A post-capitalist cooperative

The Capitalism Nature Socialism journal has a review of the Catalan Integral Cooperative that might interest those seeking to create a cooperative system in DC:

…the Catalan Integral Cooperative (CIC) provides us with what I think is the most surprising and inspiring demonstration of what can be done and what we need to do.

In George Dafermos’ recent report, “The Catalan Integral Cooperative: an organizational study of a post-capitalist cooperative” (2017), we learn that while only begun in 2010, the cooperative now involves many hundreds of people and many productive ventures, 400 of them involving growing food or making goods. Although there are far more activities than those within the CIC, its annual budget is now $480,000.

…These people have not waited for the government to save them, they are taking control over their own fate, setting up their own productive arrangements, food supply systems, warehouses and shops, basic income schemes, information and education functions, legal and tax advice, technical research and development, and even an investment bank. Best of all is the collectivist worldview and spirit, the determination to prevent the market and profit from driving the economy, and to establish cooperative arrangements that benefit all people, not just co-op members.

…Among the principles stated in Dafermos’ report are:

*A focus on social justice, equity, diversity, mutual support, cooperation, inclusion and solidarity, and the common good

*Focusing on the transformation of the whole of society, not just on securing benefits for members of the participating cooperatives

*People contribute according to their capacity to do so

*Getting rid of materialism; and aiming at satisfaction with “non-material living standards” and toward a sufficiency that does not seek accumulation as an end

*Applying resources directly to meeting the needs of people in the region

*Above all, getting rid of capitalism, where the long-term objective is “to be an organizational platform for the development of a self-sufficient economy that is autonomous from the State and the capitalist market”

For the entire article: http://www.cnsjournal.org/the-catalan-integral-cooperative-the-simpler-way-revolution-is-well-underway/

New SE DC Timebank

At a meeting, I received a flyer saying that a ANC 6D07 Candidates Forum would have a discussion “led by members of the Arthur Capper Capitol Quarter Community Timebank.” I looked around the web and found them as the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Community Village TimeBank, part of the DC TimeBank.

What is a timebank? TimeBanks are pretty great. I was paid once through timebank credits. Here is what the DC TimeBank says:

At its most basic level, timebanking is simply about spending an hour doing something for someone else in your community. That hour goes into the timebank as a time credit. Then, you have a time credit to redeem by having someone else do something for you. It’s a simple idea, but it has powerful ripple effects in building community connections.

Timebanks are revolutionizing communities like New York, Madison, and Los Angeles, and they’re growing across 34 other countries on 6 continents. Read about the Dane County TimeBank’s Community Justice Initiatives here. There’s no better time to build one in DC.

The DC TimeBank can serve as a tool to organize around different initiatives including education, food and wellness, prison reintegration, immigrant worker cooperatives, and others. If you’re interested in leading or helping with one or more of these initiatives, email us.

To learn even more about timebanking, check out TimeBanks.org!

One of the world’s largest construction workers’ cooperatives

From the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research about the floods in the Indian state of Kerala this summer:

The Chief Minister of Kerala – Pinarayi Vijayan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – said as the flood waters receded, ‘Our aim is not merely a restoration of the State to pre-flood times, but to the creation of a new Kerala’. Karat had mentioned the long tradition of community building and cooperative activity in the state. One of those institutions is the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (UCLLS), one of the world’s largest construction workers’ cooperatives (about which, please see this book from LeftWord Books written by Kerala’s Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac and Professor Michelle Williams). UCLLS has already deployed its teams for rehabilitation work across the state. But more than that, the cooperative says that it will support the restoration needs of homes in Meloor and elsewhere – rebuilding homes and offering medical support. Two hundred volunteers, in twenty teams of ten, will begin to work immediately.

Movies about Successful Cooperatives

1) “FOOD COOP” takes us deep into the belly of the Park Slope Food Coop, one of America’s oldest cooperative food supermarkets, with a healthy dose of insight and wit.

Nestled deep in New York City, which, for many, exemplifies both the glory and the horrors of the capitalist spirit, you can find this highly prosperous institution, just as American and certainly more efficient than Wall Street, but whose objective is entirely non-profit. Working against everything that defines “The American Way of Life,” the basic principles of the Park Slope Food Coop are simple: each of its 16,000 members work 2.75 hours per month to earn the right to buy the best food in New York at incredibly low prices. This Brooklyn coop founded in 1973 is probably the best implemented socialist experience in the United States.

Through FOOD COOP, you will see this institution come to life and witness how the enthusiasm that animates the Park Slope Food Coop demonstrates a potential for change; how the coop’s mode of participation viscerally teaches democracy to those who take part in its activities.

2) “FOOD FOR CHANGE” looks at the current resurgence of food cooperatives in America and their unique historic place in the economic and political landscape. Born in the heartland, cooperatives are seen as the middle path between Wall Street and Socialism.

The film profiles several food co-ops that have revived neighborhoods and communities – right in the shadows of corporate agribusinesses and supermarket chains. It’s an inspiring example of community-centered economies thriving in an age of globalization.