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Forum Post: THE Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone.

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 4, 2012, 11:55 a.m. EST by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By GAR ALPEROVITZ Published: December 14, 2011 College Park, Md.

THE Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone, and whether they continue to have an impact or not, they have brought an astounding fact to the public’s attention: a mere 1 percent of Americans own just under half of the country’s financial assets and other investments. America, it would seem, is less equitable than ever, thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.

But at another level, something different has been quietly brewing in recent decades: more and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model. We may, in fact, be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.

Some 130 million Americans, for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions. More than 13 million Americans have become worker-owners of more than 11,000 employee-owned companies, six million more than belong to private-sector unions.

And worker-owned companies make a difference. In Cleveland, for instance, an integrated group of worker-owned companies, supported in part by the purchasing power of large hospitals and universities, has taken the lead in local solar-panel installation, “green” institutional laundry services and a commercial hydroponic greenhouse capable of producing more than three million heads of lettuce a year.

Local and state governments are likewise changing the nature of American capitalism. Almost half the states manage venture capital efforts, taking partial ownership in new businesses. Calpers, California’s public pension authority, helps finance local development projects; in Alaska, state oil revenues provide each resident with dividends from public investment strategies as a matter of right; in Alabama, public pension investing has long focused on state economic development.

Moreover, this year some 14 states began to consider legislation to create public banks similar to the longstanding Bank of North Dakota; 15 more began to consider some form of single-payer or public-option health care plan.

Some of these developments, like rural co-ops and credit unions, have their origins in the New Deal era; some go back even further, to the Grange movement of the 1880s. The most widespread form of worker ownership stems from 1970s legislation that provided tax benefits to owners of small businesses who sold to their employees when they retired. Reagan-era domestic-spending cuts spurred nonprofits to form social enterprises that used profits to help finance their missions.

Recently, growing economic pain has provided a further catalyst. The Cleveland cooperatives are an answer to urban decay that traditional job training, small-business and other development strategies simply do not touch. They also build on a 30-year history of Ohio employee-ownership experiments traceable to the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s.

Hey check this guy out, I think some of the ideas he espouses are pretty interesting. Here is a video as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0ZTRa4yP-Q

13 Comments

13 Comments


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[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Wow, a Practical method of creating change outsidef the political system! This is what we need to see a lot more of. We have great power if we seize those effective means of non cooperation! Thanks!

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

What about it did you find the most interesting?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I think it's important to single out those methods that are the most targeted and effective. One thing the system needs, to keep functioning, is our money. Anything we can do to interrupt that flow of money - taking our money out of their banks, for example, is effective.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Agreed. I find it exciting because because what he is essentially advocating for is a non statist form of socialisim, which I think is superior to capitalism and statist socialisim. It's really an anarchist or liberatarian socialist concept and I myself find those ideas particularly appealling.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I was reffering simply to taking money out of banks and stocks and putting it into credit unions and community based investments such as the Cleveland cooperative. The Liberatarian philosophy doesn't appeal to me.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Well there are different forms of Liberatarianism. For instance I wouldn't consider Ron Paul and his followers real Liberatarians they are just Austrian school free market fundamentalists. Liberatarian in europe is interchangable with anarchism or worker owner ship of the means of production while maintaining a very minimal state with the goal being to do away with all forms of coercion. I'm certainly not advocating for free for all lazze faire capitalism.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I'm less concerned with making these distinctions than I am with trying to figure out how to overturn this increasingly totalitarian system.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Right on.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

non cooperation?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Non-cooperation with the corporate agenda.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

Oh I understand now.

[-] 1 points by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA 2 years ago

No problem. Here is his web site.

http://www.garalperovitz.com/

[-] 1 points by rayl (1007) 2 years ago

very interesting, thanks for posting this

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