The Southern People’s Movement Assembly for a Just Transition will usher in the Climate Justice Alliance’s Summer of Our Power this June, over three days inJackson, Mississippi.
This Assembly will focus on how to broaden and expand the southern movement for climate justice and a just transition. Space for this Assembly is limited. Priority will be given to Southern based organizations and individuals and organizations affiliated with the Our Power Campaign, the Climate Justice Alliance, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the US Solidarity Economy Network, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, and the Reinvest Network.
Climate change is not a looming future threat, it is a clear and present danger, and it is already threatening the livelihoods, living conditions, and life chances of historical oppressed peoples and the working class throughout the South.
From the inhabitants of the coastal lowlands of the Gulf who are witnessing the sea reclaim the land and watching their livelihoods, lifestyles, and ancestral homelands disappear along with it; to the midland farmers and harvesters of the region who are dealing with the rapid flora and fauna change and steady, but growing disruptions to the harvesting and growing seasons, the South is already feeling the destructive impact of climate change. There are also thousands who are beginning to suffer from infectious diseases, old and new, that is beginning to thrive in the region as a direct result of climate change and the havoc it creating to the ecology, like the Nile virus and deadly Amoebas.
The South is also one of the global epicenters of the petro-chemical driven extractive economy, which is at the heart of the capitalist-imperialist world system, and the primary cause of climate change. Oil, natural gas, coal, rare earth materials, lumber, and mass mono-crop, meat and fishing industries are the bedrocks of our regional economy. The South also bears the brunt of the deadly by-products of the extractive industries in the form of environmental racism and the extremely high prevalence of toxin induced cancers, birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases that afflict the region.
We have to end the region’s dependence on the extractive economy in a manner that ensures that the workers, families and communities that are dependent on these industries for their livelihoods are not abandoned and disposed of. And deeper still we have to defend Mother Earth – our survival as a species and the species we depend upon require it. In order defend the Earth and avoid ecological collapse, we have to eliminate the capitalist socio-economic system that is destroying our planet. Eliminating a socio-economic system requires a profound mass movement that changes socio-political systems AND alters human behavior, particularly the behaviors that guide our collective choices about who decides what we produce and consume, what we produce and consume, why we produce and consume it, and why what we produce and consumed is distributed in the unequal and inequitable manner that it is. In effect, we need a mass movement for a Just Transition and we have to build it!
Learn more, and register for the movement assembly at the website of Cooperation Jackson.
Summer of Our Power: Southern PMA for a Just Transition
Registration, Logistics, and Program Information
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Registration is $50 per person and covers onsite meals.
Local day-by-day rate are as follows
Friday, June 26th $15
Saturday, June 27th $30
Sunday, June 28th $10
June 26, 2015 5 – 9 pm
Dinner 5 – 6 pm
Introduction/Welcome 6 – 6:30 pm
Open Plenary 6:30 – 8 pm “What is a Just Transition? And how do we bring it about?” Presenters Include:
Jesus “Chucho” Garcia, Venezuelan Consul General – New Orleans
Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities and Southern Grassroots Economies Project
Monique Harden, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
Diana Lopez, Southwest Workers Union
Brandon King, Cooperation Jackson, Our Power Campaign, and Southern Grassroots Economies Project
Edutainment/Culture 8 pm
June 27, 2015 8 am – 9 pm
Breakfast 8 – 9 am
Workshop Session 9 – 11 am
Economic Democracy and System Change
Energy Democracy and System Change
Gender and System Change
Youth and System Change
Workers and System Change
Indigenous and Oppressed People’s and System Change
Break 11 – 11:30 am
1st Breakout Session 11:30 am – 1:30 pm Visioning System Change
Lunch 1:30 – 3 pm
2nd Breakout Session 3 – 5 pm Demand and Program Development
Break 5 – 5:30 pm
Day Synthesis Session 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Dinner 6:30 – 8 pm
Entertainment 8:00 pm (@ the Yellow Scarf 714 Harris Street, Jackson, MS 39202)
June 28, 2015 8 am – 1 pm
Breakfast 8 – 9 am
Final Breakout Session 9 – 11 am Action Development and Coordination
Synthesis, Next Steps and Close-Out 11 am – 12:30 pm
Closing Lunch 12:30 pm
Venue: Chokwe Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy and Development located at 939 West Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 39203.
Accommodations: We recommend the following hotels.
Sleep Inn and Suites
Hilton Garden Inn
Hampton Inn and Suites
Please note that there is another major conference occurring in Jackson this weekend, COMICOM, which is expecting several thousand people and is starting to occupy most of the cities hotel space. So, please make your reservations immediately!
*Housing is also available at Jackson State University. However, payments have to be made upfront and accommodations are gender based. The rate is $35 per bed in a shared room. All guests planning on staying in the dorms have to pay Cooperation Jackson upfront with registration. Total registration for individuals staying in the dorms is $120 ($70 for 2 nights in the dorm – Friday and Saturday with Sunday checkout).
Food/Meals: We will be providing breakfast snacks, lunch, and dinner to all registered participants (please note that we will base our food prep counts by registration figures amassed by Sunday, June 21st). Vegetarian/Vegan options will be available on a limited basis.
Transportation: Cooperation Jackson will provide limited transportation to and from the hotels. However, visitors should come prepared to make their own travel arrangements given the limitations with public transportation in the city. We recommend that groups rent your own rental cars and rent them early.
Weather/Insects: We strongly encourage people to bring light rain jackets as there are still sub-tropical downpours in late June and portions of our program will be outside. We also encourage people to bring mosquito repellent, as they are extremely rampant this year due to the extraordinary amount of rain we have received this year
Spanish translation and limited translation equipment will be available for Spanish speakers. Please note however, that the event will be English dominant. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the struggle for linguistic democracy continues.
From June 24 to 28, 2015 thousands of people and organizations will convene in Philadelphia, PA, Jackson, MS and San Jose, CA for the third US Social Forum to host convergences, Peoples Movement Assemblies, and workshops. We will collectively develop peoples’ solutions to the economic, political, and ecological crises. The USSocial Forum is committed in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and creates a new world.
Cooperation Jackson is an emerging cooperative network based in Jackson, Mississippi. The network consists of four interconnected and interdependent institutions: a federation of emerging local worker cooperatives, a cooperative incubator, a cooperative education and training center, and a cooperative bank.
Individuals deeply moved by the Jackson-Kush Planwho are striving to see its vision of economic democracy realized launched Cooperation Jacksonin the fall of 2013.
In January of 2015, Cooperation Jackson and the Chockwe Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy hosted a PMA on Economic Democracy.
For many people, the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency lent credibility to the argument that the United States is moving inexorably, if slowly and in fits and starts, towards a post-racial, color-blind society that affords equal opportunity to all. However, current conditions expose a starkly different reality for the vast majority of people of African descent.
In the 1950s and 1960s through the battles for Civil Rights and Black Liberation, Black people were seen by many to embody the historic high point of American ethics and the struggle for justice. But the ensuing decades have witnessed the consistent characterization of the descendants of enslaved Africans as an unemployable burden on society and the enforcement of what author Michelle Alexander calls “the New Jim Crow,” manifest in increasing criminalization, incarceration, expanding poverty, police brutality and denial of other human rights, including voting rights.
Read the rest of the article here.
Mission & Purpose
The broad mission of Cooperation Jackson is to advance the development of economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi by building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other types of worker-owned and democratically self-managed enterprises.
Economic democracy provides economic empowerment for all workers, distributors, suppliers, consumers, communities and the general public by promoting universal access to common resources, democratizing the ownership of the means of production, and democratizing all the essential processes of production and distribution through worker self-management and sustainable consumption.
Solidarity economy includes a wide array of economic practices and initiatives that share common values – cooperation and sharing, social responsibility, sustainability, equity and justice. Instead of enforcing a culture of cutthroat competition, it builds cultures and communities of cooperation.
Our Purpose is to create:
- A network of interconnected and interlinked cooperatives and worker owned enterprises in Jackson, Mississippi that will expand economic opportunity, promote sustainability and build community wealth by creating jobs with dignity, stability, living wages and quality benefits.
- A foundation for the revitalization of the working class communities of Jackson, Mississippi based on stable employment, wealth equity and sustainable means of production and distribution.
- A institutional vehicle to promote broad public understanding of economic democracy, the foundations of solidarity economics and the principles of cooperatives and how cooperative and worker owned and self-managed enterprises work to benefit workers, their families and their communities.
- A institutional vehicle to educate and train working people in Jackson, Mississippi to successfully start, finance, own, democratically operate and self-manage a sustainable cooperative enterprise.
- A model that will encourage and enable workers in other cities and municipalities in Mississippi, the South and throughout the United States to implement their own initiatives to promote economic democracy, solidarity economics and cooperative development.
Definition & Principles
Cooperation Jackson has crafted its own definition, values and principles of cooperatives and democratic organizations by drawing on the definitions, values and principles of Mondragón and the International Cooperative Alliance that address our vision and context.
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.
Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all who agree with the cooperative principles who are able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control: The cooperative system is based upon the equality of member-workers or cooperators. Aside from limited and special circumstances all workers must be members. The cooperative is democratically controlled on the basis of one member, one vote; its governing structures are democratically controlled and are also responsible to the general assembly or other elected body.
- Sovereignty of Labor: Labor is the essential transformative facto of society. The cooperatives renounce wage labor, give full power to the owner-workers to control the co-ops, give primacy to workers in distribution of surpluses, and work to extend the cooperative choice to all members of society.
- Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative’s autonomy.
- Instrumental and Subordinated Character of Capital: Capital is basically accumulated labor and a necessary factor in business development and savings. The co-ops pay a just but limited return on capital saved or invested, a return that is not directly tied to the losses or surpluses of the co-ops. Their need for capital shall not impede the principle of open admission, but co-op members must make a substantial, affordable, and equal financial investment in the cooperative. At present, this membership contribution is equal to a year’s salary of the lowest-paid member.
- Members’ Economic Participation: Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members based on the proportion of contributed labor or hours worked or the level of business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
- Self-Management: Cooperation involves both collective effort and individual responsibility. Cooperation “is the development of the individual not against others but with others.” Democratic control means participation in management and the ongoing development of the skills needed for self-management. There must be clear information available on the co-op’s operations, systematic training of owner-workers, internal promotion for management positions, and consultations and negotiations with all cooperators in organizational decisions that affect them.
- Pay Solidarity: The co-ops will practice both internal and external pay solidarity. Internally, the total pay differential between the lowest and the highest paid member shall not exceed a factor of one to six.
- Internal Cooperation – Cooperation within the Federation of Cooperative Jackson: Internal cooperation within Cooperation Jackson exists on three levels: among individual co-ops organized into groups; among co-op groups; and between Cooperation Jackson system and other movements.
- External Cooperation – Cooperation among Cooperatives: Co-ops are not isolated entities. Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
- Social Transformation: Cooperation in the Cooperation Jackson system is an instrument for social transformation. As Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, a founder of the Mondragón system wrote “Cooperation is the authentic integration of people in the economic and social process that shapes the new social order; the cooperators must make the objective extend to all those that hunger and thirst for justice in the working world.” The cooperatives ofCooperation Jackson will reinvest the major portion of their surpluses in Jackson and Kush District (the contiguously Afrikan counties of western Mississippi). Following the Mondragón model, a significant portion our surplus will go toward new job development, to community development (through the use of social funds), to a social security system based on mutual solidarity and responsibility, to cooperation with other institutions advancing the cause of workers in Mississippi, and to collaborative efforts to developing a transformative culture in Mississippi.
- Universal Nature: Cooperation Jackson proclaims its solidarity with all who labor for economic democracy, peace, justice, human dignity, and development throughout the world, particularly with the peoples of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.