Having completed shared readings of “Collective Courage” and “Jackson Rising”, we are breaking from the Study Group to develop projects which have been proposed by the Working Group including a forum, zine, gallery, and web series.
Over the course of 12 weeks, a core group of participants have endeavored to make deep study and exchange thoughts about Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s work “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice”.
Within this space we sought to learn more about cooperatives and explore examples from the Black tradition of cooperative economics which might inform our use of the tool in this present moment as a means for building social, political, and economic empowerment.
This space builds on a series of community forums convened by Joan Fadayiro which have highlighted the relationship between our historical inequities, our present conditions, and imagined the types of institutions which might work best to address community needs.
The goal of this gathering is to understand how Black communities have historically developed cooperatives as a solution to their economic challenges and determine their relevance for changing our current conditions while building powerful movements which can transform our communities.
Each session we seek to expand our imagination and inventory of ideas through dialogue and practical exercises which will move us nearer towards action. Bring your concerns, ideas, and challenges about using these models for cultivating a solidarity economy of interlocking cooperatives, timebanks, mutual aid associations, community land trusts, people’s assemblies, and other structures so that we can sort through strategies for supporting their development within the working group.
If you are interested in joining the Study & Working Group, more information can be found on the calendar page including our shared discussion list, strategic reading guide, and Facebook event page.
On November 18, 2018, Coop 4 Lib hosted our inaugural Coop Forum and Report Back at the Breathing Room in Chicago. During this forum, we presented the following public education tools which captured our learnings and created a space for shared imagining.
The Coop 4 Lib Zine highlights the Black tradition of cooperatives citing examples drawn from both “Collective Courage” and “Jackson Rising”. Its timeline is meant to give us a context for the period over which our community has been engaging cooperative practice. Our member spotlight asks those who have participated in the working group to imagine how this tool of cooperative practice can be useful to Black communities in this immediate moment.final coop4lib zine
One of the hallmarks we have upheld in Coop 4 Lib is a level of autonomy from the electoral side of the political process because we place greater value on building people oriented platforms to be carried out by elected officials. The People’s Assembly insert was meant to invoke the assembly model as the most fundamental unit of political organizing in a community which serves multiple functions: mutual aid, political education, economic development, and community engagement.coop zine peoples assembly insert 11 x 17
A final component of our Coop Forum was drawn from Blackonomics, a gathering of solidarity economy practitioners in Minneapolis hosted by Nexus Community Partners and Village Financial Cooperative, which brought together a midwest regional contingent of those advocating for these models in Black communities. During Blackonomics, the historical cooperative gallery was one tool employed to broaden the imaginative capacity and generation conversations between participants about the historical accomplishments and future possibilities of cooperative ownership and economic practice.Coop 4 Lib Gallery
A brief Table Talk between Coop 4 Lib participants Michael Tekhen Strode & Davina Stewart about their experience within the Study & Working Group while reading “Collective Courage”.
This emergent YouTube playlist is an outward facing representation of conversations which have evolved throughout the course of our sessions within Cooperation for Liberation Study & Working Group. The list begins at with a point of origin after the 2016 elections when several organizers nationally grappling on how to respond to this political reality and their investigation of Black radical and liberatory traditions for an economic narrative which spoke to the a cohesive project of mutual aid, solidarity, and cooperation within Black communities. The playlist then leads us through projects contemporary and historical which are formed throughout the nation and offer us an anti-capitalist approach to community economic development.
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