Economic Justice

David Roach is doing incredibly important work in Oakland with Mo' Better Food, schools, intergenerational learning, farmer's markets, and other things.  He was our incredible improvisational tour guide of Oakland.

A shadow is hanging over America, the shadow of a wrecked economic system. Tens of millions of unemployed remain despondent about ever finding a job again, an entire young generation despairing of any hope for a good life, while corporate market pundits pontificate that our system creates the best of all societies, and no alternative is possible. A nationwide group gathering in Berkeley this coming weekend is putting the lie to the pundits.

The future of humans and Planet Earth depend on replacing the "greed-driven" economic system of Wall Street with the "life-serving" system of Main Street.

That was the message that David Korten, author Agenda for a New Economy, and co-founder of Yes! magazine, brought to the 58th annual conference of the Association of Cooperative Educators in Cleveland on Wednesday.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATIVES IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA By John Curl At the time of its incorporation in 1817, Pittsburgh was already a manufacturing center, with a population of around 6,000, supplying the western region with artisanal products almost entirely made by home industry. It had become a manufacturing center during the war of 1812, when the supply of British-made goods have been cut off in the region. In 1817 most manufacturing was still done by independent self-employed artisans using hand tools. But their livelihood was already threatened by the growth of a new system that was making their economy obsolete: factories and wage labor.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening. It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts. It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going. My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening.  It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts.  It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going.  My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

Download Curl's History of the Bay Area Cooperative Movement here

High-Energy Gathering Fires Up A New Generation of Activists in U.S. Left and Social Movements By Carl Davidson Keep On Keepin' On! When 15,000 vibrant and politically engaged people gather in one spot for five days and organize themselves into more than 1000 workshops, dozens of major plenaries and late night parties across five major cultural hot spots, no one article can claim to give a full account and get away with it. But an event on that scale livened up Detroit, Michigan during the week of June 22-26 at the US Social Forum, when Cobo Hall and several nearby universities were buzzing with thousands of people trying to shape a new world. 15,000 Attend Detroit Social Forum I won’t even try to capture it all. I’ll just affirm the common conviction that it was a major happening on the left and a huge success, an inspiration and an affirmation of hope that progress is being made towards a better future. Then I’ll humbly offer my take on it. We’ll start with some highlights and, for those who aren’t familiar with the Social Forum movement, offer a few explanations.
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Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/453

(Editor's note: This is the start of a new series by Erin Rice. Erin is a cooperative educator living in Louisiana. She will report on grassroots economic activities in the south, analyze conditions, and sometimes editorialize. Erin can be reached at 413-522-3319 or erinjrice@gmail.com. She is always looking for new tips and leads.)

Report 1, March 10, 2010

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Legislation by Senators Sanders and others is meant to incentivize ESOPs.
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by John Gallagher for Common Dreams

The Mo' Green Town proposal by New York City activist Majora Carter just might hit the sweet spot in Detroit urban agriculture.

Carter visited Detroit recently to talk up her plan to create a worker-owned urban agriculture cooperative venture. By pooling the efforts of numerous small growers in Detroit, it would attempt to grow big enough to generate real profits and a return for investors. But it would be run by local community growers themselves.

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Organization Name: Interfaith Worker Justice
Website: www.iwj.org
Location: 1020 W Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL
Job Post Date: 17 Sep 2009
Job Terms: Full Time
Salary: Depending on experience, between $35,000 and $45,000 annually.
Anticipated Start Date: As soon as possible
Title: Workers' Center Network Coordinator

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Green economics and racial justice
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People's Grocery is making speedy progress from a mobile organic food service cooperative towards developing a worker-owned cooperative grocery store in West Oakland in which local food and sustainable agriculture will be prioritized in a community health model centered on nutrition education for low-income residents of the community. At the same time, the cooperative is taking their business development goal beyond the single cooperative grocery store to a broader community development initiative focused on establishing a commercial and health service complex.
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By Len Krimerman

In 1995, the International Cooperative Alliance adopted seven cooperative principles to define and guide cooperatives throughout the world. Briefly stated, the "traditional seven" include: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

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While empathizing with those who feel a sense of "inevitability" in the face of today's powerful capitalist economy (and disagreeing with those who see it as generally acceptable), I hold firmly to the perspective that a more just and democratic economy is both necessary and possible. And I believe that the greatest chance of increasing and assuring viability for the workplace democracy movement may rest in our ability to keep our "eyes on the prize"; that is, on the long term replacement of capitalism?an economy which socializes costs and privatizes benefits?with an economy of democratic cooperation?in which costs and benefits are democratically and equitably shared throughout society.
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Interview by Jessica Gordon Nembhard

Shakoor Aljuwani is an organizer with the Home Coming Center in New Orleans. GEO Newsletter's Jessica Gordon Nembhard interviewed him in April 2007 about his work and progress with helping low-income residents return to New Orleans and rebuild their homes and neighborhoods.

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By Matt Feinstein

For a total of twelve months between 2003 and 2005, I lived and worked with the Unemployed Workers' Movement of Solano (MTD-Solano) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was an experience that fundamentally changed the way I think about community organizing and activism; I continue to search for ways to put those ideas into practice. This article is an attempt to share these experiences, and to let you know about a new video-workshop tool that aims to deepen the exchange between organizers around the world.

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By Maria Trigona

Inside the BAUEN Hotel, one of Argentina's worker-run workplaces, janitors, repairmen, receptionists and maids sit in an assembly with worried but determined faces and sheets of paper in hand. Each of the workers, some of whom have been working at the hotel since it was built in 1978, hold a court ordered eviction notice, a judicial document notifying the workers they must abandon the hotel or police will force them to leave.

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