Dear Allvoices.com family and friends, and all other supporters of Intelek’s various projects and efforts.
It gives me great pleasure to inform you of significant progress being made in my Domino’s Pizza “reformation” campaign.
The good news is that the Domino's Pizza UK-based conglomerate I work for has offered me the opportunity to have the concerns I raised in the article that launched this campaign heard as a "grievance" - within the terms of the company's grievance procedure.
Unfortunately - and I am not saying that what I am about to inform you of is the company's fault - my acceptance of this offer has been at some personal cost to myself.
I am sorry to burden you with this aspect of things - but I’m a bit panicked, as I now have just one week to raise at least £700, for a new place to live.
So far I only have £120 to put toward it. (My finances are still recovering from the considerable expenditure I put into Intelek’s London Book Fair “Poetpourri House” project. The returns are trickling in slowly.)
£700 will cover the first month’s payment and a security deposit on a bedsit in Norwich.
I have more ambitious accommodation plans for later on, of course, especially as I would like a place where my children (3 years old and 7 years old) could visit and sometimes stay overnight with their daddy.
But among other things, I am mindful that times are hard for many of us. So I am content to spend weekends with the little ones at my ex’s house for now. My more ambitious plans can wait while I address immediate needs.
Actually, I have also been considering couch surfing or otherwise roughing it a bit, to draw attention to challenges I am facing getting a conciliatory dialogue going with Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and other US and British politicians, religious clerics, journalists and academics.
Like Barbados-based Jamaican lawyer Marvalee Franklin, they all have a role to play in my Poetpourri House project - a project that will see the Dalkeith Road, St. Michael property in Barbados where Intelek International was founded converted into a musem and broader heritage tourism facility.
I'm hoping to have plans for Poetpourri House's renovation well advanced by the time the Inclusive Museum Conference comes off in at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, in Barbados, between August 2nd and 5th.
I sent Prime Minister Stuart an email message proposing to "rehabilitate" Intelek-Barbados relations as a precursor to a desired dialogue on the project.
Apparently, that message, sent via a Ms. Hazel Callender at Government Headquarters (email@example.com) did not reach the Prime Minister.
I would hate for him to be uninformed of the role he, Tourism Minister Richard Sealey and others in his Cabinet could play in facilitating the success of the Poetpourri House project.
There is a role in it for everybody.
I even see a role in Intelek’s Poetpourri House campaign for American Presidenthimself – with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, of course!
I got an email from “her” (campaign machinery) just yesterday expressing sadness over the prospect of my not being able to join her and the President for dinner before the election.
But dinner with the present occupants of the White House is not my most pressing need right now. I need to get the situation with my next UK “Poetpourri House” – be it another bedsit or the backseat of my car – sorted.
Here then, is the background to the current hardship I find myself in.
As I told a number of you at a recent meeting of Norwich justice and peace activists, since I published an online article challenging the corporate culture and practices of the UK's biggest Domino's Pizza franchisee Surinder Kandola (I’m told he owns over a hundred Domino's stores in England and Ireland) he has not been happy - as one might imagine.
But recognizing the power of citizen journalism, I think, the company was at first conciliatory and tried to placate me.
I was therefore invited to submit concerns I raised in the article to the company in line with its official grievance policy – which I had been unaware of.
Having done so though, I have since been suspended (albeit with full pay) on another matter: a matter which could possibly open the company to legal liability, if I was merely interested in suing it or similarly “getting even” with it.
While that (suing) remains an option, I am for the time being trying to be conciliatory (though firm) and have been suggesting ways Mr. Kandola may improve his franchise's and the wider Domino's Pizza multinational entity’s corporate culture.
The fact is, I have been a Domino's driver for over 5 years largely because it fitted relatively easily with my needs as a writer and the broader needs of Intelek International’s projects (www.intelek.net).
For one thing, the job has afforded me considerable flexibility.
It’s the kind of job I could do one or two days a week, for example, while I was working at City College Norwich (CCN).
And when the CCN opportunity was unfortunately “interrupted” I was able to fall back on my Domino’s Pizza employment, increasing my hours there, as my “freedom” from CCN permitted.
(And by the way: I am convinced that with the kind consideration and cooperation of Principal Dick Palmer, former PAL Team leader Mekila Kelly, current team leader Laura Keen, current PAL Karin Oakley and others at CCN, the losses I suffered at that outstanding institution – and the losses CCN suffered by the “interruption” of my tenure there - can be redressed.)
So, as I explain in my "Painting the Picture for Surinder Kandola" article, I launched the Intelek Domino's Pizza Rehabilitation Project, as I call it, with a clear intent of making the company better, more humane - not to harm it.
As an entrepreneur myself, I have a very high regard for business people: I know how difficult it can be to make a business work. I know a thing or two about the risks.
Those of you who have read and understood my criticisms of British venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft will know that I am not merely saying this. This is not empty rhetoric.
In fact, if you know anything at all about Intelek International, you should know that it’s founder-principal (me) does not subscribe to simplistic, ideological distinctions between “labor” and “capital” – anymore than I embrace simplistic separations between secular and religious matters or matters some people view as being either “of the church” or “of the state” (not to be confused, of course, with the legitimate, necessary separation of such matters).
It follows then, that I took the public, whistle-blowing course I have taken with Domino’s Pizza because I felt that this was the only way to get the leadership of the company to listen.
But I am now in a bind financially as I have not worked for about 5 weeks and the money I have been receiving from Domino's - in 4 week intervals - is barely sufficient to get by on.
I had not realized how dependent my colleagues and I are on the tips that we receive from customers - meager though those tips can be (when not non-existent).
And matters have come to a head as I have been given notice by my landlady, who has a relative coming to live with her, and so needs the room I'm currently in.
But friends, please be clear. I do not idly ask for charity.
In fact, as I say in the “Stigmata” segment of my authentic, Organic Growth Vision (OGV) collection of writings “Playing Through the Line”, asking for help or complaining about my lot goes against my sense of independence.
But because I value interdependence as highly as I do, I am prepared to have my dependence exhibited.
But please know friends, that I can offer books, t-shirts and other Intelek merchandise to you in return for any contribution you may want to make to the relief of my current difficulties.
Some of you may even want to look at this as an opportunity to invest in Intelek International by ordering copies of my book in bulk quantities (they are retailing for £12 each; I could offer you them wholesale for…well, if you contact me privately, I will say).
I also have “rehabilitated” Domino’s Pizza boxes featuring my “Picturate” etchings (see the pictures accompanying this article) that you can purchase as mementoes of this campaign.
Who knows what the artwork on these extraordinary combinations of art and activism (or a signed print of the images on them) might be worth one day!
I am a businessman: I did say.
My colleagues, past and present, at Domino’s Pizza know this.
They know something of my entrepreneurial ways.
They know that I – like other authentic adherents of the ancient African principles of Ma’at and Ubuntu – believe profoundly in human interdependence.
James Greengrass, for example, knows that it has never been my intention to cause Mr. Kandola or his franchise any harm, but rather to “kill him with kindness”, so to speak.
As I explained to James, when I encountered him during his fitness training studies at CCN, in 2009 or 2010, I want to show Mr. Kandola that there is enough for all of us in the world. I want to show him what is possible in business and broader terms when entrepreneurs are guided by a generosity of spirit.
None of us need to behave like the infant-minded, naughty Norwegian bully and butcher, Anders Behrig Breivik.
None of us need to take out resentment towards our mothers, fathers or other authority figures on members of the general public.
I believe – with all my heart – that Domino’s Pizza and Intelek International can work together for our mutual benefit and that of the pizza and “Peace! Ah” loving public.
“Peace! Ah” is the name of one project I proposed to Domino’s Pizza PR manager Georgina Wald (hi Georgina) some years back.
Another Intelek proposition was called “Cricketing Crusts”, through which I encouraged the Kandola franchise to explore a mutually beneficial relationship with Norfolk-based cricket clubs, like Chapelfield Cricket Club and Drayton in Norwich – both of which I have played for.
And before Mr. Kandola took over the Norfolk stores, I had come up with the idea for a band called the “Domino’s Dips”: I could still be the “sweet chilli” dip in it!
As I said to two Domino’s Pizza managers during a recent “fact finding” meeting, I envisaged a brand marketing strategy for the band that would lightheartedly suggest it was the equivalent of the Spice Girls.
This would be particularly hilarious if we put all-male groups together and they all sang rather badly.
I think that if we all dressed in drag, especially (I can almost see 6+ foot tall driver Paul Scoles in a mini dress now!), we would give a reunited Spice Girls band a run for their money - or maybe just a run in their stockings.
I envisage a Domino's Dips band operating on a democratic, rotating basis. This would mean that as many interested persons as possible would have the opportunity to perform publicly in it.
I'm viewing it essentially as a staff cohesion building, human resource development concept - with a company marketing, and income earning capacity.
I expect my colleagues at Norwich 1, 2, and 3, would welcome an opportunity to increase their income when the summer holidays encroach on the company's sales, as the UEA student population of Norwich leave the city in large numbers.
My “Sweet Chilli” persona might therefore be the equivalent of Geri Halliwell’s “Ginger Spice” or, less likely, Victoria Beckham’s “Posh Spice”.
I have never aspired to be as sophisticated as the fashionista Mrs. Beckham - or her famous footballer husband, David.
And it’s just as well: I’m far less gifted at bending a football likethan I am at “bending” the public’s ears.
Anyway, I will form my “Dips” band - with or without Mr. Kandola or the multinational Domino’s Pizza supporting it.
If they prefer to have Papa John, Pizza Hut, KFC, MacDonald’s, Tesco, Sainsbury or another brand associated with this exciting and fun human resource capacity building project, that’s up to them. If they prefer that I take my labor and creative capital development ideas elsewhere, I will.
But back to the business at hand: if you want to support me at this time, you can make a donation into the Intelek International account at Lloyds TSB, account number 01624100. Or if you also have a Co-operative Bank account, like I do, you may want to make the contribution to account number 743434492.
And whether or not you want a copy of one of my books or another by Dr. Viola Davis; an “I Think therefore I Jam” t-shirt; a Poetpourri House or other “Picturate” etching or print, you should get in touch with me by signing up for the Intelek Domino Effect Associates (IDEAs) project, in conjunction with Allvoices, at this link: www.allvoices.com/intelek, to let me know which book you want me to send you.
You will need to send me some evidence of your donation, for example, the name of the bank and number of the account from which it originated.
And please also ensure that your donation can cover both the cost of the item you request and the postage it will take to get it to you.
And as I indicated, if you want to invest in or partner with Intelek on a more forward looking, long-term basis signing up for IDEAs may still be the best way to do it currently.
Whatever you do, thanks in advance for your support.