Along with direct action and other forms of resistance, a successful movement must also build new institutions based on solidarity, justice and cooperation. From small, worker-owned cooperatives to national advocacy groups, hundreds of thousands of people around the country are working to create democratic and sustainable systems that meet the basic needs of all people. Below are some organizations, tools and other resources to help you get involved creating a new world.

Featured Video:The video to the right is the trailer for the new film, Fixing the Future, highlighting effective, local practices such as community banking, worker cooperatives, local currencies and more.

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Eight Things Money Can’t Buy You This Black Friday

Powhusku from Laramie, WY, USA

By Staff of The Rules – While the US holiday of Thanksgiving indisputably stems from a celebration of the massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, the origins of ‘Black Friday’ are much less clear. What is agreed is that retailers sought to take advantage of the Thursday holiday and draw people into shops for what, in a consumerist culture, is considered a civic duty: shopping. After weeks of advertising beforehand, on the Friday following the food, family and football, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the shops, often risking life and limb for a bargain. In a globalised world, this once uniquely American phenomenon has now been exported. Today, from Russia to Ireland and Pakistan, we’re told that the answer to any problem is to buy stuff and what better day to do so than on Black Friday? You may agree that you can’t consume your way to happiness but it’s worth acknowledging that the lure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (created to allow online retailers to get in on the action) is hard to resist. So to help you, here is a list of things money can’t buy. Read it every time you feel the impulse to “add to basket”. A sense of wonder: From trees to a smile, and even a gush of wind, so much around us can provide us with the feeling of the numinous; that we are in deep communion with life around us.

Averting The Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica

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By Jason Hickel for Local Futures – Earlier this summer, a paper published in the journal Nature captured headlines with a rather bleak forecast. Our chances of keeping global warming below the 2C danger threshold are very, very small: only about 5%. The reason, according to the paper’s authors, is that the cuts we’re making to greenhouse gas emissions are being cancelled out by economic growth. In the coming decades, we’ll be able to reduce the carbon intensity of the global economy by about 1.9% per year, if we make heavy investments in clean energy and efficient technology. That’s a lot. But as long as the economy keeps growing by more than that, total emissions are still going to rise. Right now we’re ratcheting up global GDP by 3% per year, which means we’re headed for trouble. If we want to have any hope of averting catastrophe, we’re going to have to do something about our addiction to growth. This is tricky, because GDP growth is the main policy objective of virtually every government on the planet. It lies at the heart of everything we’ve been told to believe about how the economy should work: that GDP growth is good, that it’s essential to progress, and that if we want to improve human wellbeing and eradicate poverty around the world, we need more of it. It’s a powerful narrative. But is it true?

Now Available: 2017 Workers To Owners Impact Report

Valentina Ortiz-Izquierdo

By Staff of Democracy At Work Institute – “The collaborative came together in 2016 to respond to a moment of generational opportunity. In the next 15 years, hundreds of thousands of businesses employing millions of people will be sold, consolidated or closed as Baby Boomer business owners retire. Our goal is to ensure the safety of these community economic anchors and local jobs, and to catalyze a wave of business conversions to cooperative employee ownership, which has been proven to increase equity in our most vulnerable communities” says Democracy at Work Institute Executive Director Melissa Hoover. This report shows tangible outcomes of the worker cooperative model, including growing press coverage, interest from minority business support organizations, implementation by the economic development community, and policy support at federal, state, and regional levels. The data contained in this report includes the latest data available, with the majority of information through Q2 of 2017 and select information we have collected from Q3 2017. Throughout the report we see a coordinated, strategic effort that, even in its short life, has moved the dial on employee ownership conversions, raising awareness and enlisting partners. The report points toward a promising future, prompting a greater investment of time and resources paired with a close eye on trends and deeper analysis.

40% Of Detroit Has No Internet, They Are Creating Their Own

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By Kaleigh Rogers for Motherboard – Being stuck without access to the internet is often thought of as a problem only for rural America. But even in some of America’s biggest cities, a significant portion of the population can’t get online. Take Detroit, where 40 percent of the population has no access to the internet—of any kind, not only high speed—at home, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Seventy percent of school-aged children in the city are among those who have no internet access at home. Detroit has one of the most severe digital divides in the country, the FCC says. “When you kind of think about all the ways the internet affects your life and how 40 percent of people in Detroit don’t have that access you can start to see how Detroit has been stuck in this economic disparity for such a long time,” Diana Nucera, director of the Detroit Community Technology Project, told me at her office. Nucera is part of a growing cohort of Detroiters who have started a grassroots movement to close that gap, by building the internet themselves. It’s a coalition of community members and multiple Detroit nonprofits. They’re starting with three underserved neighborhoods, installing high speed internet that beams shared gigabit connections from an antenna on top of the tallest building on the street, and into the homes of people who have long gone without. They call it the Equitable Internet Initiative.

Noam Chomsky & Robert Pollin: Imagining A New Social Order

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By C.J. Polychroniou for Truthout – We live in an age of illegitimate neoliberal hegemony and soaring political uncertainty. The evidence is all around: citizen disillusionment over mainstream political parties and the traditional conservative-liberal divide, massive inequality, the rise of the “alt-right,” and growing resistance to Trumpism and financial capitalism. Yes, the present age is full of contradictions of every type and variety, and this is something that makes the goals and aims of the left for the reordering of society along the lines of a true democratic polity and in accordance with the vision of a socialist reorganization of the economy more challenging than ever before. In this context, the interview below, with Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin, which appeared originally in Truthout in three separate parts, seeks to provide theoretical and practical guidance to the most pressing social, economic and political issues facing the United States today. It is part of an effort to help the left reimagine an alternative but realistic social order in an age when the old order is dying but the new has yet to be born. Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT and laureate professor in the department of linguistics at the University of Arizona. Robert Pollin is distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

America’s Wealth Inequality Has Reached Staggering New Levels

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By Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie for IPS – We tracked the rise of today’s uber-wealthy in a new report, “Billionaire Bonanza 2017: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” published by the Institute for Policy Studies. We compared those at the top to the rest of the nation, whose economic condition isn’t plastered on the glossy pages of Forbes magazine, but instead buried in a study the Federal Reserve releases every three years. We looked specifically at wealth — the money left over after totaling a family’s assets and subtracting their debt. Wealth is where the past meets the present. It’s a more accurate depiction of economic status than income, which just shows how much money one makes in a given year. When Forbes first started compiling their famous list of the 400 wealthiest Americans in 1982, just $75 million would get you ranked. Even after accounting for inflation, that’s still less than $200 million in today’s dollars. These days, the price of admission is a record $2 billion — more than 10 times higher. This group of just 400 multi-billionaires owns a combined $2.68 trillion. That’s trillion with a T. And it’s more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 204 million people. That’s more people than the populations of Canada and Mexico combined. On the other side of the economic spectrum, where the rest of the country resides, economic conditions are largely stagnant. The median family owns about $80,000 in wealth, excluding durable consumer goods like cars and appliances. This figure is essentially unchanged from 1983, when the Federal Reserve first started tracking household assets using a uniform survey.

Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders

Women Deserve Better. Photo by Devon Buchanan, CC BY 2.0

By David Rosen for Counterpunch. Within the limits of a highly-structure class system, gender relations are fundamentally changing. Most attention is focused on female actors and political figures. Unfortunately, the same abuse is being perpetrated against female assembly-line workers, retail clerks and nannies. Hopefully, the celebrities will empower working women to point an accusing finger and say “No!” to sexual abuse. The once mythic male as the family bread-winner that defined the post-WW-II society of the “American Dream” is giving way to the two-income household, but with women still most often pulling most of the domestic chores (e.g., running the household, raising the family, socializing). The male sex-abuse scandals are a symptom of the transformation of gender power relations. It’s time to change the way the legal system deals with sex offenders.

Prosperity Through Keystrokes: Understanding Federal Spending

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By Steve Grumbine. It has long been known that our electoral system and methods of voting are corrupt, untrustworthy, and easily manipulated by less than savvy politicians, state actors, and hackers alike. The answers to many of these issues is the same answer that we would need to push for any progressive reforms to take place in the United States: namely, we need enlightened, fiery, peaceful, and committed activists to propel a movement and ensure that the people rise, face their oppressors, and unify to demand that their needs be met. What is not as well-known, however, is how a movement, the government, and taxes work together to bring about massive changes in programs, new spending, and the always scary “National Debt” .

‘Catharsis On The Mall’ Promotes Healing Through Creativity And Connection

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By John Zangas for DC Media Group – “Catharsis on the Mall” is DC’s smaller version of the Burning Man festival, held annually at the Washington Monument. With thoughtful art or theatrical displays, the organizers offer anyone who wants to come an opportunity for purification, healing and, of course, catharsis through emotional release. The main draw was supposed to be a giant 60-foot statue of a woman’s body made of opaque curved metal near the flat white stone of the Washington Monument. But the statue was one foot too high, so the permit for the shapely structure could not be secured from the National Park Service. So in its place stood a giant scaffold with banners of a woman, her body partially covered with flora. This year’s theme for Catharsis was equality embodied by the ten principles of Burning Man for community ethos and culture through visual art, music and dancing, interactive participation, and story-telling. Many people narrated their journeys and struggles in overcoming life-changing obstacles. A variety of tents, booths and art displays encouraged creativity and connective existence with the ten principles: radical inclusion, gifting, de-commodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy. A sage spoke inside a geodesic tent about relationships, intentional living and overcoming challenges while 50 or more people listened intently.

The Logic Of Drug Legalization

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By Jeff Berg for Counter Punch – The Drug Lords of today exist because of the extraordinary profits resulting from criminalization. Estimates run in the half a trillion range globally per year. By way of comparison there are only twenty or so countries with a national economy of that size. The situation is exactly analogous to the prohibition era. When gunfights, beatings, murders and firebombs were the business strategy of choice for the pushers of alcohol. Once booze was legalized the bootleggers were immediately driven out of business. Alcohol is heavily taxed today there are however no Bootlegging Lords on the playground pushing cheaper booze on our children. Nor would such pushers exist for any other drug that we might choose to legalize. Sure the criminals could evade the cost of taxes on their product but there are enormous costs incurred by criminal enterprises that don’t apply to legal ones. This is why marijuana today is sold for hundreds of times what it costs to grow. Our legal producers will not be faced with those costs and so can sell to us below current prices on the street. With profit margins cut to the bone the ‘dread lords and masters’ that control the illegal drug market today will simply melt away like the last snow before the advancing spring. If you are worried about our kids as relates to the issue of the legalization and/or decriminalization of marijuana and other harder drugs then know this.

Britain Wants Cycle-Friendly Cities. Here’s How We Get Them

‘Every new cyclist is freeing space on the roads or on public transport for others who do not cycle.’ A cycling commuter in Manchester. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

By Andrew Gilligan for The Guardian – Cycle lanes reduce pollution, improve health and are incredibly popular. But forget common sense: getting the go-ahead on new schemes is all about politics. Almost four-fifths of people in some of Britain’s largest cities want road space taken away from cars and given to bikes, according to a new poll from Sustrans. I’m not at all surprised. Whenever we proposed the same thing in London, where I was cycling commissioner until last year, we got the same response. Every single one of the cycle superhighway schemes now open in the capital got between 60% and 85% public support, in our own statutory consultations and in independent, professional opinion polls. Once the new routes opened, that support translated into astonishing levels of usage. In the first six months, the number of cyclists on the roads served by the new separated lanes went up by more than half. The bike lane on Blackfriars bridge, which takes up a fifth of the roadspace, now carries 70% of the bridge’s rush-hour traffic. There’s an Eiger of evidence that cycling improvements are popular. Why, then, do they so seldom happen? Partly it’s because politicians confuse noise with numbers. Cycling schemes create a lot of noise. Our opponents would spend busy weeks organising petitions, holding demonstrations and comparing bike lanes to the Luftwaffe in their effects on the capital.

“Nature Has Rights”: Activists Call For A Legal Transformation

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By Mike Ludwig for Truthout – The mighty Colorado River and its watersheds are a crucial source of life in the arid Southwest, supplying water to vast ecosystems and millions of people across seven states and northern Mexico. With so much depending on its existence, the Colorado River filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against the state of Colorado last month, demanding that its right to evolve, flourish and be restored in the wake of human interference be recognized in the court of law. Well, sort of. An activist lawyer filed the legal complaint at a federal district court in Denver, naming the river itself as a plaintiff and calling on the court to recognize its ecosystems as a “person” under the law. Still, Colorado River v. Colorado is fairly unprecedented, at least in the United States. Bodies of water can’t defend themselves in court, but they do not go untouched by the law. All the organisms — including humans — that depend on a river to survive can be affected when existing environmental laws fail to prevent water pollution, or when a government or corporation wins the legal right to guzzle up its life-giving resources. Western states have fought over the Colorado River’s water resources for decades, damming and diverting more than 70 percent of its water to vast cities and cropland. In 2015, two tributaries of the Colorado River suffered an environmental disaster when federal remediation workers accidently allowed 880,000 gallons of wastewater contaminated with heavy metals to spill from the defunct Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado.

Cities Are Providing Free Legal Representation To Residents Facing Deportation

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By Aimée Lutkin for Life Hacker – To say that the current administration has been pushing extremely harsh immigration policies would be putting it mildly. Trump even went so far as to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was intended to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. The country has experienced sweeping raids that have imperiled many, and as such, American cities are now working together to protect people from dangerous federal policies. The Vera Institute of Justice has just awarded grant money to support an enterprise called the SAFE Cities Network. Cities in eight states have banded together to build a fund that will pay for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. All cities in the network had to apply to the Vera Institute with a proposal to prove they are committed to spending public dollars on deportation defense, which will then be matched by the institute. In conjunction with the announcement of the SAFE Cities Network, the Vera Institute released a new study that shows having access to a lawyer makes all the difference when it comes to keeping families together. The study highlights the “common misperception” that only illegal immigrants face deportation proceedings…

100% Renewable Is Feasible And More Cost-Effective Now

Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and other researchers have calculated how to meet each state's new power demands using only the renewable energies of wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tiny amounts of tidal and wave available to each state. (Vaclav Volrab / Shutterstock)

By Staff for Energy Watch Group. A global transition to 100% renewable electricity is not a long-term vision, but already a tangible reality, a new groundbreaking study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) shows. The study was presented on November 8, 2017 during the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase event (GRESS) on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn. The results of the study are revealing: A global electricity system fully based on renewable energy is feasible at every hour throughout the year and is more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. A transition to 100% renewables would bring greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation. It would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today. ”There is no reason to invest one more Dollar in fossil or nuclear power production”, EWG President Hans-Josef Fell said. “Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply.

1970s History Can Guide New Black Mayors Toward a Radical City

Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, NJ

By Nishani Frazier for Truthout. On November 7, Detroit’s Coleman Young II may join the new pantheon of elected or soon-to-be elected Black mayors. This group’s uniqueness lies not in their race per se, but in their willingness to defy the Obama-era neoliberal, post-racial orthodoxy about municipal economic development. These new Black mayors are a resurgence of the old mixed with the sophisticated new. They are Black Political Power, 2.0. If the analogy seems exaggerated, it bears noting that three of these elected or upcoming Black mayors have direct lines to 1960s Black Power. Ras J. Baraka, Newark’s mayor, is the well-known son of famed poet and activist Amiri Baraka. Baraka gained fame as one of the key writers of the 1960s Black Arts Movement and as co-chair for both the 1967 Black Power Conference and Gary Convention. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the “radical” mayor from Jackson, Mississippi, was elected to fill the position his father held for a tragically short eight months before his untimely death in office. The elder Lumumba had a long history of activism as a member of the Republic of New Afrika. And of course, there is Coleman Young II, son to none other than Detroit’s first elected Black Mayor Coleman Young, who rode an initial wave of Black electoral success in the 1960s and 1970s. These are not isolated cases, but instead signal a larger movement afoot.