Category: Uncategorized

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!

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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.

 

Co-op Day on Saturday

Cooperation DC, a project of the ONE DC Black Workers and Wellness Center, is celebrating its new home in Anacostia. To bring awareness to our move, we are inviting you to a cookout this Saturday August 4th from 4pm-7pm. Stop by the ONE DC Black Workers and Wellness Center (2500 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE) to enjoy food, learn about the benefits of worker cooperatives in Ward 8 and throughout the District, and to brainstorm how Cooperation DC can uplift workers in Southeast. We would like to strategize with everyone that comes through about your vision for future dignified workplaces.

Click here to RSVP

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What is a worker cooperative?

A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and governed by its employees. Instead of being run solely for profit, a worker cooperative operates with shared leadership at its core. It measures its success in the wellbeing of its members, its sustainability as a business, and its contribution to the communities and environments in which it operates.

Why worker cooperatives?

– Better wages, better benefits
– Higher quality jobs
– Worker control over jobs and work environment
– Increased job security
– Prioritization of human, community, and environmental needs over product/profit

Join DC Co-op Stakeholders’ Group

Dear worker-owners and allies –

A group of co-op advocates – the DC Co-op Stakeholders’ Group – has been meeting for over a year to discuss how best to help start new co-ops and strengthen existing co-ops in DC.

Many ideas are being discussed, but they all revolve around designing and developing programs, policies, legislation, and a new dedicated co-op development center that will support local co-ops and start-ups.

There’s just one problem: we haven’t had nearly enough participation from existing DC co-ops, to help guide this effort!

That why I’m writing to you now – I’m hoping that one or more members of every DC worker co-op (and former worker-owners, and any that you may know) can attend the next meeting of the DC Co-op Stakeholders’ Group – this Saturday, June 16th, 12 noon, at Bread for the City, 1525 7th St. NW

If so, please reply and let me know, so we can plan for attendance.

And if you’re from a co-op that can’t send any members, please reply and let me know that too, so I can get your input and help carry your thoughts to the meeting.

More background: Originally convened by staff of the DC Government’s Dept of Small and Local Business Development, the DC Co-op Stakeholders’ Group is now becoming self-organizing, and will be posting volunteer openings for a formal steering committee soon – we’re hoping to get substantial representation from DC’s co-ops and worker co-ops on that steering committee, so please stay tuned!

The group drafted a mission statement (here: https://coopdc.org/stakeholders/) that summarizes its thoughts about how to help DC co-ops get started and get stronger. The group sees particular needs for access to fair employment and healthy food, and is thus prioritizing worker co-ops and food co-ops. We also staffed a table at last October’s National Co-op Festival on the Mall and got lots of good response and interest from local folks.

Hope to see you this Saturday at noon – and thanks for forwarding this on to any DC worker co-op members, and former worker-owners, that you may know!

PS – if you want to be joined to the DC Co-op Stakeholders’ Group Slack group, reply to me and ask, and I’ll see that you get an invite.

Thanks,

Jim


Jim Johnson
Co-founder and Certified Peer Advisor
Democracy At Work Network
jim.johnson@dawn.coop – 240-621-0921