the commons

By Alexander Kolokotronis

(please take survey at conclusion of this piece)

Cooperativists often posit this: the cooperative movement is a movement of movements. Or, more broadly speaking, the solidarity economy movement is a movement of movements. Many of us believe this is true in the present. In many ways it is.

– Keynote Address, Good Economy Conference, Zagreb 2015

I want to speak today about a crisis that has gripped Europe, and the western democracies, over the last 30 years.

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The Social Solidarity Economy is an alternative to capitalism and other authoritarian, state-dominated economic systems. In SSE, ordinary people play an active role in shaping all of the dimensions of human life: economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental. SSE exists in all sectors of the economy—production, finance, distribution, exchange, consumption and governance. SSE has the ability to take the best practices that exist in our present system (such as efficiency, use of technology and knowledge) and transform them to serve the welfare of the community based on different values and goals.
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Unlike many alternative economic projects that have come before, solidarity economics does not seek to build a singular model of how the economy should be structured, but rather pursues a dynamic process of economic organizing in which organizations, communities, and social movements work to identify, strengthen, connect, and create democratic and liberatory means of meeting their needs. ~Ethan Miller, from Other Economies are Possible

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A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country.  Many of them share a regional focus. This is showing unusual potential for advancing the development of worker co-operatives through inter-cooperative and cross-sector networking.  We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development (C/SE) (Please see the note below on why we are using this unusual phrase, “cooperative/solidarity.”)

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cross-posted from Shareable

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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

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Uberfication has become shorthand for many new concepts—from the sharing economy to any significantly disruptive digital business model. But what exactly did Uber do that was materially different to earlier disruptive digital businesses? In short:

  • It created software…

  • To replace existing industry-wide operational structures…

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[Editor's note: In this episode of The Laura Flanders show, historian and author Peter Linebaugh discusses the how medieval "globalization" and marketization led to the enclosure of the commons, and replaced local production for local use with commodity production for profit.  800 years ago, the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest returned a degree of common property to the people.  Linebaugh draws connections between the events of eight centuries ago and the struggle against privatization and globalization today.  Following the interview, GRITtv takes its cameras

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cross-posted from Seeds Beneath

When I first got involved in the co-op movement I didn’t do it because I thought the co-operative model was an end in itself.

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[Editor's note: In the opening speech from this year's CommonBound conference, Ed Whitfield, co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC), discusses the necessary conditions for creating an economy that provides not only the knowledge, but also the means, for economic security to everyone on an equal basis.  He discusses the intersection of economic and environmental justice, the inherent biases of  our s

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(Editor's note: This article emerged out of conversations Michael had with Terry Mollner and his thinking about creating institutions grounded in the idea the common good. We were quite surprised to find out that it turned out to be one of this most read articles on GEO: 10,500 a week or ago; almost 11,000 now. We were more than delighted when a recent article passed the 3,000 mark in page views. 1,500 is a seen as a big plus. But 11,000! We can’t explain it. However, since there has been so much interest in it, we decided to post it anew.

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I was asked to speak to a conglomeration of topics at the Global Exchange Conference in Providence, RI, held at the beginning of last August. It felt perfect, since I am a practitioner and as such, a promoter for each of three subjects linked together here—communities, co-ops and social enterprises. But when rising to talk about these individual topics, my head moved aside, letting the real story be told.

 

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Where to next in the Global Justice Movement? Gopal Dayaneni has been involved in fighting for social, economic, environmental and racial justice through organizing & campaigning, teaching, writing, speaking and direct action since the late 1980's. Cindy Wiesner is a queer working class Latina, and has been a community organizer for the last 20 years, and is the Program Coordinator for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. Together, they look back on the recent Climate Justice march, and ask what's next for social justice movements.

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[Editor's Note: This paper explores the concept of a Partner State  in relation to the social knowledge economy and the concept of the Good Life (Buen Vivir) as the basis for the National Plan for Good L

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Marina Sitrin and Dario Azellini, authors of the book They Can't Represent Us, discuss the roots of revolt in Latin America, Greece, and the US, and the change from a politics of representation to a politics of cooperation.  GRITtv's Laura Flanders conducts the interview.

 

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