Poor, black US citizens are among the world’s many suffering canaries in the coal mine of unfettered-Capitalism, that unsustainable pursuit, having finally disempowered all of us except for the “point0-0-whatever%” that threatens to take the 99.99whatever% down the road to starvation, widespread war and extinction.
Chris Hedges interviews a rare sort of leader, Kali Akuno, a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a recent movement of poor, black citizens in Mississippi’s capital, Jackson.
Amy Goodman’s interview on Democracy Now with Akuno on the topic: Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination, in December last year, is excellent as well, especially for its inclusion of an appraisal of ultra-right Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and President Donald Trump. Akuno here points out a new white supremacy initiative building in America.
Under attack by a new city gentrification initiative that will eventually drive them off the land on which they currently eke out their humble, desperate existence, Cooperation Jackson is a movement started by Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson until his death on Feb. 25, 2014. Akuno was his Director of Special Projects and External Funding.
This movement is a fascinating phenomenon that uses many of the potentially planet-saving Décroissance concepts being tried in different places I described in my October 2014 post, La Movement Décroissance. The French word Décroissance, uniquely combines the concept of degrowth with that of stopping believing in the way the current money-based system works. In Cerbère in Southern France and the Barcelona area, small communities have been established that:
- Eat locally – and mostly plants
- Disobey strategically some of the System’s “precepts”
- Borrow, barter and time-trade, reducing dependence on money
The key objectives of Akuno’s movement outlined in his interview with Chris Hedges are excitingly similar:
- Poor blacks must seize the land below Fortification Street and stop the new gentrification land-grab process. White Flight having occurred between the late 1960’s and the 90’s, the wealthy now want to move back and transform Jackson.
- The poor must establish a different, shared, communal Land Trust with a constitutional agreement of 99 years for which, apparently, a legal process exists.
- Blacks in Jackson, who have many skills are looking at different degrowth communal techniques such as:
- Time banking, in which one person’s labour is traded for that of another.
- Alternative, in kind, currencies related to the above.
- Strategies such as price-based mutual credit, resource libraries, tool lending and even crypto-currencies are being looked at.
Large parts of Jackson will eventually be under water due to climate change, if current capitalist growth continues.
Many higher species are facing extinction as it is. In a century or two humans will, with increasing likelihood, face the same fate. Sooner, if we keep our appointment with worldwide nuclear war that some of the crazies think is winnable.
So, it’s captivating to watch these concepts being used in a larger, desperately practical context.