Latin America

A mix of grey- and pastel-toned buildings on San Rafael Street in central Habana stand in stark testimony to part of the effects of a cruel U.S. embargo on life in Cuba.  I was standing on the street looking for a textile co-op.

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SOS Faim met with the NGO Autre Terre, a development organisation that takes advantage of its experience in Social and Solidarity Economy in Belgium to strengthen and support economic development project in Africa and Latin America...and that also benefits from the experiences of its partners in the South to strengthen its own activity in Belgium.

[Editor's note: below are two short videos that profile rural cooperative enterprises in Latin America: a dairy cooperative in Ecuador and a weaving cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico.]

Salinerito

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[Editor's note: The two videos below come from the 2008 documentary Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas.  The full documentary is available on Youtube  in Spanish, as well as in Portuguese.

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This article was originally published in Critical Asian Studies on 18 August 2010, available online here.

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1) Background
    i) Cuba has been engaged in a deep restructuring of its project to build socialism for a quarter of a century. 

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This paper conceptualizes socialist construction as a process of incremental reclaiming from capital of those resources that can best be held in common so that members of a community can achieve their fuller human development*.  Under democratic rules the community regulates the commons so as to ensure its accessibility and sustainability.  The formation of cooperatives is an instance of the socialization of the workplace.  By bringing workers together into self governing collectivities, cooperatives also contribute to the socialization of workers to a socialist moral order.  In Cuba a

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Author and professor Peter Linebaugh discusses his new book, The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day. Later in the show filmmaker Avi Lewis discusses worker-owned factories in Argentina, and Laura focuses on the intersectional feminism of 19th Century Anarchist Lucy Parsons. Peter Linebaugh is professor emeritus at the University of Toledo, and the author of many books, including the Magna Carta Manifesto; Stop Thief, The Commons, Enclosures and Resistance, and his newest, The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day.

[Editor's note: we at GEO wish to extend our deepest condolences to the people of Ecuador who recently experienced a devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of hundreds of people.  The following article from our archives (originally published in 2004) recounts the beginnings of the Kallari Cooperative, a co-op composed of Kichwa farmers and artisans in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  From their start as a small handcraft cooperative, as detailed by Fernandes below, Kallari has grown into a successful bean-to-bar chocol

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This video documents Coopamare (Cooperativa dos Catadores Autônomos de Papel, Aparas e Materiais Reaproveitáveis), one of the pioneer cooperatives for collectors of recyclable material in Brazil.

SUSY is presenting examples of Good Practices in Social and Solidarity Economy around the world. Find out more here.

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The World Social Forum (WSF) is organized by several entities and social movements from many countries “that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to [the] domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Mankind and between it and the Earth” in a self-managed, decentralized and networked way.

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[Editor's note: this spring, Boston will play host to the 4th International Conference on Participatory Budgeting In North America. This article from our archives (originally published in 2004) looks at the history of participatory budgeting in Brazil, and considers it's potential in the US, where the practice in now thriving in cities across the country.]

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Cuba is decentralizing its economy, offloading state enterprises to private enterprise, but more importantly, to cooperatives, in the hope that these will become the locus of socialism and a driver of the economy. We visited ten of them in January [2015].

See more videos from Dave Lippman

 

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Cuba’s renovation of its socialism is opening space for an expanding non-state sector of its economy. The growth of small private businesses and of cooperatives is invigorating Cuba’s civil society. Whether this will be a socialist civil society depends on whether socialist cooperatives or the non-socialist private businesses predominate.
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