Friday, May 30, 2014

Jackson Rising: People Power and the New Cooperative Movement | NewBlackMan (in Exile)

Jackson Rising: People Power and the New Cooperative Movement | NewBlackMan (in Exile):



Jackson Rising: People Power and the New Cooperative Movement
by Lamont Lilly | special to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

Once home to some of the most violent racists in the U.S., Jackson, Mississippi is now a key training ground for self-determination and organized “people power” throughout the U.S. South. From May 2 through May 4, 2014 activists, organizers and fellow revolutionaries from all over the world gathered at the Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference at Jackson State University. An estimated 500 people participated in some or all of the conference.

The primary objective of such an assembly was “to educate and mobilize the people of Jackson to meet the economic and sustainability needs of their community,” and to share with others how such strategies can help produce the radical change oppressed communities will need to survive within the current global capitalist crisis. The event was organized by the Jackson Rising Organizing Committee and was held at the Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center, where students and community members were welcomed alike. The spirit of resistance and self-reliance filled the air.

As an opening, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives provided a warm welcome and an insightful introduction to the local cooperative movement there in Jackson, Mississippi, outlining how their efforts have been a form of resistance and an assistance in providing the people’s needs. The Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP) offered an intense overview on why the cooperative movement has begun to blossom and take form throughout the Southern Black Belt, highlighting how public policy can actually support and finance such grassroots efforts.  Regional activists and organizers learned firsthand how the SGEP has been working diligently since 2011 to “build a Southern economy rooted in self-reliance, solidarity, community ownership and meeting human needs rather than maximizing profit.”

Black Workers for Justice and a host of union activists expressed the importance that strategies for worker’s rights coincide with burgeoning worker-owned cooperatives, and how in hindsight, such forces actually strengthen one another. 

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation sponsored a community workshop presenting four case studies inspired by Argentina’s cooperative movement. Omar Sierra, deputy consul general of Venezuela in Boston highlighted the redesigning of communal territories in Venezuela through participatory planning. Manuel Jackson Rising: People Power and the New Cooperative Movement | NewBlackMan (in Exile):

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