From Economic Crisis to Economic Democracy: Lessons and Strategies from Black Communities
The crises we are facing -- of threats to democracy, to social justice, to community and the environment -- beg us to look at the opportunities crisis creates.
In honor of the birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois, a leader and intellectual who authored, among many great works, Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans in 1907, we will explore the stories, struggles, and successes of workers who have taken control and bettered their lives, through the history of economic cooperativism in African-American communities, and ask how we can apply those lessons to contemporary struggles locally and around the globe.
Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a political economist and Associate Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Africana Studies Department at John Jay College, CUNY; and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. An affiliate scholar with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, she is a member of the GEO Collective, as well as the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, the Southern Grassroots Economies Project, and the US Solidarity Economy Network.
Hon. Roger L. Green, Executive Director of Dubois-Bunche Center on Public Policy, Medgar Evers College, CUNY and the Coalition to Transform Interfaith, served as an elected member of the New York State Assembly from 1981-2005. During his tenure in the State Legislature Green was widely acknowledged as an expert on educational reform and children and family policies. Green served as the Chair of the Committee on Science and Technology, the Committee on Children and Families and the Joint Budget Conference Committee on Human Resources. A longstanding advocate of civil and human rights, Green worked within the legislative process to enact numerous laws that reflected his commitment to these principles.
Naceo Giles, is a worker owner with Skedaddle Pest Control in Brooklyn and member of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives Leadership Council. He worked in educational opportunity programs after graduating from college, as a counselor at Hofstra University's New Opportunities at Hofstra (NOAH) for two years, Director of the College Achievement Program (CAP) at Wagner College for three years, and Dean for Supportive Services at Colgate University for seven years. He also served as maintenance manager of 3333 Broadway for Riverside Maintenance, supervising a maintenance and security staff for three years. After leaving maintenance work, he served as field manager for Critter Crushers Pest Control for 12 years until the company was sold.
Moderator, Dario Azzellini, Murphy Institute visiting scholar, is a political scientist, lecturer at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, writer and filmmaker. He has published several books, essays and documentaries about social movements, privatization of military services, migration and racism, including An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy. His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary militancy, migration and racism, people’s power and selfadministration, workers control and extensive case studies in Latin America.