Self Employed Women's Association ahead of the curve as always 
Met with Reemaben (Executive Director) and Smitaben (head of the Management school) last week. Their union of self-employed women has grown to nearly 2 million. They are moving into online learning and even exploring blockchain to support their producers and vendors to have access to pricing information in their value chains. I worked with the rural team, self-help groups and federations back in 2002 for several years. They remain my moral compass on real member ownership and values that allows them to both organize and innovate. It is all about self-reliance for SEWA.

Check out this inspiring video to see what they're up to.

I am at a conference in Montreal to explore a Post-Capitalist world but while there are glimmers of inspiration, largely I am having a hard time seeing how to ground these theories in my praxis. How should I think or act differently as a result of any of these theories? Granted I am not an academic but I am a curious and reflective facilitator and organizer. I think part of our decolonization project is to really work at bridging the gap between theory and practice.
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The Great Transition to a Post-Capitalist World- Conference Critical Theory Dept McGill U 
What could a post-capitalist world look like? A reclaiming of the commons? Can we reclaim the economy or should we just stop using that word? We're trying. Excited to attend this conference and to visit some neat community land trusts in Montreal.

CLTs grew historically out of the civil rights movement compensating black sharecroppers who had been stripped of their land for their activism. Links to the violent dispossession here in Africville. Virginia Hinch is writing an article linking these, part of a larger book on CLTs, cooperatives out of Quebec and Black Rose Press. As she said, "we only get our land back for a weekend in the summer."
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If we all lived like Vietnam 
Just had a great conversation with a friend Jayme about economics. She made me think of the Doughnut Economics approach by economist Kate Raworth.

It takes into account environmental elements (thresholds), social elements (found in the HDI) but including social capital and supports not often included or easily measured and more traditional economic measures. The weight is put on social and environmental, living well within our means.

No country, as you can imagine, is completely in the "zone" but Vietnam is an extreme outlier in being close. The question is: could you live like that? With that close a relationship to food and resources.

I have some critiques about the indicators they use (and in many iterations such as the online platform) leave out around equity and gender, but broadly it is more on the right track than anything we currently have. And truer to the Latin root of the word economic which actually means household management of resources. Pulls in Schumaker, Polayni and others around the importance of attention to scale and where we find that sweet spot in embedding our resource management and use in solid, trusted relationships.

See more on the link below...

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Side Hustler 
I spoke on a panel at the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network last week with a few other "side hustlers." I haven't heard the term before but I like it. It fits along with the mosaic economy. Was once given the title "wild card." I've always called it piecing together a livelihood. Parts I do for money, parts volunteer. Parts with others in Sisters Inc and part on my own. Really, I explained in my talk, for me, it's a lifestyle that fits my rhythm and energy levels better. I'm not made to be at a desk all day. Working half time lets me work in fits and starts as seems to be more my nature. I've never fit the "driven entrepreneur" though. I don't live and breathe my business. I have structured my life this way to have down-time, play outside if it's lovely. Yesterday I went for a long motorbike ride and a run in the park. I can spend some time writing and thinking, doing things for my own curiosity. Volunteer where I learn potentially more than my work. Day dream. We underestimate the importance of idleness.

North End Land Trust 
Working together with a group of people to ask the question: what is the role of a community-led organization in setting aside land and property for public good, particularly affordable housing but not only. Possibly community gardens, affordable rental space for community agencies.

We're in a neighbourhood, the North end of Halifax where gentrification is a serious issue. We're interested in ensuring development without displacement and linking it to neighbourhood employment and community building.

Tenants are in dire living situations and are being displaced. Those on assistance can't afford to live on the $535 stipend they're given so it cuts into grocery money, other things. There are community agencies that are looking for places to rent. Non profits that are losing or unable to upkeep their properties. How to safeguard and watchdog and develop opportunities for and by the community? Then there are those in the community who might be able to donate some of their property or equity. Who can pay market rates and give back to the community to ensure affordability. Maybe even a connection with rural land trusts where swaps are possible.

One thing I've learned from my work in economic organizing. The strongest alternative economic models are built on community networks. Wide networks. The community land trust models seems to have had the most success in providing affordable housing and community building and accountability. We'll have to see what works in our neighbourhood, political context, housing situation.

It's the beginning of discussions and connections that just take time. These aren't technical problems. It's about finding common ground to move forward in the same direction.


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