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The Salinas reality helps us to pose the big questions we need to pose if we are preoccupied with processes of radical social transformation.
The New America Foundation (NAF) has made a large size policy proposal for basic economic development in the US.  To these untrained eyes and ears it would seem that it is offering a public home for building on and expanding our cooperative economy here in the states.   So I am passing it on to the more knowledgeable for assessment and action.

John McNamara and Michael Johnson have been raising some interesting discussions around the co-operative movement.  John McNamara's discussion of syndicalism and distributism in particular, following his reading of Race Matthews' book, has spurred my interest in the topic of philosophical approaches to co-operative organizing.

 

In mid-August, I arrived with my small family in the south of Brazil to volunteer at a small farm family member of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Centro Ecologico, ?the Ecology Center.?  Both the farm family and the NGO are members of the Rede Ecovida, ?the Eco-Life Network.?  The Centro Ecologico is located several hours from Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, which, because of its pro

I can't blog my tears and what I am feeling right now, but I know now better than I did yesterday why I am committed to solidarity and cooperation.  What else is there to say.
The Centro Ecologico has been promoting environmental sustainability and socially responsible practices for over 20 years in southern Brazil.

The top/down system we seek to change is embedded in us--in our nervous systems, our beliefs, our attitudes, our habits, and our behavior. We are what we are seeking to change.  It is not just out there.  And not only is it in here, but it is out there to a large extent because we, the change agents, re-produce it over and over and over in every kind of relationship we have. This is by no means just a tragic irony. No way. This is a great opportunity.

An early stage of translation of selections from two Portuguese texts about Banco Palmas, a community currency, banking, and entrepreneurship  enterprise initiated by the residents of the low income favela neighborhood of Conjunto Palmeiras in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.

In the recent series on his blog, The Workers' Paradise ,McNamara is very strong on the possibility of the cooperative movement being able to move to scale.  But he wisely directs our attention to the big problems this is going to bring, problems that are already burdening cooperatives.  The primary one he refers to is “the agency problem” (which is pretty much what I mean by “top/down problem”).

...Atkinson brings to life the poignant irony of a blind man returning to the land of vision to show how those like you and me with normal, take-it-for-granted vision can and do manipulate our vision to see what we want and are conditioned to see without seeing that that is what we are doing.  And that we do this regardless of our race, color, culture, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Listen to this, from the NYTimes:

 "All faiths are welcome to eat a free lunch daily at the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, in Amritsar, India."

 "Soupy lentils, three and a third tons of them, bubble away in vast cauldrons, stirred by bearded, barefoot men wielding wooden spoons the size of canoe paddles. The pungent, savory bite wafting through the air comes from 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic, sprinkled with 330 pounds of fiery red chilies.  It is lunchtime at what may be the world’s largest free eatery, the langar, or community kitchen at this city’s glimmering Golden Temple..."

Listen to this, from the NYTimes:

 "All faiths are welcome to eat a free lunch daily at the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, in Amritsar, India."

 "Soupy lentils, three and a third tons of them, bubble away in vast cauldrons, stirred by bearded, barefoot men wielding wooden spoons the size of canoe paddles. The pungent, savory bite wafting through the air comes from 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic, sprinkled with 330 pounds of fiery red chilies.  It is lunchtime at what may be the world’s largest free eatery, the langar, or community kitchen at this city’s glimmering Golden Temple..."

In 2005, Johnston Birchall addressed the International Co-operative community. It was the occasion of the the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity. Prof. Birchall called for the community to "operationalize" the statement. Researchers at St. Mary's University in Halifax have created a tool to help worker co-ops do just that.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund on August 19, 2010 honored Alice Walker in Birmingham, AL at its annual dinner attended by more than 400 people.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and self-proclaimed "daughter of the rural peasantry" was presented the Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement award by FSC Executive Director Ralph Paige. The largely black organization of farmer cooperatives works to save and preserve black-owned farmlands. 

How do we create a competitive advantage through the worker coop model when we treat ourselves so much better than the workers in our industry and pay for the higher cost of democracy?

One of the great treats at a national worker coop conference is to learn about the incredible stories that exist. It is easy, sitting in our cooperatives at home, to imagine a world where we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then we come to a conference and get our mind blown--not just once, or twice, but several times.

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