Blueprint For The Most Radical City On The Planet

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By Bill Quigley. A federation of local cooperatives and mutual aid networks, Cooperation Jackson, has many concrete forms including an urban farming coop, a food coop, a cooperative credit union, a hardware coop, and a cooperative insurance plan. They plan to be an incubator for more coop startups, a school, a training center, a cooperative credit union, a bank, a community land trust, community financial institutions like credit unions, housing cooperative, childcare cooperative, solar and retrofitting cooperative, tool lending and resource libraries, community energy production. They are also working to build an organizing institute and a workers union. Cooperation Jackson is an economic movement, a human rights movement and a movement insistent on environmentally sustainable progress. They work for clean air and water, zero waste, and against toxic industries.

The Left Radical Who Will Likely Be Jackson, Mississippi’s Next Mayor

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By Kate Aronoff for In These Times. The city of Jackson, in the heart of staunchly Republican Mississippi, might seem an unlikely place for a municipal revolution. Yet Jackson’s radicalism has been forged in the crucible of massive disinvestment, both by private industry and by a conservative state legislature. Led by the Black nationalist organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, organizers in Jackson have backed experiments in everything from worker-owned businesses to participatory, neighborhood-by-neighborhood democracy. A leader of this movement, Jackson Councilman Chokwe Lumumba, helped start people’s assemblies in the city, inviting residents to hash out the kinds of changes they want to see. He was elected mayor in 2013, only to pass away months later. In an effort to carry on his father’s legacy, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 33, ran to succeed his father and lost. Now, with his second run, he hopes to continue the work his father began.

How To Form A Global Counter-Economy

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By Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis for Open Democracy. We outline a list of six interrelated strategies for post-corporate entrepreneurial coalitions. The aim is to go beyond the classical corporate paradigm, and its extractive profit-maximizing practices, toward the establishment of open cooperatives that cultivate a commons-oriented economy. First, it’s important to recognize that closed business models are based on artificial scarcity. Though knowledge can be shared easily and at very low marginal cost when it is in digital form, closed firms use artificial scarcity to extract rents from the creation or use of digitized knowledge. Through legal repression or technological sabotage, naturally shareable goods are made artificially scarce so that extra profits may be generated. This is particularly galling in the context of life-saving medicines or planet-regenerating technological knowledge. Open cooperatives, in comparison, would recognize natural abundance and refuse to generate revenue by making abundant resources artificially scarce.

Can ‘New Economy’ And Labor Movements Come Together

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By Erin Dirnbach for Waging Nonviolence. California – Activists in Oakland have been campaigning for new city policies that would assist worker cooperative development. After successfully winning passage of a city resolution in support of cooperatives last fall, they are now pushing for a new law, the Oakland Worker Cooperative Incentives for Growth Ordinance. Supporters will speak in support at the upcoming hearing at City Hall on September 27, and the ordinance is likely to pass in October. It would grant a variety of benefits for registered worker cooperatives including procurement preferences, development funding, tax incentives, streamlined permitting and promotion of business conversion to cooperatives. The Sustainable Economies Law Center, one of the key promoters of the ordinance, says that it will be the first of its kind to offer this level of assistance for cooperatives.

Understanding The Fundamentals Of Economic Democracy

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By David Schweickart for The Next System Project – The big challenges that capitalism now faces in the contemporary world include issues of inequality (especially that of grinding poverty in a world of unprecedented prosperity) and of “public goods” (that is, goods people share together, like the environment). The solution to theseproblems will almost certainly call for institutions that take us beyond the capitalist market economy. (Italics added.)[1]So wrote Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen, sixteen years ago.

Newsletter: After The Crash...

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The economic agenda described here would create a radical transformation of the economy from a top-down system designed for the wealthiest, to a botton-up system that creates a foundation for an economy that benefits all. Putting in place this economy would move us from a plutocratic economy to a democratized economy where people have economic control over their lives. It is a radical shift – how can it happen? There is only one path – the people must be educated, organized and mobilized to demand it. We need to change the political culture to one where the necessities of the people and protection of the planet are the priorities of the economy. If predictions are correct, the next economic collapse will deeper and more damaging than the 2008 collapse. It will be a tremendous opportunity to demand radical economic change. It is one the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice should be preparing for now.

Newsletter: The Economy of the Future-Economic Democracy

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – This Labor Day weekend rather than looking at the history and current struggles of workers, we look to the future and imagine what will work be like in 2025 or 2050. What will the overall economy look like? What is our vision for an economy that works for the people? There are some major trends that indicate we are in the midst of a radical transformation of what work means and how people will have income. There will never be enough jobs in the future so we need a new way to ensure people have money on which to live and to keep the economy going. It is time to figure out how to provide people with a basic income where everyone receives a single basic income to provide for a comfortable living whether they work or not. To create wealth among workers, worker ownership through worker cooperatives or worker self-directed enterprises need to be encouraged. It takes roots to weather a storm, and the storm is here.

Can Gov't Budgets Become Democratic? Participatory Budgeting

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By Laura Flanders for Grit TV – Can budgets and even the federal reserve be brought under public control? One radical tool for grassroots democracy that is taking hold is Participatory Budgeting. Josh Lerner is co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project and is the author of two books, both released last year: Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics, and Everyone Counts: Could Participatory Budgeting Change Democracy? Also on the show: what is the Federal Reserve, and what role could it have? Connie Razza works with the Center for Popular Democracy and their “Fed Up” campaign, working to make the federal reserve work for the 99%.

How Worker Co-Ops Are Moving Beyond Capitalism

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The explosion of worker cooperatives in recent years has social justice organizers talking. Transitioning to a people-powered economy will require the work of many different social movements and worker co-ops have come to the center of the conversation due to their ability to address multiple issues at once. These democratically owned and controlled businesses serve as a laboratory for reinventing our economy and many overlapping social movements are combining forces in the experiment. A new documentary, Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time, shows the potential of a networked worker co-op movement and activists across the country are embracing the film as a way to form new alliances.

Justice Must Flow: Economic Democracy & The Water Commons

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A game you could play with this article would be to substitute the word “air” every time you read “water.” Commodification of water seems silly enough in the abstract. Now in the throes of artificial scarcity, U.S. cities, counties and states are running out of water even as they turn control over managing water supplies to private corporations. At the beginning of February, as chronicled by Victoria Collier, New Jersey authorized the fast-track sale and leasing of water utilities to private corporations “without public notice, comment, or approval.” As I write this, more communities in New Jersey are “studying water privatization, while the city council of Columbia, South Carolina is resisting business interests’ pressure to privatize water there as well.

Revolt: The Path To Ending US Inverted Totalitarianism

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This devolution of the economic system has been accompanied by corporations’ seizure of nearly all forms of political and social power. The corporate elite, through a puppet political class and compliant intellectuals, pundits and press, still employs the language of a capitalist democracy. But what has arisen is a new kind of control, inverted totalitarianism, which Wolin brilliantly dissects in his book “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism does not replicate past totalitarian structures, such as fascism and communism. It is therefore harder to immediately identify and understand. There is no blustering demagogue. There is no triumphant revolutionary party. There are no ideologically drenched and emotional mass political rallies. The old symbols, the old iconography and the old language of democracy are held up as virtuous.

Socialism And Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises

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A tiny minority of persons (directors and major shareholders) makes all the key economic decisions in capitalist enterprises. The mass of workers who must live with those decisions and their effects are excluded from making them. Capitalist enterprise organization is thus the opposite and enemy of the democratic enterprise organization that socialism affirms. In socialism redefined along these lines, all the workers in an enterprise collectively and democratically make all the key economic decisions: what, how, and where to produce and what to do with the enterprise’s surplus or profits. Such a socialism would advocate social ownership, planning, and the democratization of enterprises, i.e. their transition from capitalist to workers’ self-directed enterprises (WSDEs).

Workers In Maine Buy Out Their Jobs

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On remote Deer Isle, Maine, the movement for a more just and democratic economy won a major victory this summer. More than 60 employees of three retail businesses – Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety and Pharmacy, and The Galley – banded together to buy the stores and create the largest worker cooperative in Maine and the second largest in New England. Now the workers own and run the businesses together under one banner, known as the Island Employee Cooperative (IEC). This is the first time that multiple businesses of this size and scope have been merged and converted into one worker cooperative – making this a particularly groundbreaking achievement in advancing economic democracy.

Next Phase In The Venezuelan Revolution Announced

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In declarations to the country on Tuesday night, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced what he described as “five revolutions”, as part of a need to “improve our service to the people.” Maduro said the revolutions would be a “a new way of functioning” for the government, and emphasized the need for a more “efficient” government. Maduro described five specific next steps for the Bolivarian Revolution. He explained that it was about consolidating the communal model, and creating a “new eco socialist model”. “It´s not about environmentalism, its about ecosocialism, environmentalism isn’t enough,” Maduro stated. The following five revolutions, he said, “should be united, and should define the government policies, giving power to the people, it will be the people who push government policy.”

'Front-Lines Of Climate Crisis' Calls For New Economy

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Under the banner of a campaign called “Our Power,” participants hail from dozens of organizations representing indigenous peoples, people of color, and working-class white communities that collaborate through the Climate Justice Alliance. Three days of conversations and strategizing will conclude Saturdaywith a day of action to highlight local alternatives to fossil fuel dependence. This is the first national gathering of Our Power and, according to organizers, builds from an intense season of mobilization, including a gathering of youth and young adults that took place in Detroit in June, as well as ongoing preparation for the the Peoples Climate March and Summit, to take place in September in New York. Those convened in Richmond are ultimately shooting for a big goal: connecting local, national, and international struggles of the marginalized and dispossessed to chart a “just transition” to a new economy.