This event is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited, so please RSVP below.
A book signing and after-party with live music will be held following the discussion. Food and drinks will be served!
Cooperation Jackson's Kali Akuno in conversation with
Richard Wolff, Jabari Brisport, and Jessica Gordon Nembhard
In Jackson Rising Kali Akuno chronicles one of the most dynamic yet under-documented experiments in radical social transformation taking place in the United States. Hidden inside the majority-black, impoverished city of Jackson, Mississippi, is one of today’s most important stories for those of us struggling for economic and social justice, for self-determination and Black political power, and for solidarity economics as a base for working class political struggle and the fight against the systematic economic strangulation of Black communities.
Join us for an evening featuring Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-directer of Cooperation Jackson — the successful network of worker-owned cooperatives building an alternative, solidarity-based economy in Jackson. The book follows the surprising story of the city’s newly elected Mayor, Choke Antara Lumumba, whose vision is to “encourage the development of cooperative businesses” and make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet” in the Conservative controlled state of Mississippi.
Democracy at Work, in support of Cooperation Jackson, will celebrate the release of 'Jackson Rising' with a presentation by Kali Akuno, as well as a roundtable discussion with world-renowned economist Richard Wolff, political economist Jessica Gordon Nembhard, and 2017 New York City council candidate Jabari Brisport.
The conversation will map the successes and struggles of Cooperation Jackson, the need for an emergence of a new politics that will advance worker-owned cooperatives and thereby democratize the economy, and how to navigate the electoral/political terrain under a movement for solidarity economics in the era of Donald Trump.
(For questions or media inquiries regarding this event, please contact Paul Sliker, at [email protected])Thank you to our CO-SPONSORS:
1199 SEIU's Education & Leadership Development Department
Brooklyn Coalition to Transform Interfaith Hospital
Kali Akuno is a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson and the author of Jackson Rising.
Kali served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus in this role was supporting cooperative development, the introduction of eco-friendly and carbon reduction methods of operation, and the promotion of human rights and international relations for the city.
Kali also served as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network, the Executive Director of the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. And was a co-founder of the School of Social Justice and Community Development (SSJCD), a public school serving the academic needs of low-income African American and Latino communities in Oakland, California.
RICHARD D. WOLFF
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.
Richard Wolff is “America’s most prominent Marxist economist” as dubbed by New York Times magazine, and is one of the world’s leading thinkers on political economy, class analysis, and worker-owned cooperatives. He is also the co-founder of Democracy at Work (d@w), a non-profit 501(c)3 that advocates for worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces as a key path to a stronger, democratic economic system. Based on the book 'Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism', d@w envisions a future where workers at every level of their offices, stores, and factories have equal voices in the direction of their enterprise and its impact within their community and society at large.
Wolff hosts the weekly hour long radio program, Economic Update, which now reaches 2 million+ listeners on 80+ radio stations nationwide and is available for video streaming on FreeSpeech TV, YouTube, Facebook, and Patreon.
Jabari Brisport recently ran for New York City Council in Brooklyn’s 35th District. Although Jabari fell short of winning, his rise and popularity was significant as an openly socialist, Green Party candidate endorsed by Our Revolution, Socialist Alternative, and Democratic Socialists of America (the largest socialist organization in the U.S. since World War II). In his 2017 race, Jabari captured 29% of the vote in the face of running only on third-party ballot lines where Democratic Party control and allegiance in NYC is infamously hard to challenge.
Jabari is the proud Caribbean son of an immigrant father and a tireless mother. Both raised him with a strong sense of justice and dignity in all circumstances. He’s also an artist, educator, and activist who’s spent the past ten years making political theater and marching in the streets.
At NYU, he was a founding member of The Glass Theater Company, an anti-gentrification theater group that railed against the NYU takeover of real estate in the Village. At the Yale School of Drama, he devised the piece Derivatives, which tackled growing income inequality. Through that piece, he was able to sign up over 100 people to the micro-loan website Kiva. After Yale, he joined the anti-racist artist collective Artists for Change, which held marches, protests, and online petitions to address the crisis of police violence. And for the past 7 years, he’s performed with the political comedy theater group Political Subversities.
JESSICA GORDON NEMBHARD
Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice” (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014)
A cooperative ambassador, economist and community economic development expert, Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is author of the recently published book, “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice” (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014). The result of 15 years of careful research, the book solidifies Gordon Nembhard as a historian of cooperative empowerment and transformation within low-income and minority communities. Her book argues that co-ops not only should be, but have historically been a social justice tool within African American communities.
Gordon Nembhard is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, of the City University of New York (CUNY). In the early 2000s she was an Assistant Professor in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland, College Park and a co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative at UMCP. She was also a founding board member of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2008-09 she was a visiting scholar at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and continues to be an affiliate scholar with that center. Since 2007, Nembhard has served on the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) Board of Directors, where she contributes to research and education programs.
Gordon Nembhard’s groundbreaking research has profoundly impacted the worker co-op sector. Her vision and principled leadership have positioned worker co-ops as tools for economic and racial justice in the 21st century. She is an active participant in and advisor to both leading cooperative organizations and grassroots cooperative development. Gordon Nembhard co-founded the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops and helped that organization build lasting ties with prominent civil rights and cooperative organizations. She is also an active member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing Newsletter collective and recently joined the board of directors of Green Worker Cooperatives. In 2001, she received the Cooperative Advocacy and Research Award from the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy.
An integral supporter of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, Gordon Nembhard has provided critical historical information, training and staff mentorships to the organization. She is currently working with a committee of the Federation to draft a pilot co-op curriculum for Tuskegee University that the team hopes will prompt other universities to recognize the value of adding co-ops to their business curriculum. Gordon Nembhard also worked with the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi and is a member of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP), a regional network dedicated to building a robust co-op economy in the U.S. South among marginalized communities. She is also instrumental in planning CoopEcon, an annual conference hosted by SGEP and held at the Federation’s Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama. In addition, Gordon Nembhard was a panelist at the 2014 Jackson Rising conference.
Gordon Nembhard is also a widely published author, and is president of the board of directors/shared leadership team of Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) D.C. Her induction to the 2016 Cooperative Hall of Fame validates the ongoing work of cooperative leaders to reverse economic inequality within the U.S.
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