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Labour's New Economics Conference: Part Five, Local Democratic Economic Strategies

Tom Gann
New Socialist

Tom Gann writes for New Socialist in "Labour's New Economics Conference: Part Five, Local Democratic Economic Strategies." Gann recaps the UK Labour Party's panel, "Local Democratic Economic Strategies," at the New Economic Conference. The panel included Matthew Brown, Preston City Council; Heather Wakefield, UNISON; Ted Howard, president/co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative:

Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative

Howard began by talking of the “pilgrimage” from the USA to Preston, and how Preston had now eclipsed what had been achieved in the US. He then outlined the principles of Community Wealth Building.

  • The priority of labour over capital, particularly in a crisis, with continued stable employment more important than capital’s profits.
  • The need for local and broad-based rather than absentee ownership, as the basis for asserting what interests are valued.
  • The importance of active democratic ownership contrasted with the passive, consumer model of neoliberalism.
  • The central role for multipliers and internalising the circulation of money with investment sticking rather than capital being extracted.
  • Economic development understood not as a partnership between the state and business, in which the state is unaccountable and subordinate, but as a multistakeholder process.
  • Place matters, direct investment in neighbourhoods, particularly neighbourhoods of colour is necessary, trickle down particularly into these neighbourhoods cannot be relied upon.
  • Systemic change, the current system destroys the environment and produces inequalities so it’s necessary to move beyond amelioration to build systems that produce different outcomes.

Howard concluded, with the properly Marxist-humanist insight, “people made our systems, we can remake them” (or, “if there’s been a way to build it, there’ll be a way to destroy it, things are not all that out of control”).

The Alternatives: how Preston took back control – podcast

Aditya Chakrabortty
The Guardian

Presented by  and produced by  and The Alternatives: how Preston took back control – podcast. The Guardian looks at the work of the Democracy Collaborative in Preston England: 

To kick off, we hear from Preston city councillor Matthew Brown about the “Preston model”, a new approach to local procurement inspired by a similar initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. In a time of austerity and cuts, how is it that Preston is now seeing an extra £75m being spent in the city?

Listen to the podcast at the Guardian 

Worker cooperatives offer real alternatives to Trump’s retrograde economic vision

Sara Aziza
Waging Nonviolence

Sara Aziza writes in Waging Nonviolence: Worker cooperatives offer real alternatives to Trump’s retrograde economic vision. In this article she highlights the work of the Democracy Collaborative's report Worker Cooperatives: Pathway to Scale and the Democracy Collaborative's strategy and proposals for reducing economic inequality: 

“The field of worker co-op development is just beginning to create the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to increase its scale and impact,” wrote Hilary Abell in “Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale,” an extensive report for the Democracy Collaborative, a research and advocacy institute dedicated to progressive economics.

Read more in Waging Nonviolence

 

A home of their own for the holidays through Frederick Community Land Trust

Jean Marbella
Baltimore Sun

Jean Marbella writes for the Baltimore Sun about community land trust in Frederick. Marbella highlights the work of  Jarrid Green at The Democracy Collaborative: 

Jarrid Green is a research associate with the Democracy Collaborative, a think tank that originated at the University of Maryland with a focus on building community wealth and shared-ownership models. He said that while community land trusts comprise “a very, very small, bite-size piece of the homeownership spectrum,” interest is on the rise.

Green is researching land trusts for a paper he hopes to publish next year. He said he thinks the fact that the Baltimore trusts have joined forces should give them more leverage as they seek city funding.

“It’s going to take the community coming together around the affordable housing issue,” he said. “It’s going to take actual commitment from the politicians.”

Read more in the Baltimore Sun

Alperovitz speaks about U.S. wealth inequality

Ivy Truong
The Daily Princeton

 Ivy Truong writes for The Daily Princeton with the co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative Gar Alperovitz. Trong writes: 

Alperovitz is the co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, a research institute that aims to develop a more democratized economy. He was a professor at the University of Maryland and has served as a fellow at the University of Cambridge, Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and the Institute for Policy Studies. He was also a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. On Wednesday Alperovitz gave a lecture about capitalism in the United States and potential efforts to change it.

Read more here 

 

The Return of Black Political Power: How 1970s History Can Guide New Black Mayors Toward a Radical City

Nishani Frazier
Truth out

Nishani Frazier Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative writes for Truth Out about the link between the return of Black Political Power and Cleveland model of community wealth building: 

The ascent of these new mayors is an opportunity to build real solutions for those left behind by decades of disinvestment and dispossession. Yet radical intentions and hard-hitting rhetoric is not enough to produce radical answers to economic problems. Black mayors must actively incorporate history and make it an essential part of this project to study the successes and failures of a previous generation. Historian Leonard Moore noted that Cleveland's Carl Stokes, the first Black mayor of a major urban city, entered politics to wreak havoc on this "corrupt machine," or rather the political structures that hindered black attainment of power in Cleveland and throughout the United States. However, he quickly learned he "didn't know where the buttons were." Not long into his tenure, Stokes not only found the buttons but began pushing them when he launched Cleveland NOW! The project combined private, state, federal, philanthropic and individual funding into a proposed $1.5 billion plan for housing improvement, employment, urban renewal, youth services and economic revitalization.

Read more from Nishani Frazier in Truthout 

Civic Engagement School #3: How To Build Community Wealth

Sarah Al-Khayyal
1812

Writing for 1812, Sarah Al-Khayyal writes an introductary article on Community Wealth development. In 1812, this article highlights the different stratgies proposed by the Democracy Collaborative: 

Community wealth building is “a systems approach to economic development that creates an inclusive, sustainable economy built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership.” The term was coined in 2005 by The Democracy Collaborative to describe a range of strategies that help anchor jobs in a community, democratize wealth and asset ownership, and make communities more economically stable.

Read more in 1812

How 6 Universities Are Keeping Promise of Being a Good Neighbor

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

Writing for Next City, Oscar Perry Abello highlights the partnership between universities and The Democracy Collaborative. In this article, Abello writes about the anchor work by different universities, like Buffalo State College small business center supporting women and minority owned businesses.  

Two years ago, Buffalo State College, University of Missouri–St. Louis, Rutgers University–Newark, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, and Virginia Commonwealth University each made a commitment to investing, hiring and purchasing locally. Now, a new report from the Democracy Collaborative by Emily Sladek illustrates how they take seriously their role as “anchor institutions” when it comes to economic impact on their local economies.

Read more at Next City

How Cleveland’s cooperatives are giving ex-offenders a fresh start

Apolitical
Apolitical

Apolitical writes about The Evergreen Cooperatives that were founded by the Democracy Collaborative. Apolitical writes about the challenges, how they were started and results and impact of Evergreen Cooperatives. 

The project was designed by the non-profit Democracy Collaborative and established in collaboration with the Cleveland Foundation, a private charitable trust, and the City of Cleveland. The co-ops, which consist of a laundry company, an energy efficiency contractor, and America’s largest urban farm, were grown with the help of procurement contracts with Cleveland's biggest schools and universities. All three use green technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, and can also save businesses money: for example, buying solar power from Evergreen Energy Solutions makes firms eligible for tax credits. After a year of work, employees at the co-ops can buy a $3,000 stake in their company through payroll deductions over a course of years, and also have a say in how it operates.

Read more about it here 

Black Monday, ’77, When the Mill Shutdown in Youngstown Gave Birth to the Rust Belt

Gar Alperovitz
Moyers & Company

Co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative Gar Alperovitz writes for Moyers & Company  about the first steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio, and how the effort to save the mill through worker/community ownership helped lay the seeds for today's movement for a democratized economy.

On Sept. 19, 1977 — a day remembered locally as “Black Monday” — the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill’s doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their futures. The mill’s closing was national news, one of the first major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring and “free trade” that has since made mass layoffs commonplace.

Read more about it here 

Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy

Dharna Noor
The Real News Network

In this video, Dharna Noor interviews Chuck Collins for the Real News Network, about the policy proposals put together by The Next System Project and Institute for Policy Studies in Reversing Inequality: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits Inequality.org. His newest book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016). He is co-author, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why American Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. He is co-author with Mary Wright of The Moral Measure of the Economy (Orbis 2008), about Christian ethics and economic life. His previous books include, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It. He is also cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good that has merged with the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy. He is coauthor of the August 2016 report, Ever Growing Gap, about the racial wealth divide and author of Gilded Giving: Top Heavy Philanthropy in an Age of Extreme Inequality, a November 2016 report on the impact of inequality on philanthropy.

Watch more here

Jessica Rose in EconoUs 2017

Jessica Rose—at Econous 2017—a conference dedicated to creating shared prosperity between people, the planet, and the economy. Econous "builds on the long history of successful national conferences organized by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) and partners across the country since 2001." Jessica Rose in her role as speaker highlights the community wealth building framework of The Democracy Collaborative.

Read more about Jessica Rose in EconoUs 2017...

Author David Ansell Exposes Inequality's Deadly Influence

Martha Jablow
AAMCNews

Writing for AAMCNews Martha Jablow writes about the deadly affect of poverty and inequality and how the work of the Democracy Collaborative through the Healthcare Anchor Network could be vital in tackling health inequality: 

There is a new national collaborative, called the Healthcare Anchor Network, that is bringing new focus to the role of health systems in bringing economic vitality to these high-poverty neighborhoods.

Read more in AAMCNews

Bottom Up Economic Development

Phil Anderson
Reader

Phil Anderson writes for Reader in Deluth, MN about the alternatives to top-down strategies for revitalization. Reader highlights the work of The Democracy Collaborative work in different neighborhoods and communities which aims to build community wealth instead of policies that "favor big buisness:" 

Democracy Collaborative is another organization “building community wealth.” Their publication, Cities Building Community Wealth, lists 20 cities with successful local initiatives (including Madison and Minneapolis). These cover a wide range of activities to increase local ownership, create affordable housing, help small business, increase minority businesses, revitalize neighborhoods and expand renewable energy use. 

More in Reader 

Don’t Be Scared About The End Of Capitalism—Be Excited To Build What Comes Next

Jason Hickel and Martin Kirk
Fast Company

Jason Hickel and Martin Kirk write for the publication Fast Company, in this article, they highlight the work of the Democracy Collaborative through the Next System Project. Speifically looking at the innovative ideas proposed at the Next System Project. 

Fortunately, there is already a wealth of language and ideas out there that stretch well beyond these dusty old binaries. They are driven by a hugely diverse community of thinkers, innovators, and practitioners. There are organizations like the P2P (Peer to Peer) FoundationEvonomicsThe Next System Project, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking reimagining the global economy. The proposed models are even more varied: from complexity, to post-growthde-growthland-basedregenerativecircular, and even the deliciously named donut economics.

Read more about it Fast Company

 

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