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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: 2 min 33 sec ago

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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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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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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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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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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Activists Take End-the-Blockade Message to Washington, DC: Show Solidarity with Cuba

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:15
Link: Activists Take End-the-Blockade Message to Washington, DC: Show Solidarity with Cuba

Last week’s highly successful third annual Days of Action Against the Blockade in Washington, D.C., has helped “raise new awareness about the damaging impact the failed 56-year U.S. blockade of Cuba has had on the health not only of Cubans but also of Americans,” says Alicia Jrapko, the U.S. coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, which organized the events.

It wasn’t easy. Although the U.S. government did ultimately grant visas so Cuban guests could travel to Washington to participate (the U.S. government has often previously denied such visas, or granted them after events), Hurricane Irma then played havoc with their travel schedules. Organizers were forced to scramble, rearranging flights and accommodation several times before the delegation finally landed in Washington – via Los Angeles – in time to take part in the jam-packed week of activities.

Read the rest at The International Committee for Peace, Justice, and Dignity for the Peoples


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After hurricanes, co-op drones hasten power restoration

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:21
Link: After hurricanes, co-op drones hasten power restoration

Had Hurricane Harvey raked central Texas last year, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative members near the San Marcos River might have waited up to 10 days to get power back.

Instead, when Harvey caused the river to rise 25 feet in a single day, electricity was flowing in only a few days, thanks a co-op drone purchased just a few months earlier.

“It helped restore power way ahead of time,” said Ray Bitzkie, the Bastrop-based co-op’s facilities construction coordinator and head of its drone program.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, co-ops put their drones to the test of a catastrophic weather event for the first time. Co-op officials said the technology passed with flying colors by pinpointing outages in hard-to-reach areas.

At Jackson Electric Cooperative, a co-op drone team from Pedernales Electric Cooperative flew 60 missions and inspected more than 1,600 poles in a service territory left in the dark by Harvey.

Read the rest at NCBA CLUSA


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The Construction of ‘The Other’ by the Media

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:49
Link: The Construction of ‘The Other’ by the Media

Renata Summa opened the conversation by broadly defining the idea of ‘the other’ as a person or group that does not fit the dominant group’s identity characteristics. The media play a crucial role in establishing and spreading a society’s definition of the dominant identity, Summa explained. She stressed that the media is a powerful tool for a dominant group (whether a political party, race or social class) to influence people’s opinions and gain control over, and legitimacy in, the eyes of the population.

Building on the discussion of media’s power in constructing the image of ‘the other,’ Alexandre dos Santos underscored the power and responsibility of the audience–as consumers in the media industry–in the building of ‘the other.’ The professor explained that all narration and representation is produced through someone’s filter—all articles are written through the filter of the journalist. But additionally, he added, representations are filtered again by the reader, who consciously or subconsciously may choose to read only what confirms his or her opinion. The influence of the point of view of the writer or of the reader always plays a role in the construction of ‘the other,’ and Santos believes it is a duty of the media consumer to be aware of it and look for a different point a view. “Part of the construction of the other through the media is about what people let the media build,” he argued.

Read the rest at RioOnWatch


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New Toolkit to Promote Water Commmons

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:50
Link: New Toolkit to Promote Water Commmons

The Great Lakes Commons has recently released their Charter Toolkit. Rooted in the Commons Charter Declaration, this toolkit can support people, communities, and campaigns collaborating on protecting and caring for the Great Lakes.

The Charter Toolkit includes:

  • the Charter Declaration in 5 languages spoken in the Great Lakes region
  • an introduction to native and non-native approaches to water governance 
  • outlines of "ways-of-knowing" workshops 
  • a series of tips to start conversations about the water commons 
  • a set of community organizing practices.

Read the rest at On the Commons


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Servant Leadership in Cooperative Business

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:46
Link:  Servant Leadership in Cooperative Business: Stirring It Up at East Wind Nut Butters

Where I came from, what I was born into reminds me of what I wish to avoid passing down to succeeding generations. My motivation is in building something; building upon an inheritance that many lay claim to. We stand on the shoulders of giants. My contribution to this legacy, whether footnote or volume, remains to be seen. The manner in which I manage East Wind Nut Butters defines me, both externally and internally, whether I like it or not. Respect for a job well done is accepted awkwardly. Scorn for a mistake, typically self-inflicted, is not taken lightly. The trap of thinking that my work in the business is, in isolation, my most important role in community is an easy one to fall into.


The delusions of grandeur that consume my ego at times are not always useful. A solid block of manual labor working in the garden or a grounded conversation with a fellow communard soon alleviates the problem. For this relief I am grateful. Ambition that is constantly checked is potently transformative. This has been my experience at East Wind. Leaders here are servants, and servants are leaders. I am one of many and in this I find comfort. We live to serve. It sounds religious or like a corporate tagline, but the sentiment is sound. Serving each other. Serving your landbase and watershed. Serving the living systems that allow for your existence.

Read the rest at the Fellowship for Intentional Community


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Shared Ownership: Re-Humanizing Business

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:39
Link: Share Ownership: Re-Humanizing Business ft. The Working World

Brendan Martin (The Working World) shares how exploring different models of ownership can have ripple effects across economies and bring humanity into businesses. Worker cooperatives and other models of shared ownership, he says, bring a sense of agency to workers and allow each person who contributes to collective success to experience the benefits of that success.

Watch more videos from BALLE


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Maui Aquaponics Workers Cooperative

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:51
Link: About the Co-op

The unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities in 2012 was 15%, compared with a rate of 8% for working age individuals without disabilities. This substantial disparity have persisted despite years of technological advances that have made it possible for many people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs.

Unfortunately, significant disability comes stigma and hampers capable working-age people from a broad array of jobs. The attitudinal barriers and other societal hindrance to competitive employment were a significant driver in the start-up of the Maui Aquaponics Workers Cooperative as a for-profit, 100% disability-owned registered cooperative.

The co-op founders began their initial business preparation in 2011 as professional trainees in the University of Hawaii aquaponics technician certification program offered by the Center on Disability Studies, Hawaii Aquaponics Workforce Development intensive. The forward-thinking investment for the training came from the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Adult Mental Health Division of Department of Health.

Read the rest at Maui Aquaponics Workers Cooperative


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Interpreters Are Bringing a Radical Approach to Language Access

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 17:00
Link: Interpreters Are Bringing a Radical Approach to Language Access

Some have found that interpretation is a natural part of their political work. That was the experience of Catalina Nieto, an immigrant from Colombia who started conducting bilingual meetings while doing immigrant rights organizing in Nashville, Tennessee. Two others, Maria Garcia and Telesh Lopez, volunteered with Domestic Workers United before starting a collective called Caracol Language Coop.

Tijerina, who interprets American Sign Language and Spanish, says he began to inject political ideas into his practice while working at Highlander Research and Education Center. “I didn’t change the mechanics on a basic level, but I gained a greater understanding of the role of the interpreter and the politics involved,” he says. He went on to develop an interpreting for social justice workshop that has helped shape the careers of many. Says alumnus Salem Acuña, “It made me think critically about the power dynamics that come with language access.”

Read the rest at Colorlines


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Boston Communities Unite to Democratize Their Economy

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:57
Link: Boston Communities Unite to Democratize Their Economy

“I like the idea of changing the capitalistic way of doing things now, getting our own power, funding businesses out of our own pool of resources,” says Perry, who works at City Life Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization in Boston. “I’m an optimist. I think things can change. I think in order to do it you have to be proactive. So I’m for it and I’m willing to take the steps to help it move.”

The gathering was the founding general assembly of the Boston Ujima Project, a democratically governed organization with a mission to build a community-controlled economy in Boston’s working-class communities of color. The assembly was the culmination of several years of community organizing with a wide array of housing justice groups, civil rights groups, local unions, investors and others. Ujima (oo-JEE-mah) is a Swahili word, and one of the principles celebrated in the festival of Kwanzaa. It means “collective work and responsibility.”

Read the rest at Next City


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Nurses Join Forces With Labor Union to Launch Healthcare Platform Cooperative

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 15:21
Link: Nurses Join Forces With Labor Union to Launch Healthcare Platform Cooperative

The NursesCan platform cooperative, formed by five licensed vocational nurses, recently finished a pilot project providing on-demand, at-home care options for St. John's Well-Child and Family Center Clinics in South Los Angeles, California, which provides patients the option of having a nurse visit them at their home. The cooperative operates a mobile platform, too.

The pilot project proved successful for both the members of the cooperative and St. John's. The no-show rate for patients dropped dramatically, and St. John's reported that other quality indicators also improved.

Both the cooperative as well as the union see much potential to grow this model to connect more healthcare providers and nurses. The NursesCan Cooperative is currently seeking new contracts that can allow it to expand and bring on more licensed vocational nurses as member-owners.

Read the rest at Shareable


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Wirth Cooperative Grocery brings food, hope to north Minneapolis

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 15:14
Link: New co-op brings groceries, hope to north Minneapolis

It's probably not a stretch to say Emmett Hutchinson could be Wirth Cooperative Grocery store's biggest booster. He brought in more than three dozen new shoppers after the Aug. 10 opening with an enthusiastic pitch.

"Come and check it out. It's our store," he said. "This is a community store, so it's our store."

On a recent day, he'd convinced his nephew Desean Tennin to give it a look, and Tennin was impressed.

"This store right here is a big step," Tennin said, taking in the scene. "I like it. It's nice, organic and everything. I like how the store is laid out, the colors and everything. It makes you feel at home. I'm going to come back and bring other people with me."

Read the rest at Minnesota Public Radio News


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Building decentralised open source with my tech co-op

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 15:05
Link: Coop-source: building decentralised open source with my tech co-op

Protozoa is a worker-owner cooperative. While I’m writing this, the other co-owners, Piet and Dominic, are hard at work on different things , like contract work and collaborations with other decentralised projects (we’re currently crushing on the Economic Space Agency).

For us, contributing to the commons is an important part of our work. It makes all our future work better, and helps build working relationships with other excellent humans.

Read the rest on Medium


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