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Coop Experiment

Coop Experiment

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WHAT IS THE COOP EXPERIMENT

Cooperatives as a key “training” ground. It both meets economic sustainability needs of our youth, adults, and elders who are generally marginalized from the current economy in one way or another (due to limited English proficiency, lacking a high school diploma, etc.); but also allows us to think about new ways to engage our community members in an “up-training” that is about increasing democracy, not only in the workplace, but in the community as well. We hope that the work of building cooperative businesses can be the location of developing these specific capacities of practice.

As core founders of VietLead, we see that the mainstream non-profit industrial complex is not only a symptom of our market-based neoliberal system, but also that non-profits have in and of themselves become neoliberal institutions. What this means to us is that non-profit organizations are driven to be “like businesses” – and if not profit-driven than bottom-line, top-down, and scarcity model driven. So what does it mean to build VietLead without those principals? At this stage, we are still an organization under a 501(c)3 umbrella; however, we are testing what it means to be a worker-led self-directed non-profit.

WE ARE AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOPING OUT.

OUR ORGANIZATION

Rather than being driven by a neo-liberal framework, we want to be an organization that is continuously developing out and building leadership capacities of youth, adults, and elders that is about self-governance and self-determination. Therefore, we see VietLead’s work as part of building capacities of Vietnamese and Southeast Asian community to be active, influential and “participatory” agents of this (d)emocracy in all possible realms: and we are most interested in this at the local level – in schools, local governance, and also in creating new (d)emocracy locales (within the home, within the community).

SHARING IS CARING