The big oil and electric companies are largely unaccountable to the communities they power and pollute. But the U.S. power grid has other kinds of companies, too. Seventy-five percent of the landmass of the country gets electricity from electric cooperatives—a wildly successful New Deal program, long maligned as communist, and now little-remembered, even by its members. These co-ops’ lobby just fought hard to end the Clean Power Plan and elect Donald Trump, but they might also become the cutting edge for a renewable-energy future.
This week in The Nation I report on the contradictory state of electric co-ops, from the promise of distributed, local generation to some of their members’ uphill battle for racial justice.
The future of Twitter
At their annual meeting on May 22, Twitter’s shareholders will be voting on a proposal to consider options for converting the company to some form of democratic user ownership. The proposal is an outgrowth of organizing that began with an article of mine in The Guardian last September, along with the brilliant, determined organizing of friends like Danny Spitzberg and Maira Sutton. With just two weeks to go, we’re doing all we can to spread the idea and persuade shareholders. Read more about us in places like Recode, Vanity Fair, and the Financial Times.
If you think the idea is crazy or impossible, tell that to the Associated Press.
More cooperative futures
If you’re not watching Jackson, Mississippi, you should be. In 2015 I went there to report on the life of Chokwe Lumumba, the black-nationalist mayor who died suddenly after just a few months in office. But now his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, has just won the Democratic nomination, all but clinching the next election. Antar is riding the same platform of cooperative enterprise and local economy that brought his father to office. We have a new rebel city.
And more. In my first article for Quartz, I wrote about why tech startups need new business models, and how we can build them.
Finally, through the delightful Colorado Co-ops Study Circle, I’m co-hosting a new, monthly community radio show, the Co-op Power Hour. Subscribe to our feed and listen up for shows on Black Lives Matter, co-op education, business conversions, and more.
Near and far
- 2017.05.16: Washington, DC – Community Purchasing Alliance annual meeting address
- 2017.05.18: Boulder, CO – “Startup.coop” session at Boulder Startup Week
- 2017.07.19: Denver, CO – Keynote address at the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) Institute at Regis University
- 2017.07.17: Bologna, Italy – “An Internet of Ownership” at the University of Bologna
- 2017.06.09: Padua, Italy – Panelist at Pathways to a Cooperative Market Economy