Exciting Worker Cooperative Developments in DC

From Allison:

Coop IA group of us — Jennifer Bryant, Eva Seidelman, Tracy McCurty, Adwoa Masozi, Silvia Salazar, Melody Webb, and a few others — have been meeting over the last year to create a worker cooperative incubator called Cooperation DC. It will be housed in and fiscally sponsored by ONE DC, and will kick off with a training in November.

November events
On Thursday November 5th from 6:30-8:30pm, there will be a community event where we’ll hear from our new and existing coops, make the connection with the national movement, and share ways everyone can support economic democracy in DC. Please RSVP here and spread the word!

Coop IIOn Friday November 6th, we’ll host two convenings — one is a training for small business support organizations so they’re able to include worker cooperatives in their offerings. Another is a convening with government and funders to get the national worker coop movement and our asks on their radar. If you have any suggestions for folks who should be at either of those, please reach out.

On Saturday November 7th, there will be a training for current and potential worker owners. It’ll include financial planning, governance, management structures, financing, and legal. If you know of worker cooperatives in formation who may be interested in attending, please reach out to DCWorkerCoops@gmail.com with details. This one is not a worker coop 101 space — we’ll cover that base at the Thursday event!

We’re raising funds over the coming months to pay for the training and the follow up technical assistance. If you have suggestions for potential funders or donors, or if you can chip in a little yourself, it would make a huge difference in us being able to do this work!

the website
Since the website for Cooperation DC would include many of the same resources on the Coop DC website, we’d like to merge the sites. That would mean that our web developer (Adwoa) would take what’s on the Coop DC page, put it on a fancy wordpress template, add information about the upcoming training, and change the domain to cooperationdc.org/com. Cooperation Jackson isn’t strictly worker coops, and likewise, it would be great to keep our other solidarity economy (housing coops, for instance) resources on there. Johanna, who’s been doing most of the blog updating, offered to continue doing what she’s doing on the new site, which is wonderful.



A multi-racial, values-driven organization dedicated to practicing democracy; race, gender, and economic equity; and solidarity with communities most affected by the ravages of the current economic system.

We are connectors and co-builders committed to being on the ground in communities and in policy spaces with the goal of greater policy alignment with communities’ experiences.

We are dedicated to working in multi- and interdisciplinary ways, thinking creatively, learning from one another, and sharing our experiences.

For more info: http://basebaltimore.org/

Ambassador Andrew Young Appears on Everything Co-op 9/24

Vernon Oakes & Andrew YoungTune-in to WOL 1450 AM on Thursday, September 24, at 10:30 am, for Everything Co-op, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon interviews Ambassador Andrew Young, Principal and founder of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. Vernon and Ambassador Young will discuss the role he and his Foundation has played in the advancement of the cooperative business model to create economic security for ALL, and the work that is ahead to improve lives and restore dignity.
Andrew J. Young has lived his life in response to a call to service he heard as a young man. From his ordination as a minister, to his work on behalf of civil and human rights, to his public service career as a member of Congress, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mayor of Atlanta, he has always answered the call to serve Today, the Andrew J. Young Foundation builds on his legacy by developing and nurturing new generations of innovative leaders to tackle this era’s global challenges.
He has shared his life’s work in three books including: “A Way Out of No Way: The Spiritual Memoirs of Andrew Young,” “An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America,” and “Walk in My Shoes: Conversations between a Civil Rights Legend and his Godson on the Journey Ahead,” which was co-authored by Kabir Sehgal.
To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio
To learn more about Ambassador Young, or the Andrew J. Young Foundation Click Here!

P.S. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances Ambassador Andrew J. Young will not be able to appear on the show tomorrow. However, we are pleased to announce that Ms. Erma Wilburn, Civil Rights Activist and VISTA Volunteer will appear. Vernon and Erma will discuss her role in the Civil Rights Movement, and the worker-owned baking cooperative she is planning at this time.

Erma Wilburn is working as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service To America), and supports programs and initiatives of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc. VISTA Volunteers serve in nonprofit organizations or local government agencies around the country that focus on addressing the issue of poverty in America. VISTAs provide service in many different capacities: implementing literacy programs and tutoring for underserved children; coordinating volunteers; creating businesses; organizing employment training programs; addressing issues of hunger and much more.
Ms. Wilburn started working on Civil Rights and Social Justice issues throughout Georgia at the tender age of fourteen, under the tutelage of her Aunt Atty, and State representative Mary Young Cummings. Due to her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and her refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, she was expelled from school. She states: “I found it impossible to say the Pledge of Allegiance after spending time in jail for going to a public library.” Fortunately, being expelled gave her an opportunity to attend a preparatory school in Lenox, Massachusetts, which changed the trajectory of her life.
After graduating, she returned to Georgia in 1971, attained her RN Degree, and continued working on voter registration and civil rights issues that concerned her community. Later she became a part of New Communities, a 5,700-acre land trust and farm collective, owned and operated by approximately a dozen black farmers from 1969 to 1985. It was once one of the largest-acreage African American-owned properties in the United States situated in Southwest Georgia. Today, she is in the planning stages of establishing a worker-owned baking cooperative, to address the high employment issue among Black Women in her region.

Cooperators, ecovillagers, commune-ists, and intentional communitarians! Tamera Ecovillage

Tamera is in rural, remote Portugal, but the unique culture and group processes they’ve forged could be adapted to all sorts of collective endeavors here at home.

We’re very lucky to have three Tamera residents visiting DC next week on book tour. We asked if they would meet with DC-area students of co-existence, community organizers, and peace activists, for a presentation and participatory group discussions at American University. So I hope you’ll join us on the 9th! Details below.
If you’re on Facebook, you can find the event here:

If you prefer Eventbrite, this is for the very same event:

Deep Sustainability at the Tamera Ecovillage: Book Event for “Terra Nova”
Wednesday, September 9
5:00pm – 7:30pm

Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW

Celebrate the publication of “Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love.” Learn how Tamera envisions and practices a culture of systemic nonviolence, ecological and interpersonal healing, and love, with four representatives from the Portuguese ecovillage.

Tamera, a pioneering ecovillage in Portugal, has developed “a self-sufficient, sustainable and replicable communitarian model for nonviolent cooperation and cohabitation.” Permanent home to about 160 people, this “peace research center” is a living laboratory for what society might be like if it were truly sustainable. The full spectrum of personal expression is integrated collaboratively with the collective welfare, human activity is symbiotic with all other ecological constituents, and civilization’s most fundamental support systems–securing water, energy, food, and shelter–are regenerative, local, and cooperatively managed.

Following an inside-out approach to systemic sustainability, Tamera demonstrates the impacts of revolution beyond technology, beyond policy, at the level of culture. The philosophical and practical frameworks of this alternative culture are detailed in the new book “Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love,” by activist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and Tamera community co-founder Dr. Dieter Duhm.

Three representatives from Tamera will visit the Kay Spiritual Life Center Lounge at American University for a presentation, panel discussion, and group discussion focused on the applicability of Tamera’s insights and methods to community development and environmental organizing in North America and especially the DC-Virginia-Maryland metropolitan region. All are welcome, and space is limited, so please save the date and RSVP!

Light refreshments will be served.

Anyone interested in sustainable development, cooperative systems, nonviolent communication, intentional community, grassroots economies, environmental stewardship, and humanist spirituality. Students and practitioners are equally welcome and encouraged to bring questions and ideas for the panelists and for each other.

Global Inequality and Development Thematic Area (School for International Service)
Ecovillagers Cooperative (http://ecovillagers.org/), contact Joel Rothschild
American University International Development Student Association (IDPSA)
Tamera Healing Biotope (http://tamera.org/), contact Dara Silverman

Everything Co-op Interviews 2015 Cooperative Hall of Fame Hero

This week Vernon interviews Dr. Ann Hoyt, retired Department Chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Consumer Science. Vernon and Dr. Hoyt will discuss her involvement in the cooperative movement, and her recent appointment to the Group Health Cooperative Board of South Central Wisconsin.

Hoyt, is an internationally known expert on cooperatives, who began her distinguished career in the 1960s as a member of the Berkley Consumer Food Co-op. Her academic interest in cooperatives took root in graduate school at University of California at Davis, where her Master’s Thesis focused on the Consumer Cooperative of Sacramento.

Hoyt was elected to the board of the National Cooperative Bank in 1982. In 1985 she joined the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Department of Consumer Science and the UW Center for Cooperatives. In 1992 she began serving on the board of the National Cooperative Business Association where she served as chair from 2004 – 2006. In 1994 she was elected to the board of the University of Wisconsin Credit Union where she served as chair from 1996 to 2005.

Always active in the national food cooperatives, Ann began her 25 year directorship of the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) in 1988. Her love of teaching led to work in board education and governance, and the launch of an intensive education program for food cooperative managers, the Cooperative Management Institute (CMI). She has trained several thousand cooperative and non-profit directors and managers throughout the country and is the creator of a video-based director training program for cooperatives. Hoyt is the recipient of the 2014 Cooperative Service Award from CCMA and was inducted to the Cooperative Hall of Fame earlier this year, by the Cooperative Development Foundation.

To see the Heroes video of Dr. Hoyt’s involvement in the Cooperative Movement Click Here!

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

“Fighting To Save Black-Owned Land Since 1967 With Cooperatives” — the Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Tune-in to WOL 1450 AM Thursday, August 13, for Everything Co-op, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon covers the Federation of Southern Cooperative‘s 48th Annual Meeting. He will report live from the Birmingham Sheraton, in Birmingham, Alabama.

On Thursday, August 13, 2015 the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (Federation), will kick off festivities for the Annual Meeting with the Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony, which will be held at the Birmingham Sheraton in Birmingham, Alabama. This year the Federation will honor the Reverend Charles and Shirley Sherrod, a veteran civil rights couple.

The Sherrods have worked tirelessly for civil rights, human rights, Black land retention and economically underserved landholders, community empowerment, and economic development throughout the rural South. Their extraordinary work has spanned more than four decades. Along with others in the Albany area they developed the first rural land-trust in the nation, New Communities, in 1970 that purchased and operated 6,000 acres in southwest Georgia. The Sherrods met and were married while actively serving in the civil rights movement, and currently reside in Albany, Georgia.

The Annual Meeting will include an update on the “Women and Hispanic Settlement” along with workshops and plenaries on cooperative development, land retention and other rural development programs. There will also be a fish fry and auction on Friday evening followed by state caucuses on Saturday.

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities

Here is an excellent set of reviews of JK Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy’s
Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (2013).

The premise and important message of this book is that it is within our grasp and interest that we don’t let ‘them’ dictate to ‘us’ what the economy and business are about.We don’t have to wait for a revolution. Capitalism is not an all-encompassing system that dominates everybody and everything on this planet. Instead, it has many holes, allowing alternative economic practices to exist alongside capitalist interests. The very practical task of Take Back the Economy is to give airtime to such ‘alternatives’. These include, for example, a number of alternative market relations, such as fair trade, cooperatively run factories and community supported agriculture and business, as well as a range of non-market economic practices, such as household flows, gift-giving, hunting, fishing and gathering. With very useful illustrations and ‘how-to’ guides, the authors convincingly show that we can run economic ventures and our livelihoods ourselves…While the book sends out a very hopeful message, which I support, many questions remain about the impact such alternative practices may have on the wider truths of ‘real existing capitalism’…
Read more here.