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Couch Surfing CORPORATION (copy-pasted, but very IMPORTANT. So READ!)
Posted August 29th, 2011 - 5:28 pm by from Taipei, Taiwan (Permalink)
Hello Couch Surfers,

I don't know if you've noticed, but Couch Surfing
has just become a B Corporation.
Look at the bottom of the website - there, it reads:

"© 1999-2011 CouchSurfing International, Inc. —
A socially responsible B Corporation"

For the definition of what a B Corporation is,
see the wikipedia:

However, a B Corporation is still a corporation whose main goal will always be to turn a profit: no matter how "ethical" or "socially responsible" a B Corporation may present itself to the world, its main interest will always be the profit of its shareholders, the profit of those who legally own it.

Now here is the question: who owns Couch Surfing?
Because when Couch Surfing becomes a corporation,
it is not just a website that is being sold,
it's a living community of millions of people that is being sold out, millions of people that have united for the ideal of a world without borders, wherein every man
is a brother and a every woman a sister to all Mankind.
Without its living community of volunteers, altruistically organizing meetings and kindly opening their homes to strangers without asking for anything in return, the website would be nothing and would have no value at all.

Couch Surfing is not a website, Couch Surfing is
a community: it's me, it's you, it's all of us!
We are a political community driven towards a political goal, that is: to promote Peace and Tolerance amongst all cultures and all nations of the World -
we are not a market of consumers to be explored!

If Couch Surfing is to become a corporation,
then we should all receive a share of the capital,
because Couch Surfing belongs to us all -
because Couch Surfing is not just a website! -
and everyone who has ever donated their money to
the Project; and anyone who has ever altruistically worked
to make the meetings happen; and each and every one of
us who welcomes strangers into our homes out of nothing but kindness should become a shareholder of the corporation.

Since the process of turning the Couch Surfing Project into a profit-driven corporation has started, the ones that have donated money to the Project have been given
the status of "Pioneers", and this is how the website describes them:

"In our community of explorers, they helped lay the foundation for CouchSurfing's success.
Until August 2011, CouchSurfing operated as a non-profit and ran entirely on the contributions of our members.
Our pioneers generously chose to donate in support of
the CS mission.
Since we became a B Corporation, we no longer accept donations, but we will always be grateful to the people who helped us go from zero to 3 million members.
Without them, CouchSurfing wouldn't be here today."

So, "we" became a corporation? "We" will always be grateful? "We" who?

If "we" are now a corporation, then why aren't the stocks being distributed to all the three million members of
the Couch Surfing Project?

But if "we" are a corporation and if "we" will always be grateful to the volunteers of the Couch Surfing Project, who does the word "we" refer to in the sentences quoted above? To the shareholders that own the corporation,
of course - to the shareholders that never hosted anyone into their homes and that will now turn a profit from
the altruistic work and from the kindness of the Couch Surfing community. "Without them, CouchSurfing wouldn't
be here today" - indeed, without our altruistic work, without our kindness in opening our homes,
YOU would never be making a profit!

If Wikimedia, the organization that runs the Wikipedia, can live on donations, so can the Couch Surfing website! Like many other phenomena in the World Wide Web,
the Couch Surfing website can perfectly live on donations like it has since the beginning, and it can be spontaneously sustained by the generosity and kindness
of its members - because, after all, Couch Surfing is all about generosity and kindness, not market exploitation
and corporate profit!

Making a profit-driven corporation out of the Couch Surfing community we have all altruistically worked to build will not benefit the Couch Surfing community,
but only the shareholders into whose pockets the profit will go to.

And even if "Couch Surfing International" is a
"socially responsible" B Corporation, it is still a corporation, and no matter how "ethical" or "socially responsible" it may present itself to the world, its main interest will always be the profit of its shareholders - and the welfare of the actual Couch Surfing community
will always be secondary to its interest in exploiting it.

Corporations have always used the mask of "ethics" and "social responsibility" to better gain the trust of the communities within which they seek to establish themselves only to better manipulate them and explore them - and B Corporations are no exception. To those willing to explore this question further, I strongly recommend Mark Achbar's, Jennifer Abbott's and Joel Bakan's documentary movie
"The Corporation":


So hypocritical are corporations, that even generosity
and kindness they seek to turn into merchandise...

Daniel Malafaia


please forward to the other cs-groups,
inform others too ...