Community Articles from 2018
How Cooperation Richmond is Empowering Marginalized Communities to Build an Equitable Economy
By Robert Raymond
Posted May 3, 2018
Lying a few miles south of Marin County and just across the bay from San Francisco, the city of Richmond, California, is situated within two of the wealthiest regions of the United States. Richmond, however, does not share in this wealth. Its downtown has been largely abandoned and its northern periphery is on the front lines of the Chevron Richmond Refinery, processing over 240,000 barrels of crude oil every single day and creating a toxic environment to those living in the surrounding vicinity. It’s an example of what we know as a “sacrifice zone” — a community that has been largely incapacitated by environmental damage and economic neglect.
But in the shadow of the looming refinery, and within the spaces between boarded up storefronts and abandoned lots, something is stirring in Richmond. Residents, organizers, and activists have come together to create an incubation hub for community revitalization and resilience. They call themselves Cooperation Richmond, and their aim is to empower the marginalized and exploited residents of this city to build community-controlled wealth and wellbeing. More…
What Standing Rock Gave the World
by Jenni Monet
Posted April 30, 2018
Americans saw the Indigenous struggle—the violence, stolen resources, colluding corporations and governments—that goes hand in hand with protecting the Earth.
At the height of the movement at Standing Rock, Indigenous teens half a world away in Norway were tattooing their young bodies with an image of a black snake. Derived from Lakota prophecy, the creature had come to represent the controversial Dakota Access pipeline for the thousands of water protectors determined to try to stop it.
It was a show of international solidarity between the Indigenous Sami and the Lakota. “They got tattoos because of the Norwegian money invested in the pipeline,” said Jan Rune Måsø, editor of the Sami news division of Norway’s largest media company, NRK. More…
How This CSA Started By A Chemistry Teacher May Be The Future Of Local Agriculture
By Aaron Fernando
Posted April 24, 2018
Quietly nestled on the side of a hill in the rural town of Caroline, New York, just a short drive from Ithaca, Nook and Cranny Farm is well-suited to its name. Its owner, Bob Tuori, has owned the plot of land that it sits on for almost two decades. Over the years, he has grown it into a prime example of a community-focused intensive, efficient, and sustainable small farm.
Tuori’s farm is particularly notable for a few reasons. Not only does it utilize a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business model to supply high-quality produce to over 60 families in the region and employ people from the area, but it does so with only four acres of arable land, by using it as sustainably and efficiently as possible.
Add this to that the fact that Tuori himself is a full-time high school chemistry teacher — as he has been for the duration Nook and Cranny’s existence — and you get a close-up view of what a local, citizen-led agricultural revolution might look like. In a country where far too many people still do not have access to nutritional food (see USDA’s interactive atlas of food deserts) small farms like Nook and Cranny that are located in the communities they feed offer much promise in their ability to increase access to high-quality food. More…
Central Vermont: “YES!” On Communications Union District
by Lisa Gonzalez
Posted April 20, 2018
We recently learned that a group of communities in central Vermont had decided to ask voters if they should form a communications union district to develop a regional fiber optic network. On March 6th, twelve of thirteen communities who took up the proposal at Town Meeting passed it, and the thirteenth will address the subject in May.
Communities that passed the measure are Barre City, Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, Middlesex, Montpelier, Northfield, Plainfield, Roxbury, Williamstown, and Worcester. In Berlin, East Montpelier, Middlesex, and Worcester the community took up the question with a floor vote and it passed unanimously. The town of Barre will bring up the question at its Town Meeting in May.
As an elected official, Hansen has heard many complaints from constituents about poor Internet access and inadequate customer service from ISPs in his town of Berlin. As he’s researched the problem, he’s found that other communities in the region have faced the same problems. More…
Inhuman: What The Establishment’s Bot Hysteria Reveals About Their View Of The Masses
by Elizabeth Vos
Posted April 19, 2018
The only apparatus that could hope to match the soullessness of the psychopaths that run our planet is manifested in the rise of artificial intelligence, paired with robots, which press reports indicate will replace vast sections of the beleaguered human workforce within decades.
It is particularly ironic, then, that the plutocratic class has developed an intense phobia of Twitter bots. In this author’s view, their intense abhorrence can be read in Jungian terms as the subconscious projection of the establishment’s shadow. That is, the more the elite protest about the use of bots on social media, the more they are likely to use such technologies and similar tools to attack the very human public that they constantly misidentify as inhuman bots. More…
Turn Prisons Into Colleges
By Elizabeth Hinton
Posted April 16, 2018
Imagine if prisons looked like the grounds of universities. Instead of languishing in cells, incarcerated people sat in classrooms and learned about climate science or poetry — just like college students. Or even with them.
This would be a boon to prisoners across the country, a vast majority of whom do not have a high school diploma. And it could help shrink our prison population. While racial disparities in arrests and convictions are alarming, education level is a far stronger predictor of future incarceration than race. More…
How a small town reclaimed its grid and sparked a community revolution
by Aditya Chakrabortty
Posted April 14, 2018
In the east German city of Potsdam, the privatisation of water pushed charges up by a third within two years – so it was cancelled. City after city has taken back bin collection in-house. And then there’s energy. In 2005, Wolfhagen was into the final straight of taking its grid into public hands. Since then 284 municipalities, including the second-biggest city of Hamburg, have followed suit.
Such cases don’t get much of a showing in the British press. The pundits and policy wonks who equate public ownership with Red Robbo, Bakelite phones and stale British Rail sandwiches never mention that across Europe there have been 567 instances of public services being taken into public ownership since the year 2000. Everything from care homes for the elderly to bus companies is now run by continental towns and cities. More…
What if People Owned the Banks, Instead of Wall Street?
by Jimmy Tobias
Posted April 11, 2018
When Craig Brandt marched into the City Council chambers in Oakland, California, in the summer of 2015, he was furious about fraud.
The long-time local attorney and father of two had been following the fallout from the Libor scandal, a brazen financial scam that saw some of the biggest banks on Wall Street illegally manipulate international interest rates in order to boost their profits. By some estimates, the scheme cost cities and states around the country well over $6 billion. In June of 2015, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among other Libor-rigging giants, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the conspiracy and agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines to US regulators. But, for Brandt, that wasn’t enough. He wanted the banks banished, blocked from doing business in his city. More…
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