“Collecting Ourselves: A Cooperative Entrepreneurship Curriculum” by Northcountry Cooperative Foundation
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 event builds on previous 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.
Here’s How We Prepare To Be Ungovernable In 2017 – Sarah Lazare
What Is A Co-Op? zine – TESA Collective
Collective Courage: A History of African American Economic Thought and Practice – Jessica Gordon Nembhard
Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi – Kali Akuno
Cooperating Out of Poverty: The Renaissance of the African Cooperative Movement – Patrick Develtere
Selected Readings from Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives For People And Planet (2007)
Selected Readings from Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives For People And Planet (2009)
LIST OF POTENTIAL FUTURE READS:
Bi-weekly discussion group shall include specific questions harvested from the previous sessions assigned readings designed to elicit deeper thought and move participants to act
Field trips to engage local cooperative efforts or organizational meetings may be assigned as useful to reinforce learning from texts and place participants in spaces where cooperative organizing is already present
Guest speakers may be invited to speak about their work on cooperative enterprise from a legal, strategic, organizational, or policy perspective in order to build relationships between readings, dialogue, and real world case studies
This study and working group is formed for the task of engaging in deep and critical study of forming and running worker owned cooperative enterprises specifically as related to a Black liberatory analysis. Our end goal shall be to put learning into practice by enhancing the operations of an existing worker owned cooperative, encouraging a non-cooperative enterprise to transition to a worker owned cooperative, or launching a new cooperative enterprise which addresses an unmet community need.
In addition to the primary text under review, we will use unconventional tools such a Highlander Center’s Economic and Governance Curriculum, Movement Generation’s Strategic Framework for a Just Transition, Northcountry Cooperative Foundation’s “Collecting Ourselves” Cooperative Entrepreneurship Curriculum, and Museum Camp 2015’s Space Deck as a means to deepen our analysis of the text and build relationships among participants in the space.