Solidarity Economy Organizing

The Co-operative Trade Movement is being launched at Willy Street Co-op to support small, local farmers/producers and cooperative or not-for-profit businesses. The Movement invites consumers to join in ethical commerce and economic democracy, the kind that Willy Street Co-op and hundreds of other grocery co-ops in the U.S. have been championing for nearly 40 years.

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Dear Jesse,

Here is a chart that will help keep hope alive. On the top line it tells what the actual wealth distribution in the US is. The middle line shows how wrong a cross-section of Americans is in how they think the wealth distribution plays out.

And the third line is a grand-slam...

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At the conclusion of the seminar, Mondragon's Director of Cooperative Dissemination, Mikel Lezamiz, and I signed a letter of intent and endorsement to pave the way for initiating conversations with stakeholders in Richmond and beyond.  I want to share with you what I learned and also hear your ideas.
To this end I would like to invite all who are interested to a presentation and discussion on Mondragon and the potential for worker cooperatives in Richmond.  The same presentation will be given on two dates...
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San Francisco Community Congress: background and update

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A very interesting grassroots development happening in SanFrancisco: The San Francisco Community Congress.The goal is to devise practical, locally actionable proposals to shape and direct future policy affecting the local economy and the provision of critical human services.”  Their mantra, “another San Francisco is possible.”  If the devil is in the details, then this appears to be the beginning of a premier Solidarity Economy project.

GEO is...
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Organized by Just, Alternative, Sustainable Economics (JASEcon) in Oakland, CA, the Festival of Grassroots Economics brought people together to imagine an "economy for people and planet."
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The theme of this issue is worker cooperative replication. It addresses an issue which is central to the growth of the democratic worker cooperative movement. How do we reproduce the success stories we have already achieved? That is, how do we replicate successful worker cooperatives in different locations? Inherent in the challenge of replication is a long standing conundrum of worker cooperative development. Replication is analogous to "franchising" in a capitalist company. Capitalist companies have a compelling motive to replicate successful stores - maximizing profit.

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By Joe Marraffino, Arizmendi Development and Support Cooperative

Since the mid-1990s a group of worker cooperative organizers in the San Francisco Bay Area has been developing a new model for cooperative development.  Our organization, the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, is a network, incubator, and technical assistance provider that is owned, governed, and funded by the member workplaces it creates and serves.  Our primary activity is to replicate and offer continuing support to new retail bakeries based on a proven cooperative business model.   

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A solidarity trade organizing effort in Greece
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While empathizing with those who feel a sense of "inevitability" in the face of today's powerful capitalist economy (and disagreeing with those who see it as generally acceptable), I hold firmly to the perspective that a more just and democratic economy is both necessary and possible. And I believe that the greatest chance of increasing and assuring viability for the workplace democracy movement may rest in our ability to keep our "eyes on the prize"; that is, on the long term replacement of capitalism?an economy which socializes costs and privatizes benefits?with an economy of democratic cooperation?in which costs and benefits are democratically and equitably shared throughout society.
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If in 2001 the World Social Forum was "the birthplace of global civil society"-namely all social groupings between the public realm of the state and the private realm of the family-what should it be when that society grows up a bit? Many feel that a change is needed. Explaining her absence from the 2006 WSF, Arundhati Roy said "[it] has now become very NGO-ized [non-governmental organizations]...it's just become too comfortable a stage. I think it has played a very important role up to now, but now...I think we have to come up with new strategies."
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A blog highlighting solidarity economy experiences and case studies
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By Len Krimerman and Bob Stone, GEO Collective

LEN: As folks head towards the very first US Social Forum in Atlanta questions arise: other than convening a rich mosaic of progressive organizations and activists, does the social forum movement have a mission to bring about "another world," and, if not, should it now adopt a strategy for doing so?

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By Robin Hahnel

Worker-owned cooperatives are wonderful alternatives to privately owned, capitalist firms. Workers can decide what they want to produce and how they want to produce it instead of having all that decided by their employers. In other words, workers can take control of their laboring capacities and use them as they see fit. Moreover, whatever benefits come from their efforts belong to them, not to an absentee owner who did none of the work.

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For more than twenty years, the Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter (called "Changing Work" from 1984-1991) has published news and analysis of global efforts to build a democratic and cooperative economy. In 2007, we decided to move from a printed format (with a supplemental website) to a fully-online web publication. Welcome to the new GEO Online!

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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.

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By Jenna Allard and Julie Matthaei, Guramylay: Growing the Green Economy

Most of the over 10,000 people who traveled to the first-ever U.S.

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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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