United States

A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATIVES IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA By John Curl At the time of its incorporation in 1817, Pittsburgh was already a manufacturing center, with a population of around 6,000, supplying the western region with artisanal products almost entirely made by home industry. It had become a manufacturing center during the war of 1812, when the supply of British-made goods have been cut off in the region. In 1817 most manufacturing was still done by independent self-employed artisans using hand tools. But their livelihood was already threatened by the growth of a new system that was making their economy obsolete: factories and wage labor.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening. It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts. It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going. My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.
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John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening.  It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts.  It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going.  My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

Download Curl's History of the Bay Area Cooperative Movement here

The organizers of the 2008 National Worker Cooperative Conference deftly delegated note-taking responsibilities to volunteers and ended up with a treasure trove of documentation. If you want to refresh your memory of where we left off, or are eager to get a jump start on the 2010 conference so you can ask informed questions, the archive of conference workshop notes from New Orleans (also listed below) is full of information.

High-Energy Gathering Fires Up A New Generation of Activists in U.S. Left and Social Movements By Carl Davidson Keep On Keepin' On! When 15,000 vibrant and politically engaged people gather in one spot for five days and organize themselves into more than 1000 workshops, dozens of major plenaries and late night parties across five major cultural hot spots, no one article can claim to give a full account and get away with it. But an event on that scale livened up Detroit, Michigan during the week of June 22-26 at the US Social Forum, when Cobo Hall and several nearby universities were buzzing with thousands of people trying to shape a new world. 15,000 Attend Detroit Social Forum I won’t even try to capture it all. I’ll just affirm the common conviction that it was a major happening on the left and a huge success, an inspiration and an affirmation of hope that progress is being made towards a better future. Then I’ll humbly offer my take on it. We’ll start with some highlights and, for those who aren’t familiar with the Social Forum movement, offer a few explanations.
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Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/453

(Editor's note: This is the start of a new series by Erin Rice. Erin is a cooperative educator living in Louisiana. She will report on grassroots economic activities in the south, analyze conditions, and sometimes editorialize. Erin can be reached at 413-522-3319 or erinjrice@gmail.com. She is always looking for new tips and leads.)

Report 1, March 10, 2010

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(Editor's Note: Steven Dawson was president and founding director of the Industrial Cooperative Association (now the ICA Group) from 1978 through 1988. He is currently president of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), the nonprofit affiliate of the 1600-employee Cooperative Home Care Associates - the largest worker cooperative in the U.S.

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Permanent link to this article: http://geo.coop/node/440

By Aaron Dawson, Equal Exchange

In reflecting back to the 2009 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, what impresses me the most is how much more action it has generated since the meeting! This is exciting to me as I have been to five worker co-op conferences and this is the first time that I feel so much movement is happening on so many levels.

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Legislation by Senators Sanders and others is meant to incentivize ESOPs.
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By Michael Johnson
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It's like a cooperative barn raising, but it's called a "crop mob"...
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by John Gallagher for Common Dreams

The Mo' Green Town proposal by New York City activist Majora Carter just might hit the sweet spot in Detroit urban agriculture.

Carter visited Detroit recently to talk up her plan to create a worker-owned urban agriculture cooperative venture. By pooling the efforts of numerous small growers in Detroit, it would attempt to grow big enough to generate real profits and a return for investors. But it would be run by local community growers themselves.

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Nancy Folbre (UMass Amherst economist) on the economics of worker cooperatives
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