The problem of informality represents one of the major challenges in the fight against poverty. To address this issue, the traditional response has often been to apply Western entrepreneurial rationality to informal actors and consider small informal productive units as pre-capitalist firms whose growth potential can be realized, it is supposed, by providing them with adequate tools such as credit or training. But do informal initiatives really share the capitalist spirit of entrepreneurship or do they develop other rationales, such as the ones which spread in a "solidarity economy"?

Mervyn Wilson looks back at how Nelson Mandela and the struggle against apartheid shaped the cooperative movement in the UK

"As the world mourns the passing of a man whose life was dedicated to the type of inclusive society co-operators would describe as “the co-operative commonwealth”, it is worth reflecting on the impact that he and the struggle against apartheid had on the co-operative sector."

Whenever possible at SMC, we like to measure how we’re doing...our financial progress, our work backlog, our internal social factors, our longer-term future, in design and project planning, And, of course, building is a process of constant measurement.

michael johnson

FOUR IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

What I am trying to do in this series of Movements Moving Together (MMT) blogs is think out loud about how movements that want to advance democracy more deeply and broadly into our cultures can work together in this multi-century project that is probably in its 3rd century at this point.

Here’s a short TED talk that might send you off wondering about empathy and compassion.

 GEO Collective member Jessica Gordon Nembhard's new book on the history of the African-American cooperative movement is now available for  pre-order from Penn State University Press.  

SolidarityNYC's animated short explains what the solidarity economy framework is and how housing co-ops and community land trusts, worker co-ops, community supported agriculture, and credit unions help to meet everyone's needs within it. 

This is my response to Michael Johnson's recent blog post, Movements Moving Together, Part 1.

Conversions are potentially so important for several reasons. Most broadly, there is a tremendous potential with such a large number of “baby boomer” business owners retiring in the coming years and decades. What will they do with their businesses? With conversions we have a huge opportunity to save businesses and jobs that might otherwise be lost if the retiring owner closes the doors or sells the business.

Instead of just battling the big banks, activists are working to strengthen a diverse alternative financial system that pursues social goals and offers affordable lending, but that currently remains undercapitalized, and in the case of credit unions serving low-income communities, is even shrinking.

This keynote address by Robin Seydel from the 2011 California Cooperative Conference deserves to be widely seen.

People of Shambhala interviews  Michael Johnson, a co-founder of SolidarityNYC and GEO editor, about what he describes as “a very positive,” “non-ideological” movement of businesses and cooperatives that aim to make the world a better place while supporting themselves and improving their own lives.

Some time ago, Paul Hawken accurately proclaimed “a blessed unrest” pulsating across the planet. Few folks were seeing such rich possibilities for a better world. A few years later came Occupy Wall Street and all that responded to it. That phenomenon lit up the “blessed unrest” like a global Christmas tree.

By Mike Leung

 

This article deals with the conversion of an existing business to a worker-owned cooperative. Specifically, it lays out a basic strategy for allowing employees of a profitable company with publicly-traded securities to effectively convert to a worker cooperative in the absence of owner permission.

 

Sofia Gallisa Muriente talks about her experience with people-powered disaster relief during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Click here to make a donation to Occupy Sandy.

Proposition: first, experience; then, words and stories.

In this video, Rick Juliusson--farmer and owner of Free-Range Consulting--discusses issues concerning financing, ownership and governance of ecovillages.

 

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