Economic Justice

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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By Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone, GEO Collective

This Occasional Paper by editor/activists at Grassroots Economic Organizing is meant to stimulate dialog on the future of the grassroots economic democracy movement. This is a fully re-written update of an essay available since 1994 to GEO readers. We hope for wide use of this text, with attribution to the authors and GEO. Please email us with ideas/dialogue.

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Pam McMichael, Highlander Research and Education Center

From a talk given at the 4th Biennial Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, July 20, 2007 at the University of North Carolina in Asheville.

Thank you. It's an honor and pleasure to be with you this evening. It's always good when we gather to talk about democracy and democratic participation with people who really mean it.

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A VIDEO REVIEW by Frank Lindenfeld, GEO Collective

This video is about the struggles and successes of the unemployed worker movements in Agentina, intended for use by social change workshops. It is a useful complement to Naomi Klein and Avi Lewisâ??s film, The Take, about the recovered factories movement, where workers take over abandoned factories and re-start production under worker self-management. The dialogue in Work, Dignity & Social Change is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

by Chris Heneghan

Just over a year after the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) was founded at a convergence of "jobless workers" from Boston's Dorchester, and Roxbury neighborhoods, members of their job creation committee were in New York City at the second national conference of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives discussing plans to establish a temp agency cooperative in the Greater Boston area.

By John W. Lawrence

The keynote speaker at the Second U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative Conference was Rick Surpin. In 1985 Rick founded Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the first worker-owned home care cooperative in the United States. CHCA now employs over 1,000 home care workers in quality jobs. Virtually all of the worker-owners of CHCA are African American and Latina women.

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By Ethan Miller, GEO Collective

Consider this: thousands of diverse, locally-rooted, grassroots economic projects are in the process of creating the basis for a viable democratic alternative to capitalism. It might seem unlikely that a motley array of initiatives such as worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, community currencies, urban gardens, fair trade organizations, intentional communities, and neighborhood self-help associations could hold a candle to the pervasive and seemingly all-powerful capitalist economy.

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