News

Gar Alperovitz on the cooperative economy's enormous potential

May 22, 2014
Orion Magazine

IN THE MID-1960s, when author, historian, and political economist Gar Alperovitz was working as legislative director for Senator Gaylord Nelson, change was in the air. Ink had dried on an early version of the Clean Air Act, the civil rights movement had won major victories, and the first Earth Day was in the works. The U.S. still faced plenty of serious challenges, but many Americans felt their country was capable of dealing with them successfully.

CommonBound: Moving Together Toward a New Economy

Date: 
June 6, 2014 - 9:00am - June 8, 2014 - 5:00pm

Location

Northeastern University Boston, MA

This June 6-8, more than 500 movement leaders, activists, practitioners, and newcomers will come together in Boston for CommonBound, the New Economy Coalition’s largest and most significant convening yet.

Public Banking & Economic Democracy

May 21, 2014
Gwendolyn Hallsmith
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Private banks have not always been accepted institutions, fixtures of commerce, and purveyors of most of our economic transactions. Throughout US history, there have been robust public conversations about banks, largely due to their propensity to derail the economy when their business models fail. One example of this was in rural Vermont in 1806, when the state established their first public bank. Testimony on that bill, from Governor Tichenor lays out the problem:

Participatory Budgeting in NYC: Governing at the Grassroots

May 21, 2014
Mike Menser and Ron Hayduk
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Like much of the rest of the globe, New York City is beset by two crises: economic instability and the changing climate. Any hope of making our intensely unequal and unsustainable city more equitable and resilient requires fundamental changes in the relationship between the government and its people, and between the economy and its infrastructure. This requires more than a change of administrations; it requires a reconstruction of the governance process itself.

Jackson, Miss. using worker-owned cooperatives to advance economic democracy

May 17, 2014
Gracie Davie
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When Iya’Falola Omobola first crossed the Mississippi state border 10 years ago, she felt uneasy. A friend told her that she was “feeling the energy from all those bodies hanging in the trees.” Yet, Omobola’s feeling soon changed. Born into a family of civil rights and labor organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, Omobola came to see Jackson as the Phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Liberty Tree hosting Gar Alperovitz in Santa Barbara, CA

Date: 
May 1, 2014 - 12:00pm - May 2, 2014 - 1:00pm

Location

Santa Barbara, CA

Community Democracy: America Beyond Capitalism?

For more information visit: www.democracysb.org

Participatory Budgeting continues to grow in NYC

April 4, 2014
Jay Cassano
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It would be tough to find something people like to complain about more than politicians. Now, thanks to New York City's Participatory Budgeting project, we get to do part of their job for them.

With the fast flow of information these days, the average citizen can easily be just as informed as any local politician or policy wonk. So why do we need politicians to spend our tax dollars for us? Especially when it comes local communities, people have a visceral and intuitive understanding of the changes they want to see.

NYT: Cooperative businesses benefit both worker-owners and their communities

March 25, 2014
Shaila Dewan
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If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction.

TRUTHOUT: Building a more democratic banking system

March 17, 2014
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
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In Part I of this series, we examined breaking up the too-big-to-fail-or- jail banks, regulating them - especially

COMMON DREAMS: Is the 'sharing economy' a pathway to greater economic democracy?

January 22, 2014
Adam Parsons
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In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise.

Al Jazeera: Oxfam says world's rich threaten democracy

January 21, 2014
Al Jazeera
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The 85 richest people on planet "own the wealth of half the world's population", the charity said.

The world's elite have rigged laws in their own favour undermining democracy and creating a chasm of inequality across the globe, charity Oxfam said in advance of the annual get-together of the world's most powerful at Davos.

WATCH: Ben Manski, Leland Pan, Jolie Lizotte and more on the future of student organizing

November 7, 2013
Liberty Tree Foundation

Last August hundreds of people from across the country convened in Madison, WI for the  2nd Democracy Convention.  Made up of nine individual conferences, the Convention was an extraordinary space for individuals and organizations to network with and learn from one another in the service of building a larger, more dynamic democracy movement.

NAOMI KLEIN: How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt

October 29, 2013
Naomi Klein
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In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.

WATCH: New documentary about Move to Amend

October 22, 2013
Move to Amend
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Move to Amend is thrilled that our brand new mini documentary about Move to Amend is FINISHED!

ELLEN BROWN: We need public banks more than ever

October 2, 2013
Ellen Brown
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To ask whether public banks would interfere with free markets assumes that we have free markets, which we don’t. Banking is heavily subsidized and is monopolized by Wall Street, which has effectively “bought” Congress. Banks have been bailed out by the government, when in a free market they would have gone bankrupt.

A BAGFUL OF CASH: How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Orchestrated a Corporate Takeover of Government

July 16, 2013
Carl Gibson
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The US Chamber of Commerce-- a 101 year-old organization formed as corporations’ first union—is the chief agent behind Congress’ kowtowing to corporate interests, the Supreme Court’s favorability to corporations in its rulings, and presidents of both parties’ insistence on accommodating the wishes of multinational corporations at the expense of working-class people all over the world. This report outlines how the Chamber first formed, their blueprint for ultimate success as revealed in the confidential Powell Memo, how that blueprint has been realized in the 40 years since its writing, and the devastating effects of that agenda on small business.

Document: 

FLOWERS & ZEESE: Learn to build economic democracy at the Democracy Convention!

July 15, 2013
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Another jobs report is in and it shows continued waddling along in job creation, just enough to keep the unemployment figure stable. The reality is the collapse has cost the nation 3 million jobs and that number is not shrinking. The “Lost Out-Put Clock” shows the nation has lost $4,602,667,601,6089 in national income and counting since the 2008 collapse.

TRUTHOUT: US Chamber Attorneys and Military Contractors Conspired to Hack Political Opponents

March 15, 2013
Brad Friedman
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(Originally published on March 12, 2013)

So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.

RAW STORY: US Chamber Opposed 9/11 First Responders Healthcare Bill For Fear of Higher Corporate Taxes

March 15, 2013
Daniel Tencer, John Byrne, Stephen Webster
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(originally published on December 18, 2010)

The US Chamber of Commerce lobbied to kill a bill that would have helped cover medical expenses and compensation for first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to documents available online.

The Chamber’s aim was to keep open a tax loophole benefiting foreign corporations that the $7.4 billion bill would have closed to provide funding for the American emergency workers.

FOLEY HOAG LLP: U.S. Chamber Sues SEC Over Payment Disclosure Rule to Foreign Governments

March 15, 2013
Paul Bork, Dean Hanley, Brandon White, Matthew Baltay
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(Originally published on October 18, 2012)

On October 10, 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and three industry groups filed suit against the Securities and Exchange Commission in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking to overturn the recently-promulgated SEC rule implementing the Dodd-Frank Act provision requiring disclosure of payments to foreign governments relating to oil, gas and mining projects.

AMERICAN RIGHTS AT WORK: The US Chamber's Anti-Union Agenda

March 14, 2013
Capital Research Center
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(originally published on July 27, 2008)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s most powerful business lobbying organization1, has been campaigning against unions, fair labor practices, increases in the minimum wage, and legal protections for America’s workers for nearly a century.  The Chamber’s anti-union initiatives are just one part of its multi-issue agenda.  Unlike other anti-union organizations, this prominent lobbying force does not hide its alignment with big business.

NYTIMES: 45 Anonymous Corporate Donors Provided More Than Half of US Chamber's 2009 Funding

March 14, 2013
Eric Lipton, Mike McIntire, and Don Van Natta Jr.
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(originally published on October 21, 2010)

Prudential Financial sent in a $2 million donation last year as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a national advertising campaign to weaken the historic rewrite of the nation’s financial regulations.

CAMPUS PROGRESS: Tom Donohue's US Chamber is Biggest Obstacle to Progressive Change

March 4, 2013
Jake Blumgart
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(originally posted on June 21, 2010)

The Chamber of Commerce is one of the biggest obstacles to progressive change in the United States. Claiming to represent the interests of American business, it is the largest lobbying group in the nation, with over 300,000 anonymous dues paying members and a staggeringly deep war chest and immense influence in both parties. From its cyclopean headquarters on H Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, the Chamber mobilizes its diverse membership to combat everything from environmental regulation to minimum wage increases.

NYTIMES: US Chamber Lobbying Heavily Against Climate Legislation

March 4, 2013
John Broder
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(Originally published on november 18, 2009)

BACK in the 1990s when Thomas J. Donohue was president of the American Trucking Associations, a subordinate raised a question at a staff meeting.

Some of the association’s members, the aide said, wondered whether it was really necessary for the group’s president to fly on a private jet.

Mr. Donohue, a scrappy Irish-American born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, turned to his chief of staff and asked how many seats his jet had. “Well, eight, sir,” the aide said. “Tomorrow morning I want you to call and get a 12-seater,” Mr. Donohue shot back. The subject never came up again.

AUDIO: Hear Dennis Kucinich's speech at the Rally for Democracy

February 12, 2013
Liberty Tree Foundation

Dennis Kucinich and Ben Manski speak to Wisconsinites on February 12th, 2013 as part of Liberty Tree's "Shut the Chamber!" campaign kickoff (complete audio below, courtesy of WORT 89.9FM, followed by printed excerpts).

Ben Manski:

WSJ: Wisconsin's GOP legislature lays out their priorities for mining, education, taxes, and jobs

January 6, 2013
Dee J. Hall
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Paving the way for a new mine, lowering income taxes and finding ways to train more workers for available jobs are among the priorities cited by top Republicans, who will control the Legislature.

The two-year session begins Monday and will run through May 2014. Republicans have a 59-39 majority in the Assembly, with one vacancy in a heavily GOP district, and an 18-15 majority in the Senate. Gov. Scott Walker is also a Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said much of the Legislature’s work will revolve around the governor’s proposed budget, expected to be submitted in mid-February.

“The budget controls the landscape for the first six months,” Fitzgerald said.

SALON: Provisional ballots still being counted in Arizona and reports of suppressed Latino votes could affect outcome of close races

November 17, 2012
Alex Seitz-Wald
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The election may have ended almost two weeks ago, but in Arizona, it goes on. Perhaps it’s fitting for a state with its own time zone, but as of last night, there remained over 100,000 uncounted votes in the state’s two largest counties, leaving election officials unable to officially certify the results of a number of the state’s high profile races, including the Senate race, several House contests, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection bid. Friday was the deadline for counties to finish counting ballots, but the state blew past it yesterday when Maricopa, which contains Phoenix, and Pima County, which contains Tucson, said they needed more time.

Overpass Light Brigade groups challenge free speech restrictions around the country

November 13, 2012
Kit OConnell
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One Victory, More Conflicts to Come?

Though the Austin Overpass Light Brigade won the right to hold lighted signs over a highway once, it can expect further encounters with police.

Democracy Now investigates the corporate influences behind the "Fix the Debt" campaign

November 13, 2012

As the White House begins a series of meetings today on the looming "fiscal cliff," a coalition of the largest corporate firms and advocacy groups is lobbying for wide-ranging cuts in government spending, including to programs like Medicare and Social Security. The group, which includes 80 of the country’s most powerful CEOs, is called the Campaign to Fix the Debt. It was co-founded by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, previously the co-chairs of President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Critics have accused the group of using the budget crisis to push for corporate tax cuts.

NYT: Americans in non-swing states less likely to vote and millions of ballots are still being counted

November 12, 2012
Nate Silver
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Initial accounts of last Tuesday’s presidential election contemplated what seemed to be a significant decline in turnout from 2008. Those reports may have been premature, at least in part. Some states, particularly those where much balloting is conducted by mail, have yet to finish counting their returns. It is likely that there are several million votes left to be counted in California, for example. Nonetheless, it seems probable that we will see something of a split in the number of people who turned out to vote in 2012.

In many of the states where the campaigns focused most of their attention, more people voted than in 2008. Turnout is likely to have declined in many non-battleground states, however.

CAP TIMES: Supreme Court case could eliminate the Voting Rights Act

November 10, 2012
Associated Press
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The Supreme Court will consider eliminating the government's most potent weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s. The court acted three days after a diverse coalition of voters propelled President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House.

With a look at affirmative action in higher education already on the agenda, the court is putting a spotlight on race by re-examining the ongoing necessity of laws and programs aimed at giving racial minorities access to major areas of American life from which they once were systematically excluded.

CAP TIMES: Journalists face restrictions as they cover Election Night events

November 9, 2012
Jessica Vanegeren
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Phil Ejercito, a Madison-based freelance photographer, took the usual steps prior to showing up Tuesday to photograph what turned into the election night victory party for Wisconsin’s new senator, Tammy Baldwin.

After showing identification, he was handed press credentials and then guided to the press area that included nearly 100 other journalists.

But as 8 p.m. approached and the ballroom at Monona Terrace began to fill with roughly 1,000 members of the public, a velvet red rope similar to what you’d find in a movie theater started to be drawn tight to cordon off the media area.

AP: South Carolina GOP wants to stop recount, but Election Day problems show importance of completing recount

November 9, 2012
Associated Press

South Carolina Republicans on Friday asked the state's highest court to stop a recount of votes in Richland County, arguing that a GOP candidate fairly won a disputed legislative race.

The state party made the request to the Supreme Court a day after a circuit judge ordered that ballots and voting machines in Richland County be guarded by state police while state election officials reviewed them. County election officials had planned to certify election results Friday, but that process is on hold.

State election officials said they planned to begin their count Friday afternoon.

TRUTHOUT: Lack of transparency in exit polling makes it more difficult to know when an election is rigged

November 9, 2012
Victoria Collier
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Stealing your vote is easier than ever now that the media has decided it can't afford the exit polling that helped track irregular ballot counts in more than a third of the states. Here's why it's important, and what you can do.

The news that America's mainstream media has cancelled exit polling in 19 states, means that insider election theft this November is now even harder to track, and therefore easier to get away with - something that scarcely seemed possible.

GOP's 2013 agenda for WI: mining, school voucher, tax cuts, sandhill crane hunt

November 8, 2012
Todd Richmond

 

Meet the new Legislature, same as the old Legislature.

Republicans rolled back into control of the state Capitol in Tuesday's elections, reclaiming the majority in the Senate and defending their advantage in the Assembly. With Republican Scott Walker in the governor's office, the GOP can push through just about any proposal it chooses when the next legislative session begins in January.

ALTERNET: Latino organizers call attention to thousands of uncounted votes in Arizona county sheriff's race

November 8, 2012
Steve Rosenfeld
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Did Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—the face of Arizona’s anti-immigrant movement—really win a sixth term of office on Tuesday?

That is one question that Latino organizers are asking Wednesday after receiving reports that perhaps as many as 300,000 ballots remain uncounted in Maricopa County, with what they say are a sizeable proportion coming from non-white voters who unexpectedly were given provisional ballots after their names were not on polling place voter lists.