Alternatives

It’s easy enough to complain (especially when confronted with the disastrous mess that speculators made of this town). But what else is possible?

As it happens, we need look no farther than our own history to find some answers. The Settlers’ Association was not just an insurgency against a corrupt order – it was the beginnings of an alternative way of organizing, based on mutual aid, community and even consensus decision-making.

Not only that, but some early enterprises exhibit signs suggestive of community ownership and control. And since the 1870s there have been waves of cooperative organizing, including the Grangers, the Rochdale Company and the Consumers Mutual Supply Co., as well as modern survivors including the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op and credit unions like Golden 1.

In April I presented an Sacramento Cooperative History at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. I only scratched the surface of our community’s rich history of organizing toward a more democratic economy.

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