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: 34 min ago

Can the cooperative model save the local media industry?

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 17:15
Link: May the cooperative model save the local media industry?

When the advertisers shift their interest from newspapers and online papers into social media, when these same newspapers are not in a  position to pay their journalists a decent wage  or cannot afford actual reportage and news coverage and prefer reporting the original content of some other paper or broadcaster, the information sector shows its gloomiest face.

In terms of financial sustainability, the enterprises in  the sector often face a two-fold problem: actual financial hardship due to a decreasing number of subscribers, or decreasing revenues from advertising; or financial dependency on  a very small number (often one) of big shareholders, which makes the paper subject to constant editorial pressure.

Moreover, another aspect of the media and publishing houses working environment is often neglected: precariousness in the contracts for journalists and other professional profiles in the field makes it very complicated for the workers to live a dignified life and this also has an impact on  the quality of their work.

Read the rest at CICOPA


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Categories: News

Give the audience a seat at the table

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 17:09
Link: Give the audience a seat at the table

The movement toward more community engagement in journalism has continued to pick up steam over the last several years, and it seems inevitable that this trend will continue. Participation is the logical next step.

It’s been proven time and again that people want to participate. They want to be involved in the decisions — editorial, business, and otherwise — that newsrooms make. A transparent and more inclusive process, especially when combined with a more equitable distribution of power, is one of the best ways to build relationships that are based on mutual respect and, most importantly, trust.

Read the rest at NiemanLab


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Can Cooperatives Save Us From the Next Economic Crisis?

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:46
Link: Can Cooperatives Save Us From the Next Economic Crisis?

In the summer of 2009, economists reported that one-third of the capital equipment in the United States stood idle while some 17 percent of the workforce were either unemployed, forced into part-time jobs, or “discouraged” from even seeking work.

The Great Recession revealed just how much surplus capital and surplus labor was simply lying about, even in a time of urgent need. In this context, it’s no surprise that people started looking for ways to put labor and capital back together. Interest spiked — especially in worker-owned enterprises — and cities from New York to Madison, Oakland and Jackson, started investing in worker-owned businesses and business incubators.

Nathan Schneider, a journalist and media professor, has reported on worker-owned cooperatives from Kenya to Kentucky. In his new book, Everything for Everybody, he looks back at the history of what he calls “the radical tradition” that just might put Americans back to work and into the economic driving seat.

Read the rest at Truthout


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Categories: News

#BlackTrust with Jessica Gordon-Nembhard & Charlotte Brathwaite

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:40
Link: #BlackTrust with Jessica Gordon-Nembhard & Charlotte Brathwaite

On October 19th, 2018, Ujima hosted our fourth event in the #BlackTrust Chuck Turner Arts & Lecture Series.

Watch more from Boston Ujima Project


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Categories: News

How to Fund Land Banks

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 19:25
Link: How to Fund Land Banks

While many former industrial cities and rural communities have struggled with systemic vacancy and abandonment for decades, the 2008 housing crisis wrecked neighborhoods in virtually every corner of the nation. As local and state officials in urban, suburban, and rural areas sought new tools and strategies to stem and reverse the negative impacts of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties, land banks emerged as a top priority. Eleven states passed land bank legislation between 2009 and 2016, and according to ongoing research by the Center of Community Progress, there are over 170 land banks currently operating in the United States.

Land banks are generally defined as public entities, usually public nonprofit corporations or governmental entities, that are designed to play a lead role in returning vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive uses that are consistent with community priorities. Land banks vary dramatically, reflecting the tool’s flexibility in meeting a community’s unique needs. Land banks are creating pipelines of properties to support quality affordable housing and equitable development, helping communities address former industrial sites (brownfields), assisting with recovery efforts from natural disasters, and engaging residents in innovative vacant land reuse strategies. Though we are 10 years removed from the housing crisis, the need for land banks only seems to grow, as systemic poverty and inequality continue to undermine the stability of neighborhoods in virtually every city and region.

How are land banks being funded, given the inherent challenges of working in some of the most disinvested neighborhoods, where weak market conditions often fail to attract responsible investment? Various funding strategies that have been tried over the last 10 years provide some lessons about what’s successful and suggest some trends to expect going forward.

Read the rest at Shelterforce


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Categories: News

Why There's A Push To Grow Cooperative Businesses In Arizona

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 19:22
Link: Why There's A Push To Grow Cooperative Businesses In Arizona

On a sunny December morning dozens of people gathered at Gateway Community College’s Central City Campus to learn about Arizona’s co-op landscape.

Nigel Forrest, a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, hosted the day long workshop with support from the Arizona Cooperative Initiative and volunteers.

Forrest said out of approximately 50 to 60 co-ops in the state, credit unions dominate. Worker co-ops are the least common.

“Out of 500,000 small businesses in Arizona, there’s only one or two worker cooperatives,” Forrest said.

Technicians for Sustainability is a worker cooperative formed in 2017. The Tucson-based solar design-build firm has 17 employee-owners, including Travis Kendall who is a lead installer

“What I really like about the worker co-op business is that it allows you to scale up a business to a larger size but still have the value of having an owner like owners of small businesses who are still out on the job overseeing work every day,” Kendall said.

Read the rest at KJZZ 91.5


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Can FairBnB become a platform for community-powered tourism?

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 18:07
Link: Can FairBnB become a platform for community-powered tourism?

A group of activists is launching an alternative platform for person-to-person vacation rentals called FairBnB.

The new platform plans to compete with Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, while promoting community-powered tourism.

At the moment, FairBnB is owned and run by a worker co-op with eight members including coders, researchers and designers. One of them is Sito Veracruz, a 31-year old with a background in law and urban planning based in Amsterdam. He says the project was born out of the belief that vacation rental is an activity that needs to be properly regulated.

Read the rest at Co-operative News


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Worker-Owned Social Care Cooperatives in Australia

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 17:52
Link: Alternative Commons - Social Care Services Cooperatives - Robyn Kaczmarek

Robyn Kaczmarek (Founder and Managing Director, The Co-operative Life), tells her story about how Australia’s first worker-owned cooperative delivers quality social care services and offers care workers a better deal. Robyn Kaczmarek is the founder and managing director of The Co-operative Life, Australia’s first worker-owned cooperative in social care services. The cooperative began operating in 2013 with a single employee but has grown to around 75 staff members. Before entering the social care services sector, Robyn studied naturopathy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture (UTS) and ran a clinic in Mosman. She later completed a diploma in the coordination of care services. In setting up and continuing her passionate commitment to The Co-operative Life, Robyn strives to break the vicious cycle of poor work conditions for support workers and deliver improved quality of care services to the vulnerable.

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Categories: News

River Valley Co-Op workers get raises under new union contract

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 17:47
Link: River Valley Co-Op workers get raises under new union contract for Northampton grocery

NORTHAMPTON — The starting minimum wage at River Valley Co-Op market at 330 North King St. went up Monday from $12.50 an hour to $15 an hour under a new three-year union contract that had been ratified Friday by the 125-member bargaining unit.

State law raised the minimum wage in Massachusetts as of Jan. 1 to $12 an hour from $11 an hour. That same state law calls for incremental increases hitting $15 an hour on Jan 1, 2023, said Jeff Jones, a vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459 in Springfield, which represents River Valley workers.

Read the rest at MassLive


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Categories: News

Kwanzaa Meets Capital

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 18:33
Link: Kwanzaa Meets Capital: Meet Boston's New Democratic Investment Fund

Democracy is a dearly beloved concept in the United States when it comes to politics. But what about capital?

Most capital is allocated by dictatorship — or perhaps at best, a plutocracy. Many people contribute capital to a fund or institution, which then has a relatively tiny team making decisions about the allocation of capital (for instance, across companies in the public markets). This means that often their decision-making is narrowly defined as serving the financial interest of their investors and institutions — rather than addressing the societal impact of the actual investments placed.  

But what happens when hundreds of people come together to decide how capital can best serve their community? What would look different?

This is precisely what the Ujima Project set out to create. Recently, this economic development and community-organizing collective launched its first fund, a $5 million vehicle co-designed, governed by, and grounded in working-class communities of color in Boston. This interview with leaders Aaron Tanaka, Nia Evans, and Lucas Turner Owens provides a roadmap to the democratization of capital.

Read the rest at Forbes


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Dru Oja Jay on Solidarity Economy Incubation Zone

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 18:02
Link: Dru Oja Jay on SEIZE Solidarity Economy Incubation Zone

A segment of an larger interview with Dru Oja Jay, Writer, Organizer, and Author. Co-founder of the Media Co-op, Friends of Public Services, Courage.

Watch more videos from Post-Capitalist Possibilities


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What a cooperative, tech-enabled economy might look like

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 20:18
Link: Nesta's 'ShareTown' interactive shows what a cooperative, tech-enabled economy might look like

It is common to see questionable policies enacted by state and local governments under the guise of economic development — policies which appear to serve the interests of private entities rather than the interests of society at large. Yet at the other end of the spectrum, real and sustainable sources of wealth, along with the many non-financial elements crucial to the health of societies, continue to be generated by individuals and small-scale producers, largely without much assistance from local governments.

Read the rest at Shareable


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How Bridge City Bicycle Co-op Gives Back

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 19:28
Link: How this YXE bike co-op gives back

Co-ops are great at giving back. In our recent Holiday Podcast, Aasa spoke with some amazing co-operatives in western Canada. Each of them gave us insight into how and why their co-operatives give back.

In this snippet, we chat with Stan Yu about the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op. This YXE-based bike shop is unique. It teaches skills, creates a community, and supports community initiatives, like getting bikes out of the local landfill. They also give away free kids bikes during the holidays. Check out the interview.

Listen to the interview at Co-operatives First


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Want to Improve Education? Empower the Students.

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 20:01
Link: Want to Improve Education? Empower the Students.

Participatory Budgeting in Schools from PBP on Vimeo.

What is PB? Instead of government and school officials making every budgetary decision, PB gives real people real power over budget decisions in their schools and communities. “It really is putting your money where your mouth is,” says Christopher Oglesby, former teacher and a school administrator at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, AZ. “We’re taking taxpayer money that ordinarily the school board would decide how to spend, and we’re empowering our students to decide how that money should be spent on our campuses.”

Schools all across the country have committed to listening to their students, and to acting on their ideas. In Tacoma, WA, 1,500 students from Lincoln High School get to pitch and vote on ideas on how to spend $60,000 to improve their school. In New York, students and families at over 600 schools will decide how to spend more than $1 million, starting with a few dozen schools this year. Several elementary schools and colleges across the CUNY system have already tried this approach.

Read the rest at Medium


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