The economy is big news, and a big worry. But there are as many economies as we need. There are global, national, regional, and neighborhood economies. There are economies for greed, destruction, and exploitation, as well as for generosity, creativity, and love. And there are as many types of money as we need to operate these economies. As the gift economies spread beyond villages to large regions, money was invented to make sharing easier. So, taking control of money again to make it serve communities, begins at home.
“… Hacer arte supone una revelación, porque implica sacar a relucir la verdad, que yace en lo más profundo del país, para llevarla a escena, al papel o al cuadro. Pero hacer eso entre nosotros, significa crearlo todo de nuevo (…) Se plantean entonces dos cosas: o se escribe para la gente feliz y limpia o se trabaja para darle al pueblo una expresión. Nuestra verdad está en el charco y no en la traducción de La Divina Comedia…”.
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This report looks at community-based accountability and parental participation as a lever for school improvement in rural India. It reviews a case study project in Andhra Pradesh, which was set up in the context of failures in primary education access and quality across the state. The project used a novel approach to improve primary school standards: the training of illiterate mothers to inspect and report on local school quality using a simple traffic-light scorecard process.
This is an important case study for education policymakers as they turn their attention to the potential of community-based accountability to drive school improvements. The judicious use of this ‘short route’ of accountability is seen as a way of increasing ‘return’ without greatly increasing expenditure: a cost-effective way of driving basic school improvements in resource-poor settings. This case study research gathers some valuable insights for policymakers by capturing these improvement forces in action:
Maximise access to community learning for adults, bringing new opportunities and improving lives, whatever people’s circumstances. Promote social renewal by bringing local communities together to experience the joy of learning and the pride that comes with achievement. Maximise the impact of community learning on the social and economic well-being of individuals, families and communities. Objectives:
Focus public funding on people who are disadvantaged and least likely to participate, including in rural areas and people on low incomes with low skills. Collect fee income from people who can afford to pay and use where possible to extend provision to those who cannot.
Widen participation and transform people’s destinies by supporting progression relevant to personal circumstances, e.g., improved confidence and willingness to engage in learning; acquisition of skills preparing people for training, employment or self-employment; improved digital, financial literacy and/or communication skills; parents/carers better equipped to support and encourage their children’s learning; improved/maintained health and/or social well-being.
Develop stronger communities, with more self-sufficient, connected and pro-active citizens, leading to: increased volunteering, civic engagement and social integration; reduced costs on welfare, health and anti-social behaviour; increased online learning and self organised learning; the lives of our most troubled families being turned around.
The New University Cooperative: Reclaiming Higher Education: Prioritizing Social Justice and Ecological Sustainability
Recognizing the state of massive and concomitant crises facing humanity and the planet, from climate change to disparities of wealth to war, and that the current system of higher education contributes to the perpetuation of these crises, there is great impetus for a new approach to how we engage in higher education. From this basis, academics, students, activists, and community members from across the country met to create a New University in Canada, with a vision holistically founded on principles of ecological sustainability and social justice, inclusive and accessible to all. This article will provide a brief critique of higher education and its role in society arguing it does not provide the leadership and knowledge needed to meet these challenges and instead contributes to the perpetuation of these crises. The discussion will then articulate what a higher education institution profoundly grounded in ecology and social justice using a cooperative organizational structure would look like in practice.
In the last decade, the commons has become a prevalent theme in discussions about collective but decentralized control over resources. This paper is a preliminary exploration of the potential linkages between commons and cooperatives through a discussion of the worker cooperative as one example of a labour commons. We view the worker coop as a response at once antagonistic and accommodative to capitalism. This perspective is amplified through a consideration of five aspects of an ideal-type worker cooperativism: associated labour, workplace democracy, surplus distribution, cooperation among cooperatives, and, controversially, links between worker cooperatives and socialist states. We conclude by suggesting that the radical potential of worker cooperatives might be extended, theoretically and practically, by elaborating connections with other commons struggles in a process we term the circulation of the common.
The cooperative movement was one of the first social movements of modern times, with roots at the beginning of the industrial revolution, and was an integral part of the early labour movement. The movement for worker cooperatives, workplace democracy, and social enterprises is resurgent around the world today. The cooperative movement of the present and near future operates primarily in the spaces that the corporate system cannot and will not fill. Cooperatives can provide a dignified living for the many millions who would otherwise be unemployed or marginalized. Grassroots social movements have turned to cooperatives in response to the depredations of globalism and the worldwide deep recession, to improve people’s living conditions and to empower them. Many of the new social enterprises are arising from spontaneous initiatives of grassroots groups, and many are being organized, coordinated, and backed by non-profit development organizations, governments, and communities. Cooperatives and social enterprises are the world’s best hope of achieving peace, prosperity, and social equity in this new century, and it is there that the eyes of the world need to turn.
Rhizomatica‘s mission is to increase access to mobile telecommunications to the over 2 billion people without affordable coverage and the 700 million with none at all. We support and promote technologies that reinforce community values like cooperation, trust and commitment. In many instances, technology is a vehicle for introducing market logic and atomization in the developing world. We are aware of the role mobile communications play in this process, generally privileging one-to one communication and so we strive to put incipient technology at the service of rural and indigenous communities, in ways that reinforce their values and ways of association.
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Whether it’s a tech company seeking to turn its customers into “brand advocates” or a not-for profit group organizing an online campaign, building an active user community is now on the agenda of many organizations. But what exactly is involved in building a sustainable community?