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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 12 min ago

KDC is Hiring a Cooperative Development Consultant

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 16:15
Link: KDC is Hiring!

KDC is growing and in need of a Cooperative Development Consultant. A successful Cooperative Development Consultant would have:

  • A strong interest/background in local food systems, cooperative business development, community organizing, and worker/immigrant rights.
  • 2-3 years’ experience working with social groups, including meeting facilitation and coordination, democratic decision-making, and mediation.
  • Ability to learn quickly and interest in developing a variety of new skills; able to manage multiple tasks and meet deadlines; ability to work both autonomously and in a team.
  • Willingness to engage with the cooperative members, the customers of the co-ops, and other individuals and organizations supporting the development of the cooperative businesses.
  • Superior organizational, interpersonal and communication skills; demonstrated experience with written and oral presentation skills. 

Read the rest at Keystone Development Center

 

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Cooperative Solutions for Community Needs Webinar

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:25
Link: Cooperative Solutions for Community Needs

Beginning May 9, the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives will be presenting a webinar series that explores how cooperatives are being used to address a variety of unmet needs in rural and urban communities. Presenters who have worked with local community members to develop cooperative solutions will give brief case studies, followed by a Q&A session.

Who should attend? Economic and community development professionals, cooperative developers, and interested community members.

About this webinar
Many communities find that attracting and retaining workforce talent is hampered by the lack of affordable or available childcare. Supporting the care needs of seniors who are aging in place may also present challenges. Find out how communities in rural Wisconsin and North Dakota are using the cooperative model to address their child and senior care needs.

The series will continue with presentations on:
Cooperatives and Affordable Housing Needs - June 21, 2018
Cooperatives and Business Succession Strategies - July 19, 2018
Cooperatives and Community Infrastructure Needs - September 2018 
Cooperatives and Community-Owned Businesses - October 2018 

All webinars will be held at 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Central Time. Webinars will be recorded and posted on the UWCC website.

Register for this free webinar

 

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Categories: News

How Can the ‘Uneven Landscape’ of Broadband Access Be Fixed?

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 17:32
Link: How Can the ‘Uneven Landscape’ of Broadband Access Be Fixed?

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson is urging policymakers, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and key stakeholders to include electric cooperatives and their members in the quest to address the “uneven landscape” created by a lack of broadband internet access in rural America.

“NRECA is a group health care plan provider, and we cover people in rural places where health care providers gather at the McDonald’s parking lot to upload and download radiology images and diagnoses because they aren’t connected in their offices or where they provide home health care,” Matheson told the audience at the first e-Connectivity Forum in Washington on April 18.

“NRECA sponsors a telemedicine program that can bring a consultation right into a home, but it doesn’t work best unless it’s broadband-enabled,” he said.

“And that’s the situation in far too many communities. Existing programs for expanding high-speed internet access are falling short of meeting the needs of rural America.”

Read the rest at America's Electric Cooperatives

 

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International Sociocracy Online Conference

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 17:52
Link: International Sociocracy Online Conference

Sociocracy keeps spreading. Let's bring people together to exchange and learn and celebrate the work that has been done. All times in Greenwich time (UTC)

When

From: May 01, 2018 12:30To: May 01, 2018 18:30

Where

Online

Register for the Conference

 

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Categories: News

Maine Principle 6 Conference Report-Back

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 17:46
Link: Maine Principle 6 Conference Report-Back

This year’s conference, Learning Through Cooperative Connections, was organized by the Cooperative Maine Business Alliance and featured a dynamic series of workshops designed to engage attendees in all aspects of cooperative development including building community partnerships, and learning from each other how cooperatives can build a better Maine. The conference’s workshops included presentations on governance, marketing for co-ops, financial literacy, building community partnerships, and building equity and inclusion in our co-ops. If you are a member of a co-op, thinking about converting your business to employee ownership, or thinking about starting a co-op, this is the conference for you and we hope to see you at P6 2019!

Read the rest at Cooperative Development Institute

 

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Categories: News

Widening Spheres of Democracy

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 16:15
Link: Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

The 21st century has seen an explosion in Worker Cooperatives—particularly since capitalism's 2008 crisis. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we'll explore how worker coops present a radically different kind of ownership and management structure—one that has the power to bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole. We'll take a deep dive into the cooperatively owned and run bike/skate shop Rich City Rides, exploring how they have created a community hub that puts racial & economic justice front and center.​

We'll also take a trip to the Basque Country of northern Spain to explore how their rich cooperative environment compares to that of the United States and the San Francisco Bay Area specifically.

 

Listen to more episodes of Upstream on Soundcloud

 

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Cooperatives meeting informal economy workers’ child care needs

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 16:10
Link: Cooperatives meeting informal economy workers’ child care needs

Around the world women do more care and domestic work alongside their paid and unpaid work than men (UN Women, 2015). Women’s care responsibilities are intensified when they have young children, elderly relatives, or people living with disabilities in their households. Research from Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) highlights how without access to maternity entitlements and quality child care services, women workers in the informal economy take up more insecure work compromising their income security and their children’s wellbeing in order to work and provide care (Alfers, 2016). This in part explains the persistent gender inequalities in the labour market (ILO and WIEGO, 2012). In addition, paid care work, such as child care, elder care and domestic work is predominately done by women for low wages due to gender norms that devalue care and see it as women’s responsibilities, further entrenching gender segmentation within labour markets. 

Cooperatives set up and run by workers in the informal economy are among the solutions in meeting women workers’ care needs, while also helping protect the labour rights of care workers in the informal economy. They can be part of strategies and public policies to redistribute care work, so it does not rest disproportionately on women and girls’ shoulders. Findings from ILO’s global mapping of care provision through cooperatives show that communities, unions and groups of workers use the cooperative model for care provision or cooperatives are themselves establishing care services for their members (ILO, 2016). Cooperatives can also be a space to raise awareness about care needs and exercise collective voice to negotiate with government at different levels for public provision of care services. The second ILO report on care provision through cooperatives based on literature review and case studies shows the diverse opportunities cooperatives can provide in care provision (ILO, 2017).

Read the full report from ILO and WIEGO

 

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Play Inspired by Collective Courage Premiering in May

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 16:46
Link: Black Conference

 

“[S]eeking modernity the Negro forsakes what has been gained via cooperation. It’s been our culture since we arrived here, likely inherited from Africa. Slaves pooled money they’d scraped together to buy each other out of slavery. Networks of Underground Railroad. 1700s, colored mutual aid societies. Anyone tells you cooperatives are foreign to Negroes, ask their credentials. Any credentials they show, tear them up. They’re worthless, and that person is a menace.”

– W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Conference Black Conference is inspired by the book “Collective Courage” by Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard (PSU Press, 2014), which chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Falconworks Theater Company’s artistic director, Reg Flowers, first encountered the book and Ms. Gordon-Nembhard at a cooperative conference in 2014. Reg was working as a cooperative developer, building relationships across a national network, and supporting institutional and grassroots efforts. It became remarkably apparent that bringing solidarity economics together with the can-do spirit of Falconworks Theater Company would be a transformative combination to uplift both. The process began with a conversation with Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, who generously offered insights about prominent figures who were most essential and engaging. These pillars of history would not require much “artistry” to have an impact. Great minds like W.E.B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, George Schuyler—could speak for themselves. Falconworks Theater Company’s ‘The Sandy Monologues’, where Hurricane Sandy survivor interviews were presented without embellished, had already demonstrated the power of the naked word onstage. Setting the play at a conference creates potential for these characters and the audience to interact in unexpected ways connecting past and present and imagining a future. Employing the values preached in and demonstrated by the history inspiring the play, a group of actors was invited to be part of an experiment in worker-ownership, developing a touring collective, and an opportunity to build something financially and artistically sustaining. The company received a rigorous week-long training in cooperative economics from The Community Development Project introducing cooperative legal structures; Jessica Gordon-Nembhard sharing African American cooperative history; and The New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives Training Collective presenting cooperative finance. Actors also attended a Producing Touring Productions workshop offered by the Alliance of Resident Theaters – New York. The play also features cameos from existing cooperative business owners and the agencies that support them, and at least one City Council member! The project received sponsorship from CEANYC, The Center for Family Life, The Community Development ProjectEqual ExchangeICA Group, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and The NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. The plays underlying motive is to both educate and activate audiences to engage in economic activities that support their own communities. Audiences will leave with an understanding of what cooperatives are and take with them a blueprint to use in their own collective action if so inspired. Black Conference runs Thursday, May 24 through Monday, May 28, 2018. Tickets are $20 with group rates available. Call (718)395-3218 for group information. Visit https://falconworks.com

Get tickets

 

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Categories: News

Capitalism Got You Down? Try a Worker Cooperative

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 16:32
Link: Capitalism Got You Down? Try a Worker Cooperative

After spending so many nine-to-fives having my soul sucked out of me, I wanted to know what it was like—psychologically—to work under a radically different kind of structure. At some point in my research, I was told to go to downtown Richmond, California, just across the BART station, to speak with the co-owner of Rich City Rides, a cooperatively owned and run bicycle and skate shop.

“You know, it was something about it being Independence Day,” Najari Smith explained to me, shaking his head and smiling. “I’m stuck working on Independence Day, on a Sunday, and it’s like 10 o’clock at night…and I’m still trying to finish up a project for the company. So I just took a pause and went to go see the fireworks. After that I said, ‘You know, something’s got to change.’” As we sat in a back room of the bike and skate co-op he’s now a co-owner of, Najari, whom I had just met about 15 minutes ago, opened up to me about his life story.

[...]

The example set by Rich City Rides — and many other worker cooperatives — demonstrates that workplaces can be structured in a way that is healthy for both the communities around them and the individuals within them. The business provides meaningful work to three young men (Najari, Josue and Taye) who were up against a capitalist economic system that would have preferred to extract value from their labor or profit from their incarceration. “One thing I feel cooperatives do is they give the value of an individual’s labor back to that individual,” Najari explained. “And I like coming to work. That’s a big difference. The other worker-owners and I talk about how the business is doing, and we celebrate when we have a month that’s better than the same month last year. Everything is transparent. We know exactly where all of the money is going. We make all of our decisions collectively. It’s a total — it’s not even a 180 from any corporate jobs or any other jobs that I’ve ever worked. It’s totally a different world. It’s the new economy I want to see.”

Read the rest at The Bold Italic

 

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Final Statement from the People’s Summit

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 15:20
Link: Peru: Final Statement from the People’s Summit

We, the representatives of social and popular organizations of Peru, Latin America and the Caribbean, met in Lima, Peru from April 10 to 14, 2018 to discuss the political, social and economic reality of Our America, to share our struggles and resistances, to strengthen the militant solidarity of our people and to strengthen the continental unity of the social and people’s movements of our region.

Union organizations that fight for the defense of the labour rights of the working class, trade associations, feminist organizations that fight for gender equality, youth and student organizations that defend the rights of youth as leading actors, peasant organizations that continue to fight for the right to land, indigenous organizations that resist the onslaught of savage capitalism, environmental organizations that confront the predatory extractive model, organizations that defend the rights of sexual diversity, community organizations that fight for the rights of the citizenship, regional platforms that confront neoliberal free trade projects, organizations that fight for tax justice, regional networks of civil society organizations and dozens of collectives and movements that struggle day to day against political power and economic capital in its different expressions met once again.

And once again, we find ourselves in a scenario of confrontation and head-on struggle between the neoconservative forces of the submissive elites and the social, popular, progressive and leftist forces in Our America. We are living a counter-offensive of a imperial power that tries to erase the democratic advances and those of social and political inclusion that progressive governments have promoted in this last decade and a half.

Read the rest at The Dawn News

 

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Social.coop: A Cooperative Decentralized Social Network

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 15:09
Link: Social.coop: A Cooperative Decentralized Social Network

Social.coop is a cooperatively run instance of Mastodon, a decentralized social network based on open protocols and free, open-source software. Alanna from Open Collective interviewed three of its co-founders to find out more.

Nathan Schneider is a media scholar, journalist, and co-founder of the platform co-op movement; Matthew Cropp is a co-op movement organizer and historian; and Mayel de Borniol is a developer, entrepreneur, and creator of CloudVault.

Read the rest at Medium

 

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Enquiring Into Possible Causes for the Scarcity of Worker Co-ops in the US

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 17:04
Link: THE SCARCITY OF WORKER COOPERATIVES IN THE USA: ENQUIRING INTO POSSIBLE CAUSES

 

Last year, the Community and Worker Ownership Project and John Mollenkopf at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center were pleased to host Professor Sofia Arana Landin for research on cooperative economics in New York City. Her work was extensive in building foundational thought for a comparative study of cooperative enterprises’ success and challenges in the US as compared to other countries, especially in the European Union.

Professor Arana teaches taxation law and cooperatives at the public university in San Sebastian, Spain. Arriving to the states shortly after the inauguration of the 45th president for this research, the juxtaposition of opportunities and constraints was almost too much to bear. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Cooperative businesses, being a hybrid of “for profit” and “social” purposes, have a mission broader than that of a traditional business. She identifies how rules, regulation and policies can support the advance of this model to serve the health of a business, the betterment of its employees, and the well being of communities, all towards the development of a “Social Economy.” The resilience of cooperative businesses is a feature that makes them a strategic building block in these hard economic times and particularly for those from disenfranchised communities.

Read the rest at the Murphy Institute Blog

 

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Categories: News

Copyright vs. Copyleft

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:58
Link: COPYFARLEFT AND COPYJUSTRIGHT

Challenges to traditional copyright resulting from peer-to-peer applications, free software, filesharing and appropriation art have caused a wide ranging debate on the future of copyright. Dmytri Kleiner brings existing critiques of material property from the left to bear upon the realm of copyleft artistic production and asks how, within the existing copyright regime, can artists earn a living?

In the area of software development copyleft has proved to be a tremendously effective means of creating an information commons which broadly benefits all those whose production depends on it. However, many artists, musicians, writers, film-makers and other information producers remain sceptical that a copyleft based system where anyone is free to reproduce their work, can earn them a living.

Copyleft licenses guarantee intellectual property freedom by requiring that reuse and redistribution of information be governed by ‘the four freedoms,’ the freedom to use, study, modify and redistribute.

However, property is the enemy of freedom. It is property, the ability to control productive assets at a distance, the ability to ‘own’ something being put to productive use by another person that makes possible the subjugation of individuals and communities. Where property is sovereign, the owners of scarce property can deny life by denying access to property, or if not outright deny life, then make the living work like slaves for no pay beyond their reproduction costs.

Read the rest at Mute

 

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A Mayday Benefit for the Solidarity Economy Giving Project

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 17:37
Link: A BENEFIT FOR THE SOLIDARITY ECONOMY GIVING PROJECT

Enjoy a powerful evening of solidarity this May Day as we dance, drink, eat, and play to support New Yorkers advancing a cooperative future for our city.May 1st, 7PM, at Project Reach, 39 Eldridge Street, 10002

Featuring:
  • Music by DJ She Wolf
  • Games, raffle prizes, and camaraderie
  • Beer and seasonal beverages including cocktails provided by Plymouth Gin
  • Bengali, Indian, Mediterranean, Filipino, and Dominican cuisine by New York City's worker cooperative chefs.
All to support New Yorkers bootstrapping solidarity economy enterprises in the five boroughs.
Hosted by the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City and Social Good Fund, the Solidarity Economy Giving Project offers no strings attached grants to worker co-ops, food co-ops, community gardens, affordable housing co-ops, community land trusts, community development credit unions, and community organizations that operate according to principles of social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, mutualism, cooperation, and democracy. 

Come get down with us and build a new economy where people and planet are more important than profit.

All gifts are sliding scale. Early Bird tickets are available and include full dinner and 2 drink tickets.Regular Tickets are available at the door and include full dinner and 1 drink ticket. Additional beverages will be available by donation. 

Purchase tickets here

 

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Categories: News

How a rural community built South Africa’s Co-op ISP

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 17:10
Link: How a rural community built South Africa’s first ISP owned and run by a cooperative

The Zenzeleni Networks project – Zenzeleni means “do it yourself” in isiXhosa, the Eastern Cape’s most prevalent language – is, as far as we’re aware, South Africa’s first and only Internet Service Provider (ISP) that’s owned and run by a rural cooperative. Just like any ISP, Zenzeleni installs and maintains telecommunications infrastructure and also sells telecommunications services like voice and data.

Yet what’s special about the project is that it involves a registered not-for-profit company which works with cooperatives in the community to deliver affordable voice and data services. Crucially, the project also keeps money in communities like Mankosi, often beset by high rates of unemployment.

Read the rest at the P2P Foundation blog

 

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Good Dog, Bad Zombie board game launched by worker co-op

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:54
Link: Good Dog, Bad Zombie board game launched by US worker co-op

Good Dog, Bad Zombie is the fifth board game to be developed by the co-op and will be printed in the USA on sustainable materials by a worker owned manufacturer.

“Because we care about humans, too, we wanted a board game that would be ethically manufactured,” explained Ms Shaffer. The game was developed over three years, and the co-op launched a Kickstarter campaign this spring to raise funds for producing the game.

Make Big Things has also partnered with One Tail at a Time, a rescue shelter in Chicago and will be using some of the funding received from backers to purchase items for the dogs at the shelter.

Read the rest at Co-operative News

 

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Transforming Ownership to Create a Better Economy

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:47

Private ownership of companies drives our economic system but it has also created corporations that put profit above everything else, a divided society and a planet on the brink of destruction. Armin Steuernagel proposes a new way to think about ownership: Steward-ownership replaces executives with leaders who are truly responsible and accountable. It creates an economy where companies are owned by the most able, not by the highest bidder and where a purpose is at the heart of every company’s DNA.

 

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South-Side Co-op was a Sanctuary for Black Chicagoans in the 1960s

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:28
Link: In 1960s, black Chicagoans sought relief from discrimination. In South Side co-op, they found a sanctuary.

It’s no secret that Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the nation, has an ugly history of housing discrimination. Before the federal Fair Housing Act passed in April 1968 — 50 years ago — people of color were frequently, and flagrantly, prohibited from renting, buying or financing homes in areas where the population was mostly white.

Right before the act’s passage, some black Chicagoans found homes, and refuge, in a housing cooperative on the city’s South Side. Griffin moved into London Towne Houses Cooperative, in the Pullman community area, in 1967.

JoAnn Kenner, 73, current president of London Towne Houses, also has lived in the community since ’67. In the years before fair housing laws, the mentality around integrated communities, Kenner said, was as in the play “A Raisin in the Sun” — “Even if you were able to get a mortgage” and someone would sell you a house, if you were nonwhite, “the neighborhood was not going to be welcoming.”

London was “like a breath of fresh air, it was like living in the suburbs,” she said. “Like a little bedroom community.” This was a tremendous source of pride for residents, Kenner said, “people were begging to get in.”

Read the rest at the Chicago Tribune

 

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No to the violence of the State against the commons!

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:20
Link: No to the violence of the State against the commons!

Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval: The violent destruction of the commons of the ZAD (Zone To Defend) of Notre-Dame-des-Landes by the French government is an infamous and revolting act. The current police offensive, led by several thousand gendarmes and CRS equipped with armored vehicles and helicopters is only the exercise of the purest State violence against a set of collective practices that are in progress or in preparation. This includes their fragile material conditions (buildings, meeting places, work tools, herds), and they  are now destroyed by bulldozers and police squads.

Since the first day of assault on the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the destruction of the farm of the «Cents Noms» was a true declaration of social and political war. The destruction of this place was by no means imperative given the criteria invoked by the government in its “communication”. Nicole Klein, Prefect of Loire Region, justifies the police operation by claiming that the «Cents Noms» had not submitted an agricultural project. This is obviously false: the inhabitants of this farm were carrying an alternative agricultural project and some of them had submitted a request for regularization.

Read the rest at the P2P Foundation

 

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