United States

Interview by Jessica Gordon Nembhard

Shakoor Aljuwani is an organizer with the Home Coming Center in New Orleans. GEO Newsletter's Jessica Gordon Nembhard interviewed him in April 2007 about his work and progress with helping low-income residents return to New Orleans and rebuild their homes and neighborhoods.

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(adapted from stories in the Alexandria Times, and The Examiner -Eds.)

"Alexandria's taxi monopoly has been broken," said Syed Hussain, a driver and president of Alexandria Union Taxicab Company, a cooperative cab service owned and operated by its drivers. The worker-cooperative opened for business earlier this year seven miles south of Washington, D.C. The co-op operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

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By Mary Hoyer, ECWD Lead Organizer

For the first time since its inception in 2002, the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD) will be held in the South. The 2007 regional conference will be co-hosted by the Federation of Southern Co-ops/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF) and the Southern Appalachian Center for Cooperative Ownership (SACCO).

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By Richard Heinberg, for Global Public Media
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By Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone, GEO Collective

This Occasional Paper by editor/activists at Grassroots Economic Organizing is meant to stimulate dialog on the future of the grassroots economic democracy movement. This is a fully re-written update of an essay available since 1994 to GEO readers. We hope for wide use of this text, with attribution to the authors and GEO. Please email us with ideas/dialogue.

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By John Teta Luhman, University of New England (Dept. of Business Administration)

What an incredible experience! To spend a weekend in New York City attending the first membership meeting of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, getting to know people from all around the country and the world while learning about the strength and vibrancy of the worker cooperative movement. As I reflected on my time at the conference, I kept returning to three questions that I heard again and again from participants.

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Yes! Magazine, Winter 2008 Issue
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By Omar Freilla, for AlterNet

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By Aaron Boyd, The Daily Campus
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By Jenna Allard and Julie Matthaei, Guramylay: Growing the Green Economy

Most of the over 10,000 people who traveled to the first-ever U.S.

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By Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo

Credit: http://www.usworker.coopThe Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD) took concrete steps toward coalition building with other workers and unions, inter-cooperation with other cooperatives, and forging alliances with political groups at its 4th biennial conference this summer. It was the first ECWD held in the South.

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By Jim Johnson, GEO Collective

I had such a great time at this year's conference in Asheville, NC. Too many workshops, I wanted to go to all of them! But it's impossible, of course; quality over quantity is the only way. Armed with my laptop, I vowed to take careful notes and make at least a couple of presentations back home that would help my comrades and I become better worker-owners. Of course, my motive also was to demonstrate that attending the 2009 conference would be a worthy investment of time and money.

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Pam McMichael, Highlander Research and Education Center

From a talk given at the 4th Biennial Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, July 20, 2007 at the University of North Carolina in Asheville.

Thank you. It's an honor and pleasure to be with you this evening. It's always good when we gather to talk about democracy and democratic participation with people who really mean it.

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By Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo

Credit: www.fao.orgIn order to compete in a corporations-dominated economy, worker cooperatives need millions of dollars to finance large-scale businesses in manufacturing and production.

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By John W. Lawrence

At the National Conference of Democratic Workplaces, two workshops focused on the challenges of raising capital for worker cooperatives. The first workshop presented a series of case studies of innovative strategies for raising capital. In the second workshop "Building Community Wealth," lenders and foundations with a track record of investing in worker cooperatives described their mission.

by Chris Heneghan

Just over a year after the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) was founded at a convergence of "jobless workers" from Boston's Dorchester, and Roxbury neighborhoods, members of their job creation committee were in New York City at the second national conference of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives discussing plans to establish a temp agency cooperative in the Greater Boston area.

By Len Krimerman, GEO Collective

I had expected the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) conference to be extraordinarily good, but it exceeded even that expectation. There was a wonderful mix of energies, ages, languages, cultures, regions, sectors, perspectives...that often found common ground; there were issues discussed that usually are kept off the table; there were ever so many signs of a movement matured, full of experience and promise, ready to take risks and take off.

By Melissa Hoover

Worker co-ops, community organizing, asset-building, economic development, environmental sustainability. These connections came up again and again at the recent national worker cooperative conference, a co-op conference that was exciting to me in part for the number of people attending who weren't --as yet--in co-ops.

By John W. Lawrence

The keynote speaker at the Second U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative Conference was Rick Surpin. In 1985 Rick founded Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the first worker-owned home care cooperative in the United States. CHCA now employs over 1,000 home care workers in quality jobs. Virtually all of the worker-owners of CHCA are African American and Latina women.

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By Ethan Miller, GEO Collective

Consider this: thousands of diverse, locally-rooted, grassroots economic projects are in the process of creating the basis for a viable democratic alternative to capitalism. It might seem unlikely that a motley array of initiatives such as worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, community currencies, urban gardens, fair trade organizations, intentional communities, and neighborhood self-help associations could hold a candle to the pervasive and seemingly all-powerful capitalist economy.

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