Thursday, December 20, 2018

Transformative Cities 2019 Edition: Open Call (Video)

Transformative Cities is an opportunity for progressive local governments, municipalist coalitions, social movements and civil society organizations to popularize and share their experiences of building solutions to our planet’s systemic economic, social, political and ecological crisis.

Kali Akuno spoke on behalf of Cooperation Jackson at the 2018 Transformative Cities event which was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in June of 2018.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Economic Update: Dialogue with Richard Wolff and Kali Akuno

"Look, nobody's coming to save us. What can we do ourselves with the resources and the skills that we have to transform our own situation? ... We do see ourselves as on a project of trying to build socialism from the bottom up, and worker coops being a vehicle to do that based upon their democratic nature..."

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Transformative Cities: Crisis and Opportunity

Jackson Rising: A Real News Network interview with Kali Akuno

Cooperation Jackson: Building a Social and Solidarity Economy

Resist and Build, a Dialogue with the US Solidarity Economy Network

Resist and Build, Fight and Build, Oppose and Propose, Resist and Insist – whatever the wording, there is great convergence about the need to connect these dimensions. Even if the lines are a bit blurry, we can broadly distinguish between resist work that seeks to fight back against an oppressive, unjust and unsustainable social/economic system, and the build work of the solidarity economy that seeks to build ‘another world’ beyond capitalism to one that puts people and planet, equity, justice and sustainability front and center. Resistance without knowing where you’re going is likely to lead only to reform of the current system. Building a solidarity economy without being grounded in grassroots organizing runs the risk of losing touch with the struggle that impels the need for a solidarity economy in the first place. Kali Akuno brings a powerful vision and deep analysis that is changing the social and economic fabric of Jackson, Mississippi. Activists are bringing together resist and build through three spheres of organizing: 1) Cooperation Jackson is building the solidarity economy through cooperative and community controlled enterprises and initiatives, 2) People’s Assemblies are used to organize the community, as well as to 3) engage in a political/electoral strategy to take power through local government and grassroots organizing.

Reawakening the Black Radical Imagination

Friday, July 13, 2018

Lessons from Jackson, MS - Budapest Discussion with Sacajawea "Saki" Hall

Lessons from Jackson - Discussion in Worcester, NY

A discussion in Worcester, MA and that focused on the Jackson Rising book, the Jackson-Kush Plan, and the formation of Cooperation Jackson is an emerging network of cooperatives and grassroots institutions that aim to build a "solidarity economy."

People's Cities: A Summit

This event was Co-sponsored by Urban Democracy Lab, NYU Collaborative on Global Urbanism, Department of Metropolitan Studies, and Deutsches Haus at NYU. Will cities save us? In the last decades we have witnessed a resurgent interest in cities, accompanied by a great deal of urban optimism, even in the face of the exclusion and inequalities of our cities. Cities have become a privileged target of investment, as professionals and elites have rediscovered urban cores as desirable locations. At the same time, cities have become a veritable laboratory for new technologies in transportation and infrastructure, ones that promise to be more sustainable and resilient. And most recently, urban progressivism has captured the imagination of many large cities, like New York, Barcelona, London, and Los Angeles, and smaller ones, like Jackson, MS, and Berkeley, CA. Such places have played important roles in advancing innovative progressive policies, but also as symbolic beachheads holding up socially just principles in the face of global tides of conservative and reactionary politics playing out at the national level. And yet a number of questions remain about the viability of progressive strategies at the local level. Join us for an exciting public debate and conversation about the possibilities — and limits — of municipal, and city-led, politics. Moderated by Juan Gonzalez (of Democracy Now, and author of Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities), confirmed participants so far include Gerardo Pisarello (Deputy Mayor of Barcelona), Kali Akuno (author of the Jackson Plan), Margit Mayer (Professor of Political Science and co-editor of Cities for People, Not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory and the Right to the City), and Carlina Rivera (NYC Councilwoman, 2nd Council District).

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Venezuela: We are a threat because we Resist

Venezuela is under attack again. Livio Rangel (part of the 1st Ecosocialist International in Venezuela) in conversation with Kali Akuno (Cooperation Jackson), explains the nature of the attacks from the United States government, the relation to the revolutionary process of the people, the reasons for founding the 1st Ecosocialist International and why international solidarity is needed now more than ever.

Many thanks to the Reel Video for making this video for us and the movement.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Reconstructing Economic Development for People and Planet: Stories of Just Economic Democracy

Co-sponsored by the Murphy Institute, CUNY, and Democracy @ Work New York For the first time in decades, cities round the country are advancing progressive innovations and solutions to too-long-sustained poverty and inequality. In New York City worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and community land trusts are on the policy platform of the City Council’s progressive caucus and elected officials in the democratic party are pushing legislation for employee and worker ownership at the state and federal levels. With greater visibility and support from the public sector some believe that these pilots and experiments for neighborhoods to drive wealth creation and capture and create equitable economic opportunities can reach into broad-based and mainstream policy. There is an opening here to expand the horizon of what is seen as possible for genuine equitable urban economic development, and its relationship to labor, communities and the political economy. In short, we can change the conversation from mostly pushing for greater accountability and transparency in the existing economic development order, to a conversation about what should come next and what policies and institutions would be a part of getting us there. Speakers include: Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project, and author of We Decide! Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy.
Gabriela Alvarez, Chef and founder of Liberation Cuisine, a catering company dedicated to preparing meals collectively with sustainable ingredients and practices. Alvarez recently took her passion for healing and organizing with food to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts.
Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises and the author of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi.
Yorman Nunez, Program Manager at Community Innovators Lab MIT and coordinator of Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Marx and Political Identity

Featuring Kali Akuno, Ravi Ahmed, and Suzanne Schneider

Why Marx Now?

Karl Marx is 200 years old. And yet, whenever Marx seems dead and buried, a new moment of economic or political crisis brings Marx’s critical understanding of capitalism back to the fore. In Marx Now, a two-day symposium co-presented by the Goethe-Institut New York and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, leading scholars, activists, and artists will discuss, in a series of panels and learning sessions, why Marx endures: how does Marx speak to our moment of extraordinary inequality, political upheaval, fractured identity, ecological degradation, technological acceleration, alienation, and exhaustion? To answer, presenters and audience members will draw from stories, objects, scholarship, art works, and the lessons of contemporary politics.

Featuring Kali Akuno, Chiara Bottici, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Drucilla Cornell, Benjamin Kunkel, Anwar Shaikh, and McKenzie Wark

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018

Advancing the Bolivarian Revolution

Advancing the Bolivarian Revolution: Addressing the Crisis in Venezuela A discussion with Venezuelan Diplomats Carlos J. Ron and Jesus “Chucho” Garcia On Monday, March 5th, Cooperation Jackson members gathered to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the untimely passing of Venezuelan President and revolutionary, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, and the ongoing advance of the Bolivarian revolutionary process. CJ was joined by the ChargĂ© d'Affaires at the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's embassy in Washington, D.C., Carlos J. Ron, and the Venezuelan consul in New Orleans, Jesus “Chucho” Garcia, to discuss the mounting threats confronting the Bolivarian revolution from the Trump administration and the US government and its proxies—the governments of Brazil and Mexico—who are amassing military forces along their boarders with Venezuela and threatening to invade. Or as in the case of Mexico are working at the behest of the US government to politically isolate the Venezuelan government from its allies in the Caribbean and throughout Latin America. The Bolivarian revolutionary process has been and remains a key source of inspiration and ideas for Cooperation Jackson. It was one of many intellectual sources of the Jackson-Kush Plan; for elements of the practice of participatory, direct and protagonistic democracy that we are experimenting with our Transition Assemblies; for cooperative development on a mass scale; and for the development of innovative social exchanges like the mass Trueke or cooperative producer markets or swap meets that are being organized throughout the country; for the incorporation of African and indigenous traditional knowledge(s) into all field of social production and reproduction; and more! The aim of the discussion is figure out concrete ways the people and social movements of Jackson can stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and continue to build deeper people-to-people relations between the people of Venezuela and Jackson.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism

The Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism: A Cooperation Jackson dialogue with Ercan Ayboga, Co-Author of "Revolution in Rojava", an activist of the Mesopotamian Ecologist Movement

Come learn about the ideological, political and programmatic similarities between the Jackson-Kush Plan and the radical democratic movement in Jackson, Mississippi and the Charter of the Social Contract, which serves as the Constitution of the Rojava Cantons, guiding the revolutionary transformation of Syrian Kurdistan. Learn more about their experiment with radical democratic confederalism amongst the various peoples and ethnicities of Syria, their work to build an anti-capitalist solidarity economy, to liberate women, and to restore the ecology.

Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, wherein the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava's groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies. Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay. This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times.

Holding the Line against Neoliberalism in Jackson, MS (Black Agenda Report)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Radical Transformation of Jackson, MS with Chris Hedges On Contact

A discussion about the radical transformation of Jackson, Mississippi through capitalism and the socialist alternative. 

Cooperation Jackson dialogue with Samir Amin

Cooperation Jackson held this dialogue with Samir Amin, one of the most critical revolutionary intellectuals of our time, about the transition from capitalism to economic democracy or outright barbarism, on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Center for Economic Democracy and Sustainable Development. As a vehicle designed to execute a dimension of the Jackson-Kush Plan, Cooperation Jackson was not born just to create worker-cooperatives for the sake of having worker cooperatives. Cooperation Jackson was born to be an instrument of radical social transformation. To be a vehicle to aid in the construction of socialism by a) building institutions of economic democracy grounded in the establishment of institutions of the solidarity economy, like cooperatives, time banks, swamp meets, alternative currencies, etc., and b) by building the overall capacity of the working class to not only democratically manage and govern it’s own affairs, but to democratically manage and govern the overall affairs of society. One of the central things that we have been and continue to be focused on in the development of Cooperation Jackson is the question of transition from capitalism, late stage neo-liberal capitalism, to economic democracy and socialism (and beyond). One of our central tasks is trying to figure out how to transform limited vehicles of worker self-organization, like cooperatives, into instruments of revolutionary change. As we have stated on many occasions, cooperatives in and of themselves are not revolutionary vehicles. They have to be anchored by revolutionary politics, revolutionary organizations, and an assortment of revolutionary institutions and practices that challenge the logic of capital and capitalism and reorient social relationships and social production towards socialism and socialist construction. Samir Amin, one of the premier revolutionary economists and social scientists of our time, about the deep crisis of capitalism and the primary economic and social transformations over the last 70 + years. We are listening to see how the economic, social and technical transformations of our time could lead us towards socialism, with an ear towards what the primary subjective factor, i.e. the working class (us), can and must do to usher in this transformation. The dialogue is a contribution to our ongoing discussion about the question of transition from capitalism to socialism or outright barbarism (i.e. fascism) – should the reactionaries continue to dominate the political landscape in the US empire and throughout the world. It is also a prelude into the deeper exploration of how to make our work and the vehicles we are struggling to build instruments of socialist transformation. This entails going deeper into the question of worker self-management, worker self-governance, and how to develop inter-connected systems of production that upend capitalist logic and social relationships. Some background on Samir Amin from Monthly Review Press: "Samir Amin was born in Cairo in 1931 and was educated at the Lycee Francais there. He gained a Ph.D. in Political Economy in Paris (1957), as well as degrees from the Institut de Statistiques and from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques. He then returned home where he was attached to the planning bodies of Nasser's regime. He left Egypt in 1960 to work with the Ministry of Planning of the newly independent Mali (1960-1963), and following this, he commenced an academic career. He has held the position of full professor in France since 1966 and was for ten years (1970-1980) the director of the U.N. African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (in Dakar). Since 1980 he has been directing the African Office of the Third World Forum, an international non-governmental association for research and debate. The main contributions of Samir Amin can be classified under four headings: (i) a critique of the theory and experiences of development; (ii) an alternative proposal for the analysis of the global system which he calls "really existing capitalism"; (iii) a re-reading of the history of social formations, and; (iv) a reinterpretation of what he describes as "post-capitalist" societies.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cooperation and Solidarity - Oakland, CA Sunday, February 4th, 2018

On Sunday, February 4th, 2018 the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) and The Center for Political Education hosted Kali Akuno and Brandon King of Cooperation Jackson to discuss Cooperation Jackson's new book, JACKSON RISING: THE STRUGGLE FOR ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY AND BLACK SELF-DETERMINATION IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (Daraja Press). The conversation was joined by Najari Smith of Cooperation Richmond and Jackie Byers of the Black Organizing Project about the struggle for economic democracy and Black self-determination from Jackson to the Bay Area. The event was held at the First Congregational Church of Oakland 2501 Harrison St. Event supported by First Congregational Church of Oakland and Santa Cruz DSA.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mississippi USA on UpFront Radio KPFA Monday, February 12, 2018

Kali Akuno talks to Cat Brooks on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 about organizing in Jackson, MS and how it relates to organizing resistance throughout the US empire.

This show aired on UpFront Radio on Monday, February 12th, 2018.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Countering the Fabrication Divide on Hard Knock Radio

Kali Akuno speaks with Hard Knock Radio Host Davey D about the Fabrication Divide, the Third Digital Revolution, and Black Technological Innovation.

Countering the Fabrication Divide

By Kali Akuno and Gyasi Williams, for Cooperation Jackson and the Community Production Cooperative

The Third Digital Revolution[1], a revolution in cyber-physical integration and personal fabrication, is changing the world, and changing humanity, culturally and physically, in the process.  The Third Digital Revolution is marked by technological and knowledge breakthroughs that build on the first two Digital Revolutions, and the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded them, which are now fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds - including the human body.  The main technologies of this revolution include advanced robotics, CNC (computer numeric control) automation, 3D printing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, big data processing, artificial intelligence, and of course these autonomous vehicles we’ve been hearing so much about of late. As a result of these developments, soon millions of people will be able to make almost anything with their personal computer or smartphone and fabrication technology in their own homes.  Truly, a new era of technological innovation is upon us.  One that could enable many of the social freedoms envisioned by scientists and science fiction writers for over a century.

As we have painfully learned from the previous industrial and digital revolutions, technology is not entirely value neutral, meaning neither good nor bad.  Under the social and economic system of capitalism, most technological innovation has been driven by the desire to maximize profits, reduce space/time limitations (i.e. how long it takes to make and deliver a commodity or service), and eliminate labor costs.  So, while it is true that the technology does not determine its own use (not yet anyway), its application and value have largely been determined by a small subset of humanity.  We want to make sure that we change this equation with the Third Digital Revolution.  How we structure the ownership, control, and use of the technologies of the Third Digital Revolution will either aid humanity in our collective quest for liberation, or deepen still our species’ inhumanity towards itself and our dear mother earth.  One thing is painfully clear, and that is if these technologies remain the exclusive property of the capitalist class and the trans-national corporations they control, these tools will not be used for the benefit of the overwhelming majority of humanity, but to expand the profits and further consolidate the power of the 1% that rule the world.  Under their control, these technologies will lead to a crisis of global unemployment on a scale unseen in human history.  The end result will be global dystopia, a social nightmare predicated on massive poverty, lawlessness, state repression, and ever greater human disposability rather than the potential utopia these technologies could potentially enable.

Confronting the Challenges: Class, Race, Gender, and Ecological Limitations

In order to make the future that we want, we have to openly confront the stark problems already at the heart of the Third Digital Revolution, and there are several glaring problems already in plain sight.  Despite great efforts toward democratizing the Third Digital Revolution by making much of the technology “open source”, historically oppressed and disenfranchised communities remain excluded.  The same access gulf seen in the current “digital divide” is being replicated and deepened.  Instead of a ubiquitous transformation, with equal access and distribution, what in fact is emerging is a “fabrication divide”.

This divide is layered, multi-dimensional, and compounded.  The first and obvious barrier to access is cost.  Those who can afford the machines will eventually be able to produce whatever they want, while those who can’t will remain dependent on the inequitable market, the forces that manipulate it, and the increasingly antiquated methods of production they employ to produce their consumer goods.   While this revolution is spurred on by the dropping cost and rapid development of fabrication technology, indigenous and working class Black and Latin-x populations will still find themselves at least a step behind as the cost of early adoption will continue to advantage the already privileged. 

The issues of cost and accessibility lead directly to a discussion of class.  The working class is almost always alienated from the market mechanisms that enable people to take best advantage of emerging technology.  Further still, the dismantling of society by the neoliberal project has eroded the bonds of social solidarity and eradicated the safety nets created through working class political victories.  The emergence of the Third Digital Revolution within this socio-political context will only widen the inequality and access gaps that already exist.  For example, the recent elimination of net neutrality combined with years of starving public schools of funding and eviscerating city services ensures that libraries and any other public services that once helped to counterbalance the technological gaps experienced by the working class during the latter half of the 20th century, are becoming ineffective or altogether nonexistent.

While there has been a great deal of public discussion about the advance of the Third Digital Revolution and what benefits and threats it potentially poses, there has been little discussion about racial inequity within the Third Digital Revolution.  Without a major structural intervention, the Third Digital Revolution will only exacerbate the existing digital divide.  Again, here the problem is layered and compounded, for the advances in automation and artificial intelligence that the Third Digital Revolution will advance will disproportionately eliminate many of the low-skill, low-wage manual labor and service sector jobs that historically oppressed communities have been forced into over the last several years.  Given some projections of massive job loss due to automation, there is a real question about whether the potential benefits this transformation could have will outweigh the severe pain and loss Indigenous, Black and Latin-x working class populations will face as this technology advances.

Even less discussed than the class and race based impacts of the Third Digital Revolution are the gender disparities that are likely to deepen if there is no major intervention in the social advance of this development.  Despite recent advances, it is no secret that women are grossly under represented in the technological and scientific arenas[2].  The question is, how can and will the gender inequities be addressed in the midst of the social transformations stimulated by the Third Digital Revolution?  Will the existing gender distribution patterns remain, be exasperated, or will they be eliminated?

The Third Digital Revolution, like its predecessors, will undoubtedly make fundamental shifts not only to human society, but to the planet as well, many of which have yet to be anticipated.  One likely shift that must be examined is the potential of accelerated environmental catastrophe.  Currently, 3D printing is all the rage, and for good reason.  It inspires the imagination and hints at a future where we are able to download or create a file that will allow us to fabricate just about anything that we can imagine.  The key question that hasn’t been asked is how will humanity manage personal fabrication on a mass scale?  The earth’s resources are finite.  Nevertheless, capitalism has ingrained in us an infinite desire for commodities.  While the methods of production under capitalism have been horrifically destructive to the environment, there is no guarantee that the appetites that have been programmed into us over the last several hundred years will suddenly accommodate themselves to ecological balance and sustainability if we are suddenly given the ability to fabricate what we want in the privacy of our own homes.  There is a great deal of consciousness raising and re-socialization about our ecological limits and responsibilities, accompanied by major policy shifts, that must be done to prevent the resource depletion and massive fabrication waste that is likely to result from this technology becoming broadly adopted.

All of these challenging facets of the coming Third Digital Revolution must be addressed, and quickly.  The Third Digital Revolution is emerging in a society with immense inequality and imbalance with regard to the integration of existing technology from the previous Industrial and Digital Revolutions.  As these historic developments converge into the Third Digital Revolution, the concern is that not only will this inherited inequity continue but will be drastically deepened for all of the reasons listed above.  Those of us seeking to realize the potential of the Third Digital Revolution to help our species realize its full potential, must create the means to combat this deepening inequity, and democratize this transformation.  If we can do that, we may very well be able to lay the foundation for a democratic and regenerative economic order, one that could potentially eliminate the extractive, exploitative, and utterly oppressive and undemocratic system that we are currently subjected to.

Those who seek to assist in democratizing the technology of the Third Digital Revolution must understand that any initial investment at this time is risky.  The road ahead is not clear.  What we do know is that we cannot afford to leave the development of this technological revolution solely up to actors like Amazon, Google, Wal-Mart, or the US Department of Defense.  In their hands it will only serve to further extract profits from the majority of humanity and maintain the imperial dominance of the US government through force of arms.  However, finding capital players willing to make “non-extractive” investments that center on tech justice, cooperative business innovation, and production driven to fulfill human need over profit realization are hard to find.  There are many organizations experimenting with getting this technology out to vulnerable populations to aid us from falling further behind the technological access gap, but none of us really know what will work initially, nor when the technology will be at a significantly advanced stage to truly replace the existing mode of production.  The stakes are high, as are the risks at this stage.  Nevertheless, we must struggle, as all early adopters should, to not only avoid being left out in the cold, but to help guide the development in a democratic and egalitarian manner.

Creating the Future, Taking Risks, Co-Constructing Solutions

Early adopter risk taking is exactly what Cooperation Jackson is embarking upon with the launch of our Community Production Center and Community Production Cooperative[3].  Our aim is to make Jackson, Mississippi the “city of the future”, a Transition City anchored in part in the practices of a “Fab City”[4] that would transform our city into an international center of advanced, sustainable manufacturing utilizing 3D printing and other innovative tools of the Third Digital Revolution.  The only way we are going to come anywhere close to attaining anything like the utopia these technologies promise is by democratizing them and subjecting them to social use and production for the benefit of all, rather than the control and appropriation by the few.

The democratization of the technologies of the Third Digital Revolution, both in their ownership and use, is one of the primary aims of Cooperation Jackson.  To realize this aim we struggle for Tech Democracy[5] and Tech Justice first and foremost by educating our members and the general public about the promises and perils of the technology so that people can make informed decisions.  We suggest this as a general framework of struggle.  The next course of action we suggest is the pursuit of self-finance to acquire as much of this technology as we can, with the explicit intention of controlling these means of production and utilizing them for the direct benefit of our organization and our community.

Another course of action we suggest and are embarking upon is organizing our community for political and economic power to expand and reinforce our Community Production efforts.  Our aim is to gradually make Community Production ubiquitous in our community, with the explicit intent of gradually replacing the exploitative and environmentally destructive methods of production in use at present.  A related course of action is to utilize our political power to make demands on the government, the capitalist class, and the transnational corporations to remove the controls they have on the technology, like exclusive patents, in order to make these technologies publicly accessible.  Another essential demand on the government is to make massive investments in these technologies to make them public utilities and/or commons[6] and to ensure that the corporations make restorative investments in these utilities for the public good.

We also think that public/community partnerships should be pursued on a municipal level to establish direct community ownership over these technologies to help ensure that vulnerable populations and historically oppressed communities gain direct access, with the prerequisite being where these communities are sufficiently organized and possess a degree of political power within the municipality.  Public/community partnerships could also be essential towards capitalizing these democratic pursuits, by enabling the community to use both its tax wealth and various vehicles of self-finance to build out the necessary infrastructure in a manner that will ensure that it remains in the community commons or public domain.  It is essential that these types of pursuits be public/community partnerships, with the community being organized in collective institutions like cooperatives, credit unions, community development corporations, etc., and not your typical public/private partnerships that will only remove this infrastructure from the commons or public domain as soon as possible in our neoliberal dominated world.

Further, given the steady decline in union membership, density, and overall social and political power, coupled with the ever growing threats of automation, mechanization, big data, and artificial intelligence to the working class as a whole, we want to appeal to the various unions, in and out of the AFL-CIO, as the most organized sector of the working class in the US, to take the challenges of the Third Digital Revolution head on.  In fact, we think organized labor should be leading the charge on the question of Community Production, as it is in the best position given its resources, skills and strategic location in society to steer the Third Digital Revolution in a democratic manner.  In this vein, we want to encourage organized labor to utilize the tremendous investment resources it has at its disposal to start creating or investing in Community Production Cooperatives throughout the US to further the ubiquitous development and utilization of the technology to help us all realize the benefits of a “zero-marginal cost society”[7] to combat climate change and eliminate the exploitation of the working class and the lingering social and material effects of racism, patriarchy, heterosexism, ableism, etc.  It is time for the cooperative and union movements, as vehicles of working class self-organization, to reunite again, and Community Production units could and should be a strategic means towards this end.

Finally, we have to keep pushing forward thinking universities, particularly public colleges and universities, and philanthropists to also provide support to community production development efforts seeking to democratize control of this technology early on.

These are the core elements of what we think is a transformative program to utilize and participate in the development of the Third Digital Revolution for the benefit of our community and the liberation of the working class and all of humanity.  We want and encourage other historically oppressed communities throughout the United States to follow this path, Jackson cannot and should not follow this path alone.

Supporting Cooperation Jackson and the Center for Community Production

--> If you agree with this analysis, in whole or in part, we need your help to bridge the Fabrication Divide. Cooperation Jackson is seeking broad public support for the development of our Community Production Center. We are aiming to raise $600,000 to complete the purchase of the facilities, build out them out, and equip them with all the utilities and equipment needed to create a dynamic Production Center. You can help build the Center for Community Production by becoming a National Donor or Investor and recruiting others to do the same. The $600,000 figure does not have to be daunting, if we can recruit 600 people to donate and/or invest $1,000 each, we can easily meet this goal. So, let us not be swayed, but moved to organize to turn this vision into a transfo

[1] We draw or primary definition of the Third Digital Revolution from the work of Neil Gershenfeld, particularly his more recent work “Designing Reality: How to Survive and Thrive in the Third Digital Revolution”, co-written with Alan Gershenfeld and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld.
[2] For more detail on the gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and math fields see, “Women still underrepresented in the STEM Fields”,
[3] We derive our notion of Community Production from Blair Evans and INCITE FOCUS based in Detroit, Michigan. For more information see INCITE FOCUS and “Green City Diaries: Fab Lab and the Language of Nature”
[4] Fab City is a concept that grew out of the Fab Lab Network. For more information on this concept and emerging network see
[5] We are adopting the concept of Tech Justice from LabGov, which describes itself as the “laboratory for the governance of the city as a commons”. For more information see
[6] We utilize the notion and definition of the Commons utilized within the Peer 2 Peer Network. For more details see “What it the Commons Transition?” at
[7] We have adopted the notion of a “Zero-Marginal Cost Society” from Jeremy Rifkin and his work, “The Zero-Marginal Cost Society: the Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism”.