Cooperation Jackson

Cooperative experiments in Jackson, Mississippi.

    • Our story
      • “Cooperation Jackson’s vision is a direct outgrowth of the Jackson-Kush Plan. The Plan is a transformative vision developed by the New Afrikan People’s Organization, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Jackson People’s Assembly starting in 2007 to move Jackson, and the state of Mississippi, from “worse to first” in regards to income inequality, wealth equity, health access, and the practice of democracy.”
      • Cites legacies including Fannie Lou Hamer, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, Mondragón, and Emilia-Romagna.

Core documents

  • Akuno, Kali. “People’s Assembly’s Overview: The Jackson People’s Assembly Model.” Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. November 28, 2014.
    • “A People’s Assembly first and foremost is a mass gathering of people organized and assembled to address essential social issues and/or questions pertinent to a community.” - “we define it as a body that engages at least 1/5th of the total population in a defined geographic area (neighborhood, ward or district, city, state, etc.).”
    • “another defining characteristic of a truly democratic Assembly is that it calls for and is based upon “one person, one vote”. Agency is vested directly in individuals, regardless of if the Assembly makes decisions by some type of voting process or some form of consensus.”
    • 3 types of assemblies: 1. United Front or Alliance based Assembly - organized through existing organizations 2. Constituent Assembly - “a representative body, not a direct democratic body of the people in their totality. This type of Assembly is dependent on mass outreach, but is structured, intentionally or unintentionally, to accommodate the material (having to work, deal with childcare, etc.) and social limitations (interest, access to information, political and ideological differences, etc.) of the people” 3. Mass Assembly - “the broadest example of people’s democracy. It normally emerges during times of acute crisis, when there are profound ruptures in society. These types of Assemblies are typically all-consuming, short-lived entities.”
    • “At present, the Jackson People’s Assembly operates in a space in-between a Constituent and Mass Assembly.”
    • “even though the current practice in Jackson tends towards the Constituent model, the aim is to grow into a permanent Mass Assembly”
    • Roles of an assembly: organize autonomous projects, pressure outside institutions. It can be thought of as an event, a process, and an institution.
    • “an Assembly must organize its proceedings to produce clear demands, a coherent strategy, realistic action plans, and concrete timelines. It must also organize itself into units of implementation, committee’s or action groups, to carry out the various assignments dictated by the strategy and action plans.”
    • Underlying assumptions: 1. There must be a constituency capable of being mobilized 2. There must be experience and skill in facilitation 3. The constituency must deem the Assembly process credible (?)
    • Some guidelines about how things should be clear.
    • “In our People’s Assembly model, the People’s Task Force serves as the Coordinating Committee of the Assembly. The Task Force is a body directly elected by the Assembly, serve at its will, and is subject to immediate recall by the Assembly (meaning that they can be replaced, with due process, at any time).” Also various other working groups are necessary.
    • The Jackson assembly “has been in continuous operation since 2005”
    • “we want to encourage all those who are considering building a People’s Assembly to take the task of building an institutional vehicle of 'dual power' seriously, as we think this is the primary reason to build this type of social movement vehicle.”
    • Some historical notes on what assemblies can accomplish in various kinds of circumstances.
    • Ends with Cabral and Malcolm X quotations


Chokwe Lumumba


  • August 2, 1947: Born in Detroit as Edwin Finley Taliaferro. Attended Catholic schools, played football.
  • 1968: Participates in Western Michigan University occupation after murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1969: Graduated from Kalamazoo College in political science. Changed name after joining the Republic of New Afrika
  • 1971: First came to Mississippi with Republic of New Afrika. Jackson police raided them with a tank, resulting in charges against the “RNA 11.” The next year, RNA bought land in Mississippi to serve as its base. Sovereignty Commission documents register his presence there through 1973, including plans to create co-ops using funds from federal reparations.
  • 1975: Graduated from Wayne State University Law School, where he created a Malcolm X Center. Afterward, became a public defender.
  • 1978: Following a prison riot in Pontiac, IL, Lumumba defended the prisoners.
  • 1983: Successfully defended Bilal Sunni-Ali in the Brinks Case; held in contempt for comments to judge
  • 1985: Part of a legal team that uncovered evidence demonstrating how the FBI targeted and framed late Black Panther Geronimo Pratt
  • 1987-1988: Trial in New York defending Mutulu Shakur and Marilyn Buck, accused of robbing an armored car, arguing that these were acts of war not criminal acts
  • 1988: Moved to Mississippi
  • 1991: Admitted to Mississippi bar, worked on a number of civil rights cases and opposed capital punishment
  • 1999-2000: Prostate cancer, treated at Howard University
  • 2001: Held in contempt of court in Mississippi
  • 2009: Elected to Jackson's Ward 2 city council seat
  • 2010: Scott Sisters' life sentences for armed robbery suspended on December 29 after Lumumba's defense, released January 7, 2011
  • May 21, 2013: Defeated Jonathan Lee and Harvey Johnson, Jr. in mayoral election
  • July 1, 2013: Sworn in as mayor of Jackson
  • February 25, 2014: Dies of heart failure at St. Dominic Hospital

2013 Campaign


  • A Chokwe Lumumba Primer: His 2013 JFP Interview, Audio, Campaign Reports.” Jackson Free Press. April 3, 2013 (updated after his death).
    • “I picked the name Chokwe because in my African history class I learned that the Chokwe tribe, which is a tribe that still exists, was one of the last tribes to resist the slave trade successfully in northeast Angola,” Lumumba told the Jackson Free Press. “The name literally means 'hunter.'” “The second name, Lumumba, was the name of a great African leader who began to lead Africa to decolonize, to independence. He was from the Congo. Lumumba means 'gifted.' So literally, it means 'gifted hunter.'”
    • “We've never been separatists, nor have we ever been segregationists. What we're saying is that whatever our numbers are in a particular population, we should be able to participate in governance commensurately with those numbers.”
    • “The Republic of New Afrika advocated for an independent nation. That's different from a separate nation. Well, it's different in this respect: At no point in time did the Republic of New Afrika advocate for anything that was going to throw white people out or exclude white people” - “My philosophy has always been human rights for human beings. To underscore that, I'm the one that helped sponsor the anti-racial profiling ordinance and that's going to help immigrants if we get it rightly enforced. Occupy Jackson was a predominantly white organized movement where they wanted to stay at Smith Park. I'm the one that spoke up for them, not quietly but publicly.”
    • “I'm not just trying to get black people to come to this city. I think if we do what's supposed to be done in this city, the city is going to attract a lot of people, not only black and white, but globally. That's what happens to cities (that) really do well. / Go way back to Cairo, Egypt. Egypt used to be black, but it attracted cultures from everywhere. That's why it looks like it does now. The same thing with New York City.”
    • Lots about ensuring city contracts go to a more representative segment of the Jackson population
    • “Capitalism, at its rankest form, is not a humanistic economic system. It allows the most powerful to tear into the economic fabric of the least powerful. It allows people with big money to control people with no money, low money and small money in many ways including politically because the people with the money the determinant of who runs for office.”
    • “one of the considerations I had to have as far as deciding to run (for mayor). I had to make sure my son (Chokwe) was in a position where he could take over a lot of my responsibilities as far as my law firm is concerned. I can't do both. Those things are not compatible.”
    • “I'm in a unique position to understand people who have problems and people are marginal as far as crime is concerned. Our attack on them has to be get them a job, to reorient their values. You've got to reduce the pool of people who might become criminals … that's going to be a joint effort with churches, people like me who ran basketball programs. … Secondly, we have to get them a job. Thirdly, we have say to those who continue to commit crimes that we're going to sit down at this table and make a promise: You're going to stop committing crimes, and I'm going to try my damnedest to get you a job”
    • “I think that we have to have industry. We have to produce something here. We've got to address the needs of people who live here, and not just think about bringing other people in.”
    • On undocumented immigrants: “I want them to become citizens because I think their blend into the political process as well as the economic process could be healthy for us. What we need here is a new culture. It's a new idea, a new way, a new justice frontier. We have not only a black culture, we have white people who have their culture. We have Hispanics. We have Asians. And something's going to happen as a result of that. Something always does when you have a new blend of people.”
    • “I had pneumonia last year. I feel great now. … I'm going to get it accomplished. It was the first time in my life I came down with pneumonia, and pneumonia's rough.” - “No, nothing you should worry about. Win or lose, I'm going to be around a long time. But I'll tell you this: I don't intend to be in office for 12 years. I think that's too long. I have enough sense to realize that I'm not the answer to every question. The answer is developing a system and building new leadership.”
  • Flanders, Laura. “Remembering Chokwe Lumumba.” YES! Magazine. February 26, 2014.
    • “Lumumba was elected Mayor of Jackson in June 2013 with 86 percent of the vote—despite being massively outspent” (All further quotations come from Lumumba himself.)
    • “We want to accomplish a revolutionary transformation. We are party to statistics which demonstrate that our people, black people in particular and probably the majority of the Mississippi population, are at the worst end of all the vital statistics.”
    • “What’s exciting to me is the prospect of going from worst to first in a forward-moving transformation which is going to take groups of dispossessed black folks here and others and make us controllers of our own destiny.”
    • “We find ourselves in a situation where we are in the “Kush” district. Kush is an ancient name for an area around Egypt, which in ancient times, encompassed a historically black community which became the genesis of Egypt and Ethiopia and others. We use the terminology to refer to a “black belt,” areas which are predominantly black, but there’s a distinct reference to a formation of black counties in Mississippi: Tunica to Wilkinson, all contiguous, 18 counties, 17 of them majority black including Hinds county where Jackson sits, only one majority white, and it teeters on the edge of being majority black. / “Kush,” the concept, is larger than Mississippi. It goes across the border into Louisiana and the predominantly black counties of Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas. This is really a broader area than where we are, but we in Mississippi are the center of commerce of that area.”
    • “Mayors typically don’t do the things we’re trying to do. On the other hand, revolutionaries don’t typically find themselves as mayor.”
    • “Change does not come on thoughts alone; because we have a revolutionary ideology and give speeches on it. It comes because you can change the material conditions of people, and get people to assist in the change, be the mainstay in the change in their conditions.”
    • “the idea that we started out this administration on is infrastructure: We have to convert infrastructure into economic growth.” - “We’re talking about creating jobs, creating new companies and then we move from there to talk about cooperatives which can become some of those jobs, some of the solidarity economy where we can begin to band together people so they’ll understand that a job is not a single individual affair but a collective affair”
    • “we’ve done things in order to raise revenue, which is going to go into our infrastructure. We’re going to use that to create jobs, and expand job creation to nontraditional companies.”
    • “the movement of society depends on “Ujumahaa,” meaning cooperative economics, or “Ujemma,” [meaning] cooperative work and responsibility, two of the principles of Kwanzaa. Those are some of the principles we think come from our native mother/father land”
    • “My teachers called ourselves the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika and we believed it. We believed in everything that the RNA declaration of independence said in terms of the aims of the revolution. We were really ahead of our times for a “nationalist” organization in that we said we were for a society which promoted and demanded equal treatment regardless of gender, color, or class.”
    • “the reality is God blessed me to come out of the period—not to be killed, not to be destroyed emotionally and psychologically as so many were—blessed me to the point that when we decided to readapt some of our tactics, to not do the old Panther thing, where you barricaded yourselves in and shot back if the police came, but to have a community approach where clearly you’d defend yourself if you had to, but you recognized that your biggest defense is your community”
    • “We’ve started a “not on my block” project to stand against antisocial behavior. We passed an anti-racial-profiling law. We’re seeking to pass a human rights commission through the City Council, like a police review board although a human rights commission is broader.”
    • Refers admiringly to the MLK Riverside speech. “I’d never listened to until a few years ago—I read it and it’s just as good as anything Malcolm ever said”
    • “I don’t like people I like to be mad at me, but we’re beyond that and we’re beyond worrying what somebody thinks about us personally.”
    • “We don’t go out in the community and talk about capitalism and say we have to destroy capitalism. That’s something we would have done years ago. We were ideologues.” - “We’re still carriers of the message, but at the same time we have to be movers of the people.”
    • “even though we’re great revolutionaries, we’re worried about the potholes in our street too”
    • “We’re open for business, for people to come down and live. If you have a cooperative you want to put together or to work with, come on down. Finally, we’re going to be asking for resources, so if you want to do that you can call (601) 960-1084 and ask for Brother Kali. He’ll set you up.”
    • Ends with a call for a black migration to Jackson like the one to Atlanta.
  • Front Line Defenders, “Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba.”
  • Ladd, Donna. “Injustice Everywhere.” Jackson Free Press. October 31, 2002.
    • “The Jackson Free Press got kicked out of a meeting for the first time on Oct. 2.” Meeting “was called to organize support for controversial African-American attorney Chokwe Lumumba, who may be disbarred by the Mississippi State Bar.” Describes the circumstances of the case.
    • Various members of the community and national black nationalist groups rallied in Lumumba's defense
    • “attorney Alkebu-lan told us—and only us as far as we could tell—that we would have to leave because a 'strategy session' was about to begin.” - “We discussed the matter for a while, but finally gave in and left as Lumumba's deep voice rumbled in the background. It may well have been an interesting speech.”
  • Luckett, Robert. “Remembering Chokwe Lumumba: A Revolutionary Politician.” The Root. March 6, 2014.
  • Lumumba, Chokwe. “Chokwe Lumumba's Mayoral Victory Speech.” June 4, 2013.
    • Talks about his huge victory as “a mandate for change,” not a mandate for craziness or vengeance. And a “God-given mandate.”
    • Video doesn't seem to work after first minute and a half.
  • Lumumba, Chokwe. “Chokwe Lumumba's Inaugural Speech.” July 1, 2013.
    • Opening greetings: “God is good, all the time,” “hey and hello,” and “Free the land!”
    • Notes the 50th anniversary of the death of “our wonderful brother Medgar Evers.” Myrlie Evers is there
    • “He who does not know his history is bound to repeat it.”
    • Refers to the victory of the first black mayor. “Now we're not just looking for someone who looks like us, we're looking for someone who speaks in the interests of us—who speaks in the interest of all the people, all the people who live in Jackson.” Insists that they can't lose the people in North Jackson because they're crucial for the tax base.
    • “The aim is prosperity and security for every one of us, that's what the aim is. That's our joint aim as a city. That's where we're going. We're going to take Mississippi from worst to first, that's what we're going to do.”
    • “We're looking for new neighbors, not just visitors. We're looking to make this a city that is special.”
    • Talks about a “clean up campaign.” Picking up the paper on the street.
    • On the trouble with the roads. “We have to draw the connection between pothole to pothole.”
  • Lumumba, Rukia. “Rukia Lumumba Shocked, Hurt by Removal of Mural Honoring Her Father.” Jackson Free Press. April 4, 2014.
  • Martin, Douglas. “Chokwe Lumumba, 66, Dies; Activist Who Became Mayor in Mississippi.” The New York Times. February 26, 2014.
  • Mitter, Siddhartha. “Chokwe Lumumba, radical mayor of Jackson, Miss., dies at 66.” Al Jazeera America. February 26, 2014.
  • National Conference of Black Lawyers. “Chokwe Lumumba: A Legal Biography.” March 3, 2014.
  • Nave, R. L. “More About Lumumba's Top Donors.” Jackson Free Press. May 15, 2013.
  • Nave, R. L. “A ‘New Justice Frontier’.” Jackson Free Press. April 3, 2013.
    • “In September 1955, a young Edwin Taliaferro saw an image that would shape his thinking over the next five decades. The photograph, published in Jet Magazine, was of Emmett Till's mangled 14-year-old face in an open coffin.”
    • Lumumba, 65, is hypersensitive to the fact that he is, in the imaginations of many people, an anti-white bigot salivating at the opportunity to expel all of Jackson's non-pigmented people and seize their property for redistribution to the city's black majority. / “We're not looking for a bloody revolution in the city of Jackson. We don't want to offend anyone else's rights. However many white people there are in Jackson, they have to be treated by the highest levels of human standards as anybody else, because if we don't do that, not only do we offend Martin Luther King's philosophy, what we do is betray our own revolution.
    • “For Jackson, which has the second highest concentration of African Americans of any city larger than 150,000 residents in the U.S., Lumumba wants that destiny to ensure that businesses operating in the city hire residents, 80 percent of whom are black.”
    • “In 2005, the Mississippi Bar Association suspended Lumumba's law license for six months for saying in court that a Leake County circuit judge possessed “the judicial demeanor of a barbarian.””
    • “Lumumba cites the anti-racial-profiling ordinance he championed on the city council in 2010 as evidence that he wants all Jackson residents to create a new blend of people. / “It's a new idea, a new way, a new justice frontier. We have not only a black culture, we have white people who have their culture; we have Hispanics, we have Asians,” he said.”
  • Nave, R. L. ”The Lumumba Economy.“ Jackson Free Press. June 19, 2013.
    • “Lumumba's economic philosophy is partly rooted in the cooperative economic principal known as ujamaa–familyhood in Swahili–espoused by Tanzania's first president, Julius Nyere.”
    • “Lumumba, who rejects what he deems “rank capitalism,” isn't calling for a municipal version of the nationalization of Jackson's existing economy but rather for ensuring the local citizens can enjoy the benefits of economic development in the city.”
    • “Currently, the city has a goal of 8 to 12 percent African American participation in city contracts. It is unclear whether the mayor can impose quotas on business owners.”
  • Nave, R. L. ”Profile: Chokwe Lumumba.“ Jackson Free Press. April 15, 2013.
  • Sunkara, Bhaskar. ”Chokwe Lumumba: A Revolutionary to the End. The Nation. February 26, 2014.
  • Sunkara, Bhaskar. “Free the Land: An Interview with Chokwe Lumumba.” Jacobin. June 2014.

Chokwe Antar Lumumba

2014 campaign