In this episode we’re going to Cleveland, Ohio to explore the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative. Launched in 2008 as part of the broader University Circle Initiative, the three cooperatives that make up the Evergreen network are tied together by a non-profit organization called the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation. The utilization of surrounding institutions historically rooted in the community known as ‘anchor institutions’ play a central role in acting as both initial benefactors and customers of the coops as well. This novel structure has inspired other cities around the country to adopt what has come to be termed the “Cleveland Model.”
The initiative has offered an alternative to how community and economic development is approached by integrating cooperatives with a 501c3 that promises not only steady employment, but provides an opportunity to begin building wealth through worker-owners’ equity within the enterprise itself. At the same time, Evergreen has legitimized cooperatives as a vital form of development and introduced a more democratic arrangement that accounts for the interests of workers themselves.
Evergreen has not come without its own set of unique problems. Although any business start-up faces challenges getting off the ground, Evergreen’s particular structure presented difficulties that have forced many involved with the initiative to look inward and come up with dynamic responses.
We got in touch with John McMicken, CEO of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, the non-profit that links together all three coops. We were also able to speak with Nicholas Zingale, associate professor at Cleveland State University and Gar Alperovitz, co-chair of the Next Systems Project and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, an organization that provided initial support for the Evergreen project.
This episode takes a critical look at the The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal involving 12 countries, encompassing nearly 40% of the global economy. Though lauded by the U.S. government as a deal “ that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class”, a closer look demonstrates otherwise.
Exploring the thousands of pages of text with economists, policy experts, and union leaders, we delve into investor state dispute settlements, the relationship between the TPP and regressive distribution of wealth, monopoly creation through patent protection and what this all means for the working class.
Guests for this episode include Robert E. Scott of the Economic Policy Institute, Melinda St. Louis of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Wayne Ranick of the United Steelworkers Union and David Rosnick of the Center for Economic Policy and Research. You can link some of their work below.
The Economic Policy Institute's Robert E. Scott maintains a blog full of technical information on the TPP and other trade deals. For a review of trade relations with China since 2001 read Robert E. Scott’s The China Toll . He also has a more recent position paper written to the United States International Trade Commision dealing with the TPP in particular
The United Steelworkers covered the effects of the TPP on working families in a recent blog post
May 1st is recognized as the international day of labor. Over 50 countries recognize the day as an official holiday while dozens of others mark the day with large marches and protests. Yet, the nation in which it all began, the United States, does not recognize May 1st as a day for workers, instead the day is curiously observed as "Law Day". In this episode we interviewed Jonah Walters, a writer for Jacobin Magazine who recently published a piece on May Day, to explore the origins of May Day as well as the the peculiar history and specific struggles that made this day the day of international labor.