Image from DominiquePrima.com
We are witnessing the rise of a solidarity economy movement, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, including organizations like Cooperation Worcester in Massachusetts, Cooperation Humboldt and Cooperation Richmond in California, and Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi, among others. One of the leaders of this movement is Kali Akuno, co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, who recently wrote a book titled "Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi." Akuno was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in a working-class community where he watched the devastation brought by deindustrialization and the gang wars that hit L.A. in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. His family was deeply involved in various social movements, particularly the Afrikan People's Party. Akuno was raised in a world marked by violent poverty, as well as radical activism. Akuno moved around in California and eventually wound up in Jackson, Mississippi. We spoke with Akuno about his work with Cooperation Jackson, the broader solidarity economy in general, and what particular challenges working-class African American communities are experiencing in the deep south.