πŸ“š node [[conversations with gamechangers cooperation jackson]]
πŸ“• text contributed by @neil 本 οΈπŸ‘ πŸ“

Conversations with Gamechangers: Cooperation Jackson

Part of [[Conversations with Gamechangers]] series.

Cooperation Jackson

β₯… [[cooperation-jackson.png]]

Speaker : [[Kali Akuno]] of [[Cooperation Jackson]]

currently a water crisis in Jackson

currently in the middle of distribution event

types of community organising - organising by trades (union style) - cooperatives - originally coops serviced social and reproductive needs - child care coops, etc - after: a compromise during 1930s compromise - capital struck a deal with some labour leaders - national labour board etc - set it up so that labour could only work for wages, hours, and healthcare - but removed ability for political strikes and political action - one union can not work in concert with other set of workers - same as UK - social security and social welfare as well - removed the need for social organising in a sense - divorced the coops from the trade unions - limiting what both could do in terms of power and struggle, became special interest groups within bourgeious order - coop jackson are intentional in trying to break that - history exists in a context of colonization, white power and patriarchy - black workers did not work in industries that were allowed to be unionzed - e.g. farming or maids - because of race - black workers were excluded from trade unions - lost the ability to own the means of production - CJ developing model that gets out of these relations of production - Jackson, rouhgly 220,000 in Jackson - it has shrunk to about 160-180 thousand in recent years - 80% of city is black - brain drain: black doctors from Mississipi move elsewhere in the US - 85% population is potential leverage of political power - black political power - Jackson-Kush Plan - automous independent power, dual power - self-governance through people's assemblies - democratising the economy - CJ was explicitly for this part of it - political power without economic power is symbol without substance - additionally running for elected office - two mayors have been elected - a young project with a lot of experimentation - mistake have been made, CJ aim to learn from them - CJ about 8 years old - accomplishments: - [[community land trust]] - 44 properties - collectively-owned - saved up money to own outright - (CJ don't trust banks, racist institutions) - network of federated [[cooperatives]] - Green Team (landscaping cooperative) - Freedom Farms (hit hard by water crisis) - [[Community Production Coop]] - manufacturing coop - digital fabrication coop, 3d printing, electrical design and craft, print shop - in the pipeline - Zero Waste Jackson (recycling and composting coop) - People's Groceries - Cannabis coop - medicinal cannabis coop - hemp and bamboo as sustainable materials for the CPC - withstand pressures of capitalist market - largest employer in Mississipi is Wal-Mart - a vicious corporation - they want no form of competition - some coops have failed, but there's space to do that - owning gives this time and space for learning - one coop failed (previous recycling and composting coop) - too tightly coupled to city system - city shut everything down, then the coop failed - walmart investor in recreational cannabis in mississipi

to democratise economy - create supply and value chains

most coops in US - constructed on friends and favours orientation - 10 people who like the same thing, turn it in to an income - in CJ, given poverty etc - what will given the most independence from market structure and political leverage?

e.g. food was weaponised during hurricane katrina, so ownership of food supply is strategic

a lot of trial and error in CJ - that's something to get used to in solidarity economy

outline

  • link between coops and unions
  • limits to power for both of these

how are the people's assemblies organised and used?

questions

what does the solidarity economy mean to CJ?

  • what are CJ striving against?
    • entrepreneuriship has been promoted in black community as answer to all problems
    • i.e. individual ownership
      • but this is a continuation of unequal relationships
  • prefer individuality over individualism
  • solidarity is the antidote to individualism
    • being in alignment and in practice with people who are not your blood or kin or clan, but your community
    • productive relationships where we consciously and deliberately depend upon each other

how to get started in Solidarity economy

  • start with what you have
  • avoid thinking in terms of deficits
  • e.g. if you don't have a job, maybe you have a lot of time
  • who can I work with and how can I work with them

water crisis in Jackson

  • there's no affordable drinking water currently in Jackson
  • water pressure has been restored (since about a week ago)
    • sanitary system was not functioning
  • need to avoid airborne diseases
    • it's a hot and humid region
    • malaria and denge fever and sleeping sickness are coming back
  • to get bottled water you would have had to go 20 miles out of the city (last week)
    • now if you get to a grocery store early in the morning you can buy water
    • most people don't have enough money to go and buy water
  • CJ doing water distribution
  • all the faith and community organisations are doing water distribution
    • but still not enough people are getting water
  • if you don't have a car, you can't get enough water
  • CJ going to members in the community and doing water drop offs
  • working age people are off working elsewhere sending money back
    • reverse bell curve for the population (lots of young and elderly)
  • no indication as to when the water will be restored
  • problems
    • pipes are old, antiquated and lead, they break a lot
    • treatment facility is broken - it's not cleaning the water
      • billions of dollars to build a new treatment facility
        • state government is refusing to give money for this
  • racial component to how it is playing out
    • state government redirecting money from federal government to white neighbourhoods outside of jackson

how did jackson get going?

  • it was a long time in gestation
  • going back generations
  • then in 2001…
    • group decided to get together and pool resources
    • $50 a month in to collective pool
    • to buy land in mississipi
    • a lot of patience, a lot of discipline
    • first purchase in 2011
  • additionally some athletes and entertainers from the area
    • they've given back
  • property values are low in mississipi and in jackson
    • might not have been able to do the same thing in atlanta for example

how to avoid cooptation?

  • foundations come and offer grants with a lot of conditions
  • have to be patient and disciplined and don't be tempted by these
  • a long-term intergenerational vision and being able to stick to it

accountability processes?

  • open communication and transparent communication

threats to CJ from the state etc

  • the most concerning of late
    • mississipi has a supermajority that controls state legislature now
    • passing preventative laws
    • e.g. climate justice
      • after helping with committment to reducing emissions by about 10% in a couple of years…
      • state legislature
        • said mississipi must not adhere to any EU standards around climate
  • so CJ have had to censor themselves to some degree
  • FBI sniffing around, trying to intimidate
    • they've been infiltrated, disruption

how to get those on low income involved?

  • don't just assume that people can participate
    • that is classist and gendered
  • low dues
  • but if can't afford it, then give us some time
  • building up systems that allow people to participate
    • e.g. single mothers - provide childcare
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