Gleanings

Solidarity Economy News & Action from Around the World

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Suggests a creative way to sell your business
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In an age of open source, custom-fabricated, DIY product design...
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We are writing you today because that is what friends do when they need help. We want you to know that we need your help now and that we are thankful for all the support that you have given to us in the past.
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Domestic Fair Trade Association Annual Meeting December 6-8
The real economy is people.
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The evolution of food and finance since the 1970s.
The Mayor of Richmond, California, Gayle McLaughlin, recently held a public presentation why she believes Mondragon should serve as a guiding example for how economic development should proceed in her city.
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New England summit highlights Crowell and others


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Where will our movement be in another 30 years? In 2040, I will be 76 years old. Chances are, if I am still alive, I will be hopefully still be blogging (or whatever the kids will be doing in those days) but I will likely not be fully involved in the movement or physically working a 40-50 hour work week. Almost all of our current leadership will be in the same position. The current crop of  Toxic Soil Busters will be pushing 50 (like I am now). What should our movement look like in that age?
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The Co-operative Trade Movement is being launched at Willy Street Co-op to support small, local farmers/producers and cooperative or not-for-profit businesses. The Movement invites consumers to join in ethical commerce and economic democracy, the kind that Willy Street Co-op and hundreds of other grocery co-ops in the U.S. have been championing for nearly 40 years.

Read more here...

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Dear Jesse,

Here is a chart that will help keep hope alive. On the top line it tells what the actual wealth distribution in the US is. The middle line shows how wrong a cross-section of Americans is in how they think the wealth distribution plays out.

And the third line is a grand-slam...

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Our first stop is another component allied with Mongragon University called SAIOLAN. It's an incubator project for helping to launch new coops and high-tech businesses as well as training new entrepreneurs.
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Most new small businesses fail. That's a fact, whether they are in the Basque Country or in the U.S. Or anywhere else. Yet the Mondragon Coops, which all started as small worker-owned businesses, have hardly ever failed. Why? The key is in Father Jose Maria Arizmendi's original founding conception of cooperatives as the interlocking of school, factory and credit union.
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Our topic this morning is the wider range of the cooperative movement, both in the Basque Country and Spain. Mondragon is a part of the Basque Cooperative Confederation. There are currently 755 cooperatives in the Basque Country, and only 80 of them are the worker-owned MCC coops. There are a total of 537,000 members of all the coops, but only 54,919 are worker members, and 37,860 of these are the MCC worker-owners. 

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...As we left, many in our group were debating the pros and cons of global economic justice. I shared their concerns, but I also saw something else. Here was the beginnings of some of the most advanced productive forces in the world, the means of both economies of abundance and the means of clean and safe renewable energies and far lighter ecological footprints.
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I'm with a group of 25 social activists on a study tour organized by the Praxis Peace Project. Our focus is the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a 50-year-old network of nearly 120 factories and agencies, involving nearly 100,000 workers in one way or another, and centered in the Basque Country but now spanning the globe. We're here to study the history of these unique worker-owned factories, how they work, why they have been successful, and how they might be expanded in various ways as instruments of social change.
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At the conclusion of the seminar, Mondragon's Director of Cooperative Dissemination, Mikel Lezamiz, and I signed a letter of intent and endorsement to pave the way for initiating conversations with stakeholders in Richmond and beyond.  I want to share with you what I learned and also hear your ideas.
To this end I would like to invite all who are interested to a presentation and discussion on Mondragon and the potential for worker cooperatives in Richmond.  The same presentation will be given on two dates...
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The Park Slope Food Co-op (PSFC) earned $39.4 million in its last fiscal year, reports Fortune, which translates into a per-square-foot average of over $6,500.  By comparison Trader Joe's leads its competitors with an average  per-square-foot earning of $1,750, while one estimate has Whole Foods's doing less than $850. 

The Fortue story examines how PSFC does it.

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John Howard Griffin is best known today as the author of Black Like Me, which tells of his 1959 journey through the American South disguised as a black man. But there is much more to Griffin than that extraordinary experiment in race relations. As a new documentary shows, John Howard Griffin possessed an uncommon vision of our shared humanity, and spent his life in a fearless search for truth.
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