conferences, fundraisings, trainings, meetings of all sorts, political events.

History of the Place with Dates of important Events

History of the place and the organization
The cooperative enterprise of Gólya has its roots in a previous project, a café situated in the inner city part of Budapest (called Frisco Café). The cooperative of Frisco was founded in 2011. The group that managed that place decided to move to a bigger place due to the increased size of the community and the need for an extended infrastructure. The new team assembled in 2013 and opened Gólya in the September of 2013.
The project started with eight people, forming a cooperative. With several people leaving and others joining, now (as of June, 2015) there are six co-op members and nine non-member workers in different positions by working hours, commitment and field of work. There is an organizational expansion coming next fall with several non-members becoming members.
The Gólya project is strongly intertwined with a working group of young researchers of the social sciences called „Helyzet Műhely” (Situation Workhop). They are the only regular users of the office space in Gólya, have a smaller library there, and they also organize public events to spread knowledge in their narrative (based on structuralist criticism of the capitalist world system focusing on Eastern-European positions) such as film clubs, lectures and debates. They are the oldest allies of Gólya, beside them, over time a network of groups and organizations came to work with Gólya, where the co-op usually provides infrastructure, a space and a wider audience, and the other party brings programs, specializes on an issue important for Gólya (such as gentrification or public political discussion of topics in an alternative, leftist frame). The enterprise also developed over time, now able to provide the full-time workers with a basic living – while up until now it only could pay sub-minimum wages and required very extensive self-exploitation. If all goes well, soon the co-op can pay back all unpaid wages (to itself) and loans.

History of the location (gentrification)
„Gólya” itself has a long and rich history – it was built in the 1880’s, it was always called Gólya and it was originally intended to be pub. It was an integral part of the VIIIth district, which was the home of workers and artisans in the XXth century. After the system shift of 1989 and the following austerity and new regime of production most of the residents of the district lost their jobs and livelyhoods, and Gólya was closed down. It wasn’t re-opened as a pub until 2013. In the 90’s the VIIIth district became a stigmatized ghetto of the forming new underclass, people who lived there before and also migrants coming from rural Hungary or abroad. There is a large proportion of gypsy residents, and the stigma surrounding the district is ethnicised. The VIIIth was an isolated city in the city, structured by extended familial relations, networks with competing gangs/families. It had its own rules, extreme poverty, crime and drug use. In the middle of the 2000’s, a joint real estate development project of the district municipali1ty and a private firm with hundreds of millions of euros of budget started gentrifying the neighborhood. It is called „Corvin Project.” In the first phases of the project they built an office building, a mall, a promenade and residential buildings with expensive flats. (Evicting a number of residents and demolishing buildings.) After the 2008 crisis the project slowed down because of problems with financing. The area is increasingly gentrifying, but due to the specialities of Eastern European home property structure and other factors, it is a somewhat slow process. In 2014 they started the construction of another office building, right next to the building of Gólya, which was – for the time being – taken off of the development plans. In the next phase, many more people face eviction and further existential instability, while new residents are moving in from other parts of town, coming from a higher social strata.

Economic structure of the co-operative, rules and principles of organization and operation
The methods of organization have been developing organically since the 2011 foundation of the Frisco collective (the direct predecessor of Gólya). These methods came from the need to include people in the ownership of the enterprise, because this disperses the economic burden and motivates everyone to be highly responsible for the enterprise and to put in as much labor as possible. This need came from the lack of available capital. The members never really looked for already existing co-ops for solutions, however with the gradual solidification of methods and rules of the organizational operation and economic relations it is very similar to internationally known collective principles.
During the spring of 2015 the collective performed a grand reform of rules of membership, and the economic relationship of members and the enterprise. This reform states the current most clear set of principles of the co-op.
There is a transparent way to become a member (owner-worker), which requires an amount of time spent working at Gólya, a cash investment (buying shares) and the univocal acceptence of the current members. It is however possible to work at Gólya without becoming a member, it is not a clear employee position, but it entails wage payment, less involvement in collective social security and decision-making.
Members own shares (and only members can own shares, which cannot be bought or sold). Shares can be obtained with cash investment (in the near future, when the financial situation allows it, all members should have a same amount of cash investment in the enterprise) and with time spent working in the cooperative. Shares represent the capital value of the enterprise, and the share package of a member represent the contribution of the member. If a member decides to leave, they recieve half of the nominal value of their total shares over the time of six months. (If they had worked enough in the co-op this means a higher sum of money than their original cash investment). Payments are based on profit, and shared in two steps: half of a month’s profit is distributed equally (each member recieves an equal part) and the other part is distributed based on shares. This means that older members gain more than newer members, since they also invested more labor in the enterprise. This difference between payments however is not linear, over time it decreases. The bookkeeping required to account for all this is based on tables and algorythms that the members can check and follow over time. The person (member) appointed to manage the finances of the co-op maintains it. There is a minimum wage which is paid regardless of a month’s profits to every member.
Membership also comes with social benefits (food and drink provision, vacation, maternity/father’s leave, sick leave, special considerations for studies or other personal needs).
Members need to work at least 40 hours a week, at least 16 hours of that must be physical labor (tending the bar, working in the kitchen, or cleaning the place). The rest is specialized work that is structured by a system of working groups that deal with different fields (program organizing, marketing, logistics, financing and bureaucracy, etc.) They must be present on the weekly assemblies and the monthly meetings dedicated to strategic planning and team-building.
Organization of production and the collective itself happens at the working group level (meetings, mailing lists) and the weekly assembly of the total membership. Every second weekly meeting is open to non-member workers who can bring their topics to the table and also have a chance to influence decisions concerning the operation of the enterprise. Every member gets one vote, regardless of the percentage of shares that they own, however decision-making is consensus-oriented, and regularly concludes in some kind of compromise between different suggestions or opinions. Members also have the right to veto a decision. If the co-op grows to have ten or more members, a veto will require more than one person. The coordination is ensured by two coordinators who keep the current strategic tasks of the co-op in line, organize, moderate and document meetings. The position of coordinator is rotated every two months.
Faults such as being late from work or a meeting, failing to complete an assigned task or causing another worker trouble (extra work, etc.) are registered in a „fault point” system where the achieved points have to be nulled by cleaning the pub or other menial tasks.
Members are responsible for each other, the enterprise and the social mission of the co-operative. If a member causes damage with obvious responsability for it, the members can pass on its costs to them. It the enterprise failed, the losses would be shared equally between the members (since the reponsibility is also shared equally).

The social mission of the co-operative
The Gólya project is consantly analyzing the local and the wider social structure that the co-op is integrated in, trying to understand its own position as clearly as possible, and to plan its strategies realistically. Based on this, the declared mission of the co-op is threefold. Above all it concentrates on maintaining and developing a working co-operative model of organization and production that can assure the control of members over the means of production, the well-being of members and long-term safety for them. The Gólya crew wishes to make their model transparent and open to the public, and they also wish to co-operate with similar projects in Hungary and abroad to share knowledge and maybe take organization to a higher level. They realize the possibilities and the restraints of collective ownership and production in capitalist conditions and they wish to propagate working models of economic co-operation.
The second goal is to maintain a space for allied groups, projects and organisations which they can use for their own purposes. Trying to strenghten the role of „the host” the Gólya crew wishes to mediate between these groups, to communicate their messages and supports the formation of a wider (and growing) movement. In order to help this happen, they organize regular „community meetings” for the audience and organised allies of Gólya.
The third goal is connected to the process of gentrification in the neighborhood. The co-op realized that with their limited assets, they cannot bring significant change to what’s happening (as there is the policital power of the municipality and the economic power of the real estate development firm in the way), and they also realize that as a newly opened pub with an audience of inner city youngsters it is a part of the „pioneer wave” of the insitutions of gentrification. However while seeing these limits, they wish to help organizations that work against gentrification and housing poverty and to alter the negative effects of the invasion wherever it is possible. They also wish to communicate the actual mechanisms of gentrification (in opposition to the pink cloud of promises about progress and prosperity) to VIIIth district locals and others.