NASCO Institute 2015 Keynote Speech, delivered by Steve Dubb, titled “CBuilding Community Wealth: Connecting Our Co-ops to the Movement for Social and Economic Justice.” Ann Arbor, MI - October 31, 2015.
This year's keynote will touch on some of the challenges we face at our current crossroads. If we look around us, it is not difficult to find inspiring, community-based efforts of economic empowerment. And yet we also know that, both in Canada and the United States, we are often swimming upstream against strong currents that are degrading our environment and concentrating wealth and political control among an ever shrinking elite.
What does it mean to invest in community wealth and how do we find our common interest? What might a truly multiracial, multicultural movement for cooperation and community wealth look like? We know we are far from a democratic economy. And we tend to forget that most social change work is not glamorous -- more than a half-century of civil rights organizing preceded the 1963 March on Washington, for instance. But maybe, slowly, step by step, through efforts to build community wealth across the world, a new vision of what may be possible is emerging.
Steve Dubb's roots in co-ops go back to when he joined the Berkeley Student Co-op in 1986, where he was a member-owner for three years. From there, he went on, in graduate school at UC San Diego, to be a part of the Groundwork Books Collective from 1989 to 1998. From 2000 to 2003, Steve served as executive director of NASCO. Steve has remained active in NASCO ever since, serving on NASCO's board from 2006 to 2008 and remaining an informal advisor to board and staff.
Since 2004, Steve has worked for The Democracy Collaborative, where much of his work has centered on building the theory and practice of "community wealth" as a strategy to empower low-income communities and communities of color. At the Collaborative, Steve was written a number of books and reports and developed the Community-Wealth.org website and e-newsletter. In addition, Steve has worked on developing strategies to build community wealth in many cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Jackson, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, New Haven, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR) and Washington, DC. Steve is also part of the Collaborative’s Learning/Action Lab team that is currently partnering with Native American organizations to develop employee-owned businesses and social enterprises in Indian Country.