Tag Archives: cwop

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Sofia Arana Shares Economic Democracy Lessons From Basque Country

By Rebecca Lurie

Last week, CWOP hosted a conversation with Sofia Arana from the Basque Country. She shared a qualitative comparison of US tax codes and those of the Basque region in Spain as ways and reasons we have such difficult uptake of just and equitable economic development in the US. Her chapter in the book The Basque Tax System, produced by The Center for Basque Studies and the University of Nevada, Reno, makes a point of thanking SLU as the host of her studies and research as she honors the ancient ways of the Basque Economic Agreement.  The information she shared offered a perspective we can use when trying to understand and advocate for policies and taxation that encourages stronger communities and better businesses. Her chapter offers insights gained living in her region of the world through  “The impact of the Basque Economic Agreement on Community Economic Development”.

Guests included scholars from Brooklyn College, the Graduate Center and Rutgers University, activists from the NYC cooperative community and representatives from the Deputy Mayor’s Office on Strategic Innovations.

Many thanks to Sofia for generating such a fruitful discussion and opportunity for a shared thinking. More to come!

Economic Democracy on Laura Flanders Show

Last month, SLU hosted Our Economy!, a conference where leaders in community, labor and the economic democracy movement gathered to vision for an economy that can work for everyone. The most recent episode of the Laura Flanders Show covers some of the conversations that took place at the conference, and which have been happening in SLU’s Community and Worker Ownership Project and beyond. Check it out here:

via Laura Flanders Show:

Our city’s economy – what is it for? New York’s has been very good at piling up profits and building tall buildings. But all that private profit has come at a cost to public services and public trust. Could it be different? On this week’s show, we talk about the new conversations that are happening between labor unions and community members. Between residents, workers, and employers about how everyone’s economy can move forward. 

Updates from the Community and Worker Ownership Project

April was a very exciting month for the Community and Worker Ownership Project at SLU. We hosted the new school’s first faculty conference; “Our Economy! Economic Democracy and System Change,” giving us the opportunity to gather several hundred people to have shared conversations about what would it take to take to scale practice for economic democracy. What policies should we be promoting? What should we be teaching? How are we doing it?

Later in the month, CWOP coordinator Rebecca Lurie visited Wellspring Cooperatives, a cooperative development organization in Springfield, Massachusetts that works closely with organized labor and U. Mass at Amherst. While there, Rebecca spoke at the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council and the Western Mass Affiliate Labor Federation as part of their Annual Training Conference and Workers Memorial Day Ceremony. She talked about unions and coops and where they overlap with vision and mission for worker dignity, offering expanded approaches with the notion of worker and community ownership and control. Continue reading Updates from the Community and Worker Ownership Project

Public Bank NYC Launches Campaign on Laura Flanders Show

The Public Bank NYC Coalition believes public money should work “for the public good, not private gain.” To that end, it advocates for a public bank that can: 

support vital sectors of our local economy and divest from banks that are financing destructive corporate interests, including speculative real estate, private prison and immigrant detention companies, the global arms trade and the fossil fuel industry.

The Laura Flanders Show just released a video profile featuring Deyanira del Río from the New Economy Project, Linda Levy of the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union and Enlace’s Cindy Martinez, highlighting the need for a bank and what it aims to do. Check it out!

Video: Reconstructing Economic Development for People and Planet: Stories of Just Economic Democracy

On Friday, May 11th,  in collaboration with Democracy @ Work New York, the Murphy Institute hosted a fascinating panel exploring how progressive local innovations stand to solve long-standing, seemingly intractable issues around poverty and inequality. Panelists included:

  • Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project, and author of We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy
  • Gabriela Alvarez, Chef and founder of Liberation Cuisine, a catering company dedicated to preparing meals collectively with sustainable ingredients and practices. Alvarez recently took her passion for healing and organizing with food to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts
  • Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises and the author of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Yorman Nunez, Program Manager at Community Innovators Lab MIT and coordinator of Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative

Miss the panel or want to experience it again? Watch it here:

In New York City worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and community land trusts are on the policy platform of the City Council’s progressive caucus and elected officials in the democratic party are pushing legislation for employee and worker ownership at the state and federal levels. With greater visibility and support from the public sector some believe that these pilots and experiments for neighborhoods to drive wealth creation and capture and create equitable economic opportunities can reach into broad-based and mainstream policy.

There is an opening here to expand the horizon of what is seen as possible for genuine equitable urban economic development, and its relationship to labor, communities and the political economy. In short, we can change the conversation from mostly pushing for greater accountability and transparency in the existing economic development order, to a conversation about what should come next and what policies and institutions would be a part of getting us there.

 

The Scarcity of Worker Cooperatives in the USA: Enquiring into Possible Causes

By Rebecca Lurie

Last year, the Community and Worker Ownership Project and John Mollenkopf at the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center were pleased to host Professor Sofia Arana Landin for research on cooperative economics in New York City. Her work was extensive in building foundational thought for a comparative study of cooperative enterprises’ success and challenges in the US as compared to other countries, especially in the European Union.

Professor Arana teaches taxation law and cooperatives at the public university in San Sebastian, Spain. Arriving to the states shortly after the inauguration of the 45th president for this research, the juxtaposition of opportunities and constraints was almost too much to bear. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Cooperative businesses, being a hybrid of “for profit” and “social” purposes, have a mission broader than that of a traditional business. Continue reading The Scarcity of Worker Cooperatives in the USA: Enquiring into Possible Causes