Grassroots Economic Survival

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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: 45 min 16 sec ago

Co-operatives sustain a tenth of the world's population

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:56
Link: Co-operatives sustain a tenth of the world's population reveals CICOPA report

Co-operatives employ almost 10 per cent of the world’s population a new report has revealed.

Based on data from 156 countries, the estimate shows that employment in or within the scope of co-operatives concerns at least 279.4 million people across the globe - equating to 9.46 oer cent of the world’s employed population. The figures are revealed in CICOPA's second global report on Co-operatives and Employment.

Some 27.2 million work in co-operatives, including around 16 million co-operative employees and 11.1 million worker-members. Employment within the scope of co-operatives, comprising mainly self-employed producer-members, concerns over 252.2 million people with the vast majority being in agriculture.

Read the rest at Co-operatives UK


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Categories: News

CDF's Disaster Recovery Fund for Puerto Rico

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:41
Link: Disaster Recovery Fund

Cooperatives in Puerto Rico Need Help


The extent of the destruction in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria is heart breaking.

Mildred Santiago, President of the Cooperative League of Puerto Rico reports that the situation is dire, "There are lines for food, gas, ice, and for taking out cash. The landscape is devastated and the mood is falling every day."

Even after the immediate needs for food, water, shelter, power and medical aid have been met, cooperative businesses on the Island will need to rebuild. Puerto Rico's vibrant and vital cooperative movement is significantly impacted by the storm's damage. In one village, flooded with seven feet of water, the local credit union is in desperate need of a generator so that the large rural population it serves can access their cash. Cooperatives also report a need for basic items like batteries, lanterns, canned food and bottled water.

Help us help hurricane-damaged cooperatives in Puerto Rico get back in operation with a donation to the CDF Disaster Recovery Fund.  
Concern for Community

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents across Texas, Louisiana and Florida.  The cooperative community has responded quickly and generously to the crisis.  Now CDF is asking that you consider making a donation to help co-ops in Puerto Rico recover as well.  

CDF will coordinate with local organizations on the island to get assistance to cooperatives in need.  100% of the donations to the CDF Cooperative Disaster Recovery Fund go to disaster recovery. CDF does not use disaster recovery funds to pay for any of its operating expenses or fund administrative costs.

Help our co-op colleagues in Puerto Rico with a donation to CDF's Disaster Recovery Fund.  Donate here.
If you prefer to write a check, you can send your donation to CDF at 1775 Eye St NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20006; please note that your donation is for Hurricane Disaster Recovery.

Donations to CDF may be tax-deductible and donors of $25 or more will receive a letter of acknowledgement which can be used for tax records.



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Categories: News

City Market's 2017 Member Loan Campaign Q&A

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:30
Link: City Market's 2017 Member Loan Campaign Q&A

A conversation with Allison Hope of City Market about their newly launched member loan campaign in support of the co-op's new South End store. Details about the offering can be found at:

Watch more from Cooperative Vermont


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Categories: News

Platform Coop 2017: Technology Afterparty

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:19
Link: Platform Coop 2017: Technology Afterparty

After ideas emerge from on Nov. 10 & 11, let's turn tthe best ones into action.

CoLab Coop is excited to help convene an after-party for our fellow platform-coop obsessed tech developers and platform designers to come together and learn from one-another, connect, and co-create.

This event is co-sponsored by the Platform Cooperative Consortium. Want to co-co-sponsor? Email!

Technologists and designers who work on - or are interested in working on - platform cooperative projects.

We’ll meet in an open space format to discuss projects, share tools, and collaborate on building technological infrastructure for the platform co-op economy.

11am-12:30pm, we’ll get together for food and sharing of our experience developing coop tech platforms and sharing the technologies we are most excited about using to build the infrastructure for platform cooperativism.
1-4pm, we’ll use our open space to gather around shared interests and opportunities! Be ready to dream big with others, and to get real about the first steps we can take, together.

Read the rest and get tickets on Facebook


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Categories: News

As Mobile Home Parks Go Up For Sale, Residents Look At Cooperative Ownership

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 15:53
Link: As Mobile Home Parks Go Up For Sale, Residents Look At Cooperative Ownership

Vermont has one of the strongest mobile home park laws in the country, and Bond helps the residents navigate the law.

Bond says when a landowner wants to sell a park, the law says residents have to be told before a sale goes through, and the residents also get about five months to organize and make an offer.

If the residents of a mobile home park want to try to buy the property, they typically come together to form a cooperative.

Read the rest and listen to the story at VPR News


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Categories: News

Could London Set Up A Nonprofit, Cooperative Alternative To Uber?

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 15:38
Link: Could London Set Up A Nonprofit, Cooperative Alternative To Uber?

[I]nstead of relying on Uber and other venture capital-backed startups, London has another option if it wants it. It could set up–or encourage–a nonprofit ride service like the one started by tech entrepreneurs in Austin. RideAustin, now 15 months old, has proved that Uber’s proposition isn’t unique and that cities needn’t be cowed into accepting the writ of outside corporations. The homegrown alternative offers something as good (according to many users), but in a way that’s more homely and, dare we say it, equitable.

The New Economics Foundation, a London-based think tank focused on more cooperative economic models, has been campaigning for “Khan’s Cars” in London–a mutually owned alternative to Uber. The name echoes “Boris Bikes” (the colloquial name for the city’s successful bike-share system championed by former mayor Boris Johnson) and is meant as a challenge to the current mayor Sadiq Khan, says Duncan McCann, a researcher at NEF.  The idea is to re-employ the drivers who now stand to lose some of their livelihoods, but on more favorable terms–for both drivers and the city–than what Uber is offering.

Read the rest at Fast Company


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Categories: News

"Cooperatives Commit" is 2017 Co-op Month Theme

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 21:33
Link: 2017 Co-op Month Press Release

Cooperatives Commit” is the theme for National Cooperative Month in October, which cooperatives are urged to include in their communications and outreach activities. The theme can be used on its own, or extended with sub-themes, such as: Cooperatives Commit to Members; Cooperatives Commit to Communities; Cooperatives Commit to Jobs; Cooperatives Commit to Powering Rural America; or Cooperatives Commit to Agriculture.   

“Cooperatives commit in countless ways to meeting the needs of their members and communities, so this theme can be customized to best reflect the mission and services provided by your co-op,” said Sara Schoenborn, co-chair of the National Co-op Month Planning Committee and Director of Communications for Cooperative Network. “We hope every co-op will plan some type of communications effort to help spread the word in October about why cooperatives are so important to your community, region and to the nation,” Schoenborn added.

Read the rest at the 2017 Co-op Month website


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Categories: News

How to Finance Your Worker Coop

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 21:03
Link: How to Finance Your Worker Coop

For business owners who are considering selling their company to their employees, one of the first questions is often how the sale can be financed. As with any small business loan or investment, there are a range of options as to the sources and types of capital. A selling business owner and the potential new worker owners need to think carefully about how to finance the sale of the business, and the timeline and terms of payback.

In this article, we outline the typical ways that business conversions to worker cooperatives are financed, including seller-financing, worker-financing, debt, equity (including direct public offerings), and crowd-funding.

Read the rest at


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Categories: News

Making Movies About Systems

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 19:47
Link: Making Movies About Systems: Sabaah Folayan - Whose Streets?

Making movies about systems, not symptoms, this week on The Laura Flanders Show we'll talk with one of the directors of the documentary Whose Streets?. As the news cameras left Ferguson, Missouri, after the police killing of Michael Brown, Sabaah Folayan and her team stayed on to document what happens to people subjected to police violence as a matter of routine.

Watch the episode at The Laura Flanders Show


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Categories: News

Union Cooperative Strategy

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 17:22
Link: Union Cooperative Strategy

In 2009 I participated in a factory occupation. Workers at the Visteon plant in Enfield had barricaded themselves in, demanding a humane redundancy package after being given five minutes notice to clear out their lockers. Living next door, myself with several others volunteered as guards during the graveyard shifts to make sure management thugs didn’t try to remove the machinery at some unfortunate hour like 4am. A lot could be said about this whole event, but the incident which comes to mind most prominently was a particular factory floor mass meeting which took place after about a week of occupation.

The workers were debating what to do next, and without influence from the smorgasbord of lefty groups attending, began to discuss a full takeover – to start operating the factory again, without bosses. They not only assumed automatically that everyone would be getting roughly the same wage, they also quickly realised they didn’t even want to make automobile components but something more environmentally friendly and useful to the local community, and began to sketch out ideas for what else might be different under worker control.

Read the rest at New Syndicalist


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Categories: News

A Log in Our Eye

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:34

by Josh Davis

Malikia Johnson recently penned what I think is an important article on the ways in which in-group norms and lingo in social justice activism serve to exclude and alienate people who we, by all rights, should be working with.  Our insistence on a very specific understanding of the world and the proper ways to exist in it serve to hinder our stated goals of building a more harmonious world, since it precludes us from working towards harmony with people who aren't already "singing our tune."  It's an attitude that can quickly slide into outright intolerance.  Here's Malikia's example (emphasis added):

For instance, I was recently a part of a conversation between two Black American men, an Asian American woman, and a Black American woman. The two Black American men were inquiring about the term “people of color” and who was included in such a term. They expressed their confusion with Asian cultures being included because of the  relationship often seen between the Asian American and Black American communities in low-income urban areas (i.e. nail shops, take out places, liquor stores, and hair stores). The Asian American and Black American women proceeded to scold them for their ignorance about the inclusivity of oppression, using words such as “problematic,” “intersectionality” and “silencing.” This conversation left the two Black men more confused about the subject rather than leaving them with an understanding of the women’s point of view. They felt ostracized by the language used and worse, completely misunderstood by the two women. This was in a space that claimed to be about “collective liberation.”

If people who show up at one of our events are made to feel ostracized and misunderstood for simply having the temerity to ask a question about how a term that refers to them is being used, something has gone pretty far least in my book.  And while Malikia focuses on "millennial" social justice groups and activists, this is an issue that is not exclusive to youth-led orgs or people born between 1980 and 2000....which is why I wasn't really too surprised that her article hasn't gotten nearly as many re-tweets, shares, etc. as our more feel-good/we're-so-awesome content.  It's like alcoholism - one of the hardest parts is just admitting you have a problem. 

I think the psychology of what's going on here goes something like this:  People who are drawn to this work are, almost by definition, unsatisfied with things-as-they-are.  As such, we all have a lot of experience being told we're wrong, that the status quo is good and just, that our complaints are invalid and that we deserve whatever society-as-presently-constituted has provided for us, and that to demand anything more, or other, is simply whiny entitlement...that sort of thing.

Eventually, we all find "our tribe" of other societal malcontents and we create our shared critiques and criticisms of things-as-they-are.  We find our personal validation in these shared understandings — in finally having others around who "think like I do," and who don't tell you that you're wrong or stupid for being unhappy with the status quo.  That personal validation is important, and even salvific for some of us,  but it's very value can make us overly eager to defend it against all attacks...both real and imagined.  We all too easily fall prey to the status quo's black-and-white, you're-either-with-us-or-against-us manner of thinking, and so treat everyone who isn't 100% with us as if they are 100% against us.  The result is that someone asks a nuanced question about a particular bit of in-group lingo, and they're treated as if they were an ignorant enemy and oppressor, instead of a curious ally...or even better, as just another one of us.

This attitude is a denial of the nuance of reality that serves only to limit the number of people who we will be willing to work with, and who will be willing to work with us — i.e. it will greatly limit our impact.  As Malikia puts it, "Future generations cannot afford for us to think we have reached a stage of awareness that others must reach before engaging in a meaningful conversation with us."

Like I said, I think it's an important issue, that needs to be addressed but practically never is.  I'm hoping that maybe here at GEO, we can mull it over a bit.


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Visions & Models: solidarity economyRegions: United StatesMovements & Struggles: Peace Building
Categories: News

Are Co-ops the Future of a Sustainable Restaurant Industry?

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 16:06
Link: Are Co-ops the Future of a Sustainable Restaurant Industry?

Desmond says she sees a resurgence of interest in co-ops largely because worker-owner turnover is extremely low. The majority of the Lakeshore Arizmendi's current 30 worker-owners have been there for more than 13 years. Since Desmond started in 2000, the number of owners has doubled and sales have quadrupled, she said.

Desmond ultimately stuck around because of the co-op model. The single mom works part-time as a cashier, bookkeeper, and human resources manager.

"It's made a very big difference in my life," she said. "It's a rare kind of stability in this economy. I'm able to survive in the Bay Area working 22 hours a week."

Read the rest at East Bay Express


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Categories: News

New Book from Cooperation Jackson

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 15:39
Link: New Book from Cooperation Jackson

Finally, it's here—arriving October 2017 from Daraja Press! Pre-order your copy today!

Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi is a chronicle of one of the most dynamic experiments in radical social transformation in the United States. The book documents the ongoing organizing and institution building of the political forces concentrated in Jackson, Mississippi dedicated to advancing the Jackson-Kush Plan.  

Jackson Rising documents the history of this movement, its contributions towards the radical transformation of the United States, and its political implications for social movements throughout the United States, the global South and the world. 

All proceeds from book sales support Cooperation Jackson's general fund.

Find out more at Cooperation Jackson


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Categories: News

Roadmapping (for Facilitators)

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 15:31
Link: Roadmapping

One of the bread and butter skills of a good facilitator is getting everyone on the same page. I use the term "roadmapping" to cover this, and there are two ways that facilitators use it to help guide meeting participants: 

a) Providing a clear picture of the intended arc of the meeting (what will be discussed and in what sequence). For the most part this is taken care of with a well-crafted agenda. However, there can be a trap to this: facilitators may fall in love with the elegance of their plan, or they may hold on too tightly to the plan as a life ring in choppy seas.

Read the rest at Laird's Commentary on Community and Consensus


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Categories: News

collective courage cover

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 15:43
Library Categories: Case Studies
Categories: News

Support Frontline Puerto Rican Communities in the Recovery from Hurricane Maria

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 15:02
Link: Support Frontline Puerto Rican Communities in the Recovery from Hurricane Maria

The devastating effects of hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico are still unfolding, but one thing is certain—the island's most vulnerable communities are likely to be pummeled the hardest and face the longest road to recovery.

Low-income communities of color often face the worst destruction and slowest recovery and have fewer resources to safeguard homes, vehicles, and other property.  When the winds die down and the floods recede, these communities are often forgotten by reconstruction efforts, and underserved by insurance companies. 

The Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund will be housed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).  One hundred percent of monies raised will be used to support immediate relief, recovery, and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for the communities hit hardest by the storm. The Fund is governed by organizations like Puerto Rico-based Taller Salud, the G8 of Caño Martín Peña, and other local, grassroots organizations.  The Fund will support organizations working with these hardest hit communities in Puerto Rico.

Ayuda a Comunidades Puertorriqueñas a Recuperarse del Huracán María

Los efectos devastadores del Huracán María en Puerto Rico - combinado con los que dejó Irma - aún están por verse. Pero una cosa es cierta - las comunidades más vulnerables serán las más fuertemente afectadas y se enfrentarán al proceso de recuperación más largo.

Las comunidades de bajos ingresos y afro-descendientes por lo general se enfrentan a la peor destrucción y la recuperación más lenta, teniendo menos recursos para desalojar y proteger sus casas, vehículos y demás propiedad. Cuando los vientos comienzan a cesar y el agua en áreas inundables retrocede, estas son las comunidades olvidadas por los esfuerzos de reconstrucción, y menos atendidas por las aseguradoras.

El Fondo Comunitario para Ayuda y Recuperación del Huracán María fue creado por el Centro para la Democracia Popular (CPD). Cien porciento (100%) de los fondos recaudados se utilizarán para ayuda inmediata para la recuperación y la reconstrucción equitativa de Puerto Rico para las comunidades que sean más afectadas por la tormenta. El Fondo será gobernado por organizaciones como Taller Salud, localizada en Puerto Rico y otras grupos comunitarios. El Fondo apoyará a organizaciones que estén trabajando con las comunidades más vulnerables en Puerto Rico. 

Make a donation / Haz una donación


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Categories: News

Platform Co-ops Conference Nov. 10-11

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 14:28
Link: The People’s Disruption: Platform Co-ops for Global Challenges

Experiments with cooperatively owned online platforms are demonstrating that democratic business models can be a dynamic force in building a more equitable economy for people across various income, race and class strata, starting with the most vulnerable populations.

The platform co-op movement disrupts Silicon Valley’s disruptors by shifting the focus toward fundamentally fairer forms of ownership and governance. The retirement of Baby Boomer business owners presents an opportunity for mass conversions of those businesses into co-ops. Existing cooperatives are increasingly eager to join the digital economy. Over the past few years, the burgeoning of platform co-ops, community currencies, worker’s tech, the solidarity economy, B-corps, and credit unions have shown us that alternative economies are not only necessary but possible.

Since the first platform cooperativism event at The New School two years ago, an ecosystem of people, knowledge, and tools has developed around this model. Now, some platform co-ops reverse-engineer the technologies of the “sharing economy” to create worker-owned rivals to Palo Alto’s most dominant tech firms. Others are developing enterprises of a kind the tech billionaires in California have not even considered.

Read the rest at Platform Cooperativism


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Categories: News

Worker Co-ops Magazine Archive Now Available!

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 16:32

Beginning in late 1980 with a few simple pages, Worker Co-ops magazine quickly became a regularly produced news and information source for the burgeoning Canadian worker co-op movement. The content grew from a mere 5 pages in the first issue to well over 40 later in the decade, with production quality increasing as subscriptions joined on.  In-depth articles on current events, updates from around the country, international news, op eds, book reviews – – the newsletter (eventually called magazine) gave a glimpse into the worker co-op movement, with an approach that was both pragmatic and visionary. For a time in the early 1990s, the newsletter was produced bilingually, with English and French pages inverted for easier reading and the additional title of Magazine Coop de Travail. Publication of Worker Co-ops came to an end in 1992 shortly after the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation (CWCF) formalized as the trade association for worker co-ops in Canada.

Read the rest and browse the archives at Canadian Worker Co-op Federation


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Categories: News

Congratulations to Unicorn Grocery

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:35
Link: Congratulations to Unicorn Grocery

How can I fail to respond to the press release that has come through from the Manchester-based workers’ co-operative Unicorn Grocery?

The press release is advising me of some good news which, in fact, I had already heard elsewhere: that Unicorn has carried off the prize in the BBC Food and Farming awards as the best food retailer.

Unicorn, one of the country’s most successful workers’ co-ops and one which has contributed a great deal to the wider co-op movement, is 21 years old this year. It demonstrated the success of raising investment funds from within the community long before everyone else was talking of community shares, and it has already taken the BBC prize once before, in 2008.

One of the things I learned when I was researching the later nineteenth century co-operative movement a couple of years ago was the strength and importance of the co-operative flour mills in several northern towns, most notably the societies in Sowerby Bridge (which also had a mill in Hebden Bridge and was the largest in the country) and in Halifax. What we would now call food politics was an issue early co-operators understood, too. It’s good that co-ops like Unicorn continue the tradition.

More from Bibby on Cooperatives


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Categories: News