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: 50 min 58 sec ago

The Growth of Co-op Business in British Columbia

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 17:52
Link: Good Job: The Growth of Co-operative Business in British Columbia

Elvy del Bianco, program manager for co-operative partnerships at Vancity Credit Union, believes the growth in B.C.’s co-operative business sector is driven in part by a desire for good jobs. The province, he said, is still suffering from the economic shock of the 2008 financial crisis.

“Job security is a thing of the past. Access to good, stable, well paying jobs is being overtaken by the gig economy,” he said. “People are seeing that it’s not a very friendly economy out there.”

A similarly unfriendly economy, he said, was what inspired the original creation of co-operatives in 19th century England. The pressures of industrialization drove skilled workers such as shoemakers, tailors and cabinet-makers to look for alternatives to capitalism. Del Bianco sees a similar thing happening today.

Read the rest at The Tyee


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

The Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 16:42
Link: The Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism

A Cooperation Jackson dialogue with Ercan Ayboga, Co-Author of "Revolution in Rojava", an activist of the Mesopotamian Ecologist Movement

Come learn about the ideological, political and programmatic similarities between the Jackson-Kush Plan and the radical democratic movement in Jackson, Mississippi and the Charter of the Social Contract, which serves as the Constitution of the Rojava Cantons, guiding the revolutionary transformation of Syrian Kurdistan. Learn more about their experiment with radical democratic confederalism amongst the various peoples and ethnicities of Syria, their work to build an anti-capitalist solidarity economy, to liberate women, and to restore the ecology.

Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, wherein the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava's groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies. Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay. This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times.

Watch more videos from Cooperation Jackson


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

South Philly Food Co-op Advances Local Food Access

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 16:34
Link: South Philadelphia: Co-op President Advances Local Food Access

The co-op had already been actively working and had incorporated as an organization and was aiming to get enough members to begin a real estate search. Cooperatives were something that was new and interesting to me personally and I decided to become a member-owner. It seemed like a really great way to get involved with my neighbors, so I decided to get more involved.

The co-op is currently more than 850 member-owners strong and we are, at this point, still an all-volunteer organization and so we are dependent on the passions and incredible skills of our member-owners. It’s a community-driven endeavor and I think that’s one of the things that’s incredibly impressive to me. [A lack of local food] was something that was identified as a need by the community and the community is solving this problem.

Read the rest at Philadelphia Neighborhoods


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Who are the New Co-op Weavers?

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:18
Link: Who are the new Co-op weavers?

The internet has spawned a myriad of collaborative projects, the most notable of which are still Wikipedia, Firefox and Linux itself – the open source kernel which supports majority of the internet – but, in general, effective large-scale online collaboration has been extremely slow to evolve. Instead we are presented with a cacophony of voices all vying for our waning attention and, despite our best efforts, we naturally gravitate into internet silos which hamper the cross-pollination of ideas and opinions. Plus, now publishing one’s ideas has become so easy, there is often huge overlap between disparate groups who share exactly the same vision, purpose and objectives but remain ignorant of each others’ existence, or unsure how they could collaborate when they do discover each other.

This is the realm in which the new generation of co-operative weavers are ‘shuttling’ the threads of disparate groups back and forth, curating and collating concepts and ‘memes’ into more coherent tapestries. The Collaborative Technology Alliance highlights the objective: “There are many groups around the world working to deliver a more open, more collaborative and inclusive society. These groups are intention-aligned but remain disparate initiatives, which means they fail to benefit from the network effect”.

Imagine how much more effective we could be if the members of the Transition NetworkNEONOccupyThe Solidarity EconomyThe Internet of Ownership, The WWOOFersThe Eco village Network and all the other hundreds and thousands of like-minded networks were actively collaborating on creating the type of society to which they all aspire. The network effect would be unstoppable.

Read the rest at The Open Co-op  Go to the GEO front page
Categories: News

Co-op mobile home park 'a success' in Burlington

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:13
Link: Co-op mobile home park 'a success' in Burlington

LeClair, now the 116-unit neighborhood's maintenance manager, explained the cost-benefit math. 

“You can own a new, energy-efficient, two-bedroom home here and pay $900 a month, which includes land rental, your mortgage and taxes,” he said last week. “Try finding that anywhere else in Burlington.”

Residents own their homes and share ownership of the entire parcel.

The pace of improvements, such as the removal of abandoned dwellings, has quickened, LeClair said.

“When we formed the co-op in 2015, we hit the ground running,” LeClair said. "People are more interested in how things are going — because now they have a say.”

Read the rest at Burlington Free Press


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Some Reasons why the 1970s Wave of UK Worker Coops Faded Away

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 18:16
Link: Some Reasons why the 1970s Wave of UK Worker Coops Faded Away and Why there is an Upsurge in the 2010s

In the late 1990s ICOM (the former worker cooperative federation) did a cluster analysis of location of worker coops and CDAs (cooperative development agencies) in the UK.  It was very clear that existing worker coops clustered around long standing CDAs. There were few where there had not been a CDA. With some odd exceptions eg Suma Wholefoods, the largest 70s worker coop, in Leeds and Halifax.  

It was also apparent that the loss of worker coops seemed to be higher where CDAs had disappeared previously due to loss of funding by local authorities as they lost funding from the Conservative governments of the 80s and early 90s.

But when the Blair Labour government won a landslide victory in 1997, they emphasised social enterprise. Cooperatives were deemed to be 'innefective and obsolete' by the promoters of social enterprise. They successfully lobbied the Blair administration to put all their considerable 'third sector' support into promoting social enterprise. Which meant that there was almost no cooperative development support or awareness raising on the ground. No one with any authority wanted to hear about cooperatives.

Social enterprise thought leaders of the 90s discounted democracy as part of the governance of their type of social enterprise, creating a gulf between cooperatives and UK social enterprise (unlike on the continent where social enterprise and cooperatives intertwine).  This was the case until fairly recently.

Conservative politicians disliked social enterprise 'Blairstyle', they referred it as 'jobs for the children of labour politicians'. After 2010 and the election of a Conservative led government it was again possible to start talking about cooperatives in the UK without getting the cold shoulder from government (local and national). Cooperatives fit the politics of all major parties (for different reasons) even if they don't really understand them.

Read the rest at Bob Cannell's blog


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Cooperation Richmond is empowering marginalized communities to build an equitable economy

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 18:00
Link: How Cooperation Richmond is empowering marginalized communities to build an equitable economy

Lying a few miles south of Marin County and just across the bay from San Francisco, the city of Richmond, California, is situated within two of the wealthiest regions of the United States. Richmond, however, does not share in this wealth. Its downtown has been largely abandoned and its northern periphery is on the front lines of the Chevron Richmond Refinery, processing over 240,000 barrels of crude oil every single day and creating a toxic environment to those living in the surrounding vicinity. It's an example of what we know as a "sacrifice zone" — a community that has been largely incapacitated by environmental damage and economic neglect.

But in the shadow of the looming refinery, and within the spaces between boarded up storefronts and abandoned lots, something is stirring in Richmond. Residents, organizers, and activists have come together to create an incubation hub for community revitalization and resilience. They call themselves Cooperation Richmond, and their aim is to empower the marginalized and exploited residents of this city to build community-controlled wealth and wellbeing.

Read the rest at Shareable


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Closed Argentine Newspapers Recuperated by Workers' Cooperatives

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:53
Link: Argentine newspapers closed or abandoned by owners are recuperated by workers' cooperatives

Between 2016 and 2017, at least six media were recuperated by their workers after they were closed or abandoned by their owners: the local newspapers La Nueva Mañana, in Córdoba; El Ciudadano of Rosario; La Portada, of Esquel; and El Correo, of Firmat; plus the newspaper Tiempo Argentino and online news site Infonews, both based in Buenos Aires. In the previous survey, referring to the period between 2010 and 2013, the Open Faculty Program registered the recuperation of only one media outlet.


"Far from having a revolutionary characteristic or being an attack on the system, it has as an important center the theme that they are all older, salaried workers, who found it practically impossible to insert themselves in the labor market," Bauni said. “The cooperative was just a legal way to defend the work,” the social scientist said, citing the Argentine Bankruptcy Law, which provides for this type of recuperation of bankrupt companies.

Social anthropologist Andrés Ruggeri, director of the Open Faculty Program, recalled that before 2016 there were cases of media that were recuperated and administered by workers' cooperatives, mostly in the interior of the country. Among them are Comercio y Justicia of Córdoba and El Diario de la Región in the Argentine Chaco, both refounded in 2002, the peak of the phenomenon of recuperated companies, and Revista Cítrica, which emerged after the end of the newspaper Crítica, in 2010.

Read the rest at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Cuba Opens a Wholesale Market for Private Food Service Cooperatives

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:47
Link: Cuba Opens a Wholesale Market for Private Food Service Cooperatives

The Cuban government has opened its first wholesale basic foods market for private cooperatives, but at this time other self-employed workers will not have access, dpa news reported.

Initially, only some food service sector cooperatives, which assumed old state-owned companies changing their management form, but for now, other forms of private work are left out as possible customers.

In the “Mercabal” market, a first group of 35 customers can buy with a 20 percent discount on retail a series of products such as sugar, beans, salt, beer and soft drinks, hamburgers and hot dogs, which are the most demanded in the bars and private cafes.

The opening wholesale markets with the corresponding lower prices for purchasing in bulk is “one of the most repeated demands of those who exercise the new non-state forms of management in the country,” said the official newspaper “Granma”.

Read the rest at Havana Times


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Ayuda Mutua / Sweat Equity

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 18:13
Link: Sweat Equity

A 6 minute film about Uruguay's Mutual Aid Housing Cooperatives, with English subtitles

Watch more from Daniel Chavez on Youtube


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Reclaiming public land for communities in Brooklyn

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 17:18
Link: Reclaiming public land for communities in Brooklyn


Here's the problem: Located primarily in areas of the city where low-income communities of color live today, more than a thousand vacant public lots languish behind fences, collecting garbage. One such lot was in Paula Segal's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. In 2010, she began talking to her neighbors about this lot. She gathered as much information as she could find about it and called a community meeting. That meeting led to more meetings, which led to Myrtle Village Green: an active, nearly 2-acre community space with garden beds, an outdoor movie screening area, a pumpkin patch, and an educational production and research farm. From then on, she thought, "How many more such lots are there in New York City?" She got access to city data and learned that, in 2001, 596 acres of public land were waiting for communities to transform them, and soon after, 596 Acres was born.

Read the rest at Shareable


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Sociocracy / Dynamic Governance

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 16:18
The operating system of the next economy is spreading a new definition of democracy sociocracy_theme_bubbles_and_rainbows.png

You might have seen publications with the term Sociocracy (or Dynamic Governance) circulating in cooperative contexts lately. It originated and became popularized in the Netherlands a few decades ago, but it has gained some major traction in the US the last few years, and it is also spreading worldwide. The way SoFA (Sociocracy For All) teaches it, Sociocracy is primarily about two things: equivalence and effectiveness. It’s no coincidence these two overarching concepts are pillars of Economic Cooperation as well. Sociocracy functions as a scalable governance method for cooperatives (and any other type of organization!), but it also promotes a paradigm shift for culture change. Hence it’s been called “the operating system of the next economy.” In this collection, we cover the basics of Sociocracy, as well as some nitty-gritty bits of its pragmatic methodology. We also explore here the roll that Dynamic Governance plays in our movement.

 The BasicsManifesto for Wholesome Cooperation: A Sociocratic Perspective ~Sociocracy For All Coop Circle Sociocracy: Connecting Humans for a Shared Purpose ~Jerry Koch-Gonzalez Sociocracy: The Movement ~Jennifer Rau Sociocracy and the New Economy ~Jennifer Rau The Theory and Practice of Sociocracy (video) ~Jerry Koch-Gonzales and EcoJaunt  The Nitty-GrittyIf We're All Equal, Then Why Can't We Agree? ~Jennifer Rau The Sociocratic Method: Basics of Meeting Facilitation Using Sociocracy (webinar)~SoFA Do Feelings Have a Place in Governance? ~Jerry Koch-Gonzales Giving Feedback: NVC and Sociocracy (webinar) ~Gina Simm and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez Getting to Consent with Sociocracy (webinar) ~SoFA Make Policy Your Best Friend (and You'll Never Argue Again) ~Jennifer Rau Tips for More Effective Meetings (podcast) ~GEO Collective with Jennifer Rau  Case StudiesSuccessful Self-Governance at a Worker Co-op (webinar) ~SoFA and Blue Scorcher Bakery Permaculture + Sociocracy: Stories from the Field (webinar) ~SoFA, Henny Freitas, and Julian Howell Case Study: Monday Homeschool Cooperative ~Sociocracy For All (SoFA)  Go to the GEO front page


Categories: News

Help TightShift Laboring Cooperative Buy a Truck

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 16:14
Link: Tightshift Laboring Coop Truck

***2x Matching Grant!*** We have a commitment from a foundation to provide us $75,000 toward our training, healing, and operational expenses IF we are able to raise $30,000 for a truck and moving insurance by May 1.

Tightshift Laboring Cooperative’s mission is to model a just, equitable economy, where workers profit from their labor through cooperative ownership. We are a worker-owned laboring service specializing in moving, hauling, cleaning and landscaping services. Through this model, we can use our power to build a world where all communities are free, and nobody needs to spend time behind bars. Our members are primarily formerly incarcerated people and others at risk of entering the criminal justice system. 

As one of DC’s only worker cooperatives, and one built by formerly incarcerated people, this is truly a community effort. In order to grow the number of workers we can hire, we need to purchase a truck and moving insurance. We also need to create opportunities for healing time and space for our members, who have experienced significant amounts of trauma. Can you make a financial contribution, and/or invite us to speak to your house or organization? We're so thankful!

Read more and support the co-op at GoFundMe


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Food Co-ops Adapt to Meet Changing Market

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 15:39
Link: Can Food Co-ops Survive the New Retail Reality?

[A]round the country, food retail is in a state of upheaval. In addition to co-ops being squeezed out of the organic food market they once largely provided, conventional grocery stores are also facing pressure from online retailers. And though food co-ops are no longer the easiest, or even the cheapest, way to access organic and local foods, those that have succeeded for the long haul may offer signs of hope for local economies.

C.E. Pugh, the chief operating officer of National Co+op Grocers (NCG), a cooperative providing business services for 147 food co-ops in 37 states, said co-ops began seeing a change in their fates starting in 2013. “The conventional grocers got very serious for the first time about natural and organic and added lots of products,” he said. “The impacts manifested themselves almost overnight in 2013.”

NCG has seen six cooperatives close since 2012, but has also welcomed 23 new stores in that same period...The Minnesota-based Food Co-op Initiative, a nonprofit focused on helping new co-ops open and thrive, supported the launch of 134 co-ops in the last 10 years. Of those, 74 percent are still in business.

While the number of food co-ops in the U.S. is growing overall, some are still struggling against an influx of available local and organic markets. As co-ops face increased competition from mainstream retailers, advocates are considering how to distinguish themselves—and how to adapt to ensure survival.

Read the rest at Civil Eats


Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Quilting co-op is first social enterprise project at Thunder Valley

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 17:55
Link: Quilting co-op is first social enterprise project at Thunder Valley

Cooperation is at the heart of a new women-owned quilting business on the Pine Ridge Reservation through Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. 

The Owíŋža Quilters Cooperative launched earlier this month and is the first social enterprise project of Thunder Valley CDC. Thunder Valley’s initiative aims to build community wealth through the development of new enterprises owned and run by local people.

Last year, several local quilt-makers decided to forgo competing against each other and instead came together to partner with Thunder Valley CDC, forming this business.

“Our mission is to create jobs and economic growth and we thought it was a great idea,” said Montana Sierra, social enterprise intern at Thunder Valley CDC. “The women all have a common goal and they’re striving for the same thing.”

Read the rest at Thunder Valley CDC

Read the article at KOTA News


Go to the GEO front page


Categories: News