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Gar Alperovitz is the author of What Then Must We Do?, America Beyond Capitalism, and The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, and an advocate for a new, community-sustaining economy.

The New Economy and the Quietly Emerging Next System with Gar Alperovitz

On October 5th, 2017, Gar Alperovitz visited Vermont Law School to speak as a part of the VLS New Economy Law and Policy Forum: A Speaker Series on Building a Sustainable, Just, and Democratic Future. Gar was the first in a series of speakers which will also included Frances Moore Lappe, Jonathan Rosenthal, Helena Norberg Hodge, Sherri Mitchell, Kathleen Falk, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin, and Zephyr Teachout. The forum focuses on finding alternatives, doing more than resisting, and making change. Gar contributed by discussing the new economy that he sees already emerging in a patchwork across the country.

What is the new economy? Just beneath the surface of media reporting a new economy is quietly emerging. It includes cooperatives, public banks, new clean energy strategies, successful campaigns to turn polluting utilities into ecologically sustainable municipal systems, along with an explosion of related developments at different levels of scale.

Click here to watch the entire session.

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Black Monday, ’77, When the Mill Shutdown in Youngstown Gave Birth to the Rust Belt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gar Alperovitz’s chapter in Charles Derber’s new book, Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times, was featured on BillMoyers.com. The chapter discusses the story of Youngstown and how change happens and is happening today.

This is not, however, simply a story about worker coops. It is much more about how change can happen — and about how an idea whose time has come actually “comes.” The spirit of Youngstown lives on. At the time of this writing, a major new initiative — “50 by 50” — aims to organize 50 million workers in worker-owned enterprises in the United States by 2050. And in many communities, other new initiatives have been building momentum. Philadelphia and Santa Fe, for instance, are actively considering new public banks to develop much more broadly democratized local economies. Activists in Boulder, Colorado, have won two major referenda to take over the local electric utility and convert it to less climate-destroying approaches.

Click here to read the full excerpt on BillMoyers.com.

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Democratic Ownership and the Pluralist Commonwealth: The Creation of an Idea Whose Time Has Come

In Charles Derber’s new book, Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times, Gar Alperovitz offers a “guest interlude” discussing how “an idea whose time has come actually ‘comes.'”

On September 19, 1977 — a day remembered locally as “Black Monday” — the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill’s doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and their futures. The mill’s closing was national news, one of the first major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring, and “free trade” that has since made mass layoffs commonplace.

What was not commonplace was the response of the steelworkers and the local community. “You feel the whole area is doomed somehow,” Donna Slaven, the wife of a laid-off worker, told reporters at the time. “If this can happen to us, there is not a secure union job in the country.” Rather than leave the fate of their community in the hands of corporate executives in New York, New Orleans, and Washington DC, the workers began to organize and resist. And they joined with a new coalition of priests, ministers, and rabbis — headed by a Catholic and an Episcopal bishop — to build support for a new way forward. I was called in to head up an economic team to help.

Click here to read the entire excerpt featured on Truthout.

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Pluralism vs. Authoritarianism: Gar Alperovitz with Laura Flanders

No is not enough, says Naomi Klein, so if no isn’t sufficient, what might be? This week, ​Laura Flanders talked with author/activist Gar Alperovitz, co-chair of the Next System Project (a framework for imagining ‘the next system’ of governance, democracy, and security). From the gloom of today, he sees the principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth emerging.

Click here to watch the full interview.

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Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth

Our time demands we meet the challenges inherent in an era of deepening despair and accelerating crises—political, ecological, and economic—that is also potentially the prehistory of transformative and fundamental systemic change. This requires a serious discussion of practical new economic efforts and organizing strategies as well as the steady development of both power and ideas that can help us move through and beyond the current emergency. The approach and model outlined in my new book—the Pluralist Commonwealth—offers a trajectory and pattern for wide-ranging institutional change towards real democracy over the long haul, guided by a transformative vision beyond both corporate capitalism and traditional state socialism. Read my new book for free online at The Next System Project

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