Linking Opposition & Alternatives

Co-author of Building Co-operative Power and GEO Collective member Michael Johnson discusses the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives and some of the many worker co-ops of the Connecticut River Valley. He also provides an overview of the contents of the book and a history of how it came to be written.
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On some occasions, rare though they are, the slogan “Another world is possible,” becomes reality.
~Raul Zibechi

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– Keynote Address, Good Economy Conference, Zagreb 2015

I want to speak today about a crisis that has gripped Europe, and the western democracies, over the last 30 years.

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The Social Solidarity Economy is an alternative to capitalism and other authoritarian, state-dominated economic systems. In SSE, ordinary people play an active role in shaping all of the dimensions of human life: economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental. SSE exists in all sectors of the economy—production, finance, distribution, exchange, consumption and governance. SSE has the ability to take the best practices that exist in our present system (such as efficiency, use of technology and knowledge) and transform them to serve the welfare of the community based on different values and goals.
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Unlike many alternative economic projects that have come before, solidarity economics does not seek to build a singular model of how the economy should be structured, but rather pursues a dynamic process of economic organizing in which organizations, communities, and social movements work to identify, strengthen, connect, and create democratic and liberatory means of meeting their needs. ~Ethan Miller, from Other Economies are Possible

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A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country.  Many of them share a regional focus. This is showing unusual potential for advancing the development of worker co-operatives through inter-cooperative and cross-sector networking.  We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development (C/SE) (Please see the note below on why we are using this unusual phrase, “cooperative/solidarity.”)

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[Editor's Note: later this month, GEO and Level Translation will release an English edition of the most recent report on Argentina's recovered businesses (of which there were 311 in 2013, employing over 13,400 people).  The inspiring successes of the recovered business co-ops in Argentina--their failure rate so far has been less than 5%--no doubt has much to teach us, in the North, about how to successfully transition from capitalist to worker control.]

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This article was first published in GEO Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 72/73, 2007

The contemporary U.S. worker cooperative movement is somewhat ambiguous about its relationship to capitalism.  Members of our movement today range in perspective from viewing cooperatives as an anti-capitalist tool of struggle, "embodying the world that we seek to build," to seeing them as worker-empowering additions to an economic system believed to be either inevitable or in need of only minor modification.

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[Editor's note: in this important webinar, Elandria Williams and Jessica Gordon Nembhard of the US Solidarity Economy Network (SEN) host a discussion on the issues and conflicts surrounding race and colonization in the Cooperative/Solidarity Economy Movements.  Presenters include Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress, Cecilia Martinez of the Center for E

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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

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[Editor's note: This piece originally appeared in the Colombia Support Network’s fall 2014 newsletter.]

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Kwanzaa is an African-inspired holiday practiced by millions of African Americans from December 26 - January 1.  African values, which are geared toward care of the whole or the collecti

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cross-posted from Seeds Beneath

When I first got involved in the co-op movement I didn’t do it because I thought the co-operative model was an end in itself.

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