Gleanings

If you live—or want to live—according to the ideals of sustainability, cooperation and equality, come to the annual Twin Oaks Communities Conference this summer for a celebration of cooperatives and communal lifestyles!

While many people associate cooperatives with a place for hippies to buy organic food, the cooperative movement has actually grown far and wide, creating sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and strengthen local economies. Today, there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the United States, with more than 100 million members.

Mira Luna: Why did African-Americans first start getting involved in cooperative economic activity? Was it for political or practical reasons or both?

The Praxis Project is excited to release, “Transforming the Economy from the Ground Up,” a paper on the solidarity economy authored by the Highlander Research and Education Center. The solidarity economy is part of a long-term strategy to address systemic and structural problems that make Mississippi the poorest state in the nation and keep billions of people in poverty  all over the world.

Imagine this: an economic model that takes the needs of the entire community into account. One that respects the rights of people and the planet. A market system that favors both the consumers and the producers.

In the past 30 years, though, there has been a rapid growth of all kinds of initiatives in the social economy. Confidence was lost in the centralised state-based alternatives, particularly after 1989. The revolution in information and communications made it possible to develop much more distributed systems of organisation, with complex webs of collaboration. Now, with the financial collapse of 2008 putting neoliberalism on the back foot, we are witnessing a new interest in co-operation.

No one really likes having a boss. So why not be your own boss? And no, this is not yet another post about the benefits of freelancing.

Worker cooperatives are a unique kind of business that are democratically owned and governed by the people doing the labor. Without any bosses on the job, each employee acts as both worker and owner. Now one group, the Wellspring Collaborative, is looking to jumpstart the growth of worker cooperatives in an unlikely place: inner-city Springfield, Massachusetts.

A growing number of educators and social entrepreneurs across the country are discovering that the secret to learning empathy, emotional literacy, self-awareness, cooperation, effective communication, and many of the other skills classified as “social and emotional learning,” lies in experience, not in workbooks and rote classroom exercises.

Read the full article at YES! Magazine

Unlike a bank, whose investments are controlled by private decision-makers and shareholders, a credit union can decide to give every member/investor and equal vote. At the Lower East Side Credit Union, a low income community development institution, the members have chosen to keep their resources and their lending in their low-income neighborhood.

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