Registration Open for GEO's ADWC 3 Conference

Organizing Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development

A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country. We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic (C/SE) Development.

Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) is convening a one-day conference that will focus on this dynamic. It will take place at Worcester State University (WSU) in Worcester, MA, on July 10, 2015, 8am to 5pm. Registration for the conference is on a tiered price scale: $70.00, $80.00, and $90.00.

Since it will be GEO’s third Advancing the Development Worker Cooperatives conference, we are calling it “ADWC 3.”  The Earth Environment and Physics Department at WSU is co-sponsoring the event with us along with the Elizabeth M. Gitt Foundation, Gloria Lowe of Detroit, and US-SEN.

See below for

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BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE STRUCTURE OF THIS CONFERENCE, ATTENDANCE WILL BE LIMITED TO 70

Structure and Purpose

The purpose of this one-day conference is to explore ways to build local alternative economies that will help to solve economic and social problems in our communities.  We are reaching out to leaders of these diverse political economic initiatives across the country as well as leaders from social justice and civic engagement movements who are and who want to be supportive allies in regional economic development.  It is what GEO is calling Movements Moving Together.

The structure of the conference will involve three 1½ hour interactive group discussions including light breakfast, lunch, snacks at two breaks, and a wrap-up discussion. There will be no formal presentations during the day.

The objective of this structure is for participants to talk directly with each other about 1) the challenges and opportunities they are dealing with in their regions, 2) the resources they need, and 3) how we can work together across regions over the coming years and decades.

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Discussion topics

Below are the topics participants will be discussing at the conference:

1. In your experience, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the following three regional models (approaches) to economic development:   

  • worker co-operative economic development,

  • cross-sector co-operative economic development (worker, consumer, financial, producer, and housing co-ops), or  

  • co-operative/solidarity economic development which includes a broad range of alternative economic projects?

2. What have you found to be effective approaches and best practices for regional economic development in your region?

3. Should alternative regional economic development address issues of and collaborate with social justice, climate justice, and democratic social change movements? If so how? If not, why not?

4. From this point on how do we support each other in terms of developing more robust and democratically accountable regional networks? How do we help create more across the country?

Underlying questions to keep in mind:

  • What is collaboration and how can it be reciprocal? - how does it benefit individual enterprises and organizations?

  • How can small co-ops participate and benefit?

  • How do we diversify regional economic development activities and movements - for example, including people of color in spaces mostly white, and whites in spaces mostly of color; low-income people; youth; LGBT communities; rural groups; prison reform/abolition and re-entry movements; etc.?

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BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE STRUCTURE OF THIS CONFERENCE, ATTENDANCE WILL BE LIMITED TO 70

 

Conference processes

A. The discussion process will involve two co-facilitators for each discussion. 25-30 discussants will sit in a circle for face-to-face interaction around the topic at hand.

B. The participation process:

  • Organizations may register as many people as they wish. These reps can take turns being in the discussion group.

  • Individuals are totally welcomed. The more directly they are currently involved with or experienced in alternative regional economic development will influence if they can be a discussant.

  • Other details on how this is going to be arranged and who will be participating in the discussions will be worked out as we find out who is coming. It will be done in collaboration with the, the advisory ADWC 3 Google Group.

  • We will be eating lunch together right in the Blue Lounge where we will be doing the conference discussions.

  • There will also be a break between each discussion.

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The Plan for Conference Day

SESSIONS

TIMES

CONTENT OF EVENT

FOCUS

Breakfast

8.00—8.30

 

Some good food & chat

Introduction and

Overview

 

8.30—9.00

 

 

Opening Meet and Greet

Overview of conference

Introduction to Models

GEO team gives a short orientation to the day and

 

 

9.00 – 9.15

 

Participants introduce themselves

Discussion 1

 

9.15.—10.45

In your experience, what are the advantages and dis-advantages of the following three regional approaches to economic development: 1) worker co-op economic development;

2) cross-sector co-operative economic development (worker, consumer, financial, producer, and housing co-ops); or 

3) co-operative/solidarity economic development?

To surface participants’ main concerns, issues, and tendencies.

 

Break

1O.45—11.00

 

 

Discussion 2

 

11.00—12.30

What have you found to be effective approaches and practices for regional economic development in your region?

Bringing participants’ first-hand experiences to bear on issues and concerns.

Lunch

12.30—1.45

 

 

Discussion 3

 

1.45—3.15

Should alternative regional economic development address issues of and collaborate with social justice, climate justice, and democratic social change movements? If so how, if not why not?

Exploring challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities for deep change beyond just being an economic alternative.

Break

3.15—3.30

 

 

Discussion 4

 

3.30—4.45

From this point on:

1) how do we support each other in terms of developing more robust & democratically accountable regional networks?

2) how do we help create more across the country?

How do we carry on from here?

 

Housing

If you are not arranging your own housing, there are two pre-arranged opportunities to do so.

If you are also attending the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD), which takes place the weekend of July 10-12 at Clark University, you can arrange your lodging with them. The dorm housing is a few dollars cheaper, and you only have to worry about housing one time. ECWD also has information on hotels and other accommodations, if you prefer hotels.

You can see the ECWD program here.

If you are coming just to attend ADWC3 on Friday July 10, it may be possible to stay at Worcester State University on Thursday evening, July 9th.  You will need to email Thomas Kelley,  thomas.kelley@worcester.edu. Be sure to tell him you are with the ADWC 3 Conference.  If they do have rooms, the rate is $30 per room (with a/c) and $20 for linens if needed. They would like folks to check in between 5 & 7pm.

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Local transportation

Clark University is about 1.3 miles from Worcester State University, where ADWC will take place. GEO will arrange transportation to and fro for those who register with ECWD and need to get to ADWC. If you prefer, the trek from WSU to Clark is 5-10 minutes by car and 30 minutes by foot or public transportation.

 

Conference Food

GEO will provide a breakfast at 8am and lunch as well as snacks and drinks during the conference. This is included as part of your registration fee. The registration form includes the conference menu. Please fill in your choices because that is how we will order the food.

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For more information

  • If you really want to attend and you have limited financial resources, contact Ajowa Ifateyo at ajowa.geo.adwc3@gmail.com and we will see what help we can provide.

  • If you have questions this page does not answer, email Michael Johnson at michael.geo.adwc3@gmail.com.


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