John Duda is the Communications Director at the Democracy Collaborative, a national research and advocacy institute dedicated to building a next system grounded in community wealth and a democratized economy. He is also a founding member and the lead software developer at Red Emma’s, a worker cooperative radical bookstore and cafe in Baltimore, and a founding board member of BASE: Baltimore Activating Solidarity Economies. His research work has focused on how the idea of “self-organization” has informed and connected political and technical imaginaries.
If we’re serious about platform cooperatives as way to help build a more democratic economy, we need to tackle the challenges of scale, inclusion, and empowerment. What can we learn from parallel wave of efforts unfolding across the country to reorient local economic development towards more cooperative and community based solutions? How can policy, investment, education, and organizing align to build robust and resilient economic alternatives? What are the strategies that can anchor and keep capital recirculating inside cooperative and community-based economies? How can we insure that cooperative-based alternatives work to confront and reverse decades of disinvestment, displacement, and disinvestment rather than just distributing economic privilege a little more equally?