Interview: Jessica Gordon-Nembhard on past lessons for economic empowerment

By Anca Voinea Co-op News 4 July 2020

Also See:The Association of Cooperative Educators, ACE, links researchers, trainers, developers and communicators interested in cooperatives and credit unions, primarily in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It operates in English, French and Spanish.   Featured as part of the ACE Webinar Series   Marginalized populations and crises: how to get out of reinforced marginalization through cooperation?   “If the global Covid-19 pandemic puts society at risk, it nevertheless affects the most vulnerable, such as women, refugees, migrants or racialized people, much more violently, due to economic and social inequalities. How can cooperatives help marginalized individuals and groups and ensure their long-term empowerment?” (ACE)

With Jessica Gordon-Nembhard and Claudia Arroyo

The Time is Now

A Time of Crisis: W. E. B. Dubois calls for a Co-operative Economy 

In the September 1917 issue of The Crisis, W.E.B. Dubois, the founding editor, makes a call to the African American community to build a co-operative economy.* Dubois supported and promoted Cooperative Education and Development throughout his career. He often felt alone is his quest. His call was a response to a chain of events that took place the summer of 1917, and are recorded in the same issue.

On July 2, 1917, over 500 white people attacked the African American community in East Saint Louis, Illinois. They maimed, tortured, and killed men, women and children. They burned down the entire infrastructure of the community. W.E.B. Dubois and Martha Gruening went to East Saint Louis to cover the story in the aftermath of the devastation. The photographs and testimonials also published in The Crisis record the horrific violence, torture and total destruction wielded upon the African American community. The August 1917 issue, documents more details.

On July 28, 1917, over 1500 African American people held a silent march in New York City to stand up against the recent “race riots” in East Saint Louis, as well as other violent uprisings by white people in Waco, and Memphis. Dubois, was a participant in the march and was in awe at the numbers of people that came out to the peaceful protest. In his editorial he writes:

“Ten thousand of us marched the other day in New York City. Everbody said it could not be done. The ways were lined with rabbits, afraid even to walk for freedom, and yet, solemnly and simply, the Negroes of New York told the other citizens of New York their grief and resentment. That is but a little thing. We can do infinitely more. We can organize  for industrial co-operation and we can begin with co-operation in distribution. In every large city where 10,000 or more Negroes live, the business of buying groceries, food, clothing and fuel can by a single determined effort, be put into the hands of colored people. This kind of distribution has been successful all over the world. Little is said about it because the leeches that have fattened on retail trade are too powerful with the newspapers. Distribution of the necessities of life, can be easily done with a tremendous saving to the people and the employment of colored men and women. The only thing necessary is for us to start; and to start we simply require that the same spirit of devotion and sacrifice, coupled with brains and training, that has sent young men and women to the ministry and the Y.M.C.A and Y.W.C.A work should be turned now among us Negroes and be put into business.

White people are not in business for their health. We should be in business for our health and for the health of the world”.  W.E.B. Dubois, 1917

*The Crisis is the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, still in publication today.

Collective REMAKE is Implementing Cooperative Education and Development Workshops with Returning Citizens at Two Locations in Los Angeles

The topics in our cooperative education and development workshops include: Intro to cooperatives, worker-ownership, cooperative principles and values: democracy, equality, equity, self-reliance, and solidarity; “A Just Transition” moving from extractive economy to a caring economy (Movement Generation) ; practicing democracy; business modeling; business planning; legal aspects of starting a cooperative; finances for start-ups; & time banking. 

We work with dozens of community partners who support our work and/or help to implement the cooperative education workshops including: Antioch University, Los Angeles; Arroyo S.E.C.O Network of Time Banks; Black Equity Initiative/JIB Fund; LA Coop LAB; Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative (LUCI); Brett Heeger, Attorney at Law; LA Eco Village; Niki Okuk, MBA; RideON! bike shop; Solidarity Research Center; Mariana Mendoza, MA Urban Sustainability; Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI); LA County Health Department; Timelist; Southern California Library; Five Points Youth Foundation; R. Jackson Bradford, Change Consultant, Social Innovator; RESIST Foundation; and more.

Collective REMAKE’s goal is to build cooperatives from the ground up. Our strategy is based on successful models that prioritize cooperative education and development programming. Research on cooperative history demonstrates that ongoing cooperative education is the key to the success of democratic businesses and cooperatives enterprises. We are following the tradition of multiple cooperative leaders: Father Arizmendiarreti, founder of the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain; Fr. A. J. McKnight and Carol Prejean Zippert, founders of the Southern Consumers Cooperative, now the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF); and Tim Huet, founder of the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives. These are some of the most successful examples of contemporary cooperative movements built from the ground up. In each case, they started with the educational programming. McKnight created adult education classes in Lafayette Louisiana. The FSC/LAF now has a cooperative academy and development center that supports the expansion of cooperatives in multiple states. Arizmendiarreta opened a school that still exists today and is attended by people from around the world. Huet and partners built consistent education programs in the association for all members.

Ongoing education on cooperative history, the practice of democracy, business structure, and the economy is a priority to create sustainable practices.

Introduction to Cooperative Education and Development Workshops

Introduction • Orientation • Registration
for Collective REMAKE’s Cooperative
Education & Development Workshop Series
Saturday
January 25, 2020 2 pm – 5 pm
Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center
MLK Center for Public Health 11833 Wilmington Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90059
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Series for
Women and LGBTQ folks
to begin February – April 2020
Registration is Required
The Full Series Includes Ten Workshops
For more information please email: contactus@collectiveremake.com

Create an Art Coop

CREATE an ART COOP
to support ARTISTs INSIDE AND OUT OF PRISON

September 14, 2019 • 1- 3 pm

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Southern California Library
6120 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044

Collective REMAKE and Friends are holding an initial planning meeting
to begin the start-up phase for a Democratically Run Art Cooperative

This is an informational & initial planning session. People/Artists
IMPACTED by incarceration and navigating reentry are encouraged
to attend. There will an an introduction to cooperatives, and a hands on participatory excercise with the Business Model Canvas, a brainstorm on
multiple concepts for cooperative art businesses. Ideas currently include:

Recycle for ART: a coop that will produce, market and sell art.

• Arts for Healing and Wellness: provide classes,
workshops and healing arts

• Multi-media and Design: provide multi media design services
and train impacted people in technology and design.

Please join us to Learn more! Please let us know you are coming!

If you have questions, please contact Mary Sutton at
  msutton@collectiveremake.com • 310-709-8602, or
Bryant Mangum • bmangum@collecitveremake.com

Join Collective REMAKE at the Leimert Part Book Fair

Collective REMAKE will be tabling all day.

“ONE OF LA’S FIVE BEST ANNUAL BOOK FAIRS,” the Leimert Park Village Book Fair attracts over 200 authors, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, performers, and literary/educational exhibitor participants – and boasts an audience of over 5,000. Since its inception LPVBF has grown in popularity and prestige becoming a cultural tradition and premier summer literary event. The 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair is happy to announce world-class athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, TV personality and home chef, Laila Ali as its 2019 book fair ambassador. She will be headlining the culinary stage with recipes from her new cookbook, “Food for Life.” Laila currently is the host of Emmy Award-winning show, “Home Made Simple,” which airs every Saturday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Lemiert Park Book Fair

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw

3650 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90008

 

We have cups, stickers, posters, pins and books for sale.

We are selling Jessica Gordon-Nembhard’s book, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.

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Art, Education, Music, Food & Great Company

Collective REMAKE’s Environmental Education Day held at the Five Points Youth Foundation was a huge success.

Collective REMAKE members set up activity booths featuring cooperative business models, values and purpose :
  • Composting: Learn how to build your back yard compost system
  • Environmental Exhibition—Colorful displays presented the devastating impact that Textiles and Plastics have on the Environment
  • Art Making
  • Youth created the Plastic Fish and learned how our plastic trash hurt sea life and ends up in the food we eat
  • Kids also had the opportunity to silkscreen on recycled shirts
  • Music: Local L.A. Artists join the Five Points Youth Foundation and Collective REMAKE in community celebration
  • Food: Vegan burgers and jerk chicken and healthy dishes served to all, young and old
  • This event is funded by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)

Environmental Education Day

Environmental Education Day

June 15, 2019 • 4pm – 7pm

Free & Open to the Public
Healthy BBQ, Meat and Vegan, for All

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Collective REMAKE is featuring sustainable
Cooperative business models:

Recycle for JOBs • Worms4U • All City Art

PLEASE Bring Your empty CRV Beverage Containers
to support
Recycle for JOBs

Environmental Education Day June 15, 2019 – Postcard

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