New England Premier of
SHIFTCHANGE: PUTTING DEMOCRACY TO WORK
An inspirational new documentary by veteran award-winning filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin about the real possibilities offered by worker cooperatives during this time of industrial decline, chronic unemployment, and systemic economic crisis. Lively stories of secure, dignified jobs, in democratic workplaces including Boston’s own Equal Exchange and the path-breaking Mondragon Cooperative Corporation.
7 pm, Oct. 21 at Northeastern University’s West Village F Auditorium
7 pm, Oct. 24 at Tufts University, Barnum 104
Join us for a 6 pm reception with coffee & light snacks before the Northeastern showing. Both screenings will be followed by discussion with film-makers and local worker cooperators. Directions and more information about the screenings here; also see shiftchange.org.
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Why Shiftchange is Important: With the long decline in well-paid jobs and today’s economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. The usual economic solutions are not working, and growing numbers around the world are ready to employ a different business model to help re-invent our failing economy, generate long-term community resilience and stability, and create a more egalitarian and democratic way of life. Shiftchange visits the more than 50 year old network of cooperative businesses in Mondragon, Spain, and thriving examples of such businesses in the U.S. The film shares on-the-ground experience, lessons, and observations from the worker-owners on the front line of the new economy. Come witness and celebrate together the ingenuity and creativity of worker-owners who are “building the road as we travel” towards a more democratic, just, stable, and sustainable economy.
Sponsors: These Boston screenings of Shiftchange are presented by the Boston Area Solidarity Economy Network (BASEN), a local chapter of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network (www.ussen.org), and of the Intercontinental Social Solidarity Economy Network (www.ripess.org), which seek to make visible, link together, and grow worker cooperatives and other alternative and transformational economic practices and institutions. The screenings are co-sponsored by Equal Exchange, Trillium Asset Management, Red Sun Press, Northeastern University Social Enterprise Institute, Somerville Climate Action, Boston Collective Delivery, Ownership Associates, South Mountain Company, JP Forum, JP New Economy Transition, New Economics Institute, Cooperative Fund of New England, OwningOurFuture.com at Tellus Institute, Guramylay: Growing the Green Economy, Al Campbell of the Union for Radical Political Economics SC, and Harvest Co-op. Also cooperating to bring this great film to you are the Worker Owned and Run Cooperative Network of Boston (worcn.org), Jobs with Justice, Democratic Socialists of America, Tufts UEP Practical Visionaries Workshop,Somerville Rep. Denise Provost, Dollars & Sense, Mass. Global Action, Jewish Labor Committee, Dorchester Community Food Co-op, Occupy Boston Sustainable Economy Working Group, and Boston Workers Alliance.
Featured Worker Cooperatives: Shiftchange visits several worker owned enterprises in North America, and in the Basque region of Spain, to show the diversity of participants, products and ways of doing business in employee owned firms. Each offers inspiration as well as practical ideas about making these enterprises successful. Stories in the film include:
Our own Equal Exchange, Boston MA: Founded in 1986, Equal Exchange is one of the largest roasters of fair trade coffee in the world. Democratically managed by those who work there, Equal Exchange distributes coffee, tea, chocolate bars, cocoa, and snacks produced by cooperatives in the U.S. and other countries. The more than 100 worker owners seek to demonstrate through their successful business, how worker cooperatives and fair trade contribute to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.
Mondragón Cooperative Corporation [MCC]: Begun in the 1950s, the Mondragón co-ops have transformed a depressed area of Spain into one of the most productive in Europe with a high standard of living and an egalitarian way of life. These co-ops produce computer chips, high tech industrial machinery, household appliances, and many other products. They are owned and managed by their workers. Seeing the achievements of the MCC helps to overcome the idea—widespread in North America—that worker run cooperatives can only exist on the economic fringe.
The Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio: This is an ambitious urban redevelopment model, directly inspired by Mondragón, where local institutions and public officials are supporting green cooperatives of previously marginalized, predominantly African American workers, who provide commercial laundry services, install solar energy systems, and grow vegetables in vast urban greenhouses.
Cooperatives of immigrant workers: Often the most marginalized in our current economic system, immigrant workers are starting cooperatives to create secure, environmentally friendly jobs. The non-profit WAGES helps low income women, largely Latina immigrants, organize green house-cleaning cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
What people have to say about SHIFTCHANGE: PUTTING DEMOCRACY TO WORK:
One of the barriers to fostering cooperative values and businesses in North America is the lack of awareness of the benefits that well organized cooperatives with good business practices can offer to workers and communities. Educating the public to the cooperative approach to business is an important contribution which Shift Change can make.
Ted Howard, Executive Director of Democracy Collaborative, University of Maryland
The basic purpose of Shift Change is to encourage the development of work cooperatives in North America as one solution to our severe economic problems as well as a means for a regional economy to compete successfully in the global economy.
Dan Swinney, Executive Director of Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council
It is my wholehearted belief that worker cooperatives are a huge part of the solution for the world’s woes (for the 99%). The end of publicly held corporations and the equity market is an essential piece of the reform necessary. The centralization of corporate power and wealth must cease. Worker coops offer something to workers that they can’t get from big business. I believe that when people see this alternative to cube farms and life-deadening work environments, there will be an explosion of worker coops, drawing the good, the bright, and the cooperative.
WEBSITE: shiftchange.org; TWITTER: @Shift Change; FACEBOOK: shiftchangemovie