Economic Justice

...As we left, many in our group were debating the pros and cons of global economic justice. I shared their concerns, but I also saw something else. Here was the beginnings of some of the most advanced productive forces in the world, the means of both economies of abundance and the means of clean and safe renewable energies and far lighter ecological footprints.
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I'm with a group of 25 social activists on a study tour organized by the Praxis Peace Project. Our focus is the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a 50-year-old network of nearly 120 factories and agencies, involving nearly 100,000 workers in one way or another, and centered in the Basque Country but now spanning the globe. We're here to study the history of these unique worker-owned factories, how they work, why they have been successful, and how they might be expanded in various ways as instruments of social change.
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Thank you, John McNamara for advancing the conversation about the opportunities, issues, and problems of taking the cooperative advantage to scale.
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At the conclusion of the seminar, Mondragon's Director of Cooperative Dissemination, Mikel Lezamiz, and I signed a letter of intent and endorsement to pave the way for initiating conversations with stakeholders in Richmond and beyond.  I want to share with you what I learned and also hear your ideas.
To this end I would like to invite all who are interested to a presentation and discussion on Mondragon and the potential for worker cooperatives in Richmond.  The same presentation will be given on two dates...
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Below is a report from Steve Rice (volunteer with the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives  [NoBAWC]), Poonam Whabi (Design Action Collective), and Rick Simon (Just Alternatives for a Sustainable Economy) on the Worker Co-operative component of the Congress.  This component calls on local government to...

 

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San Francisco Community Congress: background and update

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A very interesting grassroots development happening in SanFrancisco: The San Francisco Community Congress.The goal is to devise practical, locally actionable proposals to shape and direct future policy affecting the local economy and the provision of critical human services.”  Their mantra, “another San Francisco is possible.”  If the devil is in the details, then this appears to be the beginning of a premier Solidarity Economy project.

GEO is...
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Vermont Employee Ownership Center reports onthe field hearing of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Kabir, and Pensions (HELP) conerning worker-ownership legislation Sen Bernie Sanders has introduced.   http://www.veoc.org/hearing.html

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Miners in Potosí, Bolivia set off sticks of dynamite as cold winter winds zipped through the city, passing street barricades, protests, hunger strikers and an occupied electrical plant. These actions took place place from late July to mid-August against the perceived neglect of the Evo Morales administration toward the impoverished Potosí region. This showdown in Bolivia is similar to conflicts across Latin America between the promises of left-leaning governments, the needs of the people and the finite resources of Pachamama (Mother Earth).
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An article in The Nation magazine tells how Boston's Green Justice Coalition is creating "a model to connect the struggle for environmental justice with the fight for living-wage jobs, helping to lay the groundwork for a new generation of community-labor coalitions across the country."
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The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund on August 19, 2010 honored Alice Walker in Birmingham, AL at its annual dinner attended by more than 400 people.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and self-proclaimed "daughter of the rural peasantry" was presented the Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement award by FSC Executive Director Ralph Paige. The largely black organization of farmer cooperatives works to save and preserve black-owned farmlands. 

The 2010 Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation AGM and Conference is being held from Thursday, October 28th to Saturday, October 30th, 2010 in Vancouver, B.C. at the YWCA Hotel.  The theme is "Worker Co-operatives and Sustainable Development."
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From grocery stores and bakeries to bike shops and day care centers, worker-owned cooperatives are gaining popularity across the country. How are they faring in the recession? What solutions do co-ops offer for today’s recession/depression? If they gain even more popularity, could they transform the economy and the way we think it should work?

Guests include Dan Thomases, a founding member of Box Dog Bikes co-op, John Kusakabe of the Arizmendi Bakery co-op, and Hilary Abell of Women's Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES).

 

 


 

 

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A new video interview with Jim Hightower on "unemployment and worker cooperatives."

Watch it here!

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One of the formative questions of the contemporary worker cooperative movement has been that of who the movement is for.  What group of people are included in the movement's organizations, have access the movement's resources, share and shape the movement's values and the campaigns around those values?  

 

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

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