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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: 6 min ago

Conceptual Framework for Cooperative Statistics

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:52
Link: Conceptual Framework for the Purpose of Measurement of Cooperatives and its Operationalization

At the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) held in Geneva  in  October  2013,  government,  workers’  and  employers’ representatives reaffirmed the importance of obtaining more comprehensive and internationally comparable statistics on cooperatives. Pursuant to this the ICLS adopted a Resolution concerning further work on statistics of cooperatives. The Resolution recommended that the International Labour Office,  in cooperation with the ILO’s constituents and interested National Statistical Offices, carry out further developmental work on the measurement of cooperatives, in particular on the number and characteristics of cooperatives, members of cooperatives, workers employed in cooperatives and value added by cooperatives.  

Since then the ILO Department of Statistics and the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department have been working together on advancing the understanding of statistics on cooperatives. Through this joint initiative, and in collaboration with other partners, a number of outputs, including an analysis of statistics on cooperatives in more than 70 countries around the world and 11 country case studies, have been produced. The “Conceptual Framework on Measurement of Cooperatives and its Operationalization” is the latest of these outputs which defines and describes key concepts concerning the identification and classification of cooperatives, including a discussion on core components and boundary areas, for measurement.

Read the full report on the ILO website


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Welsh solar farm named community renewable project of the year

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 16:59
Link: Welsh solar farm named community renewable project of the year

The Community Renewable Energy Project Award has been won by a Gower-based organisation, Gower Regeneration Ltd.

The award, sponsored by the Renewable Energy Association, is given to:The most commendable sustainable electricity generation project undertaken by a community group across Wales and England.”

The project, Wales’s first community-owned solar farm, has 3,658 solar panels and is based on top of an old coal mine and next to a school.

It produces enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 300 homes, and all profits  – estimated at more than £500,000 through the 30-year life of the project – will be reinvested in other eco-projects and education about sustainable development.

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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Biodiesel co-op launches in New Zealand

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 18:23
Link: Biodiesel co-op launches in New Zealand to recycle cooking oil as fuel

A group of friends are forming a biodiesel co-op in Kapiti, New Zealand, to reduce waste and lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 86%.

The co-op will collect cooking oil from local businesses and restaurants so they can filter and process it into a fuel that can be used in any diesel engine without modification. It uses biodiesel processor BioPro190 technology to convert the oil.

One of the key figures behind the project is Matt Lamason, founder and director of the People’s Coffee in Kapiti, who wanted a sustainable solution for the problem of waste cooking oil in his business.

“The idea came from visiting a small farmer in Australia who was making biodiesel in his backyard,” he said.

“I thought, we can do that – and here in NZ, we eat a lot of fried fish and chips. So the waste oil was a factor in seeing the gap in the market for a local, small-scale fuel project that has the potential to reproduce around NZ and maybe in the Pacific islands where fossil diesel is at very high prices.”

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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Why there should be more support for co-op businesses in Detroit

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 17:59
Link: Cooperation is key: Why there should be more support for co-op businesses in Detroit

The good news is that cooperative businesses are not new in Detroit, and there's currently an increased effort to create more. 

The Detroit People's Food Co-op, a membership based cooperative, is in the final stages of planning before they break ground on a  brand new building in the North End. The Cooperation Group in Highland Park and The Center for Community Based Enterprise in Midtown are fully-equipped technical support service providers that help with cooperative business development. The recently founded Detroit Community Wealth Fund is dedicated to providing non-extractive loans to cooperative businesses in the city.

In Southwest Detroit, Grace In Action aspires to be a cooperative incubator, cultivating their collectives into fully functioning cooperative businesses. They recently incubated their first co-op, Cleaning In Action, a women-owned cleaning cooperative. The women had previously worked for temp agencies and now make a living wage.

Co-founder Maria Perez hopes her business will inspire others. "This co-op helps women in our neighborhood. If we tell others about it, the idea will catch on. I see that this will open doors for others, especially younger generations."

Read the rest at Model D


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Institute for Solidarity Economics relaunches as a co-op

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 17:47
Link: Institute for Solidarity Economics relaunches as a co-op

The Institute for Solidarity Economics has transitioned to a multi-stakeholder co-operative and relaunched as the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA).

Founded in Oxford in 2014, the organisation is dedicated to researching ways of bringing together organisations, initiatives and movements who are working to change the current economic system to address pressing social and environmental issues.

“The aim of the organisation has always been to find ways of bringing together the diverse range of movements within the UK working to create a fairer, more democratic society that works for everyone,” said SEA chair and co-founder, Colm Massey. “Now is a really exciting time to be relaunching ourselves, and to be clear about who we are and who we represent.”

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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Anti-Capitalist Practice & Local Organizing Work

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 19:02
Link: Marxism 101: Anti-Capitalist Practice & Local Organizing Work

As part of Center for Political Education's Marxism 101 class, Irma Salvatierra Shauf-Bajar (GABRIELA USA), Linda Evans (All of Us or None), Jill Shenker (National Domestic Workers Alliance) and Gopal Dayaneni (Movement Generation) discuss anti-capitalist theory and practice in grassroots organizing work. Irma Salvatierra Shauf-Bajar is the Chairperson of Gabriela USA’s National Executive Committee. GABRIELA is an alliance of over 200 groups in the Philippines fighting for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and for all Filipinos. GABRIELA-USA brings that struggle to the United States and operates in six regions of this country. She also has a history of organizing for queer liberation and community safety. Linda Evans is a life-long anti-imperialist and anti-racist activist. She was a political prisoner for 16 years, released from federal prison in 2001. Since then, she has been a co-founder and organizer with All of Us or None and works statewide and nationally to support other social justice organizations. Jill Shenker has been doing domestic worker organizing for the past 15 years, first with the San Francisco Day Labor Program Women's Collective and then with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and International Domestic Workers Federation. In addition, she has been involved in white anti-racist organizing & education; arts activism, including as a collective owner of Liberation Ink; queer and Jewish youth organizing, and Jewish anti-zionist Palestine solidarity work. Gopal Dayaneni is a staff collective and planning committee member for Movement Generation. He is a campaigner, trainer, advocate, and parent who 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, and works at the intersection of ecology, economy and empire.

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There is no hierarchy in sociocracy…right?

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:57
Link: There is no hierarchy in sociocracy… right?

[T]here is hierarchy, but it is not hierarchy of people. It is a hierarchy of levels of specificity. The questions a work group (circle) will deal with on a shop floor will be different from the questions asked in a circle that does 5-year planning. This does not mean that one tier is more valuable or more difficult. It only means that they are different levels to pay attention to. Everyone, in their personal lives, makes decisions in a narrow scope (What am I eating for lunch?) and decisions that have a larger impact (Am I moving abroad?). If we walk around addressing only the question of whether or not we are moving abroad, no one is cooking lunch. If we only focus about meal planning, then we will ignore other areas of our lives. But then again, if I think about moving plans while I am cooking, my meal might not be the best I ever cooked.

Read the rest at Medium


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A New Co-operative Shop Opens in Afrin

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:54
Link: A New Co-operative Shop Opens in Afrin

Six people in Qestel Xidir village in the area of Bulbul have opened a co-operative society in co-ordination with the Centre for Economic Development. The shop will satisfy people’s needs for food and cleaning products in the surrounding villages. Each participant is paying 3,000 SYP [Syrian Pounds], and the shop’s rent is 5,000 SYP per month.

Two people are working in the shop, one woman and an elderly man who both live in the village. The shop opens at 7:00 am and shuts at 10:00 pm.

Read the rest at Co-operative Economy in Rojava and Bakur


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Maximising Economic Democracy and Justice in a Real-World Economy

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 20:16
Link: Maximising Economic Democracy and Justice in a Real-World Economy

There are different views on the meaning of the terms economic democracy and economic justice, which aspects of the concepts that should be emphasised, and how they can and should be achieved in a real-world economy.

According to one broad definition, economic democracy is about “… the citizens’ ability to influence economic developments in general or the economic decisions of their own workplace”. Some believe that this can and should be achieved within the framework and institutions of capitalism i.e. private ownership and markets, by making employees and sometimes also citizens in general, shareholders of corporations, for example via Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other similar tools. The term “inclusive capitalism” is sometimes used in this context. Such a version of economic democracy can often be embraced also by politicians on the right of the political spectrum.

Read the rest at CounterPunch


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Transforming economies to sustainability, solidarity

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 19:38
Link: Columnists Brennan Tierney and Boone Shear: Transforming economies to sustainability, solidarity

The monumental 2017 publication, “Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet,” invites readers to learn new ways to understand ourselves in the face of unprecedented social and ecological turmoil.

As part of this rethinking, scholars marshal research that upends the most fundamental unit of biological and social analysis — the individual. Building from the work of famed University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Lynn Margulis, one essay shows the proliferation and importance of nonhuman cells that comprise human bodies. Another essay proposes that evolution depends in part on relationships between species, and not simply individual fitness. And yet another essay argues that collective behavior might best be understood as an emergent process, rather than as a planned outcome.

These growing scientific insights are profound. They suggest that our very existence depends not on individual success, but on a deepening understanding of and attunement to our interrelationships with others — both human and otherwise.

Just as biological research challenges what we thought we knew about our own survival, unorthodox ideas about economy — about how we make, distribute, and consume stuff — are taking hold in communities across Massachusetts. These projects center cooperation and community, unsettling the long-held axioms of self-interest and competition thought to constitute a healthy economy.

Read the rest at the Daily Hampshire Gazette


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The English City With Its Own Cryptocurrency

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:39
Link: The English City With Its Own Cryptocurrency

I notice many similarities between HullCoin and things like time banks and loyalty reward programs. Could you talk a little bit about the things that influenced you, and what types of programs were you looking at when you developed the concept for HullCoin?

Bovill: We do have a local time bank, and we work closely with the time bank. It's similar in that we are looking at non-monetary value systems. But we are different in lots of ways: It's not just an hour for an hour. We are looking for a reward system that isn't based on time, it's based on social outcomes. HullCoin has a value, in terms of being able to redeem it for goods or services in a way that a time credit doesn't have. What we want to do is interact with the time bank in a way that allows us to exchange those non-monetary value systems with each other and to create something like a varied secondary economy.

Shepherdson: When we were looking at mutual credit systems and local currencies — there are a lot of local currencies in the U.K. — the predominant ones are the Bristol Pound and the Brixton Pound — what we saw was that there were mutual credit systems (such as time banks) which are user-to-user exchanges, but local currencies were all effectively pegged to fiat currency. Like Lisa said, we were looking around the anti-poverty strategy in the city and we wanted something that would be generated into existence through social outcomes.

We looked at Bitcoin and blockchain technology as a decentralized clearing house which gave us regulatory freedom. It was 2014 when we started looking at this. In the U.K. certainly, a lot of what was going on with Bitcoin and blockchain was still cottage industry. I mean, kids were still mining cryptocurrency in their bedrooms.

Read the rest at Shareable


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Organic Valley Aims to Go 100% Solar

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:32
Link: Organic farm co-op aims to be world’s largest food producer to use 100% renewable energy

Organic Valley, America’s largest co-operative of organic farmers, is set to become one of the largest food companies in the world to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

The co-op is collaborating with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG) and OneEnergy Renewables to create the solar community partnership. Together, the partners will initiate over 12 megawatts (MW) of solar installations in Wisconsin.

The electricity created by this partnership will not only enable Organic Valley to cover 100% of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2019 but also increase overall solar energy use in Wisconsin by 15%. Beyond the 12 MW project portfolio, an additional 17-plus MW expected to be constructed as well, resulting in nearly 30 MW of new solar in the region. Organic Valley will purchase renewable energy credits from the solar projects near their headquarters and distribution centre enabling the co-operative to be fully renewable-powered.

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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How Cooperation Jackson Works

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 17:12
Link: How Cooperation Jackson Works: An Interview with Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D. and Kali Akuno

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D. and Kali Akuno, co-authors of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Self-Determination in Jackson Mississippi, are interviewed by host Chuck Mertz on the radio show "This is Hell!", WNUR 89.3FM Chicago. This is Episode 976: "From the Wreck Age", broadcast October 28th. The interview runs from approximately 1:00:44 to 2:04:45 on this marathon four and a half hour program.


More from Cooperation Jackson


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Co-ops developing a flood damage rehabilitation program for Nepal

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 17:04
Link: Co-ops developing a flood damage rehabilitation programme for Nepal

The National Cooperative Federation of Nepal (NCF/N) estimates that 31 out of 77 districts in Nepal have been affected by the flood and landslides due to heavy monsoon rains in the month of August. One hundred and twenty three people have lost their lives and thousands have been displaced from their homes. As informed by member organisations from the affected areas, office equipment, construction materials and stock such as seeds and fertilisers have been lost.

Many co-operatives have stepped up efforts using their own resources to support affected people by providing relief materials. NCF/N has contributed Rs.2.5 million to the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund from the Co-operative Disaster Relief Fund. NCF/N is the process of collecting data of losses in the sector and drawing up a plan to support their members financially and technically.

Read the rest at the International Co-operative Alliance


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Five Ways Co-ops Are Countering Corporate Power

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 16:59
Link: Five Ways Co-ops Are Countering Corporate Power in Cities

As local economies suffer from market concentration in economic sectors ranging from retail to banking, cooperatives across industries are helping to strengthen communities and keep resources local.

This is nothing new; cooperatives have a long history of serving local needs. Today, the cooperative ownership structure continues to create equal economic opportunity and counter concentrated corporate power. From innovative business arrangement to community-owned renewable energy, here are five ways cooperatives are making a difference.

Read the rest at Next City


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First Ever Conference of Co-operatives Held in Northern Syria

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 18:38
Link: First ever conference of co-operatives held in northern Syria

The UK co-operative movement has sent a message of solidarity to its fellow co-operators in the Democratic Federation of North Syria (Rojava) as the first ever conference of co-operatives is held in the region.

This historic event has been co-ordinated by new Unions of Co-operatives which have recently been established in all the cantons and regions of Rojava.

The Solidarity Statement from the UK co-operative movement to the First Conference of Co-operatives in North Syria has been signed by 35 organisations to date, including the Solidarity Economy Association, Co-operatives UK, The Co-operative College, Students for Co-operation, members of Radical Routes and other workers’ and housing co-operatives all around the UK.

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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The Commonwealth Network: A Theory And Model For Political Production

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 18:32
Link: The Commonwealth Network: A Theory And Model For Political Production

Ever since I first read about it, the notion of the union co-op model has fascinated me.

Introduced in 2012 and created through a partnership between United Steelworkers and Mondragon International, this model sought to create a new avenue of growth of the American labor movement in the wake of the increasingly emerging breakdown of the model of exclusive representation. Built on the Ten Basic Principles advanced by Mondragon but adapted for the unique structures of American labor law, the union co-op model has seen some uptake across the United States, but certainly not as much as USW or Mondragon might have hoped.

In addition to this, there’s another major political effort focused around cooperative enterprise whose model serves as inspiration for this: Cooperation Jackson.

Built on decades of organizing by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) in Jackson, MS, Cooperation Jackson saw a major breakthrough in 2013, when Chokwe Lumumba, a lawyer and organizer most famous for representing Geronimo Pratt of the Black Panther Party and Tupac Shakur, was elected as Mayor of Jackson on a platform of economic redevelopment focused around developing cooperative enterprises in the majority-Black city of Jackson. Fruit of the MXGM’s Jackson-Kush Plan originated by Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson had barely gotten off the boards when Mayor Lumumba died suddenly in 2014. Subsequently, a political foe of Mayor Lumumba’s, Tony Yarber, defeated Mayor Lumumba’s son Chokwe Antar Lumumba in a special election to fill the vacant mayorship. Yarber subsequently stopped most of the more radical programs that Mayor Lumumba had just started to implement. 

Read the rest at The South Lawn


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Power & Leadership Workshop in Philadelphia

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 18:47
Link: Power & Leadership (sliding scale registration fee)

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  -Alice Walker

What's this workshop about? 
In order to use power to effect positive change in our organizations, we have to develop a good relationship with it.  Yes, power can be abused, corrupting, and hoarded.  Power can also be helpful, edifying, and shared.  What’s your relationship to power in your organization?  What do you know about your own power?  How can you shift your understanding of power to better equip you to lead?

This workshop is designed to motivate leaders to stand responsibly in their own power.  To do so, participants will:

  • Explore how different types of power function resulting in deeper organizational awareness
  • Identify how formal and informal power show up in their own experiences and how to leverage those to lead better and help others step up into power
  • Recognize barriers to acquiring power so as to identify opportunities for organizational shifts away from bias and discrimination

Read the rest and register here


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Strange Things in Community Power Law

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 18:35
Link: Stranger things...

But as we began working toward this vision for community-owned renewable energy, strange things started turning up. We found that you can’t share power with your neighbors even if your roof could produce enough solar power for the both of you. And it’s legally very difficult to pool resources to build and access energy from a neighborhood solar project. Ultimately, most people aren’t able to access local solar energy because they are renters, have poor credit scores, or don’t have enough sun exposure on their roof for solar panels.

Stranger yet, there is a lot of money incentivizing solar for some people, but not as much for low to moderate-income households. Solar tax credits are available for homeowners and wealthy investors, but what about everyone else?

Read the rest at the Sustainable Economies Law Center


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