Gleanings

The Winter 2014 Drexel Policy Notes is devoted to cooperatives.  Articles in this issue consider economic democracy and community development, mapping the social demographics of cooperatives, and food co-ops in commercial corridors.

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Before I went to the 2014 NASCO Institute, I assumed that my relationship with cooperatives was, realistically, coming to a close. I graduated from UC Davis over a year ago and am therefore not eligible to live in student cooperative housing. My most recent experience living in a non-student cooperative housing made me wonder if I have enough energy to live cooperatively and be a member of the workforce.

With the recent announcement that the US will normalize relations with Cuba, change is in the air for the island country. Just a few years before this, Cuba began shifting its economy from state-controlled enterprises to citizen-controlled cooperatives.

[Editor's note: this series of videos was produced by the Renaissance Community Coop.  Part one discusses the problems faced by neighborhood residents following the closure of the local Winn-Dixie grocery store.  Part two looks at how a community-owned grocery store can help solve those problems.  Part three details the numerous community organizations and individuals who are working to make RCC a reality.

December 30, 2014. Mayoral Candidate Bob Fioretti is calling on Chicagoans to re-imagine our economy and build it together. Bob knows that creating a strong economy means doing more than just asking for jobs or relocating corporate headquarters downtown. In addition to reforming our TIF program and directing resources to attract traditional businesses to all our neighborhoods, creating new opportunities by promoting worker cooperatives is another step in building a robust economy.

Opportunity Threads is a worker cooperative cut and sew factory in Morganton, North Carolina. Started in late 2008, it’s an inspiring example of how democratic ownership in manufacturing can create jobs, empower workers, and even rebuild the value chains that sustain a community economically.

Fran Ilich's collaborative Diego de la Vega Coffee Co-op project uses alternative currencies, barter and other methods to work with Zapatista coffee growers and forge connections with politically aligned creatives in New York and elsewhere.

The destination is Fireweed Universe City, a collective community just off Woodward Avenue a few blocks outside Highland Park. The residents of the three-block community — which has garnered little media attention — have been dubbed hippies, pioneers, and other romantic monikers.

Some of you may be aware of a bibliography I’ve been maintaining over the last year that is an attempt to collect anything written relating to co-operative higher education. At this early stage in our collective thinking it’s quite an easy task to keep on top of, but I hope one day to abandon this bibliographic project because the volume of literature has become to large.

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