At NYC Network for Worker Cooperatives, we strive to work at the pace and guidance of our co-op membership. This letter was written in collaboration with NYC NOWC Staff and members of the Advocacy Council.
To our Black members in our network: We see you. We are here. We are witnessing. We are ready in struggle.
NYC Network for Worker Cooperatives stands in deep solidarity with the movement In Defense of Black Lives. It is with great heartbreak, rage, and solidarity that we witness the police murder of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, James Scurlock and now Jamel Floyd . We honor them and we honor this current rise to rebellion. We stand in support of all the demands listed by the Movement for Black Lives and we demand the immediate arrest of all officers who commit murder on Black Lives from George Floyd to Eric Garner.
In the heat of rebellion — we at NYC NOWC will not get distracted. The violence in the streets is a symptom of the true roots of violence: anti blackness, gentrification, war on drugs, capitalism, mass incarceration. The true looters are corporations. The true looters are the landlords who evict working class families. The real looters are companies that commit wage theft against their workers. The true looters are those who cage undocumented families. From policy work, street protest, to community care — we salute to all the diversity of tactics communities are employing in support of the rebellion.
At NYC NoWC and within worker cooperatives, our work is powered by a vision where our communities govern themselves not only in their workplaces but as solutionaries realizing an economy based on cooperation and mutual aid. However to get there, we have to create the conditions for our communities to thrive. We need a world without prisons, police, or ICE. We need access to land and stable housing through Community Land trusts and affordable housing cooperatives. We CAN create this world if we are able to transition our violently extractive economy to one that centers the wellbeing of our communities. We recognize that the safest communities don’t have the most cops — they have the most resources. It’s time to defund the police and reinvest that taxpayer money in community-led solutions. For this reason, we joined over 110 organizations across NYC in signing this letter to the Mayor and City Council this past April. However the work continues across that campaign as well as the struggle against ICE, mass incarceration, and more.
Just as we call to #Defundthepolice, we want to call in our network to invest and support the work of Black-led worker cooperatives. From Black Panther’s Free Breakfast Program to Black southern farmer cooperative traditions, the worker cooperative movement stands on the legacy of Black economic resilience and mutual aid. In NYC we have witnessed recent Black cooperative Mutual Aid in our current times of COVID-19 in the food distribution efforts guided by worker cooperatives like Woke Foods and Brooklyn Packers. At NYC NOWC, we will celebrate our black-led member cooperative through our upcoming #BlackCoopsMatter spotlight series — we invite you to support their work as well as read more on the history of Black cooperative economic thought and practice.
As a network, we wish all our members and supporters to stay well and stay in solidarity whether in the streets, community care or challenging anti-blackness at the dinner table. Check below for more wellness resources as well as other ways to stand in solidarity in your community.
NYC NoWC Advocacy Council & Staff
WAYS TO TAKE ACTION
#Repeal50A* Call your NY Senate and Assembly reps, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie and urge them to commit to pass the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695) carried by Senator Bailey and Assemblyman O’Donnell and to pass the Police STAT Act. We need the legislature to act and prioritize police transparency! Sign a petition here
Call your city council members and demand they defund the NYPD in the next city budget which will be decided on this June. Follow @changethenypd & plug in.
Dismantling Anti-Black Bias in Democratic Workplaces | A Toolkit by AORTA
Move resources by donating to bail funds, black-led movements & mutual aid including:
Harvest of Survival: An Affirmation Deck Inspired by Octavia Butler Free download available thanks to cooperative, Homegirl Box
Coming Back Into Breath | A Meditation with Alexis Pauline Gumbs