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