via LA Progressive

This past January, at a Cooperation Los Angeles gathering in Echo Park, we were treated to a delightful presentation with Kali Akuno and David Cobb.

A packed house hung on every word as the two men talked about efforts to create a solidarity ecosystem–Akuno’s Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi, and Cobb’s Cooperation Humboldt in Humboldt County, California. Such systems ensure that everyone has their needs met without exploiting others or harming the environment. Think cooperation, not competition; equality, not hierarchy.

Speaking today from Humboldt–the real Northern California, not the Bay Area, he insists–David told us how he arrived at this fascinating work and then dug in deeper into the concepts involved.

After growing up dirt poor in East Texas, David created a successful law practice in Houston, ran for Texas attorney general in 2002, ran for president on the Green Party ticket in 2004, and served as Jill Stein’s campaign manager in 2016. In between, he founded Move To Amend, the ongoing campaign to reverse Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s “money equals speech” ruling.

In what David calls the end stages of capitalism, David talks about the need to create a dual economy–work within the remaining capitalist system, not necessarily confronting it head on, but exploiting it without letting it consume your life.

At the same time, he contends we need to build new ways of running our lives that build on such principles as solidarity with one another, equity as opposed to oppression and exploitation, and sustainability, especially drawing on indigenous perspectives of living in harmony with each other and with nature.

In our discussion, David talks about how his lived experience has shaped and reshaped his view, for instance moving from an insistence on issues of class conflict, to understanding that issues of racial solidarity need to be centered as well.

Currently, David is busy developing the 4th Annual Decolonizing Economics Summit, to be held April 20-22nd, online with an in-person Earth Day Celebration on April 22nd in McKinleyville, California.

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