To the vast majority of people, the word “democracy” evokes electoral politics and voting booths. But what about our day to day experience living in a democratic society? Maurice Mitchell sums up the limitations of our current understanding of democracy in this Nonprofit Quarterly article:
“If most of our waking hours are spent in a hierarchical workplace at work, that isn’t democracy. That is the definition of capitalism. And there should be a tension there between a democratic society and capitalism.” - Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party
The tension is at a breaking point: Amazon warehouse worker organizing squashed; worker unionization on a decline; income inequality at an all time high. And still, what we see across popular culture continues to deify billionaires and grind culture.
Democratic values must permeate every layer of society because we can’t simply wait for election season to vote our way to liberation. Because bosses control so much of our lives, the most impactful place to start is in the workplace. Worker control and power is a way for people to practice democracy every day.
We’re spending the last week of September questioning workplace hierarchies, discussing shared leadership in the workplace, and more! We’re calling it #Coopalooza Week and we hope you’ll join!
We have had a phenomenal group of interns this summer. They have helped us with Legal Cafes, immigrant co-op and worker self-directed nonprofit presentations, developing the Oakland People’s Plan, Berkeley co-op conversion outreach, Interdependence Month events, and more. They’ve brought curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and rigorous critical analysis to their work with us. Click on their images to learn more about them as individuals and the work they do.
We want to say thank you, dear interns, and we will miss you!
We invite you to study-into-action with us on five Fridays this fall. The aim is to connect cultural innovators across silos who do not know one another well, but are building the cultural economy we want. We need to socialize, study, and dream together before we can take collective action. Artists need the solidarity economy, and the solidarity economy needs artists!
Join us Friday, September 17th from 12-1 p.m. EDT for “Law and the Land Craft: permanent real estate cooperatives and the arts”, a Public Talk & Experience from the Law Center’s Gregory Jackson and Janelle Orsi.
Grandmas4Housing: How a Tenant-Led
Community Land Trust Came to Be
If you were inspired by the success story of our client Jocelyn Foreman — the first person in California to purchase her home using SB 1079 — you don’t want to miss this interview in Nonprofit Quarterly. Jocelyn shares how standing in her power, tapping into her community organizing skill set, and staying tight with her inner circle helped her achieve her dream and more.