On September 18th, we convened with representatives from worker cooperative, housing cooperative, and low-income credit union networks to discuss cross-sectoral policy and advocacy strategy moving forward. With city support for expanding worker ownership through initiatives like the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, increased attention on housing cooperatives and community land trusts as a way to resist gentrification and climate displacement, and expanding participation in credit unions and public banks across the country, we believe it is crucial to work together to develop a cooperative platform for New York’s solidarity economy.
In the past, CEANYC has supported sectoral advocacy in a variety of ways: supporting worker cooperative expansion, amplifying and participating in calls to action from: the New York City Community Garden Coalition to preserve endangered gardens, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board on tenants rights campaigns, advocating for a community land trust on the contested Bedford-Union Armory site, and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unionsa federal push to preserve Community Development Financial Institutions, and New Economy Project’s campaigns to protect low-income New Yorkers from predatory lending. We have also supported single issue advocacy: single payer healthcare for NY state, racial justice organizing coming from our members at Black Women’s Blueprint and the Brooklyn Movement Center, big bank divestment in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock, fossil fuel divestment, and climate resiliency efforts of the NY Renews Coalition. We are excited to deepen and grow this work to include engaging with electoral organizing, cross-sectoral campaigns, facilitating rapid response for our members in need, and demanding a commitment to cross-sectoral cooperative support from the City.
Most of this work has come in the form of promotion on social media, letter writing efforts, providing research to coalitions and campaigns, joining coalitions, and organizing support for cross-sectoral networks at the regional and state level.
In the immediate next steps, we are diving into researching other cities and countries that have successfully built out robust ‘fourth sector’ cooperative economies with an end goal of having a position, if not larger office, of the City committed to cooperative and solidarity economy enterprise. Our network leaders already laid out many areas of commonality, and we look forward to continuing to convene the group as we build our shared vision and platform. Stay tuned!