Jackson Rising launches Cooperation Jackson to end economic exclusion and build community wealth

by Kali Akuno

The Jackson Rising Organizing Committee and Cooperation Jackson sincerely thank all who attended and all our supporters for helping to make the New Economies Conference a total success. You, along with more than 500 other participants, helped to secure the legacy of the Lumumba administration and establish a solid foundation for the development of Cooperation Jackson as a vehicle to build economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi.

Through your participation we were able to make some major strides towards the accomplishment of all of our primary goals.

  1. We exceeded our goal of having more than 500 registered participants.
  2. We exceeded our goal of constructing an active database of well over 1,000 local, regional, national and international contacts.
  3. We were able to start the process of training over 100 Jacksonians in the basics of cooperatives and how to start them.
  4. We successfully had a public launch of Cooperation Jackson.
Kali-Akuno-at-Jackson-Rising-on-Laura-Flanders-Show-052014-300x205, Jackson Rising launches Cooperation Jackson to end economic exclusion and build community wealth, News & Views
Kali Akuno, an organizer of the Jackson Rising New Economies Conference, appeared on the Laura Flanders Show, which sent a crew to cover the conference.

And with your ongoing solidarity and support, we will create a solid national and international network to support Cooperation Jackson and the movement for economic democracy in our city and region.

Next steps

The next concrete step in the Jackson Rising journey is building Cooperation Jackson. This means transforming the organizing collective that helped facilitate the New Economies Conference into a fully-fledged cooperative network.

We aim to do this by creating a local federation of worker-owned and self-managed cooperatives that build and leverage the skills of the under- and unemployed sectors of Jackson that are currently being excluded or dislocated from the workplace and their homes and communities.

Cooperation Jackson seeks to replace the current economic system of exploitation, exclusion and destruction of communities and the environment with a successful alternative. An alternative built on equity, cooperation, worker democracy and environmental sustainability to provide meaningful work, eliminate racial inequity in income and wealth, and build community wealth.

Jackson-Rising-New-Economies-Conference-crowd-on-Laura-Flanders-Show-052014-300x155, Jackson Rising launches Cooperation Jackson to end economic exclusion and build community wealth, News & Views
Jackson Rising was a leap forward in re-popularizing co-ops in the South.

Building on this, we aim to turn the increasing number of people active in a local democratic economy into a grassroots political force to advance the initiative to build a true democracy, based on direct participation and economic democracy.

Our short-term one-year workplan and goals for 2014-2015 include:

  • Consolidating the operational basis of Cooperation Jackson by securing enough resources to hire administrative, organizing and specialty staff, purchasing an office and training facility, and purchasing several abandoned buildings and vacant lots to establish various cooperatives;
  • Securing adequate training for all of the members of Cooperation Jackson to enable them to recruit and train hundreds of Jacksonians in how to start cooperatives, be good cooperators, and run successful cooperative enterprises to further develop our network and build the movement’s overall infrastructure;
  • Developing our Incubator to support the development of our first and future cooperatives by facilitating investment relationships, coordinating member trainings, providing bookkeeping and accounting services, and legal services and counsel;
  • Coordinating an on-going grassroots economic series based on the education and training needs identified through extensive outreach before the Jackson Rising Conference and during its many forums and workshop sessions; and
  • Launching six worker cooperatives – recycling, construction, urban farming, temp and day labor, child care, and arts and culture – by June 2015.
The-Jackson-Kush-Plan-cover-247x300, Jackson Rising launches Cooperation Jackson to end economic exclusion and build community wealth, News & Views
For inspiration and motivation, read “The Jackson-Kush Plan” at http://www.scribd.com/doc/218031046/The-Jackson-Kush-Plan.

How you can support us

There are three general ways you can help build and strengthen our work:

  1. Advocates: We need solid advocates who will promote our work and seek to build connections between us and cooperatives, social movements, donors, and progressive financers throughout the United States and the world, in full respect for our principles and our fundamental rule of engagement – which is that in the end we have to represent ourselves in all decision making endeavors pertaining to us.
  2. Partners: We need to establish mutually beneficial partnerships that will aid us in helping to educate and train our members, provide us with various types of technical assistance, ongoing publicity and media support, and, most importantly, trade and other forms of economic exchange.
  3. Donors: We need ongoing donations and gift capital to support our general administrative operations, ongoing organizing and education work, member training and development, business planning, and start-up funds for the various cooperative enterprises. You can donate to Cooperation Jackson by donating either to our LLC or our non-profit (please identify which one you are choosing to contribute to for tax purposes) by writing a check to Cooperation Jackson and mailing it to P.O. Box 1932, Jackson, MS 39215.

To stay abreast of ongoing developments with Cooperation Jackson and the ongoing Jackson Rising education initiative continue to follow www.CooperationJackson.org. For inquirers and more detailed information, please contact CooperationJackson@gmail.com. You can also write P.O. Box 1932, Jackson, MS 39215 or call 601-208-0090.

Together, with your solidarity and support, we will make Jackson Rise through Cooperative Enterprise!

Kali Akuno, legendary member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, describes himself as an “organizer, agitator, trying to be an organic intellectual.” Read his blog, Navigating the Storm, and contact him at kaliakuno@gmail.com.