|This July and August, the CGJ continued its long tradition of presenting a series of issue oriented videos and speaker panels for the Summer Symposium. As always, we try to go beyond insightful critiques. Including activists, academics and organizers who develop alternative solutions and visions is a vital part of our work. Events that have well recognized names; Michael Moore, Naomi Klein, Chomsky, etc seem to always have good attendance. Introducing our audience to less well known individuals who have powerful insights is also important to our mission. Other individuals we highlighted, like; Richard Wolff, Chip Berlet, Wengari Maathai, Gar Alperovitz and Holly Yasui, generate analysis and solutions incredibly important to furthering a progressive understanding of the world we all live in. And as with all CGJ events, we encourage dialog. Whether it's films, panel, or guest speakers, the dialog and ideas discussed by those attending our events bring an essential element, because ultimately, the change we want will need all of us to be involved. I want to encourage everyone to participate in the planning and administration of this coming Winter Symposium. Your ideas, recommendations and assistance in the program are not only welcomed, but essential to our continued success. So email, call or stop by the office.|
Many of the panel discussions were recorded and are available on our YouTube Chanel:
|Visit Tolantongo with the Center for Global Justice|
|Imagine yourself relaxing in a mountainside warm infinity pool as you gaze out over a spectacular green canyon. Or far below go swimming in an aqua colored thermal river. Explore the cavern where the river gushes from the side of the mountain, basking in the shower of warm water falling from above. Or explore a hiking trail through the lush greenery with its rich variety of plants, cactus, trees - including fruit trees - as well as unique species of birds. Enjoy hearty meals with local dishes. Or just relax and read a good book in your own mountain cabin. All of this –and more – is waiting for you at the eco-resort of Tolantongo. Join a September 6 to 9 visit there with the Center for Global Justice. |
Grutas de Tolantongo is a cooperative resort where the workers are also the owners. Over the past 30 years or so, they have developed this unique place, building the infinity pools, the cabins, a hotel, restaurant and shops with their own hands –a real bootstraps story. They run it democratically and share in the profits from their labor. It is an inspiring alternative to the usual corporate owned resorts.
Your three night stay with meals will cost you 3,900 pesos plus 500 to 700 pesos for private transportation. Reserve your place now by calling Olivia at 150-0025 weekday evenings or email email@example.com
Deadline: Friday, September 2
|How to Join, Donate & Pay Dues|
|You can support all these activities by becoming a member and/or making a donation.|
Annual dues are $120 USD (or whatever you can afford).
Family membership is $220 USD. Donations are also welcome and tax deductible under our IRS 501c3 status.
Make out your check to Center for Global Justice.
If you are in the US or Canada, mail it to:
Center for Global Justice
5802 Bob Bullock Loop
Suite C1 # 84-1A
Laredo TX 78041
If you are in Mexico, send it to:
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
You can also send money to the Center on-line through our website at
Click on Donate button in the right side of the page and follow the steps.
|All the ways you can communicate with us||
|Moving Beyond Capitalism Book!!|
|The Center for Global Justice has just published Moving Beyond Capitalism. This book includes some of the best presentations from the conference we had on the subject two years ago, plus some new material. If you weren't able to get to the conference (or even if you did), this path-setting volume will open your eyes to ways progressives can move forward toward a better world.|
Edited by Cliff DuRand
Series: Routledge Critical Development Studies
This book addresses the call for alternative ways forward in the face of the prevailing corporatocracy and capitalist system. It examines a number of institutions and practices in present societies that point toward a more equal, participatory, and democratic society, including cooperatives, public banks, the commons and economic democracy. The book includes critical chapters by academics and activists with a variety of theoretical-political perspectives from the US and Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina.
This fall Cliff DuRand will be available to speak about the book. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some other of the authors may also be available to speak.
Take advantage of our introductory 20% discount offer by ordering your copy today at www.routledge.com/9781138202948
When ordering the book, enter the code FLR40 at checkout to receive a 20% discount.
|Cuba: We Saw the Future, and it Works |
by Cliff DuRand
|The Center for Global Justice organized a group of 32 persons who spent two weeks in Cuba June 19 to July 2 investigating the new cooperatives forming there. Most of us were members of co-ops, writers on co-ops or advocates of co-ops. Two thirds were from the US, the rest from Mexico, China, India, Germany, Switzerland and Canada.|
We visited a sewing co-op that makes guayabera shirts and dresses, a transportation co-op that operates a fleet of buses, several cooperative restaurants and even an accounting cooperative –seven in all. These are among hundreds of new urban co-ops that are opening up an important part of the emerging non-state sector of the economy in addition to the small private businesses that seem to be thriving. They offer a socialist alternative to state employment for workers who find that the cooperative form of management not only offers them democratic participation in running their collective business but also higher incomes, typically three times higher and as much as seven times higher than in state jobs. Many of these co-ops were converted from state enterprises that now lease the building and other means of production from the state, but manage it as their own.
The challenge the state conversions face is moving away from the familiar hierarchical relations in their workplace to genuinely democratic self-governance. For example, in the sewing factory we visited, the head of the cooperative refers to the fellow members as “my workers.” While she is no longer accountable to higher bureaucrats in the Ministry, one wonders how accountable her management is to the collective membership in spite of the monthly General Assembly meetings. The Institute of Philosophy, which hosted our trip, is conducting training here as well as in other places to educate workers about the social relations essential to a genuine co-op. It is easy to fall into habitual patterns. Building a cooperative is a process that takes some time.
This is easier to do when a group comes together voluntarily to form a new business from scratch, understanding from day one that the shared endeavor is theirs. An example of a self-initiated co-op is SCENIUS, the accounting firm we visited. In this unusual professional cooperative, the members refer to each other as “partners.” Similarly, more egalitarian attitudes can be seen in Biky’s restaurant. Although it was initiated by a small group who leased the building from the state, as they renovated the facility (using a loan from the bank), others joined them with the knowledge that they were becoming members of a self-governing enterprise. Now in their first year of operation, they have 120 members.
Our group found it exciting to get a glimpse into this new experiment in worker self-management that is unfolding. Particularly inspiring was a young group we met that wanted to start a bakery in their neighborhood. They had a clear understanding of what a cooperative should be and wanted to serve their community with such a business. We meet with them in a local restaurant that became a co-op after the formerly state restaurant went bankrupt. They now have a popular successful business. One can sense the appeal of such examples and expect they can spread rapidly once the way is opened for a fuller cooperatization in urban areas of Cuba. We saw the beginnings of the renovated socialism Cuba is developing. And it works.
by Yolanda Millan Manjarrez
| During my last visit to Cuba, I could see how the co-op system is starting to raise awareness of the collective management of resources, offering a promising future not only for Cubans, but for other societies as well. For Cuban people especially, I consider the co-op way viable because of the socialism they have lived with since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. |
In our visit we learned that the autonomy of cooperatives in Cuba lies in their economic self-management and social organization, as pointed out by Camila Piñeiro, a leading Cuban researcher. While I could see there was often limited experience with collective decision making, I think this is a process which, little by little, everybody will converge on the importance of training on how to operate in a cooperative. This is a point that needs to be worked on so that society acquires the culture of cooperativism and understands the importance of autonomy in co-op production.
This is what the International Coop Association (ACI in Spanish) says about autonomy and independence: Cooperatives are autonomous self-help organizations controlled by their members. By entering into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or taking capital from external sources, they do it on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain the autonomy of the cooperative. This is fundamental. Thus the importance of conducting training workshops and training for all members (elected representatives, management and employees) so all can effectively contribute to its development.
I consider young people are the “spring” that is needed for this new stage in Cuba. "Following our socialism” as a young Cuban interested in the movement commented, is the feasible way toward cooperatives. In the beginning, the incorporation to this system was by initiative of the state rather than by co-op members themselves (2012), I think now is the proper time to support groups of young people that are putting their sight toward cooperativism and recognizing the importance of self-management.
Among the cooperatives we visited, I was impressed with the transport coop. Through their president and secretary, they told us about their progress and the improvement of their income. There is no doubt, new airs and changes in beautiful Cuba are unfolding.
I want to finish with the opinion of Humberto Miranda, another Cuban researcher: “The Cuban state, immersed in a process of renovation, reforms and changes - that allow to reorient the revolutionary paradigm shift towards a model of socialism sustainable and efficient- contemplate the inclusion of cooperatives beyond the agricultural area". !! Congratulations!!
|Organic Agriculture and Cooperatives in Cuba|
November 20-29, 2016
|Two decades ago Cuba was the first country to convert from industrial agriculture to organic agriculture. Today it is converting a major part of its economy to cooperatives. Learn how this island nation is striving for food sovereignty as it reorganizes its economy. Visit organic gardens and cooperatives, both urban and rural, an ecological zone, a community project. Talk with specialists in sustainable agriculture, the Cuban economy, its health system, US-Cuban relations, and more. Experience Cuban culture and the vibrancy of its people in this 10 day trip hosted by Havana’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center. Sponsored by the Center for Global Justice and Via Organica along with Organic Consumers Association. |
Estimated cost of $1550 plus airfare (from either Miami or Mexico City) includes dormitory style accommodations and all meals at MLK Center, translation, guide, transportation and a full program of activities.
Application and non-refundable $100 deposit. Full payment due one month before departure. Limited scholarships are available. For applications and further information, contact email@example.com
|Tianguis Multitrueque now in TOSMA!!|
Since June this year, the last Saturday of each month, Tianguis Multitrueque Amanatli happens at TOSMA (Multitrueque is an alternative way to exchange products and/or services through barter with community currency).
This is the beginning of a new relationship between two important efforts to construct the Solidarity Economy in San Miguel.
We, at the Center for Global Justice, applaud this initiative and wish them many, many success!!
Congrats to both organizations, we support you!