People & Planet Over Programs & Profit

Part of our blog series where our Summer Interns introduce themselves to our communities.

By Tracy Bindel, Law Center Summer 2019 Law Clerk

Tracy Bindel

My name is Tracy Bindel and I grew up in a large family in rural New Mexico. I'm currently a night school student at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA where I am studying to become a Cooperative Lawyer. During the day, I am a Spiritual Director working to support white people spiritually who are waking up to their whiteness through a collective called Freedom Beyond. My dad, a long time IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) member, instilled in me and my brothers the importance of valuing labor from a very young age. His influence and growing up near two family farms roots me in the wisdom that people and our planet are always more important than programs or profit. This wisdom has guided me throughout my life and even to intern at the Law Center this summer.

For the past fifteen years, I have been learning more and more about the way white supremacy is rooted in colonial expansion and capitalism. When one accumulates more wealth than he needs, it comes at the cost of another. As a white woman, I have learned how much this narrative of expansion that is connected to the American Dream destroys community and our planet. While some of my education comes from institutions, the bulk of what I know today I owe to dear colleagues and friends who have showed me the way on this path. I come to this work from an anti-colonial perspective having lived and worked on five of the seven continents. Perhaps a little unexpectedly, my work in international development led me to work at the hyper-local level doing community engagement work in Jamaica Plain, MA to create a new economy through the Institute for Policy Studies and the Jamaica Plain Forum. Today, I want to work in the cooperative sector because I want to be a part of a group of people rebuilding connection and community through sustainable livelihoods, both locally and internationally. I want to address the roots of global and systemic inequity through both soft and hard skill building in cooperatives.

I am joining the Sustainable Economies Law Center this summer because I want to experience lawyering and policy making that is rooted in community organizing and in the health and well being of everyone involved. It is long past time for a new and sustainable economy and I want to learn the skills to help move us there. As a future attorney, I want to write new scripts of business and economics in a way that dignifies labor, creates wealth, and increases capacity for cooperation. I want to negotiate agreements big and small that will create more autonomy for people to self-determine the way their community grows. I want to create an economy that has fewer bosses and more owners. Tracy brewing beer. I want to create work that is meaningful and that gives back to the communities creating it. I love what the Law Center is doing in "thinking outside of the boss" with their worker self-director non-profit model and I want to learn more about how to run a healthy and democratic workplace so that I can support others in learning those skills. I will be researching business development models and internal criticism within the business community to how business grows. I will also be supporting work outlining the gap in the worker cooperative legal landscape nationally. When I’m not at the Law Center, you can find me running, creating community over deep conversations about money, power, and politics, or brewing beer for the next party my house is hosting!

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