In this issue, we return for the most part to the US of A, where we find co-ops of many sorts continuing to prosper and expand: e. g., Equal Exchange is now recognized as one of, if not the, standard-setting fair trade enterprise in this country. But is this really enough?
Recently, one of our subscribers raised a similar question, asking whether this sort of piece-meal growth will "contribute to social justice and peace". She continued: Will our moderately successful "cooperative business model...transform business as usual"?
Maybe so, but Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism, is skeptical. In his view (discussed with him at length below), we will need to go beyond new cooperative projects and beyond, even, new associations of cooperatives. We will also need to think and act on a larger scale, one that involves constructing a new national framework, which Gar calls a Pluralist Commonwealth. He sees this updated populist vision moving us toward a myriad of cross-sector alliances and new public institutions deeply responsive to citizen and local community control. Are we ready, his book asks, to rebuild America wholesale, as well as retail, ready to walk on both these roads?
As issue #67 took shape, we began to realize, with delight, that an intruiging (and unanticipated) sub-text had emerged: the active presence of young activists for whom cross-sector alliances and cooperative enterprises are inseparable. The NASCO, RiotFolk, May Day, and Transgendered Emporium articles– all written by and about youth – provide a hopeful response to Gar’s question.
This issue is gratefully dedicated to GEO’s ever-loyal subscribers, for reasons described in our letter to them on page 2.
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