As part of her capstone project, MA in Urban Sustainability student Mary Sutton, launched a series of five workshops to explore and share the benefits and business of starting worker cooperatives. Sutton is starting an organization, “Collective REMAKE: Art, Business, Education, News, People and Recycling for Sustainability”, that will support the development of worker-owned businesses with and for people who are disenfranchised by incarceration.
In the workshops, Sutton presented worker cooperatives as part of a strategy to move away from the exploitive, extractive economy that we live in. Worker cooperatives can be a part of a broader movement to create sustainable local economies that brings money home and recirculates the wealth to rebuild communities and create healthy environments.
The workshops, which began July 23rd, covered a range of topics critical to running a successful democratically and were organized to include visual presentations, videos, interactive exercises and featured community partners with a specific expertise in the world of cooperatives and/or eco-systems thinking.
A diverse group of people, young and old, attended the workshops held at the Southern California Library, on 61st and Vermont. Attendees included former prisoners, families of prisoners, a probation officer, students, activists, cooperators, attorneys, and artists. Several participants plan to start businesses including: mushroom cultivation, greenhouse gardening, digital media and recycling.
Featured speakers included:
Leslie Gersicoff and Liz Ryder, Los Angeles Union Cooperative Initiative (LUCI)
Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project, Oakland, CA.
Gopal is also a student and faculty member in the USMA program at Antioch University.
Gilda Haas and Karen Ochoa, LA Coop LAB. lacooplab.aulacourses.com/
Arroyo S.E.C.O Network of Time Banks & Arroyo S.E.C.O Revolving Loan Fund
Karen Hamilton ’17 (Antioch Los Angeles, MA) is Antioch's Director of Marketing for Content and Communications. She has used her storytelling and copywriting skills for more than twenty years, crafting articles and creating publications. She believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change.