US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Racial & Economic Justice Membership Council
Statement of Solidarity
The board and staff of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives endorses the policy platform for the movement for Black Lives . Through its Racial & Economic Justice Membership Council, the USFWC sees itself as a greater tool for exerting the true power of cooperatives to dismantle systems of economic oppression that are intrinsic to racial, gender and all intersectional oppressions. The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives holds a vision for economic justice which requires that we collectively enact the internationally shared Cooperative Principles, most specifically Care for Community and Cooperation Among Cooperatives. It is in the spirit of these foundational principles that our movement supports fellow movements towards our collective liberation. We stand in solidarity with and are accountable to all struggles that uphold collective liberation and cooperation, especially the Black Lives Matter Freedom Movement, Standing Rock Water Protectors and, the liberation of Palestine. As our sister organization, the Democracy at Work Institute says in their endorsement, “we cannot stay silent and therefore complicit in a system that diminishes Black humanity and opportunity.”
Our model creates a structured way to democratize ownership, management, and enterprise itself. We are humbled by the call from grassroots organizers like the Movement for Black Lives, to develop more worker co-ops as a means toward economic justice and community control. The work we do to develop, organize, and support worker co-ops is the liberation we seek. This Federation works toward a shared, collective freedom for all; freedom from poverty, freedom from fast and slow racial death, from marginalization, from second-class status, and the freedom to lead a self-directed life and purpose. Our work is dedicated to aligning the worker cooperative community with struggles and movements that build power with and in marginalized communities.
Cooperatives, in intersectional partnership with other freedom movements, are powerful agents of change. Co-operatives offer a model of community-centered business that can exist inside and outside of capitalism. The theme of our time is a transition from destructive, objectifying and dehumanizing “power over” another dynamics to a “power in cooperation with” model which seeks to create a holistic, life-affirming future. We are learning together how to build new models as we deconstruct the old.
We support the Movement for Black Lives Matter Platform
. Patrisse Cullors, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, has called the organization a “rehumanization project.” Only by confronting the national legacy and present day assault on Black bodies, from centuries of economic exploitation to state-sanctioned violence to mass incarceration, we can undo the dehumanizing damage that an unjust system wreaks on all of it’s inhabitants, all of us. That is the spirit of cooperation.
We stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. As no cooperative would outsource its own labor, no community would willingly put profit over their safety. #WaterIsLife and oil pipelines represent streams of death through countless communities, and many people have suffered. As our fellow humans rise, we rise with them for community control of sacred lands and resources and we stand in cooperative solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who have set forth models of mutual aid for centuries.
We stand in solidarity with Palestinian Liberation. True, lasting peace cannot come from domination of one group over another. The council supports lifting the lives of those who have endured intergenerational trauma through ethnic cleansing, war and oppression. As cooperators, we model the way forward that does not divert much needed domestic funds into global war and oppression. We do not aim to disengage those who have themselves experienced historical oppression. We stand with Palestinians and alongside others around the world from all religions and backgrounds who seek freedom.
In these and countless other examples, we stand in solidarity and shared struggle with our communities nationally, and internationally, coming together with organizers, educators and freedom fighters actively striving for liberation. The USFWC is already a vibrant coalition of members. Members who together represent a lived counteraction to domination of one over another and specifically white supremacy and economic injustice. As a national organization, USFWC is poised to act as a unified voice for all worker-owners and collectively advocate for our greater needs together. By working to educate ourselves and others, we hold our organizations and businesses accountable to the very foundations of cooperation. Freedom is won together, in a shared state of being. Solidarity is just the beginning. With critical reflection, a belief in our own efficacy, and critical action, we will, cooperatively, Get Free!
The staff and Board of the Democracy at Work Institute enthusiastically endorse the Vision for Black Lives, and we stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives. The platform articulates a vision for a new society where past wrongs are made right and where freedom and self-determination are fact, not fiction. We find common cause with the courageous and visionary organizers working for “economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.”
We are an organization dedicated to the growth of worker-owned cooperative businesses as a model, a movement, and a mode of working toward a more equitable and just economy. We help communities build their capacity to develop, convert and sustain worker-owned businesses; racial equity is a cornerstone of our work. In the words of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, our sister organization, “Cooperatives, in intersectional partnership with other freedom movements, are powerful agents of change.”
We are a movement that is increasingly led by people of color; we believe our cooperative institutions must take an explicit stand on the value of Black lives, including our own lives and those of our colleagues, clients and cooperatives.
We are proponents of democratic ownership and control; we value every person’s humanity as fundamental to the exercise of real democracy. We cannot stay silent and therefore complicit in a system that diminishes Black humanity and opportunity. All programs at DAWI incorporate a racial equity approach and we collaborate with Black-led organizations to share cooperative tools, models and resources.
In a country whose founding proposition was the ownership of human beings by other human beings, and whose political and economic systems have sought, often violently, to concentrate wealth and reinforce racial exclusion, we recognize that the change we seek will not come without struggle. We honor the struggle of our brothers and sisters in the Movement for Black Lives, and we commit ourselves to struggle alongside you to support cooperative ownership in service of economic and racial justice for Black communities.
- The staff and Board of Directors of the Democracy at Work Institute