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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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CULTURE EATS STRUCTURE 1                                                                                                                      

A few days ago I submitted a long essay to The Next System contest that proposes a different kind of movement building strategy, one that emphasizes culture building. It is a three-part essay that is a fairly substantial expression of my basic thinking about our movements for deep democratic change. Below is an overview of the whole piece.

[Editor's note: This post is Part I of an essay by Michael Johnson. In it he proposes a democratic movement strategy that emphasizes a strong cultural component. In Part I below 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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Our “Stand with Standing Rock” at Cooperative Federal Credit Union isn’t our first social and economic justice action.  Not by far -- that would be the defunding of South African Apartheid institutionalized racism and segregation i

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At the Laura Flanders Show, we want to find the common ground that unites Americans, stories of progress, equity, and resilience — to discover that there is more evidence of congress, than of division. Our guest this weeks speaks to some ways he has built a career on these very philosophies of equity and unity.

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[Editor's note: While Boulder, CO is home to a variety of housing cooperatives and co-housing communities, it is currently officially illegal for more than 3 unrelated people to share one home.  The Boulder City Council will vote this coming Tuesday, December 6th, on whether or not to officially make housing coopertives legal.  Below are two videos from the Boulder Community Housing Association on the many benefits that shared housing provides to its members and to the larger environment.]

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Jessica Bonanno from the Democracy Collaborative and Adam Trott from the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives. The Democracy Collaborative has been doing important work around community wealth building, one of their most notable projects being the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH.

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Food sovereignty and not merely security, land ownership not tenancy, and thriving not just surviving are the goals of an Earthcare Coalition mobilizing around the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.

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The following is the sixth installment in Food First's Dismantling Racism in the Food System series, and is from 2017’s forthcoming book Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons.

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America's Autoclinik

Visit America's Autoclinik website

 

Greenvitalize Urban Growers

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[Editor's note: below are video profiles of three worker cooperatives.  Each of these cooperatives have benefited from Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) loans. LEAF’s mission is to promote human and economic development by providing financing and development assistance to cooperatives and social purpose ventures that create and save jobs for low-income people.

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[Editor's note: this history of the Evergreen Cooperatives is the first of a two-part series written by Atlee McFellin, who was intimately involved in the Evergreen Cooperatives as a consultant and then an employee of the Democracy Collaborative from February, 2011 until November, 2012.  Part one focuses on some of the usually unmentioned contradictions inherent in the "anchor-institution model" of co-op development, and details how those contradictions played out in the particular case of Evergreen.  Part two will look more closely at the role of the Democracy Collabo

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Free Twitter from Wall Street

For a lot of us Twitter is the fastest, easiest way to know and share what’s going on around us. It sparks urgent conversations, spreads vital information, and energizes movements.

But Twitter is under threat of being sold and selling out its users.

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Originally published in GEO vol. 1, issue 44, 2001.

We all want to get away from top-down management. We don't want to tell people what to do, or be told what to do. Yet if it weren't for the inspired leadership of a few dedicated people, many co-ops wouldn't exist. Since in worker-managed co-ops we are going to have leaders—in fact we're all leaders at times —we need democratic leadership. But what is that?

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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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[Editor's note: below are two videos that, while separated by over 50 years in time, share a common theme.  First, Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democratic Communities and Renaissance Community Co-op, dicusses cooperative economics in the context of reparations for historical and on-going racial injustice.  Then, in priceless archival footage, Father Albert McKnight from Lafayette, LA discusses the founding and operation of the Southern Consumers' Co-op, their impr

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Abstract

This paper provides an explanation of why worker cooperative startups are rare. If true worker ownership is to be maintained in the startup period where losses occur, members face either a 'pay to work' or 'expected investment loss' problem. Founding members must either pay money to cover the losses resulting from their labor, or make investments upfront which will be expected to decline in value as losses occur. These two issues are completely foreign to modern finance and current labor practice, and also ignored by the worker coop community.

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Cities are investing in support systems for worker cooperative development as a tool for sustainable and equitable economic development.
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