Community Development

I was asked to speak to a conglomeration of topics at the Global Exchange Conference in Providence, RI, held at the beginning of last August. It felt perfect, since I am a practitioner and as such, a promoter for each of three subjects linked together here—communities, co-ops and social enterprises. But when rising to talk about these individual topics, my head moved aside, letting the real story be told.

 

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Low-income workers in Seattle are getting another economic boost. Five months after the local government became the first in the country to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15—making it the highest in the country—the Federal government's Small Business Administration has funded a local business support group to help train disadvantaged Seattle workers to develop worker cooperatives and home-based or cottage businesses.

 

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[Editor's note: These two presentations were part of Open Everything: A Collaborative Economy Convergence, held this September at Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Tipperary, Ireland.  Plunkett Foundation cheif executive Peter Couchman and John Restakis, author and former executive director of the BC Co-operative Association, discuss the growth--and the growing pains--of the cooperative economy.  More videos from Open

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[Editor's note: The New Work New Culture Conference is being held this weekend (Oct.

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A District of Columbia former treasurer, who was an economic empowerment and cultural leader working to fund and inspire cooperative and community development, was found dead on September 20th after being missing for a week.

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Amherst, MA – September - 2014 - Levellers Press, a worker co-operative, announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power! Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-Operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. 

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The collective that brought you Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution is teaming up with Rachel Plattus and Eli Feghali of the New Economy Coalition to assemble a toolbox for building a just and livable future.

[Editor's note: This episode of Clearing the Fog Radio features interviews with GEO member Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo and author Janelle Cornwell, whose new book Building Co-operative Power (co-authored with Adam Trott and GEO's Michael Johnson) is out now from Levellers Press ($19.95).  Janelle's interview starts at 5 minutes in, Ajowa's begins at 29.] 

 

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Co-op attorney Don Kreis discusses the legal framework under which co-ops operate in Vermont and the US, as well as a number of specific issues unique to co-ops.

 

See more interviews by Cooperative Vermont on their Youtube channel

Go to the GEO front page

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Editor's note: Today we present the testimony of more worker-owners, delivered this past February at a hearing convened by the New York City Council Community Development committee.  Read more hearing testimony from co-op practicioners here.  Read about the end results of the hearing here.  Complete written testimony from the hearing is embedded below this article.

 

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Cross-posted from Truth Out

A quiet revolution is rumbling through New York's municipal offices as they retool to support the creation of worker cooperatives as a way to fight poverty.

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Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high and employee wages are at their lowest ever as a percent of GDP.i Worker cooperatives embody the hope that we can reverse the downward spiral in wage stagnation, wealth distribution, and concentration of ownership to build an economy that truly serves people and communities.

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[Editor's Note: the following is excerpted from Jessica Gordon Nembhard, 2014, Benefits and Impacts of Cooperatives. White Paper, February 2014. You can find the full report  here.]

 

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In 1998 Clyde Woods wrote, in his path breaking book Development Arrested, that

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