RLS–NYC AT THE JACKSON RISING CONFERENCE
May 2 - 4, 2014 - Jackson, Mississippi
For photos from this event, go to our flickr page!
Following the tragic death of beloved activist and leftist Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, more than a thousand people will convene in Jackson, Mississippi, to support work toward his uncompleted vision: Jackson Rising. This New Economies Conference brings together social activists and concerned citizens to strategize for a new movement toward economic democracy through worker-owned businesses and solidarity economy initiatives.
How can Jackson and the surrounding region lift itself out of economic crisis through models of cooperation and shared wealth? How can existing solidarity economy initiatives across the United States and the world draw strength and energy from the radical vision of the late Mayor Lumumba?
At Jackson Rising, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office will host two panel discussions: “Bottom-up Co-ops: the Crisis, The Take, and the Worker Ownership Solution” and “Connecting the Dots, Growing Co-ops: Regional Cooperative Initiatives around the World.” We will also provide Spanish-language interpretation throughout the event and, in coordination with other lead organizers, support the participation of leading cooperative experts and practitioners at Jackson Rising’s plenaries.
Connecting the Dots, Growing Co-ops: Regional Cooperative Initiatives around the World
Saturday May 3, 9-11 AM
Inspired by the examples of Mondragon—a federation of worker cooperatives formed in 1956, which now has 80,000 worker-owners and is the 7th largest company in Spain—and Emilia-Romagna—a region in Northern Italy with over 8,000 coops—regional cooperative and solidarity economy initiatives have in recent years been taking off around the world.
While the best known of these cases are based in Europe, similar work is increasingly being undertaken across North America. The Canadian province of Quebec recently passed a framework legislation that requires all government departments to integrate support for the social solidarity economy into all aspects of their work. Meanwhile, initiatives in cities like Cincinnati and Cleveland are building networks of related worker coops based on the Mondragon model—in some cases with actual help from Mondragon officials.
What can Jackson learn from successful examples—old and young—from around the world? How do we go about building networks of cooperatives that support and draw strength from each other, and how can we link solidarity economy initiatives to the state in a meaningful and mutually beneficial fashion? This panel brings together experts from Quebec, Mondragon, Emilia-Romagna and the International Labour Organization to discuss regional cooperative initiatives in the Jackson context.
François Vermette: director of development for Quebec Chantier
Cristina Grasseni: researcher and professor at Bergamo and Harvard University and member of the Italian Solidarity Purchase Groups
Michael Peck: North American delegate representing the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation
Pierre Laliberté: researcher at the International Labor Organization
Bottom-up Co-ops: the Crisis, The Take, and the Worker Ownership Solution
Saturday May 3, 1-3 PM
Ten years ago, the documentary The Take examined the factory takeovers that spread throughout Argentina in the wake of a deep economic and political crisis in 2001-02. These takeovers gave new life to hundreds of abandoned businesses throughout the country, with former employees putting them back to work as cooperatives. The “recovered businesses” (or empresas recuperadas) inspired a generation of social activists to engage in cooperative economics, fighting existing injustices in conventional workplaces and in some cases even taking them over, or alternately starting new worker-run enterprises that sought to put human needs before profits.
In this workshop we will learn about four case studies of cooperatives that have been inspired by Argentina’s recovered businesses and other innovative cooperative initiatives from around the world. How can coops be used to support communities in the face of economic crisis and disaster capitalism? How can particular initiatives start, survive, and thrive over time? And how can they play a role in a broader vision for sustainable economies and communities for generations to come?
Janvieve Williams: worker/owner at Ginger Moon Cooperative and co-founder of Green Worker Cooperatives
William Swanson: worker/owner at New Era Cooperative
Knocka: worker/owner at Far Rockaway Cab Cooperative and Occupy Sandy participant
Kristen Barker: co-founder of the Cincinnati Union Coop Initiative
Brendan Martin: founder and president of The Working World/La Base
Jackson Rising New Economics Conference
May 2-5, 2014
More information and registration here.
Talking About Democratic Socialism 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Fall 1989 was a moment of radical transformation for the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Already many GDR citizens had migrated to West Germany to escape state repression. On November 4, almost half a million other GDR citizens gathered at Alexanderplatz in Berlin for a peaceful protest, calling for the democratization of the socialistic state. Organized by......
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