Category: Uncategorized

New Tech Co-op!

According to this exceedingly interesting post on the blog The Workers’ Paradise, “Tech Co-op’s Are on the Rise,” tech co-ops are popping up all over. And here is some info about the new local tech co-op NOVA Web Development!

NOVA Web Development provides web page design and web application development at affordable rates for labor and community organizations, academic institutions, non-profits, and small business enterprises.

We are a democratically run, worker owned and operated cooperative focused on developing free software tools for progressive organizations, committed to economic democracy and the educational growth of our members. Our young web professionals work side-by-side with experienced veterans learning state-of-the-art webcraft while providing solutions to problems facing our local community, pursuing a social justice mission, and striving to create the world we want to live in.

The purpose of the Cooperative is to engage in and conduct lawful business, activities or functions aimed at providing for the livelihood of the Members in a manner consistent with the interests of society as a whole, guided by the following: 

PRINCIPLES

  1. We want to make a living, not a killing.
  2. We want to help build the world we want to live in.
  3. The people’s movement should use people’s software.

Democratizing Work manifesto

“Working humans are so much more than ‘resources’. This is one of the central lessons of the current crisis.”

So begins a manifesto drafted in the spring of 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which argues that work needs to be democratized, de-commodified and made sustainable. The Manifesto has been translated in multiple languages and supported across the globe: https://democratizingwork.org/read/#english. This conversation on Democratizing Work, which will take place on Wednesday, November 18th (11:00 EST), is an opportunity to bring together its authors with leading representatives and specialists from the world of work in a dialogue about the Manifesto and current priorities for the pandemic and beyond.To participate: advance registration is required. Register on https://bit.ly/35Zi3hL

More info on FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/2076190535846235/

La Coop Coffee Co. in DC

La Coop Coffee Co. is located at 5505 1st St, NW, Washington, DC, 20011. It is a family owned and operated business that works with a coffee coop in Union Cantinil, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Maybe it is a bit like Divine Chocolate (which you can buy in Yes Market and other DC stores)? Here is what they are about:

We source directly from a coffee cooperative formed by our founder in his hometown of Union Cantinil, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. We always ensure farmers receive the fairest price for their product and that each cup of La Coop coffee we bring to our customers is of the highest quality.

Through this direct trade relationship we bring our customers single origin specialty coffee that not only tastes good, but helps make a difference in the lives of hard working coffee farmers in Guatemala. Our founder grew up farming the same coffee he is now roasting and serving locally in the Washington, D.C. area. Through La Coop, he now gets to share a little bit of the Guatemala he knows with the world.

P.S. The current landlord is trying to evict La Coop, so help this great organization! More info on the evil landlord: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10219916206110296&set=gm.638170230184083

Tonight: Worker Co-ops and Socialism

JOIN the Black Workers & Wellness Center tonight (Monday, September 28th, at 6:30pm) for the “Worker Cooperatives & The Movement for Socialism” panel discussion. The panel will include Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, and Richard Wolff. 

REGISTER HERE

Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ph. D., is a political economist specializing in economic development policy, Black political economy, and popular economic literacy. Her research focuses on democratic community economics, cooperative businesses, worker ownership, and racial wealth inequality, all of which can be found in her book “Collective Courage; A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought & Practice”. Though a resident of Washington, D.C., Gordon Nembhard currently teaches at John Jay College, City University of New York.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, Ph. D., was a professor, researcher and consultant at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana. Her work focuses on economic democracy, self-management, democratic planning, worker cooperatives, business management and public policy towards the enterprise sector. She is author of Guía Introductoria sobre Cooperativismo para Cuba (Ed. Caminos, 2015) and Repensando el Socialismo Cubano: Propuestas para una economía democratica y cooperativa (Ruth Casa Editorial, 2013), and the edited the volume Cooperatives and Socialism: A View from Cuba (Palgrave, 2012).

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.

Cooperation as the Institution of the Common

The Polish journal Theoretical Practice has a special issue “Cooperation as the Institution of the Common.” While cooperatives can exist in capitalism, they can also go beyond capitalism and forge a new kind of social life. This special issue is great because it explores both the theory of cooperatives and the concrete practices of cooperatives and the common in Poland in the interwar period, during state socialism, and today’s capitalism. Most interesting is the inclusion of the 1904 “Stateless Socialism” by Edward Abramowski, one of the most important Polish philosophers at the turn of the last century, one of the founders of the Polish Cooperativists’ Society, and a visionary of cooperativism as means of “working people’s liberation.”

The Renovation of MLK Library

The Post article by Philip Kennicott about the opening this fall of the renovated MLK Library is great for a couple of reasons. First, the DC government did the renovation without a public-private partnership (though private architecture firms, etc. were involved), which is amazingly wonderful in the age of the seemingly endless privatization of public institutions:

There were early plans to add floors, and subdivide the building into public and private uses. Some proposals called for including condos or office space. But as the project went forward, and as the city thrived economically, the renovation, guided by a strict oversight process, was deemed viable without adding commercial uses.

Second, the MLK Library is expanding its public sharing resources to include tools and sewing machines, and potentially larger reading rooms:

Flanking the entrance to this massive lobby are the two central staircases, which lead to the basement, where new fabrication spaces include sewing machines and a tool-rental library, and to the new fifth floor, which includes access to the top level of a two-story auditorium. A double-level reading room also has been added, connecting the third and fourth floors on the east side of the structure.

Of course, people had made the MLK Library into a wonderful space long before the renovation, such as the Wednesday dinners for those without homes at tables in the lobby, the meetings that went on for all sorts of groups in the basement, the American Sign Language classes that went on upstairs, and the phenomenal Washingtoniana Room. So, we’ll see what our friends and neighbors come up with next.

Everything Co-op on Thursday

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM and Tune-in Radio, on July 9, 10:30 am, for Everything Co-op. This week Vernon interviews Anthony E. Cook, Professor at Georgetown University. Vernon and Professor Cook will discuss the role cooperatives can play in rebuilding under-served communities in a post COVID-19 World.

Professor Anthony Cook is a law professor at Georgetown University. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University’s program in Public and International Affairs, and is a doctoral candidate in Sustainable Urban Development at Oxford University.

He teaches courses in Race and Democracy, Community Development, Cooperatives and a Practicum on Law, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation that provides legal and business planning support to startup and early stage social impact entrepreneurs.

Professor Cook is a nationally recognized scholar in critical race theory and the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His book, The Least of These: Race, Law and Religion in American Culture, explores the relevance of the social gospel and King’s conception of the Beloved Community for race, class and cultural divides in American Society.

For his work as a scholar and community development practitioner – working at the intersection of critical theory and systemic racism and inequality – the American Bar Association honored Professor Cook as One of 21 Lawyers Leading America into the 21st Century, citing his “unique synergy of thought and action.”

He is a national officer of the nation’s oldest community development organization, the Community Development Society, and is a member of the International Association of Community Development. He practices and lives in the Washington D.C. area where he is presently spearheading an innovative community development initiative to build cooperative ecosystems.

The Glories of Student Cooperative Housing

Many years ago, I was lucky to live in The Co-op (officially known as the University Cooperative Housing Association, UCHA) in Westwood, only two blocks from UCLA campus. Aside from being an amazingly affordable and fun place to live, UCHA was one of the first desegregated student housing communities in the nation. See the paragraph on Westwood and UCHA below. The Co-op is thriving today and still requires residents to work a four-hour chore shift per week.

Color of law cooperative

Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

What we know today about the commons economy

The proposal of this paper is to present a summary of ten years of research at the P2P Foundation, including by our own P2P Lab but also by our partners in common research programs, of what we know today about the emerging commons economy. It includes a basic account of why the ‘invention’ of the blockchain has been important, but stresses that the needed distributed ledgers may take other forms in the future. This section may not offer a lot of new elements for those that are already technologically savvy about the topic, but it does offer a critical engagement with the qualities and flaws of the current model, and suggests how it can be tweaked and transformed, to also serve as a basis for a post-capitalist, commons-centric economy.

Read more here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331617414_Accounting_for_planetary_survival_acknowledg_the_background