Financing & Financial Services

Though the numbers aren’t yet in, 2016 appears to have been a banner year for progressive non-profits, particularly in the wake of the presidential election. Many celebrities, artists, and other influencers publicly supported organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and pledged portions of their profits to these organizations. Some of the United States’ best-known non-profits raised massive amounts of money in a matter of days as a result of this desire for solidarity.

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Radical Routes, a network of co-operatives working for social change are looking to raise £15k for a women‘s worker co-operative bakery in Kobane a city rended apart by the long civil war in Syria, but now being run under democratic principles as an autonomous region.
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Abstract

This paper provides an explanation of why worker cooperative startups are rare. If true worker ownership is to be maintained in the startup period where losses occur, members face either a 'pay to work' or 'expected investment loss' problem. Founding members must either pay money to cover the losses resulting from their labor, or make investments upfront which will be expected to decline in value as losses occur. These two issues are completely foreign to modern finance and current labor practice, and also ignored by the worker coop community.

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[Editor's note: Below are three interviews from CommonBound 2016, held in Buffalo, NY earlier this year.  Interviewers Laura Flanders and Esteban Kelly talk with three women who are working to build financial and economic structures that empower people and communities.  Click here for more videos from the conference.  CommonBound is a project of the New Economy Coalition (NEC), a network of 150-plus organizations including PeoplesAction, 350.org, and the U.S.

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The Hudson Valley Current is an example of a local alternative currency or a complementary currency.
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In this video Brendan Martin, Founder and President of The Working World, talks about the origins of the financial industry and how we can build a better future with a financial "commons".

More videos by Fund for Democratic Communities

 

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[Editor's note: the following data on worker co-op crowdfunding campaigns was compiled by Jessie Myszka for the Democracy at Work Network (DAWN) from publicly available information.]

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An old Nepali friend* and I were walking through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Bhaktapur yesterday when a large blue sign above a shuttered store front caught my eye. “Oriental Co-operative Ltd.”

“That's what I'm talking about,” I said to my companion, pointing to the sign. I've been regaling him about the wonders of cooperative economics for a week now, and he's become familiar with my obsession.

cross-posted from YES! Magazine

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[Editor's note: The Bangla-Pesa recently celebrated over two years in operation.  Below are two videos that describe how this complimentary currency system works and how it has helped business owners in Bangladesh, Kenya to operate more efficiently by providing an alternative to the national currency that is in chronically short supply in impoverished areas like Bangladesh.]

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As worker-owners, we’re used to doing things ourselves. We start businesses, figure out democratic decision-making, and confront systemic issues that deny wealth to communities. We’re tenacious and self-governing, so why limit our influence to our workplaces? As our movement grows—and it is, rapidly—we’re innovating faster than the law can keep up, often operating in gray areas that can be as uncertain as they are productive.

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cross-posted from matslats.net

Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn't initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin.

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Cooperative organizing, development, and technical assistance services are needed in upstate New York.  This void has been slowly—very slowly—shrinking for decades.  It is hoped that the creation and evolution of the New York Cooperative Network between 2011

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[Editor's note: this webinar, organized by Project Equity and the Democracy Collaborative, includes presentations from worker-owners at Namaste Solar and Mariposa Gardening and Design, as well as co-op developers from The Cooperative Development Institute and the Democracy Col

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Matthew Slater sums up his experiences visiting European ecovillages. He considers their strengths and presents questions aimed at addressing the lack of financing and true economic alternatives within the ecovillage movement.
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cross-posted from YES! Magazine

Death. Darkness. Deceit.

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[Editor's note: these two documents from Croatia's EBank (English translation) lay out an alternative type of financial institution for solidarity economy projects and enterprises.  While utilizing an ownership structure similar to a credit union (all customers are owne

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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

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