by Josh Davis


I am going to make what I’m sure will be a contentious claim: no organization that is not itself cooperatively organized has any business engaging in cooperative development.

On the face of it, this shouldn’t be a contentious sentiment, any more than saying that someone who wants to get paid to teach others to play the piano should be a piano player themselves . However, given the current makeup of much of the cooperative development sector, I’m guessing that this suggestion will rub more than a few people the wrong way.

Will Wilkinson, one of the deeply democratic conservatives over at the Niskanen Center, recently asked, “…what, today, do Americans call ‘home’?”

Then he answered his own question:

Tea Party leader, Ray ­­­­­Warrick, and Black Lives Matter leader, Hawk Newsome, shared the same platform at the Better Angels convention, June 21, 2019. David Blankenhorn, co-founder and president of Better Angels, moderated their discussion.

In RE: Polarization 1 I shared how Cornel West, an ardent Leftist intellectual and activist, would approach somebody with whom he had extreme political disagreement. Two examples were explored: an hypothetical  KKK member and Louis Farrakhan. In both cases he would use the same approach: come out of love and seek to understand them in order to find common ground for dialog.

I struggle to genuinely listen to people who say things that either piss me off or that I deeply disagree with, especially when I experience it as a personal attack. At the same time I have spent the past 40 years working on how to listen in order to understand the other. I have accomplished a lot, but feel like Sisyphus a lot of times. To make things more complicated I am writing a book about democracy in which listening to understand the other is one of the main themes. At the same time, going from the frying pan to the fire, I am immersed in very polarized situation.

I am sending a link to a TED talk. Unusal for me. This one is really unusual. If you watch the first two minutes or so, you will probably have to watch the whole thing.

It's about the core of democracy and our cooperative/solidarity movements far more than any scaling up efforts could possibly be. Everything we do needs to burn gently and fiercely with this, and that includes changing ourselves.



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