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GEO's Mission: To help build a nation- and worldwide movement for a cooperative social economy based on democratic and responsible production, conscientious consumption, and use of capital to further social and economic justice.
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

A Q&A with Victory Gardens Co-op

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:56
Link: A Q&A with Victory Gardens Co-op

Tell us about Victory Gardens. How did it get started and how does it work?

Victory Gardens was started in 2012 by a group of friends and gardeners who saw an opportunity to teach people how to grow food. We’re fundamentally motivated to transform private and public space to become productive and bountiful, to decrease the reliance on the global food system, to promote consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, to empower individuals with the knowledge of food production and to inspire people to be outside, connecting with the earth. The first year, we boot-strapped and fundraised, holding onto our jobs, until we determined whether the model had legs. Once we knew more, we flushed out the ideas, model and organizational structure to GROW!

If you want food in your space but don’t know where to start, we can help! Depending on the customer’s needs, we generally start with a consultation to see the space and get a sense of how we can best help them meet their food growing goals and from that point, proceed with designing and building a garden, developing a garden map and planting guide or booking a series of coaching or veggie garden maintenance session. We do it all (even bring the seeds)!

Read the rest at Modo

 

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Cooperatives provide security and meaningful jobs to young people

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 15:24
Link: In a changing world of work, cooperatives provide security and meaningful jobs to young people, new study shows

Brussels, 6 June 2018 – CICOPA, the international organisation of industrial and service cooperatives, has published today a new “Global Study on Youth Cooperative Entrepreneurship”, as part of its campaign “We own it! The future of work is ours”.

The study is based on desk research and on an online survey involving 64 youth cooperatives in the five continents, and shows how – in a world of work deeply reshaped by demographic changes, globalization, technological innovations and youth unemployment – cooperatives can be a concrete tool in the hands of young people for improving their work and entrepreneurship conditions.

The study reveals a quite fresh and dynamic picture of youth cooperatives who took part in the survey. They are primarily active in the service sector, and are highly involved in activities requiring a certain degree of training, specialized knowledge and skills (e.g. telecommunications and information technologies, programming, legal and accounting activities, management, consultancy, research, marketing…). In most cases, they are micro or small-sized enterprises and have reported a positive economic performance and increasing or stable trends in job creation in recent years. They reveal gender equity in management positions and are extremely keen to implement new organizational methods in their business practices (e.g. workplace organisation and governance practices).

Read the rest at CICOPA

 

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Sustainable Food Systems: An interview with Robert Biel

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 15:19
Link: Sustainable Food Systems: An interview with Robert Biel

AF: So what about this term ‘food sovereignty’? That sounds nationalistic in a way…

RB: I think it was always more about community autonomy.  But in a deeper sense, I take your point: we must dare to be normative, not just describe a movement like food sovereignty, but discover what it should be.  A lot about the ‘old’ food sovereignty was resisting the extreme neo-liberal agenda of ‘free’ trade and its disastrous implications for food, and that was all very necessary, but it was only a phase.  In the book I try to place this in a much broader historical context. You have millennia of resistance against exploitative agrarian systems, then against colonialism and imperialism, then against the ‘Green Revolution’ of the Cold War; at an English level, there is an unbroken legacy: the peasants’ revolt, the Diggers of 1649, early 19th century Chartists, the Land and Freedom movement of the 1970s, and some inspiring contemporary stuff. If the ruling agenda is today shifting away from ‘free’ trade, the enduring issues of commons and land rights haven’t changed.

At the same time, today’s food sovereignty must also face up to new challenges.  What has gone haywire (in society and its relations with nature) has been a narrowing, homogenisation, simplification.  Physically, this is seen in the shrinking variety of crops being cultivated, in the strains of each crop etc.; socio-politically this is seen in intolerance, xenophopia, the narrowing of discourses.  If that is permitted, we will have a system (in food, in society) which fractures and disintegrates in the face of shocks.

Read the rest at Climate and Capitalism

 

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After Centuries of Housing Racism, a Southern City Gets Innovative

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 15:11
Link: After Centuries of Housing Racism, a Southern City Gets Innovative

“We are existing in a genocidal condition,” says Nia Umoja, lead organizer of Cooperative Community of New West Jackson. “We need to find lasting solutions for the deep-seated social challenges we face within our community—the distrust, the self-hatred, the miseducation, the despondency, the economic disparities—so that the most vulnerable can take advantage of the opportunities we are unable to see now.”

Founded by residents in 2013, CCNWJ quietly acquired 65 properties from absentee owners and slumlords within a sprawling, largely neglected eight-block area of West Jackson containing vacant lots, commercial and residential property, and long-term lease property. Rather than rehabbing through contractors, the association uses “neighbor labor” for “all renovations,” Umoja says. It also operates a community supported agriculture site and manages the Airbnb-listed Mulberry Tree Guesthouse.

The organization successfully assembled itself alone and under the radar, without much intervention beyond the hard work of its members. Still, Umoja admits that “nobody knows yet if the CLT structure will work for communities here in Jackson.”

Read the rest at YES! Magazine

 

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Interview with Jessica Gordon-Nembhard and Evie Zavidow

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 19:02
Link: Episode 37: Solidarity Economy, Pt 1

This week AND next week, we are spending the hour with Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard and Evie Zavidow.

Evie is the program manager of CEANYC (pronounced scenic) or the Cooperative Economics Alliance of NYC, and is a worker-owner of Sunset Scholars Tutoring Cooperative (and also wants everyone to know that she is a socialist feminist!). Dr. Gordon-Nembard is a political economist and professor of community justice and social economic development in the Africana Studies Department at John Jay College, City University of NY; and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. She has numerous publications on cooperative economics, community economic development, credit unions, wealth inequality, community wealth, and Black political economy.

Listen to more episodes of the Season of the Bitch podcast

 

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Roadmap for radicals

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 18:59
Link: Roadmap for radicals

Activism has lived primarily in the middle and upper-middle classes. That class-based insularity is preventing us from building the power of working people. From radical subcultural circles to non-profit organisations to the Democratic party, the leadership of the broad left over the past 40 years has become concentrated in the top 20 per cent of US society.

We all know about the 1 per cent problem, but we also have a 20 per cent problem. There is a class insularity at the top that affects all kinds of institutions, particularly political institutions. It has made many of them into clubhouses. There are a lot of people for whom the activist identity stands between them and taking action on the issues they care about, because in order to take action on climate or labour or whatever, they have to take on this niche identity which involves them assimilating into a subculture and becoming someone else. And they don’t want to do it.

That should not be a requirement for taking political action. People should be able to come as they are, not having to figure out how to fit into this radical, or liberal, or whatever it is, activist clubhouse.

Read the rest at Red Pepper

 

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Categories: News

Building a cooperative economy

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 19:31
Link: Building a cooperative economy

In permaculture terms the economy sometimes feels like a segregated monoculture planted with terminator seeds, sprayed with patented pesticides on venture capital backed farms designed to maximise profits in an unsustainable market place full of thieves and cheats. No wonder people prefer to potter in their gardens and allotments - and try to forget the craziness of corporate capitalism!

But no matter how much we try to ignore the corporate machine it ploughs on regardless and at various points in all of our lives we are forced to interact with the unsustainable, greed-based economy whether we like it or not. We all need to travel, buy energy, we like presents and holidays and now we are buying more and more of these goods and services online, from people we do not know.

As local banks close in favour of apps, local taxis are driven out by Uber and the likes of Airbnb and other holiday and comparison websites offer us 'guaranteed savings' - the brave new world of digital platforms is being thrust upon us, whether we like it or not.

Read the rest at the Permaculture Association blog

 

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Phoenix bike co-op offers parts, labor and a place to find independence

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 17:14
Link: Phoenix bike co-op offers parts, labor and a place to find independence

Walk into the Rusty Spoke and you'll find organized chaos. Used tires hang from a side wall, tubes pile on the floor and rims dangle from the ceiling, catching light from a half-open garage door. People crowd a work station, tinkering with parts and tools alongside bins filled with brake components.

Bill McComas is a long-time volunteer at the shop and bicycle advocate who leads monthly group rides in Phoenix. He's often at the front of the Rusty Spoke when it opens, explaining the rules of the co-op to new arrivals and helping others around the garage with tools or parts.

"We are a volunteer-run community bike shop, so we don't have any paid employees," McComas said. "We don't charge for teaching people how to work on bikes, we don't charge for using our tools or equipment."

Read the rest at The Arizona Republic

 

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Stocksy United Removes its Membership Cap

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 17:05
Link: With Growth on the Horizon, Stocksy United Removes its Membership Cap

For the first time since inception in 2012, Stocksy United, an artist-owned photography + cinematography co-op run by some of the world’s best creatives and innovators, has announced that it will remove its original artist and employee multi-stakeholder class limits and open the doors to new contributors. Stocksy’s member-owners have decided to expand its membership bases in an effort to meet ongoing client demand, succeed in new markets, and remain relevant and competitive through ongoing diversification.

This vote for removing the membership limit was run through the company’s new co-op resolution process which was carefully designed to utilize a balance of automation and valuable ‘old-school’ committee work facilitating transparency to, and voting by, its members who are spread out over 65+ countries speaking a myriad of languages.

With a 1,000 member limit in place for contributing artists, Stocksy found it necessary to regularly review and remove inactive members. By removing the limit, the company can now allow for an increase in the number of co-op members while also retaining current members and their content. With this positive change, Stocksy can continue to grow its existing collection of close to 1 million highly curated photos and videos while giving new photographers and filmmakers the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented visual artists in the industry.

Read the rest at Co-operatives First

 

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ROC USA: Better Together

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 16:41
Link: ROC USA

Co-op leaders, affiliate staff, and ROC USA President Paul Bradley lay out how and why ROC USA does what it does through the lens of four resident-owned communities.

Watch more from ROC USA  Go to the GEO front page
Categories: News

PeerTube, a free and federated video platform

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:18
Link: PeerTube, a free and federated video platform

PeerTube is a practical answer to all video-tubes that centralize our data and attention. With it, videos can be hosted by the people, with the people, for the people.

PeerTube is a software anyone can install on a server, to get a data-friendly video-hosting platform, called a PeerTube Instance. PeerTube combines:

  ○ A free-libre license, that guarantees code transparency and legally allows you to use and contribute to the software;

  ○ A federation system, to widen the audience of the videos you host by syncing your instance with the ones you choose to (within the federation);

  ○ Peer-to-peer streaming, to make streaming resilient and fast  when a video goes viral.

Read the rest and support the project at Kiss Kiss Bank Bank

 

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Paywalls vs Creative Commons

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:09
Link: Paywalls vs Creative Commons: Experiments with Patreon, Medium and LeanPub

Last year I wrote about my dilemma: I have an ethical commitment to the commons, and I want to make a living from my writing. I want to publish all my creative work for free, and I am at my most creative when I have a reliable income. In that story I shared my long history of writing on the web, and my desire to free up time for more ambitious writing projects. Since then I have made a bunch of experiments with different ways of making money from my writing, including Patreon, the Medium Partner Program and LeanPub.

This week I was asked why one of my stories was locked behind a paywall, so I wanted to report on the progress of my income-generating experiments, and explore the ethical considerations of these different options.

Read the rest at Medium

 

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Workers to Owners: The Story of A Yard and a Half

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:39
Link: Workers to Owners: The Story of A Yard and a Half

A Yard and a Half Landscaping employees bought the business from a retiring founder. Now it’s a thriving worker cooperative in Boston.

One in three small business owners will retire in the next fifteen years. This story, one of three stories in a campaign from the Democracy at Work Institute, illustrate how employee buyouts can save local small businesses and help employees build assets. This strategy is particularly meaningful in communities of color and low- and moderate-income communities where asset ownership levels are well below average and legacy businesses may be more fragile than they appear.

Watch more from the Democracy at Work Institute

 

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Beyond Civil Rights: Economic Democracy

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:33
Link: Beyond Civil Rights: Economic Democracy

In June 1968, a group of eight American civil rights and land reform activists travelled to Israel with a plan that was ambitious, if not outright radical. They made the journey in order to study the legal foundations and management practices behind the Jewish National Fund’s leasehold system, and to use this knowledge to advance the civil rights movement and broad-based land reform.

One of these activists was Robert Swann, co-author of The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America

Read the rest at the P2P Foundation blog

 

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Harvest Co-op Markets Hiring Community Organizer

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:27
Link: HARVEST CO-OP MARKETS COMMUNITY AND MEMBER ORGANIZER

Harvest needs your help! Do you believe in the power of a community-ownership; of local, natural and organic food; of the cooperative model? Harvest Co-op Markets, Greater Boston’s largest consumer owned grocery store, is looking to hire a membership organizer to coordinate two major campaigns this summer.

Read more and apply

 

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The Workers' Economy at Left Forum

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 18:00
Categories: News

Casa Nueva: a worker-owned workplace

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 17:18
Link: Casa Nueva: a worker-owned workplace

A staple of the Athens community, Casa serves as an example of how worker-owned businesses can operate smoothly.

 

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Little Italian villages show the way to a cooperative economy

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 16:31
Link: Little Italian villages show the way to a cooperative economy

 

Op-ed: We've seen a number of platform cooperatives, which integrate the practices of cooperatives in digital platforms by democratizing control and ownership, crop up in the U.S. These organizations are formed with the goal of countering extractive platforms that promote digital capitalism. While these platforms are often started in order to create a cooperative model, in Old Europe, the road appears to go in the other direction. It consists of cooperation between global digital platforms and bottom-up initiatives by community enterprises, located in small villages in Italy — away from the bright lights of Smart Cities. Distinguishing the two paths is necessary for discussion and collaboration.

For example, take Lavenone, a little village near Brescia in the north of Italy, one of the so-called "authentic villages" where Airbnb decided to invest. What is interesting is that the country managers of the digital platform won’t be greeted by a handful of hosts scattered around the village and the surrounding areas, but rather by a structured network of citizens, social enterprises, and local authorities. This was possible thanks to the resources allocated by Fondazione Cariplo, aimed at regenerating the economy of this region.

Likewise, Calceranica is a village located near Trento in the north of the country with approximately 1,000 residents and 600 homes for tourists that used to be empty. In this case, a little private agency focused on local development, along with the municipality, decided to pool these underused resources and transform them in a sort of "selling group" through a strategy of coordinated communication on the booking platform.

Read the rest at Shareable

 

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The Potential of Cooperative Food Delivery Platforms

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 16:16

This collaborative culture fostered among organised couriers is the first step to be able to co-develop their own food delivery platforms. That is the idea behind “coopcycle.org”, an open source food delivery app licensed under the peer-to-peer foundation and co-operatively managed by its developers and any riders who want to use it. A forum of food couriers from across Europe are planning to implement it in France and Germany, while riders in Spain are on the verge of launching their own cooperative version of the Deliveroo app in Barcelona.

These co-owned delivery platforms could offer a meaningful business alternative to Foodora, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and co where the profits of the company go to those who are actually “driving” it, and where workers can enjoy better working conditions, safe contracts, sick pay, holidays and above all, respect.  Co-ownership wouldn’t just mean sharing the profits, it would also mean  democratic governance and accountability, as well as transparency on the use of workers’ data, and the functions of the algorithms that dictate couriers’ day to day work.

A cooperative business could also offer competitive prices. While Deliveroo charges an extortionate 30% to restaurants for each order, a cooperative model could reduce this charge once core costs are covered. For example, once an order reaches over £15 the cooperative has made enough to cover the rider’s wage and other outgoings, meaning orders over that amount could become cheaper.

Read the rest at openDemocracy

 

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Shared ownership needs shared governance

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 03:06
Link: Shared ownership needs shared governance

As part of our governance edition, Co-op News sent questions to Trebor Scholz, scholar-activist and associate professor for culture and media at The New York School in New York city about issues surrounding platform co-operatives.

What particular challenges do platform co-operatives face when it comes to governance – for instance with regard to rapidly changing technology or the ownership of data?

Co-operativism is not merely about shared ownership, it is most of all, about democratic governance. But as central as shared governance is to the co-operative model, it is also an important challenge for most types of cooperatives, not solely platform co-ops. At times, people in co-ops find it onerous to agree on even the most basic issues of how to run their organisation. 

But also the tyranny of distance presents a problem for governance. Take agricultural co-ops in rural Gujarat (India), for instance. It’s not easy for the women who work on far-flung farmlands to really feel as members of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). How can they start to participate in the day-to-day activities of this federation of co-ops? The problem does not disappear when co-ops join the digital economy.

In a democracy, we should all have the opportunity to participate in the shaping of the structures on which we depend most. But one of the pathologies of platform capitalism is that it trains people to be followers; it primes them to think of themselves as workers instead of collective owners. It’s hard to change  mindsets overnight.

Read the rest at Co-operative News

 

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