UNION CO-OPS COUNCIL OF THE US FEDERATION OF WORKER COOPERATIVES
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF BLACK LIVES
The Union Co-ops Council of the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops recognizes and acknowledges the pain, anger, frustration, and horror provoked by historic racism and on-going attacks by the police on Black communities in the U.S.
We stand in solidarity against the violence endured by Black people, particularly at the hands of law enforcement. We uphold the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and find strength in the union belief that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” We uphold the the AFL-CIO’s constitution which states that no affiliate activities can be tolerated that “are consistently directed toward the achievement of the program or purposes of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism and other forces that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association and oppose the basic principles of free and democratic trade unionism.”
We will lead with our actions by seeking in all of our work to actively dismantle white supremacy and prioritize Black people and communities through this Council.
We will take public stances against physical, psychological, and other forms of abuse, promote policies that address issues of racism, ally ourselves with labor organizations that take anti-racist positions on these issues, and confront labor organizations that do not.
We stand in solidarity with this statement of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, and recognize our role and the role of labor in job and wealth creation for Black people through the worker co-op model.
US FEDERATION OF WORKER COOPERATIVE
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF BLACK LIVES
Today, there must be action for justice.
To all Black people: we see you, we love you, and we stand in solidarity with you.
We stand with the massive protests across the country fighting against anti-Black racism and pushing to defund the police. We are proud of how many members raised their voices by joining in those protests. Ninety-nine years to the day after Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma was burned to the ground, our outrage persists. We continue to be enraged by cycles of institutionalized racism in public health, in a system of food apartheid, in hostile public schools, and in militarized police all leading to the loss of Black lives. We continue to show up for one another in these and related struggles. Our communities are strengthened through cooperation when we fight systemic injustices as a multi-racial, multi-gendered movement.
The failure of our government to deliver justice is no surprise while those systems rest on violence, aggression, xenophobia, and anti-blackness. It is enraging that the President yet again calls for attacks on U.S. residents. These cycles cannot continue. We recognize the deep need for a just transition toward a people-centered, inclusive, cooperative economy that uplifts our Black communities instead of extracting wealth from them and tearing them apart.
Cooperatives stabilize their communities – increasing economic impact, creating dignified jobs, increasing benefits and wages, and encouraging civic participation (Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Collective Courage). We have the potential for broad-based impact because co-ops are everywhere. We recently heard from USFWC board member Hilary Johnson, who is based in Minneapolis, just a few blocks away from the uprisings this past week. Hilary shared how the local cooperative community has resourced efforts on the ground, like the Hub Bicycle Co-op, itself just half a block away from the 3rd Precinct and the center of actions there.
The USFWC joins movements demanding accountability, oversight, and democratic governance of law enforcement policies. We continue to uplift the Movement for Black Lives policy platform, amplified by the call from Color of Change to end the war on Black people by:
- Changing police ‘use of force’ policies.
- End ‘broken windows’ policing and stop unnecessary prosecution of low-level offenses.
- Establish effective civilian oversight boards with investigative and subpoena powers.
- Respond to mental health crises with healthcare, not policing responses.
- Require independent investigations in all cases where police kill or seriously injure people.
- End the profit motive in policing.
- Invest in healthy communities not policing
- Do away with unfair protections for officers in police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officers’ ‘Bills of Rights.’
- Increase transparency and accountability for officers with records of misconduct.
We know our community is diverse, and we call on non-Black members of our network to truly listen to the clear and persistent directives from Black people. Engage with the demands and calls to actions from Black-led organizations. Amplify their messages. Below are suggestions from among our wider network. They identify suggested bail fund donations, rebuilding through co-op advocacy, offers for virtual spaces to process and heal, and places for sharpening our political education and movement strategies:
Take Action & Learn More
- Call Black folks you are in community with, to check on them and offer support.
- Find spaces to process. The PeoplesHub will be hosting space for Community Care Clinic: Chronically Ill and Disabled People on Tuesday, June 2nd, and a space with breakout groups for Black people, non-Black POC, and white people on Wednesday, June 3rd and Thursday June 4th. (ASL interpretation available with advanced notice)
- Support a local bail fund.
- Donate to the Black Visions Collective in Minnesota, and the rebuild fund through We Love Lake Street.
- Join the Movement for Black Lives week of action and re-read the platform we endorsed in 2016, which was updated this year in consultation with Black leaders from the USFWC and our solidarity economy allies.
- Reach out to your representatives in city and state governments and tell them to defund the police.
- Support black-owned businesses as much as you are able.
- Read these Resources on Police Abolition from Critical Resistance
- Share anti-oppression learning tools – talk about them in your workplaces, and with your loved ones. You can find resources on AORTA’s website, and on our Sanctuary Workplaces website
- White folks: Read and share resources on white privilege, including Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility.
We are witnessing the fall of a system that was built on the exploitation of Black bodies, indigenous land and indigenous bodies, and the continuous denial of basic human rights. The collapse of this system is touching us in a personal and collective way and is now coalescing in a global call to action. As we pass through this moment of grief and rage, we must unify efforts across movements because unleashing democracy– especially when powered by cooperative economics– leads us toward a future that is sustainable, inclusive, and based on principles of racial and economic justice.
The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives team