Grassroots Economic Survival

Subscribe to Grassroots Economic Survival feed
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: 32 min 3 sec ago

Black Neighbors Band Together to Bring in Healthy Food, Co-op-Style

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 18:29
Link: Black Neighbors Band Together to Bring in Healthy Food, Co-op-Style

A decade ago, researchers reported that more than half of Detroit residents live in a food desert—an area where access to fresh and affordable healthy foods is limited because grocery stores are too far away. Efforts since then to bring more grocery stores—and food security—to predominantly Black neighborhoods haven’t worked.

But that’s looking to change.

Malik Yakini is executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, a coalition of people and groups that promotes urban agriculture, co-operative buying, and healthy eating. His organization is helping Black people in the city take matters into their own hands by creating their own grocery store, The Detroit People’s Co-op. The grocery will sit in the city’s North End neighborhood, where about 92 percent of residents are Black and nearly 40 percent have a household income less than $15,000.

“We found that a co-op grocery store was imperative,” says Yakini, adding that the members began to conceptualize the co-op in 2010 after they surveyed hundreds of Detroiters on their dietary eating habits, wants, and needs. “This new store will give the people more control over the food they eat and its production and preparation,” he says.

Read the rest at YES! Magazine

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Second Letter from Mondragon: Cooperativism in the United States (The Right to Dream)

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 18:22
Link: Second Letter from Mondragon: COOPERATIVISM IN THE UNITED STATES (The Right to Dream)

It has been more than 60 years since Don Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, priest and the soul of the Mondragon Cooperative Experience, arrived in Mondragon. Today, three generations have benefited from his education and work. Arizmendiarrieta was the man that brought the idea of cooperativism to life in working communities out of his eagerness to address issues of human dignity in communities. He saw the person as the foundation and purpose—“first people, then cooperativistas” —as the reason to create cooperatives, saying that:  

“Never has there been so much talk of freedom as there has been so far this century, and we have brought forth systems and theories that deny every freedom; never have human value and dignity been spoken of as much as in these recent times and yet, never has there been so little respect or esteem than today for man, who is sacrificed with the greatest ease, whose life is looked down on as the vilest thing; never has there been so much talk as in these last few years about humanity, about the common good, about class interests, about the good of humanity—so much absurdity has been justified with these pompous names—and we have reached a social situation in which whim and ambition, pride and arrogance, selfishness and cruelty of the strong has never been more the order of the day, to the detriment of the true interests of the masses, of men, of humanity. That is what we have come to.”  

AZURMENDI, Joxe. El Hombre Cooperativo: Pensamiento de Arizmendiarrieta. Mondragón, Caja Laboral Popular, 1984. P. 162

Read the rest at Cicinnati Union Co-op Initiative

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Support Grassroots Hurricane Recovery

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:07
Link: Support Grassroots Hurricane Recovery

Our hearts are with all the people who are suffering short and long term damage from the recent string of hurricanes and record rainfalls and flooding bombarding the Caribbean islands, the Gulf South of the US, and now across Florida and Georgia.   

Emergency Response Call this Wednesday Night
Please join us this Wednesday night for an emergency response call convened by the Climate Justice Alliance where we can hear directly from our members and allies in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

Weathering the Storms: 
Updates from Frontline Communities Impacted by Harvey & Irma
Wednesday Sept 13
5pm PT/ 6pm MT/ 7pm CT/ 8pm ET

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER IN ADVANCE
**After registering, you will receive an email with information about joining the webinar.

[...]

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT FRONTLINE COMMUNTIES

More information at Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

The Socialist Experiment in Jackson

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:03

In addition to being central to the PG-RNA’s new-society ideal, cooperatives had been an important part of other visions for true racial equality in the state. In 1969, in Sunflower County, Mississippi, the voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer helped develop the Freedom Farm Cooperative—the namesake of the beds behind Cooperation Jackson. In her 2014 book Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a political economist who researches African-American collective economies, argues that co-ops have existed as a necessary counterweight to this country’s economic violence against black communities from the beginning of slavery here. “There seems to be no period in U.S. history where African Americans were not involved in economic cooperation of some type,” she writes. Cooperatives, though never a critical mass, have offered an alternate mindset, a means of insulating the economic participation of a group pushed out of the dominant system. 

Cooperatives are a main tenet of the Jackson-Kush Plan. The framers of this new-society experiment viewed them as a way to help people unlearn the lessons their economy taught them and train them to be democratic in every aspect of their lives. They knew that the individual, foundational work of building buy-in for a whole new type of economy would be even harder than winning an election.

Read the rest at Oxford American

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

How Co-ops Can Make Infrastructure Great Again

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:02
Link: How Co-ops Can Make Infrastructure Great Again

Today, nearly a thousand local cooperatives provide electricity to the inhabitants of around three-quarters of the landmass of the United States. They have formed larger co-ops in order to build and manage their own power plants. They’ve formed cooperative banks to finance new projects, lessening the need for public loans. Together with the rural phone co-ops that emerged in the same period, some electric co-ops are now bringing broadband internet service to underserved areas. Some have also become leaders in transitioning to renewable energy sources.

And all along, the basic model hasn’t changed: The co-ops are still owned and governed by the people they serve. Members typically get ballots for board members with their bills. It’s not a perfect system, and far too many co-ops have tolerated low election turnouts, entrenched board members, and bylaws designed to make change difficult. Still, co-ops have strong incentives to keep rates affordable, and any excess earnings get reinvested in the communities from which they came.

Electric cooperatives have also garnered remarkably bipartisan support over the years. Although spurred and nurtured early on by Democratic presidents, for decades now, these fixtures of the red state economy have had GOP lawmakers among their chief advocates, including former Indiana governor and vice president-elect Mike Pence. And it’s easy to see why: Co-ops are practical businesses that foster strong communities and local control. Because they’re regulated by their member-owners, in most cases they require significantly less oversight from government bureaucracies, if any.

Read the rest at YES! Magazine

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Understanding Perceptions of Others’ Civic Abilities

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 19:47
Link: The Competence of Others: Understanding Perceptions of Others’ Civic Abilities

Democracy is closer to its ideal when it is more open, accessible, and representative. However, everyone does not participate equally in politics. Upper-income and more highly educated people are more likely to participate. This is a problem, because in many advanced democracies, it is only the preferences of the wealthiest that are reflected in public policy. How, then, do the voices of others matter in governance?

One solution might be democratic innovations that encourage coalitions among lower-income people. However, many things hinder such coalitions, from people choosing to attend to other aspects of their lives, given the small likelihood that their individual actions will matter, to long-standing racism that prevents workers from seeing common cause.

There is yet another barrier: people’s lack of faith in each other. That lack of faith is undoubtedly fed by racism, but knowing that is not enough. We need to know about the contours of this lack of faith in order to address it. In contemporary politics, there is much criticism of lower-income or working-class whites voting for Republican candidates—in other words, supposedly voting against their interests.

But contemporary commentary seldom stops to consider how these voters regard their counterparts on the left.

Read the rest at Items

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Cooperative Program Aims To Boost Quality Of Home Care

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 18:55
Link: Cooperative Program Aims To Boost Quality Of Home Care

Wisconsin is part of a nationwide effort to boost working conditions for home care workers under a cooperative model--and provide better and more consistent care for seniors and others.  Anne Reynolds of UW Center for Cooperatives and Tracy Dudzinski of Cooperative Care join the show.

Listen to the episode at Wisconsin Public Radio

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Introverts in Community

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 18:47
Link: Introverts in Community

One possibility is to give people time in silence to contemplate what they've heard and what they'd like others to know about their thinking before calling for responses. To be clear, I'm not talking about slowing things down all the time; but it may be a better idea than I knew to do this regularly.

Another possibility is being more rigorous about offering alternatives to open discussion (were people simply speak as they are ready), where extroverts are bound to dominate.

It also suggests the potential utility of taking time to ask people what their preferences are around pace and method of sharing—in the whole group, in small groups, with just one other person; orally, in writing, in a skit, through interpretative dance, in pantomime… whatever.

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

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Community Focused Economic Models, Cooperative Housing, and the New Economy Coalition

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 16:00
Link: Staying Rooted: Community Focused Economic Models, Cooperative Housing, and the New Economy Coalition

Collective housing, cultural co-ops, land trusts, community banks are community-rooted enterprises that empower those that have been excluded from traditional economic institutions. Solidarity economy models exercised throughout the country are becoming viable solutions towards sustainable and economically just living.

Today we’re visiting community-rooted enterprises where people are rethinking power and participation in their lives. Collective housing and cultural co-ops, land trusts and community banks are providing fundamental shifts in our workplaces, living spaces, and economic understanding of local communities.

Listen to more episodes of Making Contact

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

No Elitist Farmers Market Here

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 15:56
Link: No Elitist Farmers Market Here—Free Healthy Food and Profits for Farmers

The Farmacy program has so far given 200 patients “prescriptions” that they can exchange for wooden tokens to buy produce at the market.

“A doctor tells someone, ‘You need to start eating more greens,’ but they say, ‘Well, I only get $122 a month in SNAP, I just can’t afford that stuff,’” Horn says. With the doctor’s prescription, now they can.

Barry Linville, a Letcher resident who is diabetic, wrote a letter to Horn thanking her for changing his life for the better. His blood sugar reading was 14 millimoles per liter in February 2016, but had fallen to 6 by that October. “I credit the market for bringing it down,” he wrote. “That’s the difference between living and dying.”

From 2013 to 2016, the program has helped raise farmers market revenues from $6,000 to $120,000, and it’s lent assistance to other area markets to set up their own Farmacy programs.

Read the rest at YES! Magazine

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Can Worker Cooperatives Lift Women Out of Poverty?

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 15:50
Link: Can Worker Cooperatives Lift Women Out of Poverty?

For Tere and hundreds of other striving workers in the low-wage sectors, worker-owned cooperatives offer a pathway to economic equality. An empowering business model, worker co-ops enable collaborative entrepreneurship, thereby minimizing individual risk and promoting a shared culture of productivity, skill building and democratic decision making. They have the potential to revive communities by creating a stable economic base and create a rising class of worker-owners with a vested interest in success. Rooted in the tenets of cooperation—which has deep roots in the United States—with a boost from the philanthropic sector and government investment, they are an effective and progressive strategy for building a more just economy, especially for women of color.

Read the rest at HuffPost

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Get Involved to Help End the Cuban Blockade

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 00:20


ATTEND DAYS OF ACTION EVENTS: DC SCHEDULE


Monday September 11, 6:00-8:00 PM
Busboys & Poets, Takoma
235 Carroll St NW
Washington DC
(Two short blocks from the Takoma Metro
stop and is right on the line between
Takoma DC and Takoma Park MD)

Monday September, 9:00 PM ET
Health Over Profit for Everyone national call

Tuesday September 12, 3:30-5:30
American University
Kay Spiritual Life Center Lounge
(in the basement of the building)
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington,
DC 20016
http://www.american.edu/ocl/kay/

Tuesday September 12, 7:30 PM
Building: The Stamp, Grand Ballroom Lounge 1209
The Adele H. Stamp Student Union Center for Campus Life
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
http://maps.umd.edu/map/

Wednesday September 13, 7:00 PM
Ralph Bunche Center
Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center
2218 6th Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20059
Howard University

Thursday September 14, 1:00 PM
Meeting with Family Doctors’ Residents
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Thursday September 14, 7:00 PM
Organized by International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
Invited guests, Cuban Ambassador: José Ramón Cabañas
Calvary Baptist Church
Woodward Hall
755 8th St NW,
Washington, DC 20001

Friday September 15, Noon
Georgetown School of Medicine
Medical-Dental Building Room 201c
3900 Reservoir Road NW
Washington DC 20007
Georgetown University
Organized by Health Care Revolution

Friday September 15, 6:00 PM
Showing of the Documentary “Dare to Dream”
Can one Medical School Change the World?
“Dare to Dream is a 30 minute movie that tells the story of the largest
medical school in the world, the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM)
in Havana, Cuba
Watch the trailer at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/ dare2dreamcuba
Q&A with
Filmmaker Jennifer Wager, Professor of Communications
Abraham Vela, ELAM graduate
María Lucia Pérez Agudelo, ELAM graduate
The Potter’s House
1658 Columbia Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20009

For more information visit http://theinternationalcommittee.org/days-of-action/schedule/

GET YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO PASS A RESOLUTION
The North American Congress on Latin America suggests grassroots action to get local governments to pass resolutions in support of ending the blockade. Here is some sample language:
http://nacla.org/news/2017/03/17/ending-us-embargo-cuba-grassroots

Local resolutions, developed with differing formats and through processes based on various forms of government, generally include two parts: a “whereas” section identifying various arguments and contexts that support the resolution, and a “be it resolved” section, with one or more actions to be taken. A sample resolution reads:

·      WHEREAS, in 1960, the United States government imposed an economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba; and

·      WHEREAS, the U.S. embargo against Cuba — what the Cubans call el bloqueo, “the blockade” — continues to inflict hardship on the men, women and children of Cuba by creating shortages of food, medicines and financial and trade opportunities; and

·      WHEREAS the 1996 Helms Burton Act extended the territorial application of the initial embargo to apply to foreign companies trading with Cuba; and

·      WHEREAS, on December 17, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a new era of relations and agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations; and

·      WHEREAS, Cuba and the United States re-opened their respective embassies in 2015; and

·      WHEREAS, despite the changes made by President Obama the embargo continues to be in place; and

·      WHEREAS, 191 countries voted at the United Nations General Assembly in October 2015 in favor of lifting the U.S. blockade against Cuba, with only two countries — the U.S. and Israel — opposed; and

·      WHEREAS the majority of the people of the United States believe this embargo is ineffective; and

·      WHEREAS the blockade denies U.S. citizens access to Cuban medical technology such as the diabetes drug Heberpot-P, vaccines for meningitis B and hepatitis B, monoclonal antibodies for kidney transplants, as well as the only therapeutic vaccine in the world against advanced lung cancer, CIMAVAX-EGF; and

·      WHEREAS the U.S. through its Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported and has not disavowed continuing covert “regime change” operations;

Now therefore BE IT RESOLVED that the city/state/county of ________hereby calls for an immediate end to the United States’ economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba.

We support the following bills in Congress and in the Senate…


The “action focus” is on Congress because one of the main features of Helms-Burton is the transfer of final authority to the Legislative Branch to override an Executive Branch cancellation of the embargo. Resolutions, as a rule, reference support for the particular U.S. House and Senate bills to officially end the travel ban and support the opening of trade.  (Current federal legislation for the new Congress is being updated and well-tracked by the Latin America Working Group on its End of Embargo on Cuba campaign site.) Local resolutions tend to note the Representatives and Senators who are already cosponsors of anti-embargo legislation, and specifically request those who have not supported such efforts to sign on.

WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND THE WHITE HOUSE
The Latin American Working Group suggests the following urgent actions:
1. CALL or email your members of Congress:
Tell them to take action to continue travel and engagement with Cuba, before it¹s too late!

Suggested Script:
"As your constituent, I want you to know that I strongly support continued U.S. engagement with Cuba. Increased travel and trade with Cuba not only benefit major industries and job creators in your district and allows your constituents their right to travel to Cuba, but also helps to improve the lives of the Cuban people.

"As the Trump Administrations finalizes its U.S.-Cuba policy review, I urge you to contact the White House NOW and express your strong support for expanded travel to and engagement with Cuba.

"The U.S. embargo on Cuba has failed to accomplish its intended goals and has instead hurt both the Cuban and the American people. As a member of Congress, you should build upon the momentum of the past two years, and pass legislation to lift the U.S. travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba."

2. CONTACT the White House:
 Call the White House Comments line: 202-456-1111, or the Switchboard: 202-456-1414.
Email the White House from their website here

3. TWEET at the President and Congress:
You can look up your members' twitter handles here!
Sample tweets to copy and paste (and edit as you'd like):
.@realDonaldTrump increased travel & trade with Cuba benefits US industries and both US & Cuban people! #USCuba #EndtheEmbargo
[@your member] Tell Trump to keep moving forward on travel, trade, & #USCuba engagement! #EndtheEmbargo #EndTheTravelBan
I demand my right to travel freely to #Cuba! @realDonaldTrump don't roll back policy of #USCuba engagment! #EndTheTravelBan
 

Go to the GEO front page
 

Categories: News

Owning Maine’s Future: Fostering a Cooperative Economy in Maine

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 17:20
Link: Owning Maine’s Future: Fostering a Cooperative Economy in Maine

Maine’s  economy  faces  a  host  of  well-known  challenges:  reliance  on  natural  resource  extraction  or  low-quality  service  jobs,  geographic  isolation,  challenging  climate,  and  out-migration,  especially  of  young  adults.  Staying  on  this  course  is  undesirable,  but  traditional economic development fixes have had limited success. The authors examine the possibilities of making cooperatively owned businesses a central feature of Maine’s economy.  They  outline  the  characteristics,  benefits,  and  challenges  of  cooperatives  and  identify  six  important  sectors  of  the  Maine economy  in  which  cooperative  ownership already plays an important role or could make more contributions to economic and community vitality. The authors describe several other regions, with a focus on Finland, with strong cooperative economies or businesses, and examine the socioeconomic benefits and institutional features that encourage the development of cooperatives. The article concludes with policy recommendations that could facilitate similar outcomes in Maine.

[full screen]

 

Go to the GEO front page

file upload: PDF icon owning-maines-future-fostering-a-cooperative.pdf
Categories: News

A Denver Community Considers A Land Trust To Keep Residents In Their Homes

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 17:10
Link: A Denver Community Considers A Land Trust To Keep Residents In Their Homes

Rising rents and higher property taxes are pushing some people out of Denver. Folks in the northern neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea have been hit especially hard,  which is why they want to establish a community land trust. The basic idea is that a nonprofit, membership-based organization is set up to buy and maintain land on behalf of the neighborhoods. 

We spoke to some residents in the neighborhoods about their hopes for the land trust. Then, in the studio, Nola Miguel, director of the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea Coalition Organizing for Health and Housing Justice, talked about how the organization started exploring the idea of a community land trust a couple of years ago as a way to preserve affordable housing in the area.

Beth Sorce also joined the conversation. She's been advising the GES Coalition on this effort. She's the director of capacity building at Grounded Solutions Network, a national organization that has helped communities around the country set up land trusts.

Read the rest at Colorado Public Radio

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

CoFed is Hiring a Programs Director

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 15:42
Link: We're Hiring a Programs Director!

We are reaching out to the CoFED community for your support in recruiting a Programs Director. Do you love what CoFED does and want to see us level up? Want to help us grow our work and organizational capacity? We need you! Please join in the effort to share this announcement with family, friends, and colleagues who would be interested and qualified for the position - or consider applying yourself!

CoFED has a deep belief in the power of young people to build a multiracial, multiclass, multicultural movement committed to creating alternatives to a racist and extractive food system that does not serve us as people or the planet. By building food co-ops, our communities can nourish, heal, and provide jobs and livelihoods for ourselves. In the process, which we believe must be led by all of us together, we evolve towards collective liberation. If you’ve been following our work this past year, you’ll know that we’ve been working on exciting projects and accomplished much:

  • Launched our inaugural Racial Justice Fellowship
  • Organized our biggest, most diverse Summer Co-op Academy to date
  • Published our #UnlearningWithCoFED monthly email series, where we’ve been questioning and learning together how co-ops fit into the larger visions of food, racial, economic, gender and climate justice.
  • And right around the corner, look out for the release of the Co-op Cultivator Course

Help us power this growth and find the best person to join the CoFED team! Please share this job description with your community! The deadline to apply is September 25th.

See full job description and apply here

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Disaster communism part 1 - disaster communities

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 15:37
Link: Disaster communism part 1 - disaster communities

Tens of thousands of people showed that we don’t need capital or governments to get things done. They demonstrated the will of people to take part in comforting each other, re-building, creating and moulding their own futures.

This quote is from a blog called Revolts Now. Libcom readers often see this kind of inspiration in strikes or uprisings, moments when the working class seizes the steering wheel, or stomps on the brakes (pick your metaphor). Revolts Now was talking about the aftermath of the Queensland floods. They write of:

…efforts of communities hit by disaster that do not wait for the state, or allow capital to take the initiative, but instead ‘negotiate with their hands’, rebuilding their own communities and ‘healing themselves’, resulting in communities that are stronger. I call these efforts disaster communism.

We think disaster communism is a useful concept for thinking about climate change. Although it's far from common, we can already identify at least two different meanings of the term. The first meaning is collective, self-organised responses to disaster situations. The second concerns the prospects for an ecological society based on human needs in the face of climate chaos, or to put it another way, the possibility of communism in the Anthropocene.1 We can call this first sense 'disaster communities', and the second 'disaster communisation', and consider both of these as moments of the wider problematic of disaster communism.

Read the rest at libcom.org

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Their Own

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:57
Link: Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Their Own

Fourteen miles from Winthrop, in Moltke Township, population 330, one soybean- and wheat-farming family reported its sluggish DSL connection often made it impossible to upload reports to business partners.

Organizers in Winthrop knew they were too small to fund a major internet infrastructure-building project on their own, so they reached out to other neighbors, the town of Gaylord, population 2,305.

And the towns attracted 25 more municipal allies. 

Today, in this sparsely populated swath of Minnesota, a grassroots, member-owned cooperative spanning more than 700 square miles and four counties is poised to expand high-speed broadband access—without relying on federal funding. After seven years of development led by local leaders and volunteers, RS Fiber, now in its first phase of construction, is expected to deliver high-speed broadband internet to more than 6,000 rural households by 2021. And unlike companies like Mediacom, the co-op is owned by local customers who have a say in rates and how it’s operated.

Read the rest at YES! Magazine

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Spaces of possibilities: Workers' self-management in Greece

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 21:56
Link: Spaces of possibilities: Workers' self-management in Greece

This  paper  focuses  on  the  process  of  workers' self-management  brought about by  a  wave  of experimentation  with  alternative organizational  forms  taking  place  in  Greece  since  the beginning  of  the  current  financial  crisis.  The  discussion  is  supported  by  empirical  evidence from qualitative fieldwork conducted in three workers' collectives. Drawing on the findings of my research, I argue that the members' values and everyday practices give shape and meaning to their aspirations  of creating a  space that not only critiques the existing forms of work but also puts into practice  other  possibilities  that  give  emphasis to reciprocal  relationships  and prioritise collective working, egalitarianism and autonomy. I also argue that their established consensus-based decision-making models, far from representing a state of agreement, allows - within  collectively  determined  boundaries -the  creation  of  a  space  where  diverse  opinions flourish  rather  than  being  suppressed. This encourages the  development  of  more  inclusive  models  of  participation  and  the  construction  of  rule-creating  rather  than  rule-following individuals.

[full screen]

 

Go to the GEO front page

file upload: PDF icon spaces_of_possibilities.pdf
Categories: News

SHAME & SHAMING

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 14:33

If there is anything human I would label “evil,” it is shame, with guilt being a close second. Both are at the heart of moral righteousness.

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, a half Iranian and half Jewish woman, shares a story about herself that shows how insidious shaming is. When she was 8 a white rural father ridiculed her name at a family dinner, driving her to flee the table in tears. At 9 she teamed up with two white girls to “gleefully mock” a Middle Eastern boy student for his name and foreign accent. Eventually he fled the classroom in tears. Then, in spite of her own experience, she blocked all her teacher’s efforts to get her to see how mean her behavior was. In retrospect, she explained why it in all its simplicity:

I was propelled by something far more fundamental and intoxicating and disturbing, something that could not be argued away with the use of reason: It had felt good. (Emphasis added.)

Wow! Not unusual though. Our craving to feel okay about ourselves and accepted is really powerful. Being shamed we feel it as abuse, but then we turn it on ourselves as well. Then, to escape our self-shaming we turn that onto others. Eating our own tail.

Brené Brown has intensely researched shame, vulnerability, and feelings of connection and disconnection for years. She defines shame “as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” She goes on: 

I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.

So shaming—this everyday thing that goes on everywhere—seeks to destroy someone else’s sense of worthiness as human being and sense of belonging. Actually, it can go further: rendering them worthy of abuse, exclusion, and oppression. Even much further: actually exterminating them.

I wonder a lot about how much identity politics of any kind involves this shaming business.

And then there is a wonderful story of Derek Black. It shows, as does Ms. Sayrafiezadeh act of sharing her story, that we aren’t just trapped in shame and shaming. He was born into the white nationalist movement and became a well-known child organizer for it. His father founded and still runs the web site Stormfront, a white supremacist Web forum used to help organize their Charlottesville demonstration. Several years ago fellow students at his college found out about him and began posting comments on a college forum. He was never attacked or challenged. In fact, one exchange among them came up with the idea of inviting him to respond, to hear what he had to say. He didn’t take up the offer at the time, but as things evolved he eventually accepted an invitation to Shabbat meals a Jewish student regularly hosted once a week. The relationship building that followed was an important part of his complete transition out of the white nationalist movement. After Charlottesville he wrote an op-ed very critical of Trump and condemning the neo-Nazi demonstrations. However, he did it from a nuanced perspective to the whole complexity of issues that was utterly free of any moral righteousness.

The political is personal. Deeply personal. The old adage holds true here: we must become the change we want to bring to the world.

But how?

 

I also wonder about how much righteousness I might be bringing to the writing these blogs.

 

 

Regions: United StatesRegular Contributors: Michael JohnsonMovements & Struggles: Environmental JusticeFeminism & Gender JusticeImmigrant JusticeNative Justice & SovereigntyQueer & Trans LiberationRacial Justice
Categories: News

Mandela Foods Cooperative is Hiring Future Owners

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 06:23
Link: Mandela Foods Cooperative is Hiring Future Owners (Oakland West)

Opportunity to co-own a healthy local grocery store.

Our Cooperative is expanding, we'd love for you to expand with us.
If you're interested in working in a cooperative environment offering fair pay and reasonable hours in exchange for dedication and hard work, please stop by for an application.


Requirements:
Food knowledge/Health conscious
Co-op experience
Passionate learner
Ability to receive feedback
Self & collectively motivated
People friendly & Positive presence
Requires minimum 1000 hours worked before ownership possibility


Offers:
Job stability
Reasonable hours
Benefits
Alternative business model
Positive community development
Discounts & wholesale on nutritious food
Ownership opportunity
Empowering work environment

See Mandela Grocery Cooperative's job posting on Craigslist

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Pages