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Today was another amazing day of presentations at the ACE conference!....

Unlike other conferences that I'm used to attending, you don't have to choose from workshops at the Association of Cooperative Educators. There is only one track, and everyone is on the same one.

One of the great things about the Association of Cooperative Educators conference is that I have been able to meet and talk with many people that I've known "online" for the very first time. 

 At Tuesday evening's reception, I met Anne Reynolds of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives.  What a treasure! 

By David Korten

Presentation to Association of Cooperatives Educators

Cleveland, Ohio

July 28, 2010

I've been greatly looking forward to being with you here in Cleveland to be part of this redirection of ACE. Cleveland is a city with a national reputation for being both a symbol of the failures of the Old Economy and a beacon of hope and possibility for the just, sustainable cooperative New Economy we seek to create.

The future of humans and Planet Earth depend on replacing the "greed-driven" economic system of Wall Street with the "life-serving" system of Main Street.

That was the message that David Korten, author Agenda for a New Economy, and co-founder of Yes! magazine, brought to the 58th annual conference of the Association of Cooperative Educators in Cleveland on Wednesday.

John Curl's history of the Bay Area Cooperative movement is eye-opening.  It leaves you amazed that this country is so rich in cooperativism yet we only learn of it through John's heroic efforts.  It brings to mind the saying: You need to know where you've been to know where you're going.  My hope is that this history further opens up and extends our vision and our work.  Many thanks to John Curl for his work.   

Download Curl's History of the Bay Area Cooperative Movement here

The organizers of the 2008 National Worker Cooperative Conference deftly delegated note-taking responsibilities to volunteers and ended up with a treasure trove of documentation. If you want to refresh your memory of where we left off, or are eager to get a jump start on the 2010 conference so you can ask informed questions, the archive of conference workshop notes from New Orleans (also listed below) is full of information.

 The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives is offering an intensive training session for organizations who want to make their internal processes more democratic and participatory. 

Melissa Hoover's description follows:

 Intensive Training: Developing Democratic Capacity
Monday 8/9/2010

Anti-Racism in the Workplace two-day training, August 9th & 10th, 2010, UC Berkeley.

The U.S. Federation for Worker Cooperatives has organized an intensive 2-day workshop as part of the conference.  Here's how conference co-organizer, kiran nigam, bills it:    

Does God care about politics?  Yes, I believe he does.  However, hypocrisy is confusing the true nature of God, instilled by the hypocritical and misrepresentative advertising and inflated rhetoric of freedom, liberty, and equality.  In fact, modern education has now given us the procedure to allow Truth to appear, and it requires our education as activists and entrepreneurs.  The negative consequences of hypocrisy are building, as in sea levels and other environmental degradation.  Organic and fair trade food and other green products give us the other options.  While Corporations have perpetrated a Materialistic Consumer Culture that is mostly oblivious to the building consequences and dangers, we activists need to get educated and to express ourselves to define ourselves vigorously, and ultimately educate others.  As NYPIRG has organized a fuel buyers' group for windpower, Obama worked in community organizing, and ACORN actually reported the frauds the Republicans have tried to smear them with, God needs us to recognize the value of each person which can make them receptive to the Truth of democratic education, economics, and politics.

An awareness of progressive activity in the financial industry can help build the movement as a whole and help people become less dependent, and more independent of the destructive premises of the mainstream corporate economy.

In this blog entry there are three selections from progressive news sources.

Journalist Naomi Klein has expressed dynamic views addressing the problematic causes of the global Wall St. crisis and the bail out, including the economics of Milton Friedman.  Alternative approaches are available in works such as Anna Milford's work on organic and free trade economics and Herman Daly's whole cost accounting and steady state paradigm. 

A worldview adequate to overcome the limitations of a secular society is necessary given the power of corporations, their organization, and their advertising.  I describe a bit of the views influencing my beginning explorations of a church advocating social and environmental justice activism and entrepreneurship and science and modern education, the Modern Interfaith Church of Christ. 
Arvol Looking Horse spoke at the New York Open Center, and I was able to hear his important perspective on the role of ecological awareness and spirituality in daily life, and the reforming of modern lifestyles.

On Thursday, September 18, the U.S. Mission to the U.N. held a Green Business discussion panel at U.N. Headquarters.  The panel was diverse to the extent that the Corporate representatives were also met by a consultant and NGO representative.  The subjects focussed on the corporate level views of the issues, including Cap and Trade Markets.  Some audience input also contributed to deepening the conversation.  My topic was certification, and was met by a negative and skeptical view of "legitimacy," although later comments acknowledged important examples.  I am beginning to evaluate the communication process and the information structure which I as an advocate of solidarity economics and the World Social Forum can develop.

Modern neoliberal investor capitalism has roots in its Judeo-Christian heritage generally, and Christianity in particular.  Activist culture can be fortified and

invigorated by examining its own roots to raise the conflicting consequences of common religious influences,

and to identify the grassroots, democratic, non-exclusionary, non-domination qualities inherent in those origins.

Modern corporate advertising and consumer culture tends to divert the attention of people from the obvious source of true culture, and the basis for employee cooperative and community ownership: grassroots personal projects and memory and recognition of loved ones and history of the basis of modern activism and education.  These go beyond back further than the World Social Forum, Mother Jones, A. Philip Randolph, Samuel Gompers, the Rochdale Pioneers, and Robert Owen.   Following the modern university, modern logic begins before Newton and Descartes in the efforts of Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher minister student of Albert Magnus.  The essential role of Christ's teachings of justice, therapy, love, and integrity thus appear in activism, spiritual practice like in Tai Chi or Yoga, and psychotherapy.  Making your own ice cream, for example, is also one easy way to start.

      The Microsoft Anti-Trust case is also an interesting example of corporate ideological influence in the U.S., and the difference with Europe.  The subject becomes a good opportunity to recognize the importance of Public Interest groups, consumer activism like Reverend Billy advocates, and local empowerment efforts. 

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