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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: 4 min 33 sec ago

2018 #CoopYouth Network Survey

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:02
Link:  2018 #CoopYouth Network Survey to Youth Cooperatives

 The purpose of this survey is to identify youth cooperatives globally.

What we call a “youth coop” is a cooperative led by and for youth. Examples include a young workers cooperative, a student cooperative or a cooperative program to help young farmers set up. But the youth cooperators have to be associated to the governance of the cooperative.

Why identify youth cooperatives now? Because the Executive Committee of the Youth Network of the International Cooperative Alliance is organizing a large campaign to identify, map and connect youth cooperatives around the world. The starting point is this survey, and the campaign will continue until July 2019. In July 2019 an event for youth will be held. Those who complete the survey may be selected to come for free, with your travel costs covered.

This is not an anonymous survey. The responses will be used to populate a foundational database of youth cooperatives in the world that we hope to build on. We also would like to ask you some questions about what you think is needed to further proliferate the involvement of youth in co-operatives. It will take 15 to 20 minutes of your precious time, and your participation will be highly appreciated. This survey can be stopped and started. You will not lose your information if you need to stop and pick it back up later. The survey should be completed by one representative from each youth co-op. When you finish, please share this survey with other youth coops you know of! Complete the survey on SurveyMonkey

 

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Categories: News

How a Larger Co-operative Sector Can 'Ripple Out'

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:55
Link: Does size matter?

As we announced back in April, the Co-operative Party commissioned this independent piece of work from the NEF because we want to see a step-change in the co-operative sector. While consumer and employee owned businesses here in the UK are still seen as a little unusual, edgy or even ‘alternative’, in countries like France, New Zealand and the Netherlands, co-operative businesses make up a significant percentage of the economy, and are considered part of the mainstream business landscape.

So today’s report, containing practical steps policymakers can take to double the size of the co-operative sector, is undoubtedly great news for UK co-operatives, and for our co-operative movement.

But why should those outside of the UK co-operative sector care about how big it is?

Read the rest at The Co-operative Party blog

 

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Categories: News

Launching Planet Community

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 00:41

Okay y’all, we’ve got a problem. 

Let’s get real. We are facing multiple, interconnected global dangers, rooted in the exploitation of people and planet. These dangers include climate change, wealth disparity, and social injustice. These are co-created and mutually reinforcing problems. They are systemic, and systemic problems require holistic solutions.

What do some of these solutions look like?

Whether it’s a small group in a collective household or hundreds of people on a large piece of land, intentional communities are micro-societies that offer insight into what society would look like if it were based on a different set of values. They are place-based, people-based communities - living laboratories working to create and model whole systems, integrated locally to globally.

We’re creating a new web series documenting these explorations, called Planet Community.

We’ve got a team of film-makers ready to begin the first of what will become a series of tours. Click here to check out the pilot episode, featuring Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage:

Why do these communities form? What are the values they are organized around? How do they sustain themselves? How do they solve problems and make decisions together? Why do they matter to the world?

Planet Community will dive deep into these questions and more, but we need your help to move this important work forward.

Your contribution towards our $9,000 goal will allow us to launch Planet Community!

This crowdfunding goal will fund a Midwest tour, which will produce 4 new episodes featuring different Intentional Communities. We will also build webpages for sharing expanded content on each featured community, and produce an in depth article series in Communities magazine.

As a bonus, we will also produce a series of short question and answer videos exploring the basic ideas of what Intentional Community is all about.

What's Coming Next?

Once we finish production following the Midwest tour we’ll start working on the next tour. Next we’ll cover the West Coast, then the East Coast. As the tours progress we’ll develop additional content to share. So your contribution not only allows us to start the Planet Community series, it also helps to collect footage that will lead towards our ultimate goal: to create a feature-length documentary!

We believe that human society has the capacity to support the health and wellbeing of all life.

Recognizing that the health and wellbeing of one depends on the health and wellbeing of all, we can’t wait to shine a spotlight on some of the empowering, inspiring examples of communities working towards this.

Help us to Spotlight Cooperative Solutions

Please make a contribution to this campaign to complete the Midwest tour of communities. We believe that this project exemplifies our values of cooperation, sustainability and social justice. Season 1 of Planet Community, and future seasons planned for the Western and Eastern U.S., will explore and explain cooperative culture, and will aim to grow the communities movement.

 

Institutions & Structures: Intentional CommunitiesPractices, Tools & Strategies: Strategies for Change
Categories: News

Class and the New Economy

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 18:07
Link: Class and the New Economy

I just returned from my first Commonbound conference in St. Louis, hosted by the New Economy Coalition (NEC). Resource Generation has been a part of the New Economy Coalition for a few years and this was my first time attending the conference.

The NEC has 211 member organizations and it was amazing to connect with so many people from around the country representing a range of organizations from co-ops to community land trusts to climate justice organizers. I attended a media training organized by NEC and Laura Flanders, and as the nine other leaders in the training shared their stories and messages I was heartened to hear so many echoes of RG’s mission of organizing for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Spaces like Commonbound remind me that we are not alone in our vision of a transformed economy built for people and the planet, not profit.

In addition to participating in the media training, I supported a workshop led by staff members Kaitlin Gravitt and Sarah Abbott called Dismantling Class Privilege to Build Cross Class Power. The goal of the workshop was to provide concrete tools for people to recognize and counter class privilege to build cross-class solidarity. The room was packed with about 30 participants from a variety of class backgrounds and we had an engaging and lively conversation. Here are some takeaways from our workshop:

Read the rest at Resource Generation

 

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Categories: News

Manchester Masterclass in Decentralised Organising

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 17:53
Link: Manchester Masterclass in Decentralised Organising

13 Jul, 9:30 AM – 5:30 PMFederation House, 2 Federation St, Manchester M4 4BF, UK 

A full day participatory learning experience, sharing insights and practical actions to solve your organisational challenges.

Our story

If you are trying to organise in a decentralised, collaborative, less-hierarchical team, you are probably asking yourself: How do we include people in decisions without spending so much time in meetings? How do we develop an open, collaborative culture? How do we encourage participation, engagement, and shared responsibility? And if nobody is in charge, where does accountability come from?

You are not the only one. For the last decade, we have been immersed in these challenges, as we co-founded and built Loomio and Enspiral, two pioneering decentralised organisations. (Read more about us here.)

Read the rest at The Hum

 

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Categories: News

Pizza Bagels With a Side of Democracy

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 17:11
Link: Boston’s Newest Brewery Serves Pizza Bagels With a Side of Democracy

Democracy Brewing, a worker-owned brewery, fittingly introduced itself to Boston on July 4, opening in the longtime Windsor Button space at 35 Temple Pl. in Downtown Crossing. At the brewery, wages start at a minimum of $15 per hour, and employees have the opportunity to buy an ownership share after their first year.

Co-founder and CEO James Razsa, a former community organizer, told Eater that he and co-founder Jason Taggart, who serves as the brewing director, are focused on creating a culture of excellence, complete with people fully committed to the mission of the brewery.

Read the rest at Eater Boston

 

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Categories: News

Can a new legal framework for worker coops address growing inequality in Japan?

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 17:00
Link: Can a new legal framework for worker coops address growing inequality in Japan?

Japan’s cooperative sector has serious potential. Not only is it home to the world’s largest consumer coop, the Japan Consumers’ Cooperative Union, but the largest agricultural coop in the world (Japan Agriculture) and the world’s fifth largest insurance coop (Zenkyoren) are also proudly Japanese. However, Japan still has relatively few worker cooperatives. This is because there is no legal framework for the creation of worker coops in the country. Could the submission of a new proposed law to parliament later this year change that? The Japan Workers’ Cooperative Union (JWCU) certainly hopes so.

“For almost 20 years, we have developed our legalisation campaign,” says Osamu Nakano, international relations officer for the JWCU. “There are 1800 local governments in Japan; nearly 1000 [of them] have already submitted petitions for the enactment of a worker coop law to the central government.” After years of building momentum and broad support, the JWCU believes that 2018 will be the year that Japan realises the full potential of worker cooperatives and increases workers’ economic power.

Read the rest at Equal Times

 

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Categories: News

Palante Technology Cooperative Seeks a new worker!

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 15:46
Link: Palante Technology Cooperative Seeks a new worker!

Palante Technology Cooperative is seeking a new technical support person to join us in our work with incredible nonprofit and community organizations. The new worker will join our tech support team, providing remote and on-site assistance to our clients in New York City.

Who we are

Palante Tech is a worker cooperative that provides tech consulting services to progressive nonprofit, social justice, activist and community organizations. Over the years, in our individual and collective work, we've developed a deep understanding of nonprofit tech needs and the expertise needed to meet them. Each of us has also been long involved with activism and organizing in non-technological capacities, including involvement with many of our client organizations. This breadth of experience allows us to provide services that are tailored to meet the specialized needs of nonprofit community organizations.

Palante Tech is currently comprised of six worker-owners and one consultant, located in Brooklyn, Detroit, Philadelphia, Oakland, and Mexico. You can find out more about each of us on our website at https://palantetech.coop/about.

Read the rest at Palante Technology Cooperative

 

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Categories: News

5 strategies for leadership in the convening of ecosystems

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 15:42
Link: Organizing for empowerment

It’s a core question of our time — how we can create positive (as opposed to coercive) power structures that empower the broadest range of people to work powerfully on what matters to them — meeting the urgent challenges of the 21st Century.

We know that the centralized authority structures which were very effective in past centuries are now often obstacles to the change we want to effect. They inhibit creativity and innovation, leave large numbers of people disengaged, and can perpetuate systems of inequality.

Read the rest at Medium

 

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Categories: News

Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, dies at 74

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 16:21

It is with the saddest regret that we announce that Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, died Thursday, June 28th. Mr. Paige served as Executive Director for 30 years from 1985 to 2015. He began working for the Federation in 1969 and served the organization for 46 years.

During his thirty years as Executive Director, he built the Federation into the premier organization representing Black farmers and low-income rural people in the South. He helped to organize 70 cooperatives and 18 community development credit unions during his tenure as Executive Director. He supported the development of the Federation’s unique Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, including an agro-forestry component and forestry demonstrations.

He spearheaded efforts from the mid-1990’s forward to file suit against USDA for discrimination in credit, conservation and rural development. These efforts led to the historic Pigford I and Pigford II class action cases, which became the largest successful discrimination lawsuits against the U. S. Federal government and yielded $2.5 billion in payments to thousands of Black farm families. He also supported discrimination settlements for Native American, Hispanic and Women farmers who were also subjected to discrimination by USDA.

He worked on legislation to reform farm and rural policies to allow for the formation of the National Co-op Bank, creation of the Section 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, expansion of farm credit to include Micro-loans, appropriate to family-size farming operations; and the creation of the Rural Cooperative Development Program to support cooperative development and training centers, like the Federation’s at Epes.

His greatest legacy is that the Federation has continued and flourished, celebrating its 50th anniversary in August 2017. A succession plan that he initiated has replaced the ‘founding generation of core staff’ with a new generation of capable leadership to guide the organization for the next generation and into the future.

Ralph served on many boards and received many honors in his lifetime. Among the Boards were: Nationwide Insurance Company, National Cooperative Business Association, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Business International, the President’s (George Bush) Twenty-first Century Agriculture Commission, Rural Policy Advisory Committee to President Barack Obama and many more.

He received numerous awards including induction in to the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2004, Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from SCLC, George Washington Carver Hall of Fame at Tuskegee, Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Award, NCBA Co-op Month Leadership Award and many others.

Ralph leaves to cherish his memory, a wife of 51 years, Bernice, two children, Bernard and Kenyatta, five grand children and many relatives and friends.

Read more about his legacy on The Capital Campaign Site

 

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Categories: News

Planning for Public Ownership as an Alternative to Corporate Bank Bailouts

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 16:16
Link: Planning for Public Ownership as an Alternative to Corporate Bank Bailouts

During the next crisis, a robust policy response can and should convert failed banks to permanent public ownership, rather than merely using public money to make corporate America whole again, setting up the dominoes for yet another destructive crisis down the road. This working paper sketches the basic contours of legislation that would establish the legal pathways for such conversions, and explains how the resulting public financial system could be structured to meet the financial needs of ordinary Americans and their communities while incorporating innovative processes of decentralization and democratic participation.

As the clock ticks towards the next crisis, it is imperative to begin the conversation now about what is possible besides another round of Wall Street bailouts. Public ownership, for the long-term, is a credible path forward, and should by no means be left out of the conversation this time.

Read the rest at The Next System Project

 

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Categories: News

From Lab to Commons

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 19:09
Link: From Lab to Commons: Shifting to a Biomedical System that’s in the Public Interest

Today Commons Network publishes a new policy paper that takes on the pharmaceutical system and presents real alternatives, based on open source research and the knowledge commons. Commons Network proposes a new vision for the biomedical research system that safeguards universal access to affordable medicines and scientific advances.

Taking the commons perspective allows us to offer a diagnostic of our biomedical innovation system and to put forth a political programme for a transition to a new public interest model. The EU’s market-dominated pharmaceutical policies are sized up from the ‘outside the box’ viewpoint of the common good.

This paper responds to the questions: How does the present pharma model work in Europe, what is wrong with it and what can be done right now to change it. This includes a comparison between the existing model, positive transitions and the transformative commons model with practical examples, principles and outcomes.

Read the rest at the P2P Foundation blog

 

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Categories: News

Tech co-operatives are leaving the startup rat race behind

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 19:03
Link: Tech co-operatives are leaving the startup rat race behind

Together, Padagaite and Ball founded Blake House, a filmmaking co-op that makes films for charities and social enterprises. In 2016, it became one of the first members of CoTech, a growing network of tech co-operatives in the UK. There are currently 30 tech businesses united under the CoTech banner, which range from filmmakers to programmers; they collectively employ more than 250 staff and have revenues of over £10.2 million.

The idea is fast gaining traction, as some tech workers fall out of love with a startup culture focused on growing companies as fast as possible to attract maximum investment. “We want to grow as slow as possible and build a company that’s here for the long term,” says Chris Lowis, a developer with software co-operative Go Free Range. Lowis was attracted to the CoTech model after working for large companies where months of work could be lost if a manager pulled funding or changed direction. “Autonomy is important to us,” he says.

Read the rest at WIRED UK

 

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Categories: News

A Business Model that Brings Jobs and Wealth-Building to Local Communities

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 18:43
Link: A Business Model that Brings Jobs and Wealth-Building to Local Communities

At OFN’s 7th annual Small Business Finance Forum, more than 500 mission-driven small business lenders and partners gathered in Chicago to learn best practices, address challenges, and network with peers. The Forum’s opening plenary focused on worker-owned cooperatives. This model, while not new, is gaining momentum as a sustainable one for community development. 

The plenary discussion was led by Oscar Perry Abello, editor, Next City, and featured Rebecca Dunn, Executive Director, Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE) and Daniel Fireside, Capital Coordinator at Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange is a pioneering worker-owned cooperative Fair Trade food and beverage company based in Massachusetts. Daniel has raised nearly $10 million in preferred stock and loans as working capital from over two dozen alternative lenders and several hundred investors, but when Equal Exchange was a small cooperative in the late 1980s, they sought financing from the CFNE

CDFI Connect sat down with Daniel and Rebecca to learn more about the worker cooperative model from both a management and financing perspective. 

Read the rest at Opportunity Finance Network

 

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Categories: News

Beginning Farmers Introduction to Cooperatives

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 18:48
Link: Access to Markets: Beginning Farmers Introduction to Cooperatives

Farming can be a daunting career to pursue, especially as a young farmer or rancher in the current farm economy. Given the various barriers to entry, most beginning farmers cannot succeed without the help of others. Having a place to collaborate, profit, and educate other farmers not only supports beginning farmers, but it is also a stepping stone toward a more well-rounded, economically sound agricultural region, state, nation, and world. One of the most well known business practices for creating this environment of collaboration and education is the cooperative business model.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Co-op Essentials Booklet, cooperatives “are a type of corporation. . .owned and controlled by the people who use its services.” Cooperatives operate under a set of principles called the Rochdale Principles. These principles were based off of one of the earliest known cooperatives, The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, after a failed attempt at getting higher wages for workers during the Textile Mills Worker Strike of 1843 in Rochdale, England. Twenty-eight men who were former mill workers started a small food store to combat the high prices of food in their area. They only sold butter, sugar, flour, and oatmeal, but they survived the winter of 1844 because of their cheaper food prices that citizens of Rochdale turned to.

Read the rest at National Farmers Union

 

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Categories: News

Feminism and Revolution

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 18:45
Link: Feminism and Revolution: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Since the stirring of “second wave” feminism a half century ago, the movement has become progressively more inclusive and systemic. Early on, Marxist-feminists argued that true women’s liberation required transcending both patriarchy and capitalism, and thus a politics at once feminist and anti-classist was essential. Soon, they, too, were challenged to broaden their theory and practice to acknowledge oppressions arising from race, nationality, sexual orientation, and other sources of identity and social location. Addressing this challenge gave birth to a solidarity politics within feminism rooted in intersectionality and manifest both within the movement and in its relationship with other movements. Importantly, this new politics offers ways for individuals to engage in radical social change now by creating new practices and institutions in the solidarity economy. An implacable and inclusive feminism remains essential for building the larger solidarity politics and economics we need for a Great Transition that eliminates oppression of all kinds.

Read the rest at Great Transition Initiative

 

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