Good short article about our work. However, we share it with one clarification. We, Cooperation Jackson, were not largely responsible for the election of the current administration in Jackson, many of our members were part of the broad coalition that helped the administration get elected. This is critical for everyone to note and learn from in regards to understanding municipal politics and power.
Cooperation Jackson is only five years old, but the vision behind it is older. The original founders met through another organization focused on Black Liberation, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. They began to strategize to build a community of cooperatives in 2001, while many still lived in disparate parts of the country. Eventually, they chose to launch their participatory democracy project in Jackson, Mississippi. With a population of 165,000, eighty-one percent of which is black, Jackson is the capital city of the blackest and poorest state in the U.S.
Prior to the Civil War, Mississippi was one of the wealthiest states. That wealth was rooted in agriculture and built on slavery. Over the past century and a half, Mississippi has become famous for its musical, literary, and Civil Rights contributions and infamous for its racist politicians, lynchings and poverty.
“Jackson is a place that, with our limited energy and resources, we felt we could have an impact,” says a Cooperation Jackson founder, Kali Akuno. “There’s a rich history of struggle that’s already here and a high level of Black autonomous infrastructure.”