Cuba's slow, cautious reforms to revive its state-run economy suddenly burst into life at businesses like Karabali, a Havana nightclub owned by a 21-member cooperative.

The communist government began leasing Karabali to its employees just six months ago and now the once sleepy club is regularly packed with more than 100 customers from midnight until dawn despite competition from dozens of private and state-run night spots in the city.

Most farmers will tell you that cooperation is crucial to keeping a farm running like a well-oiled threshing machine.

But at Stone Soup Farm Cooperative in Hadley, cooperation is everything.

They were tired of being taken to the cleaners by their bosses — so they’re taking out the trash on their own.

Pa’lante Green Cleaning, a 15-member Jackson Heights cleaning cooperative owned and operating by the cleaning ladies themselves, celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

“Now that I’m part of this project, I’m very excited to be an owner as well as an employee,” said Claudia Leon, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant who was earning just $20 a day as a waitress at a taqueria in Jackson Heights.

What do cities need? People who care about them. Preferably, people with a little money to invest.

The big mistake that many cities and states have made, and keep making, is trying to attract people who don’t care, but have a lot of money to invest. What usually happens is that before too long, they take their money somewhere else that is more attractive. Or—possibly worse—make demands that are detrimental to the city, in return for staying.

APRIL 17th 6-8pm

CUNY Grad Center,
365 5th Ave, New York, Room 9204


Join a panel discussion with:
 
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste -Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP), Haiti - General Coordinator  
Nancy Romer - Brooklyn Food Coalition - Chair, Governance Board  
Robert Robinson - Take Back the Land, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative  
Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau - Global Movements Program, WhyHunger;  Event Moderator

Similarities abound between today’s declining civic ethos and mid nineteenth century, pre Civil War era human flesh markets starting with America’s contemporary desperation class composed of minimum wage workers toiling in America’s most praised corporations (e.g. Wal-Mart & McDonalds) who need public sector-funded food stamps to make basic ends meet.

Our English word serendipity comes from Serendip, an ancient name for Sri Lanka, but the island itself has not known much serendipity for the last three decades; in the summer of 1983, a civil war started between the state and a group that wanted an independent homeland for Tamils, resulting in enormous destruction and the death of around 70,000 people.

In New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, most of the houses in the Lower 9th Ward were vacant, many blighted. And many, many empty lots. Most of the residents did not, could not, return. The ones that did had a hard road ahead of them, rebuilding not only their own homes, but a whole community. Because what is community when the people you know are gone and the places you remember are destroyed? Even now, nearly 10 years after the storm, only about 25% of the population has returned.

What role did economic cooperation play in the civil rights movement? As it turns out, a huge one. This forgotten history is the focus of Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard's recent book Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, out in bookstores in May.

by Marty Heyman

Was with "the gang" at the New York celebration of Jessica's Cooperative Courage coming to a bookseller near you real soon now. Others have promised to write up the event. Just a couple of dots connected for me from the discussion.

On his way into work every morning, Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, Miss., used to pass a historical marker:  “Jackson City Hall: built 1846-7 by slave labor.”

To change our present economic system, we need to have a vision of what we are working for, even if that vision cannot be realized right away, and even if it will never be realized in quite the way that we can now imagine. In this spirit, I here offer some thoughts as to what an economy of abundance would look like, with seven key elements that I consider crucial.

Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young’s film “SHIFT CHANGE” will premiere at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 6 on KCTS 9. The documentary explores employee-owned businesses succeeding in today’s economy.

NCBA CLUSA is now recruiting for an Executive Director for the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA). The Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The Executive Director will provide day-to-day leadership for Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) including strategic management and organizational leadership, financial supervision, grant-writing/fundraising, promotion of PACA to internal and external audiences.

Sharing has always been essential to human life, but “What’s new,” says Neal Gorenflo, founder of Shareable Magazine, “is our blindness to it.” Through our individualized pursuit of happiness—a lifestyle ushered in during the Industrial Revolution—many of us have forgotten that for centuries the most promising source of security came from our ability to build and maintain strong social connections and respect the commons. 

As the founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union, and the CEO of the social-purpose Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC), Sara Horowitz has dedicated herself to empowering and protecting America’s independent workers. Now, as the institution she leads grows from strength to strength, she’s focusing on “New Mutualism,” a social movement of change and cooperation that's about moving from consumption to connection.

The roots of modern cooperatives stretch back more than 150 years, but it wasn't until 1995 that the International Co-operative Alliance adopted seven core values around which all cooperatives should operate. When the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, these principles renewed an important conversation about what it means to be a credit union, specifically why they exist and how they are different by design.

Experience tells us that governance in member-owned co-operatives is distinct from that in investor-owned businesses, yet we do not understand fully how this operates in practice.  This research study of governance in large co-operatives helps to fill the gaps in our knowledge.

 

Recently I jumped on a train to Birmingham and attended the founding conference of Students For Co-operation, a new national federation supporting students to set up co-operatives while at university.

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