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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: 51 min 21 sec ago

12th Vermont Mobile Home Park Converts to Co-op

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 16:43
Link: Mobile home park switches to co-op ownership after residential buyout

A mobile home park in Vermont, USA, has made the switch to co-operative ownership after residents signed a $2.1m deal to buy it from its owner.

Weston’s Mobile Home Park, in Washington County, is the 12th site in the state to make the transition to co-operative ownership. Residents at the 83-lot site voted unanimously to accept owner Ellery Packard’s offer to sell them the park.

The sale follows a year of intense planning and negotiation. It has seen residents of 50 of the park’s 82 mobile homes purchased $100 shares of the co-operative, making them eligible to participate in decision-making and to serve on the board.

Read the rest at Co-operative News

 

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Categories: News

'We get paid the same regardless of role'

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 19:03
Link: Worker-owned businesses: 'We get paid the same regardless of role'

“We all get paid the same hourly rate regardless of the roles we do. We multi-skill, so the worker taking an order over the phone one day could be out delivering orders on a Suma truck the next,” says Emma Robinson, who is responsible for marketing. She says that major business decisions are made democratically by the membership at quarterly general meetings, and an elected management committee meets each week to make strategic decisions and represent the views of the wider membership. “We have free cooked meals for workers each day and member pensions,” she says.  Read the rest at The Guardian  Go to the GEO front page 
Categories: News

Mandela Grocery Cooperative is Hiring

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 18:52
Link: We're Hiring

We're HIRING!
Share this with folk who'd make great grocers in a collective. #bayarea #Oakland #collective #hiring #committee #jobsearch
Key word #Cooperative. pic.twitter.com/KPj3AUiO4A

— Mandela Grocery (@MandelaFoodsOAK) March 12, 2018

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Categories: News

Class, Race, and Privilege in Intentional Communities

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 17:16
Intentional communities are intrinsically idealistic. They’re based on a radical analysis of social problems and are an attempt to address them. They represent a personal desire to live in a way that feels more satisfying, but also the desire for a better society for all people. They are a recognition that some of the essentials that make community what it is—mutual support, love and caring, sharing lives and livelihood in a meaningful and satisfying way—are lacking in the world. Not all intentional communities share the same political or social views. Some mirror the trend towards isolationism and protectionism we see in politics today. But most value, at least in theory, diversity, equality, and sustainability, and want to help create a world that works for everyone. We live in a world fraught with injustice and inequality. In the US in particular, we live with a legacy of slavery and genocide that affects the opportunities we have regardless of when our ancestors came to this land. We all live with the effects of racialized, gendered, and classist society. These are core issues that need to be addressed if intentional communities are to fulfill their potential as models for a better way of living. The Fellowship for Intentional Community is taking this as our job, and to support this, the theme of the Spring '18 issue of Communites magazine is Class, Race, and Privilege. And for the first time, we're releaseing the digital version on a by-donation basis. If we want to create models for how to live that address the problems in society, it’s crucial that we hold central the perspectives and issues of those most affected by those problems. Certain people are more likely to have access to the resources to buy land, build buildings, and start businesses. Unfortunately, when they do, they’re going to create communities with cultures that are less comfortable for people who are not like them. There are systemic economic and culturalbarriers to living in and starting intentional communities, both from external forces and from the unintentional perpetuation of oppression and privilege by intentional communities themselves and the people who live in them. If we think about racism and classism not as personal failings but as a system in which we are privileged or disadvantaged, then those of us who benefit from this system have a responsibility to work to change it. Intentional communities are a means to the end of making a better world, but they’re also an end in themselves, of creating a way to live right now that’s better than what the mainstream has to offer. It’s a privilege to live in and start intentional communities, and we have a responsibility to help extend the opportunity to everyone who wants it. Institutions & Structures: Intentional CommunitiesPractices, Tools & Strategies: Strategies for ChangeRegions: United StatesEconomic Sectors: Community Development
Categories: News

How do ordinary people get to have a say in their economic future?

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 15:07
Link: How do ordinary people get to have a say in their economic future?

IDS and others have done a huge amount of work over the decades to make the case that ‘participation’, understood as people engaging in society and in the decisions that impact their lives, is recognised as a right held by all.

Much progress has been made.

This includes pioneering work to put farmers first, strengthening the voice and agency of small-scale cultivators to develop their own futures and hold governments and private investors to account. And work on women’s economic and political agency.

However, participation has often focused on social, civic and political issues, not on issues of economic development.

A new project by IDS, in collaboration with the Economic Advancement Programme of the Open Society Foundations, aims to explore what constitutes meaningful participation in the economic sphere and how it might be enabled. And we are hoping you can help us.

[...]

We are inviting you to participate in this project by sharing examples you know where people have a real voice in economic decisions.

Read the rest at Institute of Development Studies

 

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Categories: News

Magazine Focused on Community Race and Class Issues Is Available for Free Download

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 17:48
Link: Magazine Focused on Community Race and Class Issues Is Available for Free Download

In today’s world, it’s rare to find positive and engaging stories that simultaneously expose readers to sensitive topics like race, class, and social barriers and biases. The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), a nonprofit organization with offices based in Rutledge, Missouri and Louisa, Virginia, has produced Communities magazine for the past 25 years, exploring the joys and challenges of navigating such issues together in cooperative groups.

The Spring 2018 edition of Communities, released on March 7, focuses on “Class, Race, and Privilege,” and contains more than 20 articles which look unflinchingly at a major “elephant in the room”—the relative lack of racial and class diversity in most intentional communities, at least in North America—while suggesting ways of understanding and addressing it.

Read the rest and download your copy at Fellowship for Intentional Community

 

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Categories: News

Community-owned pub serving shots of social care

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 17:44
Link: Cheers! The British community-owned pub serving shots of social care

Each week, 21 high-street pubs shut in England, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a group that lobbied for a 2011 law which protects former pubs from demolition or a change of use by requiring local people to be consulted first.

Almost 20 local residents' groups - like those behind The Bevy - have raised almost 4 million pounds to buy and run their own pubs in England over the last two years, according to the Plunkett Foundation, which supports community-owned businesses.

It is a growing trend, with about 60 such pubs across the country, said the charity, which is expanding its programme offering advice and funding to establish community-owned pubs.

Read the rest at Thomson Reuters Foundation News

 

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Categories: News

By mass-texting local residents, Outlier Media connects low-income news consumers to useful, personalized data

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 18:36
Link: By mass-texting local residents, Outlier Media connects low-income news consumers to useful, personalized data

By drawing on a hefty database of information compiled from city and county public sources and automating initial responses, Alvarez has built the one-woman-show of Outlier Media into a resource for low-income news consumers in Detroit in search of tangible, individualized information. In 13 months, Alvarez has sent messages to about 40,000 Detroit cell phone numbers in her quest to reach “as many Detroiters as possible”; between 1,200 and 1,600 Detroiters have used Outlier to search for information on an address. (Opting out from Outlier’s messages is always an option as well.) She developed the system as a JSK Fellow after reporting for Michigan Public Radio.

“Even though the journalism was very good, I was not satisfied with covering low-income communities for a higher-income audience. I wanted to cover issues for and with low-income news consumers,” said Alvarez, who came to journalism after working as a civil rights lawyer. “I covered issues that were important to low-income families, but I was not a housing reporter. Using Outlier’s method and delivery system, it’s such efficient beat development. I learned so much about housing so quickly. You can talk to hundreds of people in a week instead of just talking to a few.”

Read the rest at Nieman Lab

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Categories: News

Bankers want to eliminate credit unions, and you should be worried

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 18:29
Link: Bankers want to eliminate credit unions, and you should be worried

The $17.2 trillion banking industry is riding high in the current economy: Profits are up, new tax cuts are in, and the industry has more capital than ever before.

So why are the bankers so obsessed about the tax status of not-for-profit credit unions?

Two reasons: competition and reputation. Credit unions' presence in the marketplace provides a check on higher banking costs and dishonest practices, and the banks don’t like that. Rather than do better, they've chosen to keep up their attacks on not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions.

Read the rest at the Des Moines Register

 

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Categories: News

Teachers End Historic Strike in West Virginia with 5% Pay Raise for All State Workers

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 17:18
Link: Teachers End Historic Strike in West Virginia with 5% Pay Raise for All State Workers

In West Virginia, teachers have ended their historic strike, after state officials agreed to raise the pay of all state workers by 5 percent. The strike began on February 22 and shut down every public school in the state. It was the longest teachers’ strike in West Virginia history. For more, we speak with Katie Endicott, a high school teacher and union activist in Mingo County, West Virginia.

Watch more videos from Democracy Now!

 

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Categories: News

A Digital Map Leads to Reparations for Black and Indigenous Farmers

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:16
Link: A Digital Map Leads to Reparations for Black and Indigenous Farmers

Last month, Dallas Robinson received an email from someone she didn’t know, asking if she would be open to receiving a large sum of money—with no strings attached. For once, it wasn’t spam. She hit reply.

Robinson is a beginning farmer with experience in organic agriculture, and has had plans to establish the Harriet Tubman Freedom Farm on 10 acres of family land near her home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Located in an area where the poverty rate hovers at nearly 20 percent, according to census data, and where both food insecurity and obesity rates are even higher, the farm will focus on serving the needs of the surrounding community by producing vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms.

The gift from the stranger arrived thanks to a new online map, the Black-Indigenous Farmers Reparations Map, a project to promote “people-to-people” reparations.

Robinson’s project was the first to be fully funded, says Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, which created the map. Penniman credits Viviana Moreno, a farmer from Chicago, for suggesting the idea.

“This past summer at our Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion program, we were all talking about two farms given by White people to farmers of color as examples of reparations and restoration, and Viviana said we need more of this people-to-people giving,” she says. Moreno’s own Catatumbo Cooperative Farm is listed on the map, and as a fellow graduate of the program, Robinson was invited to list her farm. The map now includes more than 40 projects, which are all directly connected to farming organizations led by people of color.

Read the rest at U.S. Solidarity Economy Network

 

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Categories: News

Unlearning with CoFed

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:00
Link: Unlearning with CoFed

Farms and major food corporations use, and directly profit from, prison labor. For example, under the Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) program, Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Starbucks, ConAgra, and Pepsi are among the corporations that use incarcerated people through contracts with local correctional authorities for low-cost labor. [7] In 2012, the Georgia Department of Corrections used prison labor to harvest Vidalia onions [8], and states like Arizona and Idaho use prison labor in the agriculture industry. To be clear, this isn’t “job training” and in no way are incarcerated people getting a leg up on working while in prison… not only are they paid as low as 16 cents an hour, but their experience working while incarcerated is rarely considered legitimate job experience by prospective employers. To put 16 cents into perspective, rates for in-state phone calls in prison have historically reached up to $10–15 a minute. [9] Commissary prices for grocery items like beans or chicken breast can cost incarcerated people up to 280% more than they would at a local grocery store, as reported in the Native Sun on South Dakota Prisons. [10]

These conditions are often resisted by incarcerated people, having culminated in countless peaceful prison strikes over the years. Just last month, Florida prisoners participated in a coordinated, peaceful, general strike, the third mass action over the course of a year in protest of forced, unpaid labor and inhumane conditions in the state’s detention facilities. As reported in The Intercept in early January, “Detainees in at least eight prisons declared their intention to stop all work on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — to demand an end to unpaid labor and price gouging in prison commissaries, as well as the restoration of parole, among other requests.” In September of 2016, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) organized [11] the largest American prison strike since the Attica uprising of 1971. [12]

Read the rest at Medium

 

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Categories: News

Wealth Inequalities and the Fallacies of Impact Investing

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 18:52
Link: Wealth Inequalities and the Fallacies of Impact Investing

Is it not perverse that Ivy League-educated white men from predominantly white male dominated institutions are able to accrue wealth by investing in African American women entrepreneurs — now that diversity is considered an asset, and the latest example of doing well by doing good — while the majority of African American women are excluded from building wealth through impact investment vehicles?

If the goal is to get at root causes, then disrupting the concentration of power, wealth, and privilege is the solution we ought to set our sights on. Shouldn’t the aim be to do good by giving up more? Less privilege. Less wealth. Less power.

Read the rest at Medium

 

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Categories: News

Why an Increasing Number of Retiring Entrepreneurs Are Selling the Business to Their Employees

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 19:21
Link: Why an Increasing Number of Retiring Entrepreneurs Are Selling the Business to Their Employees

Make no mistake: employee ownership is not some pie-in-the-sky, utopian scheme with no grounding in real-world economics. It is a reliable and time-tested model that is generating jobs and reinvigorating communities across the globe.

If you’re a boomer business owner planning for succession, you can’t afford to overlook the employee ownership option.

[...]

Even if you’re willing to consider out-of-town or corporate buyers, the odds aren’t in your favor. Only 20 percent of businesses listed for sale ever sell, and that percentage is likely to decline in coming years as boomer-owned enterprises flood the market at a record pace. Additionally, only about 15 percent of privately-held companies are passed on to a second generation.

If you don’t already have a solid succession plan in place and intend to put your business on the market and hope for the best, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Employee ownership could offer you an escape route from this predicament. Selling to your employees really has no downside. You’ll be tapping into a pool of ready-made buyers that were right under your nose all along.

Read the rest at Entrepreneur

 

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Categories: News

Women’s CU Mentorship Program Now Accepting Applications

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 19:16
Link: Women’s Mentorship Program Now Accepting Applications

We’re now accepting applications for the 2018 Women’s Mentorship Program!

The Women’s Mentorship Program is a unique professional development opportunity for women managers employed in the financial co-operatives sector. Since 2002, 227 women credit union managers from 19 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas have participated in the program. The goal of the program is to enhance participants’ management skills and knowledge as well as significantly increase confidence and resolve to become equal contributors in the workforce. Successful applicants will participate in 2 ½ weeks of classroom training in Ottawa, and will be matched with a Canadian Credit Union for 1 ½ weeks to be mentored by a General Manager or Branch Manager.

This year’s program is scheduled for June 2 to 29, 2018. The deadline to apply is March 23, 2018. For more details or to apply, download the four documents below and follow the instructions in the application form.

Read the rest and apply at Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada

 

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Categories: News

Cooperative Banking for Black Lives

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 17:38
Link: Cooperative Banking for Black Lives

The party, hosted by the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) at its new office in North Minneapolis, celebrated the growing local movement to empower the black community to invest in its own neighborhoods and divest from systemic harms (such as institutions that extract local resources and wealth).

And there was much to celebrate: For one, the 2017 city council victories of event speakers Andrea Jenkins (the first African-American, openly trans woman to be elected to public office) and Jeremiah Ellison (son of Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison).

For another, ABEP’s progress toward the creation of an African-American credit union, Village Trust Financial Cooperative. The idea was born in the wake of the police killings of Philando Castile in July 2016 and Jamar Clark in 2015, and the five Black Lives Matter protesters shot by a white supremacist, also in 2015. For Me’Lea Connelly, it was too much. She wondered how the black community might, actively and democratically, determine how to engage in protest without risking the lives, bodies and mental health of its young people.

Connelly facilitated a number of community meetings that collectively determined to pursue a strategy of financial divestment and reinvestment, ultimately deciding to build a credit union. They voted on the name “Village Trust.”

Read the rest at In These Times

 

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Categories: News

Share your stories about communal living

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 17:32
Link: Share your stories about communal living

[W]e're seeing communities come together to meet their own needs by cultivating community gardens, sharing meals, supporting local businesses, running repair cafes and other workshops, and collaborating on neighborhood upliftment projects. 

Now we want to hear from you, our readers! Have you participated in any kind of communal living, be it through an urban village, senior village, cohousing project, tiny houses, or other hybrid communities? If so, please take a few minutes to fill out the Google form below. We'll share your stories with other readers to provide inspiration on creating or joining communal housing initiatives.

Read the rest and share your stories at Shareable

 

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