beyond capitalism

[Editor's note: This presentation was part of the 2016 Left Forum (Rage, Rebellion, Revolution: Organizing Our Power), held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on May 21, 2016.]

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Pamela Boyce Simms

"Old and cherished ideas and ways of life die; new experiences arise and require a new vocabulary, a new grammar, a new vision." —Charles Johnson

Cooperative culture done well, is pivotal in building the critical mass needed to reach a societal tipping point in this era of existential crisis. Is it time for co-op activists to look in the mirror? 

A mix of grey- and pastel-toned buildings on San Rafael Street in central Habana stand in stark testimony to part of the effects of a cruel U.S. embargo on life in Cuba.  I was standing on the street looking for a textile co-op.

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A Brief Preface

Several weeks ago I sent this essay to the Next System Project, encouraging them to respond to it or provide feedback of any and all sorts. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet heard back from them, but I’m still hoping they will eventually weigh in.

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[Editor's note: This post is Part III of an essay by Michael Johnson--Developing a Democratic Praxis. In it he focuses on the key educational factors necessary for building cultures of "small 'd' democracy" in communities and regions across the country. In Part I he argues that culture is a powerful factor in political and economic dynamics, but currently almost all strategic thinking focuses just on structures and systems.

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[Editor's note: This post is Part II of an essay by Michael Johnson. In it he proposes a democratic movement strategy that emphasizes a strong cultural component. In Part I he argued that culture is a powerful factor in political and economic dynamics, but currently almost all strategic thinking focuses just on structures and systems.

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Radical Routes, a network of co-operatives working for social change are looking to raise £15k for a women‘s worker co-operative bakery in Kobane a city rended apart by the long civil war in Syria, but now being run under democratic principles as an autonomous region.
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[Editor's note: this talk was delivered in Cuba, during a trip organized by the Center for Global Justice in June, 2016.]

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The public, the people, will find a way to create forms we cannot even imagine, forms that could solve problems that seem insuperable to us. So what is needed is this constant creative activity from the public, and that means mainly everybody’s passion for public affairs. ~Cornelius Castoriadis [1]

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[Editor's note: The two videos below come from the 2008 documentary Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas.  The full documentary is available on Youtube  in Spanish, as well as in Portuguese.

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[Editor's note: Below are three interviews from CommonBound 2016, held in Buffalo, NY earlier this year.  Interviewers Laura Flanders and Esteban Kelly talk with three women who are working to build financial and economic structures that empower people and communities.  Click here for more videos from the conference.  CommonBound is a project of the New Economy Coalition (NEC), a network of 150-plus organizations including PeoplesAction, 350.org, and the U.S.

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