What’s unique about the initiative?
Most people in Jackson, Mississippi live at or below the poverty line, and face chronic unemployment, poor health and an extreme wealth gap between black and white. Cooperation Jackson is helping transform the city into one that is ecologically and economically regenerative, rooted in equity, solidarity and mutual aid.
Most outstanding results
To date the project has provided quality employment and wages to a growing number of Jacksonians, initiated a process to decommodify land, and embarked on the creation of permanently affordable housing. It has also built a broad consensus on the need for food sovereignty and 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.
Launched in May 2014, Cooperation Jackson has supported several progressive candidates to get elected to municipal offices; started a growing network of cooperatives; created the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Land Trust; and set up the Human Rights Institute – initiatives that are delivering quality employment, affordable housing and food sovereignty in a way that respects, protects, and fulfills the basic human rights of all Jacksonians.
Underpinned by the Jackson-Kush Plan which involves building people power through people’s assemblies, developing an independent electoral force, and building a social and solidarity economy, the project’s ultimate goal includes making Jackson a zero-waste and emissions city capable of providing a range of local goods and services via community production.
From community energy centres to the creation of three eco-villages, within the next five years the project will retrofit 100 homes (making them completely off-grid) and build the capacity to produce 10% of Jackson’s vegetables on urban, solar-powered farms.
Cooperation Jackson is also working to combat climate change, the system of excessive resource extraction, and to change various laws in the state of Mississippi that limit cooperatives to agricultural businesses, utilities, or credit unions, and is engaged in a long-term campaign to strengthen working class organisations in the state.
Quote from the evaluation committee
“In a situation of virtual apartheid economy of USA south it is inspiring to see a growing grassroots initiative organizing for socio-economic and environmental justice that encompasses multiple paths towards equality that combines tactics of pushing for more collective ownership (land trusts), labour rights and sustainable and just local economy together with pushing progressive political representation in city council and beyond.”
– Iva Marčetić
To know more, read this in-depth article on Resilience. Also, you can scroll down to download the application form filled by this initiative to take part in the Transformative Cities award.