Gleanings

Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

A region that went through ... a crisis in the 1990s is that of Mercosur where hundreds of worker-owned enterprises emerged often with the full support of trade unions. A case in point is that of Forja, South America’s largest forge which, with the backing of the ABC Metalworkers’ union of the Central Única des Trabalhadores (CUT), became Uniforja, a worker cooperative. The success of Uniforja and many other cooperatives led to the creation of Unisol, a worker cooperative federation which now has over 800 affiliated enterprises representing 70,000 workers.

[C]ooperatives are well-placed to contribute to sustainable development’s triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental objectives plus the governance agenda, not least because they are enterprises that endeavour to meet the economic progress of members while satisfying their socio-cultural interests and protecting the environment. They offer an alternative model for enterprise, with contributions to sustainable development well beyond job creation.

Cuba's slow, cautious reforms to revive its state-run economy suddenly burst into life at businesses like Karabali, a Havana nightclub owned by a 21-member cooperative.

The communist government began leasing Karabali to its employees just six months ago and now the once sleepy club is regularly packed with more than 100 customers from midnight until dawn despite competition from dozens of private and state-run night spots in the city.

Most farmers will tell you that cooperation is crucial to keeping a farm running like a well-oiled threshing machine.

But at Stone Soup Farm Cooperative in Hadley, cooperation is everything.

They were tired of being taken to the cleaners by their bosses — so they’re taking out the trash on their own.

Pa’lante Green Cleaning, a 15-member Jackson Heights cleaning cooperative owned and operating by the cleaning ladies themselves, celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

“Now that I’m part of this project, I’m very excited to be an owner as well as an employee,” said Claudia Leon, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant who was earning just $20 a day as a waitress at a taqueria in Jackson Heights.

What do cities need? People who care about them. Preferably, people with a little money to invest.

The big mistake that many cities and states have made, and keep making, is trying to attract people who don’t care, but have a lot of money to invest. What usually happens is that before too long, they take their money somewhere else that is more attractive. Or—possibly worse—make demands that are detrimental to the city, in return for staying.

APRIL 17th 6-8pm

CUNY Grad Center,
365 5th Ave, New York, Room 9204


Join a panel discussion with:
 
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste -Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP), Haiti - General Coordinator  
Nancy Romer - Brooklyn Food Coalition - Chair, Governance Board  
Robert Robinson - Take Back the Land, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative  
Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau - Global Movements Program, WhyHunger;  Event Moderator

Our English word serendipity comes from Serendip, an ancient name for Sri Lanka, but the island itself has not known much serendipity for the last three decades; in the summer of 1983, a civil war started between the state and a group that wanted an independent homeland for Tamils, resulting in enormous destruction and the death of around 70,000 people.

In New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, most of the houses in the Lower 9th Ward were vacant, many blighted. And many, many empty lots. Most of the residents did not, could not, return. The ones that did had a hard road ahead of them, rebuilding not only their own homes, but a whole community. Because what is community when the people you know are gone and the places you remember are destroyed? Even now, nearly 10 years after the storm, only about 25% of the population has returned.

Pages

Subscribe to Gleanings