What’s unique about the initiative?
The Jackson Just Transition Plan aims to transform Jackson, Mississippi, into an ecologically and economically regenerative city, rooted in equity, solidarity and mutual aid, where everyone’s fundamental human rights are fulfilled. Through creating people’s assemblies, developing an independent electoral force, and building the social and solidarity economy, the initiative successfully supported the election of progressive Mayors in 2013 and 2017.
Most outstanding results
Our work has kickstarted a growing network of cooperatives and solidarity economy organizations. Two of our key coalition activities include the Union-Coop Initiative (to build broad unity amongst working class people in Jackson), and the Coalition for Economic Justice (to monitor, challenge and propose primarily state-level legislation).
We are currently trying to change state laws on cooperatives and workers’ rights in Mississippi, and laws that limit cooperatives to agricultural businesses, utilities, or credit unions. We are also engaged in a long-term campaign to strengthen working class organizations in the state. Finally, we are working hard to advance what we call “Just Transition Policies” in Jackson and to push the state to adopt a suite of laws that will combat climate change.
We design everything we possibly can to reduce carbon emissions, overproduction, and overconsumption; do our best to recycle materials, e.g. recycling wood and bricks in our housing rehabilitation efforts in our community land trust. On top of this, we try to source and purchase our goods as close to Jackson as possible.
All of these initiatives have helped provide quality employment and wages to a growing number of Jacksonians, and initiated a process to decommodify land. We’ve started the process of creating permanently affordable housing and are building a broad consensus on the need for food sovereignty. We’ve also laid the foundation for the development for a human rights charter and commission to respect, protect, and fulfill the basic human rights of all Jacksonians.
Covid-19 outbreak impact
Our economic activities have been greatly curtailed by COVID-19. We shut down all of our operations in March, except for Freedom Farms, because food production is critical during a crisis and because we could do it with proper physical distancing. However, we have significantly regrouped in new ways since April, especially through the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Our Community Production Cooperative (CPC) perfected the art producing two types of masks, 1) a cloth mask, for mass distribution and 2) a 3D print mask, for frontline workers. We have given away well over 1000 cloth masks and over 200 3D print masks to doctors, nurses, dentists, and frontline factory and retail clerk workers. In the process, we tripled the productive capacity of the CPC and will start producing masks for commercial sale in August 2020, providing an additional four jobs in our community. This further proves the utility and transformative capacities of this type of production.
Quote from the evaluation committee
“The bold aspirations and impressive victories of this initiative, in the face of extreme racial discrimination and other adverse structural conditions, offer hope to all those seeking to create ecologically regenerative communities rooted in economic relationships of equity, solidarity and mutual aid. With its roots in black emancipation struggles, Cooperation Jackson skillfully weaves deep democracy, agroecology, energy sovereignty, ecovillage design, community-scale manufacturing into an inspirational model for any community wishing to transition to sustainability and social justice.”
– Tom Henfrey & Duncan Crowley
To know more, read this in-depth article in Nation of Change. Also, you can scroll down to download the application form filled by this initiative to take part in the Transformative Cities award.