Category: Uncategorized

Monte Verità in Switzerland

I was reading a description of an upcoming conference:

The conference will be held at Monte Verità, a former utopian-like hub of alternative cooperative life and now site for numerous formidable architectural works, standing in the beautiful landscape between the Alps and Lago Maggiore in the Swiss canton of Ticino.

Which made me wonder what Monte Verita was. There is much more to find out, but here is the official website:

Their social organisation based on the co-operative system and through which they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, new ways of cultivating mind and spirit and the unity of body and soul , can at the best be described as a Christian-communist community.

Love & Solidarity Collective

Learn more about the Love & Solidarity Collective (née Lamont Street), one of DC’s oldest intentional communities, and its Dec. 8th event “What happened 2 Chocolate City?”:

Since the LSC was established 1974 as the Lamont Street Collective, literally hundreds of people have called it home–over its more than forty years in Mount Pleasant, it became a neighborhood icon and cultural fixture.

Thanks to the hard work of John Acher (1946-2004), a founding member of the collective and one of DC’s most prominent socialists, the LSC was a center of leftist political activism and neighborhood advocacy for decades.

Through the anti-globalization & anti-war times of the late 90s and early 00s, when we housed & resourced out of town protesters and artists, we evolved into a living community of socially conscious artists and activists. After a decade living under the threat of eviction, we were forced from our Mount Pleasant home by a house-flipping landlord in June 2016.

Through the hard work of a few Collective residents working on an emergency timeline, we found a new home in Park View. We changed our name (but kept our initials) to christen our new home and build our continuing legacy: we are now the Love + Solidarity Collective.
As we approach half a century in existence we continue to bring our community together by hosting organizing meetings, film screenings, musical performances, community dialogues, and unique events like Salon de Libertad–our annual celebration of local art.

Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative

In the Street Sense Filmmakers Cooperative, participants create and share visual narratives from the viewpoint of the street. In the process, co-op members learn the methods and tools of cinematic production (literacy and resume skills) as they help activate one another’s stories.

View their videos here.

Read more about the co-op in The Washington PostThe Atlantic‘s CityLab, PBS, and  The Washington City Paper.

Listen to the cooperative at this weekend’s DC Historical Studies Conference. They will be speaking on Saturday, November 23rd, 5:15 – 6:30 pm, Special Performance with the Humanities Truck exhibit, “Downtown Displaced: A Case Study of Gentrification in Mount Vernon Square 1840-Present.” Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative performers will provide their own interpretation of the neighborhood change and the meaning of Apple moving into Mt. Vernon Square. Performers: Bryan Bello, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative, Reginald Black, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative, Angie Whitehurst, Street Sense Media Filmmakers Cooperative.

International Association for the Economics of Participation

The International Association for the Economics of Participation (IAFEP) gathers scholars dedicated to exploring the economics of democratic and participatory organizations, such as labor-managed firms, cooperatives and firms with broad-based employee share-ownership, profit sharing and worker participation schemes, as well as democratic nonprofit, community and social enterprises. The IAFEP Conference, which take place every two years, provides an international forum for presentations and discussions of current research on the economics of participation. The 2020 IAFEP Conference will be held in La Jolla, CA June 21-24 alongside and in collaboration with the Beyster Symposium, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing of Rutgers University.

Key themes:

  1. Development and dynamics of financial and decision‐making participation
  2. Effects of participation on firms’ and workers’ outcomes
  3. Socio‐economic and political environment
  4. Economic participation and political democracy

For further questions: e‐mail Trevor Young‐Hyman and Nathalie Magneat iafep2020@gmail.com

Extended Abstracts (max. 1000 words) in English should be sent by e‐mail to Trevor Young‐Hyman and Nathalie Magneat iafep2020@gmail.com by February 28, 2020.

DC Coop Day on Saturday

On Saturday, October 26, 2019 at THE ARC (1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE), DC Co-op Day will bring together the DC co-op ecosystem – worker co-ops, limited equity housing co-ops, food co-ops, co-op technical assistance providers and co-op advocates – for a day of learning, connecting and organizing.

We will learn together about DC’s radical co-op history and we will have workshops that cover things like:

  • Co-op governance and decision making,
  • How to start a co-op, and
  • How co-ops can get access to financing.

Co-op developers and lawyers will also be available to provide free advice.

Join us to help build the DC co-op ecosystem!!

Breakfast and lunch will be provided for attendees!

The event is free, but seating is limited. Early registration is encouraged. Free parking is available. The closest metro stations are Congress Heights or Southern Avenue on the Green Line.

Please email us at mail@dcstakeholders.coop if you are interested in supporting or getting involved in the event.

Worker Cooperative Jumpstart

Worker-owned cooperatives are one of the most compelling answers to the question of how to create workplaces that center dignity and respect for all workers. Cooperatives allow us to use businesses as a tool to build wealth in our communities that have historically been and are currently being divested from. Cooperatives can also provide a framework for long-lasting community controlled infrastructure that is committed to addressing and dismantling racial and class inequity. Interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of starting and operating a worker cooperative in your community?

Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) will be hosting their third annual Worker Cooperative Jumpstart! This will be Saturday Sept. 14th from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at Impact Hub Baltimore. It will be a day long series of workshops focused on establishing and running worker cooperatives. There will be something for everyone. So whether you’ve been a worker-owner for years, are thinking about starting a co-op, or just want to learn more this event is for you! Organizations and individuals welcome! There will be exciting new content focusing on cooperative conversions.

For more information visit
Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-the-date-3rd-annual-worker-co-op-jumpstart-tickets-64812608256
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2560980410592809/

There is a suggested donation of $1-25 per person to cover the cost of the event and lunch. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you or your organization need any specific accommodations, or to request interpretation services, please email  info@baltimoreroundtable.org by Sept. 6th. Same day registration is available.

 

What’s new in the Federation of Southern Cooperatives?

FSCTune-in to WOL 1450 AM on Thursday, August 15, for Everything Co-op,hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon covers the Federation of Southern Cooperatives‘ 52nd Annual Meeting. Vernon will report live from Birmingham, Alabama.

To learn more about the Federation of Southern Cooperatives or its 52nd Annual Meeting  Click Here!

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

Memorials to/of socialism in DC

I’m doing research on memorials to/of socialism in Washington, DC. I’m thinking about such memorials very broadly, even memorials that don’t seem like memorials, as well as memorials that are either positive or negative toward a variety of socialisms. Any suggestions are welcome!

New nation-wide cooperative map!

The Black Socialists of America have put together a “dual-power map” of the United States and a broad strategy that I highly recommend exploring:

“We’ve meticulously plotted every single Worker Cooperative, Small Business Development Center, Community Land Trust, and Dual Power Project within the United States that you can support right now, and will be updating as time goes on.”

Zooming in on DC in the map shows how much work is needed to rebuild the growing cooperative economy DC had in the 1970s. Today’s cooperative economy is being created in new ways along with past experiences. The Black Socialists of America vision builds on the example of Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi and Symbiosis, as well as what we have heard at the National Gentrification Summit about similar work in Newark and East New York. You can find more discussion about this vision at the excellent BSA website and in this Vice article.

Zooming in on DC, however, highlights some issues that must be engaged with, issues beyond the map. At the very end of the suggested resources page, the website states:

“The readings below mesh with and tie into our praxis and/or strategy as an organization. If you’ve made it through many of the readings listed before these, then processing what’s below will not be very difficult for you!”

In this bottom-of-the-page section they list work by Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo and Jessica Gordon Nembhard, who both have worked in DC. My discomfort with this comes from the worlds of DC, where I write histories of DC cooperatives and was brought into DC’s cooperative movement organized by women and especially by African American women. From them, I gained an education about what radical democratic practice might be. In meetings around town, I see lots of men taking charge, seemingly not aware of the centrality (and generative nature) of the radical democratic tradition of African American women and other people of color in DC and elsewhere. This is reflected in the choices made on the resource page, putting GEO‘s Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo and Jessica Gordon Nembhard in what might be called the extra reading list, those external to, though supportive of, “our praxis.”

I make this critique as a call to strengthen the cooperative and alternative economy movements by truly engaging with radical grassroots organizing and democratic practice already around us.

Worker Cooperatives in Cuba

Here is a really helpful post by Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo on her visit to Cuban worker cooperatives:

A mix of grey- and pastel-toned buildings on San Rafael Street in central Habana stand in stark testimony to part of the effects of a cruel U.S. embargo on life in Cuba.  I was standing on the street looking for a textile co-op.

I was part of a 28-member tour organized by the Center for Global Justice to Cuba to study worker cooperatives and socialism… [continue]

Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo (2017). Visiting Worker Cooperatives in Cuba: Muy Complicado. Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) http://geo.coop/story/visiting-worker-cooperatives-cuba-muy-complicado