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Updated: 2 hours 59 min ago

FairCoop: An Alternative System Outside Of Capitalism

December 15, 2017 - 10:00am
Athens, Greece – Tools born from the internet, applied across autonomous networks and movements seeking alternatives to capitalism, are providing the infrastructure of alternative societies. In the last of our specials on community currencies and alternative economies, we showcase FairCoop, a self-organized and self-managed global cooperative created through the internet outside the domain of the nation-state. During a conference on alternatives to capitalism inside of the self-organized and squatted Embros Theater in Athens, Greece in the summer of 2017, a Catalan speaker (who remained anonymous for safety purposes) gave a presentation on FairCoop, which informed much of this reporting.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

US Has Taken 70% Of World’s Wealth Gains Since 2012

December 14, 2017 - 2:00pm
America’s super-rich are taking not only from their own nation, but also from the rest of the world. Data from the 2017 Global Wealth Databook (GWD: Table 2-4) and various war reports help to explain why we’re alienating people outside our borders. From 2012 to 2017, global wealth increased by $37.7 trillion, and U.S. wealth increased by $26 trillion. Thus, largely because of a surging stock market, our nation took nearly 70 percent of the entire global wealth gain over the past five years. Based on their dominant share of U.S. wealth, America’s richest 10% — much less than 1% of the world’s adult population — took over HALF the world’s wealth gain in the past five years. 
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Saving The Ecosystem With Wild Backyards

December 12, 2017 - 4:00pm
This week on Love (and Revolution) Radio, Sherri Mitchell and Rivera Sun speak with citizen scientist and master gardener Adrian Fisher about reconciliation ecology and how her neighborhood outside Chicago, IL used wild plant gardening to not only connect two wildlife preserves on either side of her, but also a bi-continental migration route for innumerable wild species.
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

From Chiapas To Rojava – More Than Just Coincidences

December 9, 2017 - 12:00pm
Above Photo: From cooperativa.cat Google is blocking our site. Please use the social media sharing buttons (upper left) to share this on your social media and help us break through. Autonomy brings together two revolutions on the left and from below «“Power to the people” can only be put into practice when the power exercised by social elites is dissolved into the people.» (Murray Bookchin, Post-Scarcity Anarchism) The largely unknown until recently Kurdish city of Kobane managed to attract the attention of the world with its fierce resistance[i] against the invasion of the Islamic State and became an international symbol, compared to the defence of Madrid and Stalingrad. The bravery and heroism of the People’s Defence Units and the Women’s Defence Units (YPG and YPJ) were praised by a large spectrum of groups and individuals – anarchists, leftist, liberals and even right-wingers expressed sympathy and admiration for the men and women of Kobane in their historical battle against what was often seen as IS “fascism”. The mainstream media was forced to break the silence over the Kurdish autonomy and soon numerous articles and news stories were broadcasted and published, often depicting the “toughness” and determination of the Kurdish fighters with a certain dose of exotisation, of course. However, this attention was very often selective and partial – the very essence of the political project in Rojava (Western Kurdistan) was left aside and the media preferred to present the resistance in Kobane as some weird exception to the supposed barbarism of the Middle East. Without surprise, the red star, shining on the victorious flags of the YPG/J was not a pleasing image in the eyes of the Western powers and their media. The autonomous cantons of Rojava represent a home-grown solution to the conflicts in the Middle East, encompassing grassroots democracy, ethnic, social and gender rights and all this in rejection both of IS terror but also of liberal democracy and capitalist economy . Although the West preferred to stay silent on this issue, this ideological foundation is the key for understanding the spirit that wrote the Kobane epopee and fascinated the world, as the Kurdish activist and academic, Dilar Dirik, claimed recently[ii]. As the battles for every street and corner of the city were intensifying, Kobane managed to captivate the imagination of the left and specifically of the libertarian left as a symbol of resistance and struggle and soon it was placed on the pantheon of some of the most emblematic battles for humanity, such as the defence of Madrid against the fascists in the 1930s. It was not by accident that the Turkish Marxist-Leninist group MLKP, which joined the YPG/J in/on the battlefield, raised the flag of the Spanish republic over the ruins of the city in the day of its liberation and called for the formation of International Brigades[iii], following the example of the Spanish revolution. It was not the battle for Kobane itself, but the libertarian essence of the cantons of Rojava, the implementation of grassroots direct democracy, the participation of women and different ethnic groups into the autonomous government that gave ground to the comparisons with the Spanish revolution. Another association was mentioned briefly in several articles – the revolution in Rojava and its autonomous government were compared to the Zapatistas and their autonomy in the south of Mexico. The importance of this comparison might be crucial in order to understand the paradigm of the revolutionary struggle in Kurdistan and what it means for those who believe another world is possible. The Zapatista movement is probably one of the most symbolic and influential elements of the revolutionary imaginary in the world after the fall of the state-socialist regimes in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the morning of January 1, 1994, an unknown guerrilla force, composed of indigenous Mayas, took over the main towns of the southern-most Mexican state – Chiapas. The military operation was carried out with strategic brilliance and combined with the innovative back then use of the internet to spread the message of the revolutionaries, it echoed around the globe to inspire international solidarity and the emergence of the Alter-Globalisation movement. The Zapatistas rebelled against neoliberal capitalism and the social and cultural genocide of the indigenous population in Mexico. Ya Basta, Enough is enough, was their war cry that emerged from the night of “500 years of oppression”, as the First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle stated. The Zapatistas rose up in arms when global capital was celebrating the “end of history” and the idea of social revolution seemed to be a romantic anachronism that belonged to the past. The Zapatista Army for National Liberation was forced out of the cities in twelve days of intense battles with the federal army but it turned out that the deep horizontal organisation in the indigenous communities could not be eradicated by any military intervention or terror. The masked spokesperson of the rebel army, Subcomandante Marcos, challenged the notion of historical vanguard as opposed to revolution from below, which does not aim to take power but to abolish it and this concept became central to the most mass anti-capitalist movements since – from Seattle and Genoa to the Syntagma and Puerta del Sol occupations and even the Occupy Movement. Where are the similarities with the Rojavan revolution? From Marxism-Leninism to Autonomy – a shared historical trajectory The roots of the democratic autonomy in Rojava can be understood only through the history of the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan (PKK), the organisation, which has been central to the Kurdish liberation movement since its creation in 1978. The PKK was established as a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organisation in Northern Kurdistan, part of the Turkish state, combining the ideologies of national and social liberation. It grew to a substantial guerrilla force under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan and managed to challenge the second biggest army in NATO in a conflict that claimed the lives of more than forty thousand people. The Turkish state displaced hundreds of thousands and reportedly used torture, assassination...
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News

Philando Castile’s Death Inspires Black Economic Movement

December 9, 2017 - 11:00am
Above Photo: ABEP and Blexit are the work of Twin Cities Black economic leaders including Me’ Lea Connelly (center), Brett Grant (left of Connelly), and Danielle Mkali (right of Connelly) Google is blocking our site. Please use the social media sharing buttons (upper left) to share this on your social media and help us break through. The death of Philando Castile was a turning point for many Minnesotans, who were once again forced to face Minnesota’s structural oppressions and deal with the aftermath of another death of a Black man by police hands. It was a turning point for Me’Lea Connelly, a former security firm manager and single mother who lives in Minneapolis. “We have to find another tool for resistance aside from the bodies of Black youth,” said Connelly, director of the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP), which formed after the death of Philando Castile. “What a lot of people don’t know, after the lights went down at the [4th Precinct] Occupation, those kids were psychologically, socially, and physically abused, they were traumatized. We were right in the middle of trying to recuperate from that when Philando was killed,” said Connelly. That trauma inspired Blexit—a Black independence movement conducted through economic boycott—and ABEP. In the Twin Cities, economic organizing has often taken the form of legislative policy or (successful) efforts to pass higher minimum wages or guaranteed earned sick & safe time. But in the last few years, there has been a shift. More and more low-income communities and communities of color are looking to build their own economic systems in an attempt to build community power and resilience — and maybe even healing. “The movement has shifted. Five years ago it was income-driven, now it’s about building wealth,” said Vina Kay, executive director for Voices for Racial Justice. That wealth comes in many forms, but at its core it’s about ensuring that Twin Cities communities of color have the resources and assets they need to be resilient in the face of systemic oppression. It is this shift in movement which Blexit and ABEP represent. Cooperative development Connelly calls this an “invest/divest strategy” and it is the strategy behind the Village Trust Financial Cooperative, the Twin Cities’ first Black-owned credit union. Village Trust was the result of the first Blexit meeting following Castile’s death. Black community leaders envisioned it and organizers began putting the pieces together. The credit union is set to open in North Minneapolis, the former site of the Twin Cities’ only black-owned bank (now shuttered). “ABEP believes in establishing, existing in, and welcoming people into a new paradigm. The vision for our paradigm is a resource-based economy using the pathway of a cooperative commonwealth to get there. The establishment of a credit union is the first step to get to that.” While many might think of “food cooperative,” when they hear the word “co-op,” cooperatives actually have a long history in the Black community and other communities of color. Due to segregation, many Black communities were forced to form community collectives and cooperatives around food, banking, and education in order to become more resilient. Today, Twin Cities communities of color are again using cooperatives and other forms of economic organizing to respond to injustice and build socio-economic sustainability. “Village Trust is a really exciting example of people saying we want to put the money where it benefits us instead of it leaving the community,” said Christina Jennings, executive director of Shared Capital Cooperative. “Cooperatives are profoundly important tools for the practice of democracy. There are far too few opportunities to do this in society. Whether it’s a small or large cooperative, it’s incredibly important to practice this. Most places we don’t get to do that. Cooperatives can be incredible tools for building individual and community power, and for practicing democracy.” Community healing Economic sustainability is only one aspect of the economic justice organizing that’s happening in the Twin Cities. For many organizers, economic justice has just as much to do with healing as with economics. And for Arique Aguilar, the Woman of Color Organizer with TakeAction Minnesota, creativity and healing have everything to do with this new vision for economic justice. “I have been honing in on ‘what inspired earned sick & safe time,’ that we can dream so boldly – that imagination is core to economic organizing,” said Aguilar. As part of Aguilar’s work, women are being trained to be political healers, helping oppressed women and communities work through their trauma while helping them root their work in their own individual and community power. “The work has to be rooted in a sense of power, no matter what is coming down the pipe. We are bigger still, we are bigger still,” said Aguilar. For more information on Village Trust Financial Cooperative, please check outhttp://www.abepmn.org/pledge-now.  
Categories: Friends of GEO, SE News