Nearly 500 people turned out over the May 2-4, 2014 weekend for the ‘Jackson Rising’ conference in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a highly successful and intensive exploration of Black power, the solidarity economy and the possibilities unleashed for democratic change when radicals win urban elections.

Has raising up more black millionaires been a successful economic development strategy for our communities?  Evidently not. What's the alternative to gentrification, to stadiums, to ruthless exploitation? It's the solidarity economy. It's cooperation. It's democratically owned, worker-run cooperatives for child care, retail, auto repair, factories, health care, you name it.

Access over ownership. After decades of excessive consumerism, this prospect sounded revolutionary. At first. Now that the sharing economy has become mainstream, more critical voices are appearing. So, what will it be? Empowerment or exploitation? A revolution or business as usual?

City Hall Steps--May 14, 9 am

Join us as we gather on the steps of City Hall to call on elected officials to support the creation of worker cooperative jobs through two reforms:

There's been rumors of Oprah Winfrey being interested. But a couple of Clippers fans, Tim Nguyen and Russell Curry, have an idea that would not only take the team from Sterling, but move it in the direction of economic democracy too: Clipper fans should own the team.

I think we are in rather desperate need of a sharp, rigorous cooperative/empathic economics that goes after this kind of thing with intellectual brutality and compassion for all of us struggling with love relationships:

Sexual Behavior as Predicted by a Social Exchange Model: Three Tests of Sexual Economics

Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation recently published a short essay noting that the economic fruits of peer production in today’s world tend to be captured by capitalists – whereas what we really need is a system to enable capital accumulation for and by commoners themselves.  To that end, Bauwens embraces the idea of a Peer Production License, as designed and proposed by Dmitri Kleiner.

TRANSPARENCY AND TRUST                                                                                                

In this series of blogs I am developing a narrative about how we maintain and change ourselves and our cultures. Here’s the core of it (taken from the first in the series):

by Josh Davis

The links page of the wonderful Naked Capitalism site today, included this one from VoxEU:

If you live—or want to live—according to the ideals of sustainability, cooperation and equality, come to the annual Twin Oaks Communities Conference this summer for a celebration of cooperatives and communal lifestyles!

While many people associate cooperatives with a place for hippies to buy organic food, the cooperative movement has actually grown far and wide, creating sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and strengthen local economies. Today, there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the United States, with more than 100 million members.

Mira Luna: Why did African-Americans first start getting involved in cooperative economic activity? Was it for political or practical reasons or both?

The Praxis Project is excited to release, “Transforming the Economy from the Ground Up,” a paper on the solidarity economy authored by the Highlander Research and Education Center. The solidarity economy is part of a long-term strategy to address systemic and structural problems that make Mississippi the poorest state in the nation and keep billions of people in poverty  all over the world.

Imagine this: an economic model that takes the needs of the entire community into account. One that respects the rights of people and the planet. A market system that favors both the consumers and the producers.

In the past 30 years, though, there has been a rapid growth of all kinds of initiatives in the social economy. Confidence was lost in the centralised state-based alternatives, particularly after 1989. The revolution in information and communications made it possible to develop much more distributed systems of organisation, with complex webs of collaboration. Now, with the financial collapse of 2008 putting neoliberalism on the back foot, we are witnessing a new interest in co-operation.

No one really likes having a boss. So why not be your own boss? And no, this is not yet another post about the benefits of freelancing.

Worker cooperatives are a unique kind of business that are democratically owned and governed by the people doing the labor. Without any bosses on the job, each employee acts as both worker and owner. Now one group, the Wellspring Collaborative, is looking to jumpstart the growth of worker cooperatives in an unlikely place: inner-city Springfield, Massachusetts.

A growing number of educators and social entrepreneurs across the country are discovering that the secret to learning empathy, emotional literacy, self-awareness, cooperation, effective communication, and many of the other skills classified as “social and emotional learning,” lies in experience, not in workbooks and rote classroom exercises.

Read the full article at YES! Magazine

Unlike a bank, whose investments are controlled by private decision-makers and shareholders, a credit union can decide to give every member/investor and equal vote. At the Lower East Side Credit Union, a low income community development institution, the members have chosen to keep their resources and their lending in their low-income neighborhood.

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