Special Features

 
#OccupyWallStreet has cracked open a little hole in history, creating a moment where some of the very core institutions of our economy are called into question. Along with indignation and outrage, there is a certain excitement in the air. Things that have been terrifyingly stuck seem to be moving. Something seems possible today that wasn't just a month ago.
Movements & Struggles: 
by Ethan Miller



"Fall in love with hard and patient work-we are the beginning, not the end."

-Zizek, at #OccupyWallStreet

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Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/411

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This year's Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (July 31-August 2) offered a bicycle tour of a "People's History of Pittsburgh", led by Eric Boerer of Bike Pittsburgh.

Regions: 

By Frances Moore Lappé

Cultures live or die not because of their natural endowments but according to whether their ideas sustain life. ("It's the ideas, stupid!")

Ideas either serve life or not. And unfortunately for our species' chances, our idea of democracy-our shorthand for the system we use to shape society and solve problems-itself is life-stifling. Accepting the idea that democracy equals elections plus a market economy, we do not question an especially peculiar notion: that a market driven by a single rule, that of highest return to existing wealth, can return benign outcomes for all. We cling to this nonsensical belief-that in a game of Monopoly all players win-even as it so concentrates wealth that it leaves almost a billion of us without the means to eat.

Practices, Tools & Strategies: 
By Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone, GEO Collective

This Occasional Paper by editor/activists at Grassroots Economic Organizing is meant to stimulate dialog on the future of the grassroots economic democracy movement. This is a fully re-written update of an essay available since 1994 to GEO readers. We hope for wide use of this text, with attribution to the authors and GEO. Please email us with ideas/dialogue.

Movements & Struggles: 
By Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone, GEO Collective

The 6th World Social Forum held January 24th to 29th in Caracas was the highlight of our recent tour of newly democratized enterprises in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. We had been to the first regional social forum, the European Social Forum, in 2002. Our first World Social Forum was at once festival and oversized university, all aspiring to be the "world parliament in exile." We made our way to many stuffy rooms around town, some calmed by academics, others apulse with the energy of pioneers.

Regions: 
By John Teta Luhman, University of New England (Dept. of Business Administration)

What an incredible experience! To spend a weekend in New York City attending the first membership meeting of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, getting to know people from all around the country and the world while learning about the strength and vibrancy of the worker cooperative movement. As I reflected on my time at the conference, I kept returning to three questions that I heard again and again from participants.

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By Ethan Miller, GEO Collective

Consider this: thousands of diverse, locally-rooted, grassroots economic projects are in the process of creating the basis for a viable democratic alternative to capitalism. It might seem unlikely that a motley array of initiatives such as worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, community currencies, urban gardens, fair trade organizations, intentional communities, and neighborhood self-help associations could hold a candle to the pervasive and seemingly all-powerful capitalist economy.

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