Thank you for your interest in starting a d@w group in your city, community or campus! We are on the brink of a larger mass movement ready to demand alternative solutions to capitalism. We believe this movement can be successful if we are willing to work toward a solution that supports and empowers workers in their respective enterprises. This is why we have developed an opportunity for those interested in leading this movement, to organize and mobilize toward this goal.
What are d@w Local Groups?
d@w began supporting Local Groups in 2016 at request of listeners of Economic Update who wanted to do more in their community. In essence, they are designed and operated to provide a space for people to come together, learn and share knowledge of worker cooperatives, engage with their community, and participate in the broader cultural shift towards a more just economic system.
While each local group operates independently and with their individual goals and projects, all work towards fulfilling the same mission statement:
At Democracy at Work - XYZ (d@w-XYZ), we endeavor to further our parent organization’s purpose, that is, raising awareness and generating a positive social and cultural shift towards Worker Cooperatives. Worker Co-ops are a way to reorganize our workplaces in a truly democratic fashion, where decision-making power and wealth are shared equally. Through promotion, education, and connection with local organizations, we aim to be a hub in XYZ that advocates for and facilitates the transformation of our economic system.
Our parent organization is the national non-profit, Democracy at Work, a media creator and curator which advocates for worker cooperatives. d@w expanded its activities in 2016 by supporting the formation of local groups such as d@w-XYZ.
Why are there local d@w groups?
Our country is large and diverse, and each area faces different challenges when it comes to making this cultural shift. Localized approaches are important to pushing wider change, and these groups help with that. Our groups exist primarily to:
EDUCATE: Local Groups are a space for people to learn about worker ownership and self-direction of enterprises as a cure for capitalism. We encourage the groups to engage in self-education as well as educate others who are interested in learning more about co-ops. They also learn and share the details of their city and state; what co-ops exist, what co-op incubators and developers exist, what are the specific assets and challenges of their area, etc.
CONNECT: Local Groups reach out to the co-ops, incubators, developers, and allies in their community. In our view, worker cooperatives offer a solution to many intersectional problems. Therefore, finding and connecting with other activist groups in one’s area not only helps the movement for co-ops but for many other related social and economic issues.
SUPPORT: Support comes in many forms. Through self-education and connection to one’s community, these groups come to learn how to best support this movement in their area: general education about co-ops, being a megaphone for existing co-ops, advocating for general co-op friendly policies, becoming a hub to connect co-ops and other social justice groups and more.
But what do they actually do?
d@w Local Groups…
1) host public monthly meetings which in general offer education on worker cooperatives, Marxism, and more. This is in the form of presentations, discussions based on readings, guest speakers, workshops, etc. These are also a social space for people to come together and enjoy each other’s company.
2) connect to their local community. Co-ops have many intersectional effects and many other groups efforts are in line with the goals of co-ops. The groups find those intersections so that these efforts can support each other and build stronger community networks. They also connect with their local co-ops, amplifying their voices, services and efforts. They also connect with local incubators and developers to help potential co-ops find the development assistance they need.
3) engage in outreach to introduce the idea of worker cooperatives to as many people and groups as possible through presentations, tabling, and more.
4) create media such as podcasts, videos, graphics, blogs, presentations and more. those
5) run themselves with cooperative principles.
Can these groups help me get a specific piece of legislation passed that would help worker cooperatives?
No. d@w is a 501c3 non-profit which allows us to advocate for general policies but restricts us from being able to lobby for specific legislation. d@w Local Groups operate under those same restrictions. That does not mean that you cannot tell a group about your piece of legislation, but they will not be able to support your efforts as a d@w Local Group activity.
How do I find a Local Group in my area?
Can I start a Local Group?
If there isn’t a group in your area, yes, you can absolutely apply to start one!
First, we ask you to read through the d@w Local Groups Information Packet, taking particular note of the Guidelines & Expectations section.
I have a question that this FAQ doesn’t address. Who should I ask?
Please direct your question to Liz Phillips, the d@w Public Engagement Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org