Saturday, October 01, 2011


What is happening in Europe is an abomination.  The racist attacks on and the persecution of the Roma People should be front page news and is not.  The European Union should take action, but, at most, will only say a few words.  The world stands by silently yet again.  Makes me ill!

Both pieces below comes from

Galina Trefil: While "Never Again" Happens Again
Ukiah, Kalifornie, USA, 26.9.2011 15:01, (ROMEA)

1959. A pair of determined, 19-year-old Romani male eyes stare down one of the many guard towers with which the Iron Curtain has surrounded Czechoslovakia. Though well within range of the machine guns’ fire, he takes a deep breath and suddenly darts illegally across the border. He moves through a river and then shakes himself dry momentarily on the other side. If he is shot, he will not be the first one in his family to be killed by an oppressive regime. For the rest of his life, he will never know how many brothers he has—only that they died by machine gun as children under Hitler’s tyranny.

The young man makes his stand, poses, and, on the other side, a nervous relative takes his photograph for proof. Just as quickly as he illegally crossed over, the teenager crosses back. Smugly now, he regards the malicious guard tower again. Though Romani and born in America, he had been taught to love Czechoslovakia, where his father had been born. His own people, by his thought, were just as much Czech citizens as any Slav and this was just as much his peoples’ homeland. And no machine gun had been able to keep him from proudly stepping foot on his homeland’s soil. Even if it was for mere seconds, for the rest of his life, no one would be able to take this pride from him….

Nineteen John Trefil.

2011. Though Hitler by no means loved the Czech people, nor Slavic people in general, it has become a grotesque joke that revering him and his practices has become an ever-more present theme throughout many Eastern European countries. Though he’d have had a clean conscience slaughtering Czechs en mass during his reign, this has apparently been forgiven by a great many for the simple fact that he ALSO murdered 1.5 million Roma. Cheering for Hitler, Neo-Nazi mobs rise up and Romani citizens in Czech Republic today hide as hundreds of people march, crying for them to be sent to gas chambers, set on fire, lynched, and shot.

In Varnsdorf and Rumburk, the crowds of those assembled are so domestic that there are even many mothers rolling their infants along in strollers while they scream out their lust for murder. Romani children cower, wondering if they will be killed. Czech children shudder, wondering if they are going to be forced to watch these killings and if their parents will be the ones committing them. Throughout this, Czech police stand by and, for the most part, do absolutely nothing while the mob destroys Romani property and threatens innocent people with genocide.

There are some who think that the pogroms occurring in Czech Republic pertain only to the people there; have no effect on the world at large. That Roma are threatened, attacked, forcedly sterilized, burnt with Molotov cocktails, or killed has become socially as accepted as, in America, attacks on Natives and African-Americans once were. It is as taken for granted as the violence suffered mutually by Jews was in Pre-WWII Europe for over a thousand years. But the crimes against humanity occurring now in Czech Republic do not solely touch the Roma there. It is a knife also felt by Romani-Americans; a knife my own family has felt keenly plunged into its front and its back.

Galina Trefil.

When violence is directed against us, without exception, we are blamed for it. Why? We did not “assimilate.” My grandfather once taught at Karelova University in Prague. Most anyone would have considered that assimilated enough, but he was still a Rom and, thusly, he was shot at with a machine gun and saw his children butchered. His life was destroyed. Roma families all have slaughter stories from the war though. To be Romani, one expects and has to find a way to accept hatred from birth. So, from that perspective, that Neo-Nazis would march and cry for our murder yet again is a frontal assault; not a surprise at all.

Where my own family has felt intense betrayal is that so many were destroyed by the original Nazis that, collectively, many Holocaust-survivor families today say, “Things changed. They got better. And we can take comfort in that.” I and others in my family proudly display the photographs of the Romani-American soldiers of World War II—men who volunteered for the army, eager to be part of that change; eager to bring justice and freedom to their brethren and other ethnic groups besides across the ocean. Risking their lives, these men returned to America with medals, proving not just their valor in battle, but their commitment to the idea of genocide being wiped out.

In 1959, my father made a gesture of standing up to a government that does not protect its citizens, but instead forces them to suffer. He swam a river and risked his life in order, just for a moment, to stand in his father’s homeland with pride. Even if it was only a gesture, sometimes gesture are necessary.

My father, a retired psychiatrist and surgeon, still loves the Czech Republic. This is an all-encompassing and devoted love that will not, no matter how many vicious mobs arise, ever change. No matter how many police refuse to arrest citizens bent on murder, he will never blame the Czech people as a whole, but rather the government which is failing to protect its non-Czech citizens. He considers those who Czechs who did not stand up to and or prosecute the mob as shameful to their own race and sympathizes with the many decent, ethical Czechs who are shamed by the escalating violence that they did not take part in.

John Trefil in adulthood. (Photo: Family Archive.)

However much he loves Czech Republic though, he has broken-heartedly asked other family members to not go to there anymore. Nazis killed enough of our family already 70 years ago without more members needing to be sacrificed to the Neo-Nazis’ rise. And if the Czech government will allow this violence against its Romani citizens to go unchecked, it has betrayed every Romani-American soldier in my family that once volunteered to protect it. Most decidedly, the Czech Republic of 2011 is not one that my father would have swam that river to cross into.

And when he says this, he points out that this is the modern legacy of Czech Republic: not prosecuting what, in America, would be termed the crime of criminal solicitation for mass murder. By this failure, Czech Republic has rewound time back seventy years and now it is not German soldiers attempting to enact murders based on race. It is a thousand Czech civilians. These violent racists are the image that the Czech Republic is delivering to the media and to public relations. They, and not respectable people, are the voice which all citizens in other countries, not only foreign Roma, will be hearing. This is a thought that any good-hearted Czechs who stood by and did nothing should consider the next time that they proudly love their country. Will good Czechs allow their homeland to become thusly humiliated?

Galina Trefil


Čeněk Růžička: Czech politicians trying to force Roma to emigrateLety u Písku, 29.9.2011 17:48, (ROMEA)
Čeněk Růžička, chair, Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust
Čeněk Růžička, chair, Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust

The following is a translation of a speech written by Čeněk Růžička, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust, for the occasion of the commemoration at the former concentration camp for Roma at Lety u Písku held in honor of the Day of Czech Statehood (28 September):

Speaking as a survivor of the victims of Nazism who are rest here, I have the honor of welcoming you. We are standing at one of the places where events occurred during Nazism that marked us for our entire lives. Those events have been irrevocably engraved on our memories, reminders that are once again relevant today with respect to the currently exacerbated relations between the majority and the Romani minority in this country.
Yes, esteemed Roma, this is the sacred site from which essential appeals must be heard. The words spoken here are dignified and important.

Today this place should be honored by reading the names of the Romani victims of racism who were murdered at the hands of Czech neo-Nazis after 1989. This makes for sad reading. When reading the names of innocent victims, our hearts ache, but given the rising aggression being committed against our people by our fellow citizens, it is even more important to read their names. Our appeal and our wish is that we will finally live in this country as free, respected people whose lives are not at risk.

I am one of those Roma whose entire families all but completely perished, for racist reasons, in the Nazi concentration camps. I know very well what a manipulated mob, as we have been watching live on television recently, is capable of.

The Roma and Sinti, whose roots in the Czech lands are 600 years old, have had their own experiences with the Czech nation. Those who can remember the 1930s, who can remember the law that violated the constitutionally guaranteed equality of citizens and set up special police files on Roma and Sinti, banned our entry into selected towns, introduced special "Gypsy identification cards", ordered us to regularly report to police stations, and terrorized us in other ways - thank God, some of the people who lived through that are still alive.

The adoption of that law exacerbated society's anti-Roma sentiment even more, and those who were mayors then, like those who are mayors today, contributed to the aggravation. The end result was the behavior of the Czech camp guards toward our people in the Nazi concentration camps at Lety and Hodonín, where Czech guards tortured as many as 600 of our people, i.e., their fellow citizens. Of those victims, at Lety alone, 241 of them were children.

Romale, when I learned what happened to my people here at Lety, I could not believe my ears. Until the recent events that have taken place in Šluknov occurred, I continued to hope that somewhere in the archives we would discover documentation of the fact that the Czech guards had actually been ordered to work our people to death, instead of doing it on their own initiative. However, we really do not have time to do this work now. It's useless. We already know how far hatred of the Roma can go.

We know very well what kind of a hell the Czech guards prepared for our people at Lety and Hodonín. We know how hatefully a large part of the majority society treated them. Each one of us still experiences this day in and day out - at local authorities, on public transportation, in the shops and in the streets. It is merely a fortunate coincidence that the ongoing crusade against Romani families has not yet resulted in the very worst outcome of lives being lost.

Who can guarantee that similar pogroms against the Roma will not be repeated with even greater intensity in any part of our country, and with fundamentally worse outcomes? Who can guarantee that Romani individuals, concerned for the lives of their families, will not do something reckless? The tragedy of our people in this country has no end. Are the 20 racist murders of our people that have been committed during this new regime not enough?

We must count on the fact that the relationship of Czech bureaucrats and politicians to the Roma corresponds now and will correspond in future to the general relationship of Czech society toward the Romani community. Moreover, among a large part of high-level politicians, this relationship is even more dangerous and more hateful, because they are designing and passing the laws that influence our life. Take, for example, Czech MP Ivana Řápková (whose educational qualifications I will not list for reasons that are infamous). This celebrity star totally lacking in intellect, this woman who is compensating for her own deficiencies with her hatred of the Roma, this woman who has risen into the lower house by walking all over us. As you know, she is not alone on the political scene.

Romale, what will laws look like when they are designed and passed by people who utterly hate the Roma? They exploit the individual offenses of individual Romani people and intentionally base generalizations on those incidents which they then apply to an entire "category of people". They adopt repressive laws - mayoral decrees - and they are not thinking of the results of their behavior at all.

Can you imagine what would happen if we were faced with elections in the immediate future? These officials are able to behave this way because they have the support of a fundamental majority of right-wing politicians and they feel supported by a large part of the nation, i.e., by their voters.

Esteemed Roma, my question is: How much money does any family in this country require not to fall into the category of people below the poverty line? In the US, this amount is established at USD 22 000 annually, which is CZK 370 000. The social welfare system in this country is not as overgrown as politicians from right-wing political parties claim. In comparison with other EU Member States, it is rather modest. What defines the poverty category in this country? Someone needs to specify this. How much money does a family or individual have to make in order to not live below the poverty line?

The state cannot reject our arguments forever. The tragedy of the Roma in this country has no end. Both non-Roma and Romani mothers are afraid to let their children walk to and from school. Romani families are worried about what tomorrow holds for them.

I want to send all politicians a message from this place: If you continue to make life difficult for us by adopting decrees and laws while the cost of almost everything in this country keeps rising, you won't force us to leave as you hope. You will just create an army of homeless Romani families making their living somehow, and the voracious media are already making sure prejudice against us intensifies and inter-ethnic relationships radicalize.
An exacerbated situation will eventually arise to which the police will not be able to respond in time. There is a risk that human lives will be lost.

How loudly do we have to shout here for our arguments to be heard? There are journalists here, the television is here. Naturally, we will be grateful for their assistance in delivering this message.

Romale, we have lived in this country for centuries, we are living here, and we will live here whether anyone likes it or not. We want to live like free, respected people, a proud Romani nation - not like people who fear for their lives. We must remember the Romipen of our ancestors and practice it as ours - we must resurrect it once more. This is missing from our lives, and to a certain extent is the cause of the moral decline of some of our families.

I would like to say more about this, but there are others here who want to address you. As a Rom whose family members lie here, I thank you sincerely for the flowers, and I would truly prefer that we meet under happier circumstances.

Ačen devleha (God be with you).

Čeněk Růžička, chair, Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Friday, September 30, 2011



Look what's happening out in the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Hey I'm dancing down the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Ain't it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolution got to revolution
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it's time for you and me
Got a revolution got to revolution
Come on now we're marching to the sea
got a revolution got to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of america
-------Jefferson Airplane, 1969

The Occupy Wall Street happening has managed to make me feel both old and young at the same time.  Old, perhaps, because I am, and because I am not out there sleeping in the streets, staying up half the night, having fun, discussing politics and philosophy, drinking wine, and doing who knows what else.  Old, because I have grown cynical while these "kids" are still full of hope and power and passion and all that being young is.  It makes me feel young because despite it all I relate so well to it, the birth of something new without the machinations  of the old old and old new lefts.  Young because I am thrilled by the refreshing lack of dogmatic mutterings and by the refusal of those out there to play the game the way it has always been played.  Young because it reminds me of when I was young and stirs all the same feelings I had then.  Young because I am able still to recognize and feel the spirit of being a part of something joyous and so very alive.  And young, because it has forced the clouds of cynicism to clear for just a moment and allow in a fresh breeze of the possible.  Thank you all and power to you.

The following is from Occupy Wall Street.


This was unanimously voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street last night, around 8pm, Sept 29. It is our first official document for release. We have three more underway, that will likely be released in the upcoming days: 1) A declaration of demands. 2) Principles of Solidarity 3) Documentation on how to form your own Direct Democracy Occupation Group.
This is a living document. you can receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
Also here is the Working list of goals:

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Being a white male, I'll keep my thoughts to myself and leave it for you to digest the following.

The first article below comes from Womanist Musings, and the second from AF3IRM.

An Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk September 23, 2011

We the undersigned women of African descent and anti-violence advocates, activists, scholars, organizational and spiritual leaders wish to address the SlutWalk. First, we commend the organizers on their bold and vast mobilization to end the shaming and blaming of sexual assault victims for violence committed against them by other members of society. We are proud to be living in this moment in time where girls and boys have the opportunity to witness the acts of extraordinary women resisting oppression and challenging the myths that feed rape culture everywhere. 

The police officer’s comments in Toronto that ignited the organizing of the first SlutWalk and served to trivialize, omit and dismiss women’s continuous experiences of sexual exploitation, assault, and oppression are an attack upon our collective spirits.  Whether the dismissal of rape and other violations of a woman’s body be driven by her mode of dress, line of work, level of intoxication, her class, and in cases of Black and brown bodies—her race, we are in full agreement that no one deserves to be raped.

The Issue At Hand

We are deeply concerned. As Black women and girls we find no space in SlutWalk, no space for participation and to unequivocally denounce rape and sexual assault as we have experienced it.  We are perplexed by the use of the term “slut” and by any implication that this word, much like the word “Ho” or the “N” word should be re-appropriated. The way in which we are perceived and what happens to us before, during and after sexual assault crosses the boundaries of our mode of dress.  Much of this is tied to our particular history.  In the United States, where slavery constructed Black female sexualities, Jim Crow kidnappings, rape and lynchings, gender misrepresentations, and more recently, where the Black female immigrant struggle combine, “slut” has different associations for Black women.  We do not recognize ourselves nor do we see our lived experiences reflected within SlutWalk and especially not in its brand and its label. 

As Black women, we do not have the privilege or the space to call ourselves “slut” without validating the already historically entrenched ideology and recurring messages about what and who the Black woman is.  We don’t have the privilege to play on destructive representations burned in our collective minds, on our bodies and souls for generations.  Although we understand the valid impetus behind the use of the word “slut” as language to frame and brand an anti-rape movement, we are gravely concerned.  For us the trivialization of rape and the absence of justice are viciously intertwined with narratives of sexual surveillance, legal access and availability to our personhood.  It is tied to institutionalized ideology about our bodies as sexualized objects of property, as spectacles of sexuality and deviant sexual desire. It is tied to notions about our clothed or unclothed bodies as unable to be raped whether on the auction block, in the fields or on living room television screens. The perception and wholesale acceptance of speculations about what the Black woman wants, what she needs and what she deserves has truly, long crossed the boundaries of her mode of dress. 

We know the SlutWalk is a call to action and we have heard you.  Yet we struggle with the decision to answer this call by joining with or supporting something that even in name exemplifies the ways in which mainstream women’s movements have repeatedly excluded Black women even in spaces where our participation is most critical. We are still struggling with the how, why and when and ask at what impasse should the SlutWalk have included substantial representation of Black women in the building and branding of this U.S. based movement to challenge rape culture? 

Black women in the U.S. have worked tirelessly since the 19th century colored women’s clubs to rid society of the sexist/racist vernacular of slut, jezebel, hottentot, mammy, mule, sapphire; to build our sense of selves and redefine what women who look like us represent. Although we vehemently support a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants anytime, anywhere, within the context of a “SlutWalk” we don’t have the privilege to walk through the streets of New York City, Detroit, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, L.A. etc., either half-naked or fully clothed self-identifying as “sluts” and think that this will make women safer in our communities an hour later, a month later, or a year later.  Moreover, we are careful not to set a precedent for our young girls by giving them the message that we can self-identify as “sluts” when we’re still working to annihilate the word “ho”, which deriving from the word “hooker” or “whore”, as in “Jezebel whore” was meant to dehumanize.  Lastly, we do not want to encourage our young men, our Black fathers, sons and brothers to reinforce Black women’s identities as “sluts” by normalizing the term on t-shirts, buttons, flyers and pamphlets. 

The personal is political. For us, the problem of trivialized rape and the absence of justice are intertwined with race, gender, sexuality, poverty, immigration and community.  As Black women in America, we are careful not to forget this or we may compromise more than we are able to recover.  Even if only in name, we cannot afford to label ourselves, to claim identity, to chant dehumanizing rhetoric against ourselves in any movement.  We can learn from successful movements like the Civil Rights movement, from Women’s Suffrage, the Black Nationalist and Black Feminist movements that we can make change without resorting to the taking-back of words that were never ours to begin with, but in fact heaved upon us in a process of dehumanization and devaluation.
What We Ask

Sisters from Toronto, rape and sexual assault is a radical weapon of oppression and we are in full agreement that it requires radical people and radical strategies to counter it.  In that spirit, and because there is so much work to be done and great potential to do it together, we ask that the SlutWalk be even more radical and break from what has historically been the erasure of Black women and their particular needs, their struggles as well as their potential and contributions to feminist movements and all other movements.

Women in the United States are racially and ethnically diverse.  Every tactic to gain civil and human rights must not only consult and consider women of color, but it must equally center all our experiences and our communities in the construction, launching, delivery and sustainment of that movement.

We ask that SlutWalk take critical steps to become cognizant of the histories of people of color and engage women of color in ways that respect culture, language and context.  

We ask that SlutWalk consider engaging in a re-branding and re-labeling process and believe that given the current popularity of the Walk, its thousands of followers will not abandon the movement simply because it has changed its label.

We ask that the organizers participating in the SlutWalk take further action to end the trivialization of rape at every level of society.  Take action to end the use of the word “rape” as if it were a metaphor and also take action to end the use of language invented to perpetuate racist/sexist structures and intended to dehumanize and devalue. 

In the spirit of building a revolutionary movement to end sexual assault, end rape myths and end rape culture, we ask that SlutWalk move forward in true authenticity and solidarity to organize beyond the marches and demonstrations as SlutWalk. Develop a more critical, a more strategic and sustainable plan for bringing women together to demand countries, communities, families and individuals uphold each others human right to bodily integrity and collectively speak a resounding NO to violence against women.

We would welcome a meeting with the organizers of SlutWalk to discuss the intrinsic potential in its global reach and the sheer number of followers it has energized. We’d welcome the opportunity to engage in critical conversation with the organizers of SlutWalk about strategies for remaining accountable to the thousands of women and men, marchers it left behind in Brazil, in New Delhi, South Korea and elsewhere—marchers who continue to need safety and resources, marchers who went back home to their communities and their lives. We would welcome a conversation about the work ahead and how this can be done together with groups across various boundaries, to end sexual assault beyond the marches.

As women of color standing at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, class and more, we will continue to be relentless in the struggle to dismantle the unacceptable systems of oppression that designedly besiege our everyday lives.  We will continue to fight for the development of policies and initiatives that prioritize the primary prevention of sexual assault, respect women and individual rights, agency and freedoms and holds offenders accountable.  We will consistently demand justice whether under governmental law, at community levels, or via community strategies for those who have been assaulted; and organize to end sexual assaults of persons from all walks of life, all genders, all sexualities, all races, all ethnicity, all histories.

Signed by: The Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, Black Women’s Blueprint | Farah Tanis, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint | Endorsed by: Toni M. Bond Leonard, President/CEO of Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ), Chicago, Illinois | Kelli Dorsey, Executive Director, Different Avenues, Washington, D.C. | S. Mandisa Moore | The Women's Health and Justice Initiative, New Orleans, Louisiana | Black and Proud, Baton Rouge, Louisiana | Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts | Population and Development Program, Amherst, Massachusetts | Zeinab Eyega, New York, New York | Black Women’s Network, Los Angeles, California | League of Black Women, Chicago, Illinois | African American Institute on Domestic Violence, Minneapolis, Minnesota | Brooklyn Young Mother’s Collective, Brooklyn, New York | Women’s HIV Collaborative, New York, New York | National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA), Connecticut | Girls for Gender Equity, Brooklyn, New York | My Sister’s Keeper, Brooklyn, New York | The Mothers Agenda New York (the M.A.N.Y.), Brooklyn, New York | Sojourners Group For Women, Salt Lake City, Utah | Dr. Andreana Clay, Queer Black Feminist Blog, Oakland, California | Dr. Ida E. Jones, Historian, Author, The Heart of the Race Problem: The Life of Kelly Miller | Willi Coleman, Professor of Women's History, member of the Association of Black Women Historians, Laura Rahman, Director, Broken Social Contracts, Atlanta, Georgia | Marlene McCurtis, Director, Wednesdays in Mississippi Film Project | Issa Rae, Producer, Director, Writer, Awkward Black Girl, Los Angeles, California | The Prison Birth Project| Ebony Noelle Golden, Creative Director, Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative & The RingShout for Reproductive Justice | Yvonne Moore, Southern California, Sexual Assault Survivor | Kola Boo, Novelist, Poet, Womanist | Jessicah A. Murrell, Spelman College C'11, Candidate for M.A. Women's Studies | Shanika Thomas | Cathy Gillespie | Kristin Simpson, Brooklyn, New York | Mkali-Hashiki, Certified Sexological Bodyworker, Certified Sound, Voice, & Music Healing Practitioner, Owner & Operator of Body Enstasy, Erotic Wellness Facilitation | Linda Mizell, Ed.D., Assistant Professor School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder| Sherley Accime, President, C.E.O. ANEW, NY, SeaElle Integrated Therapies | Diedre F. Houchen, M.A. Ed., Alumni Doctoral Fellow, Black Education, University of Florida | Hanalei Ramos, Co-founder, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, NYC |
  • To be part of the broader conversation, learn more and to participate in our “Live Free” campaign to end sexual violence, email: Farah Tanis, Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint,
  • Join Our Workshop: Silent No More: Supporting the Survivors and Creating Response to Rape/Sexual Assault in African American Communities. Friday, October 28, 1:30-4:30 PM – RSVP for more information and location to
  •  Join the Cast or Sign Up For Updates On Mother Tongue: Monologues In Sexual Revolution! For Black Girls & Stolen Women Taking Back Our Bodies, Our Selves, Our Lives – The National Black Theater of Harlem, February 24, 2012


AF3IRM Responds to SlutWalk:
The Women’s Movement Is Not Monochromatic.

From the moment the first call for a SlutWalk in the US went out, the AF3IRM membership – transnational women who are im/migrants or whose families are im/migrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa – has been analyzing and discussing this burgeoning movement to address the issue of sexual violence and continuing victimization of rape victims by police, the justice system and other agents of authority. 

It is a testament to the compelling nature of SlutWalk’s call against women’s victimization that we hung fire for months, hammering out our position and analyzing why, while we applaud the effort of those who organize SlutWalk, we remain uneasy about responding to such a call. 

We realize that we are the ones who compose the majority of sex trafficking victims in this country, who comprise the majority of those sold in the mail-order-bride system, who are the commodities offered in brothel houses ringing US military bases in and out of this country, who are the goods offered for sexual violation in prostitution. We who are and historically have been the “sluts” from whom traffickers, pimps, and other “authorities” of the global corporate sex trade realize $20 billion in earnings annually cannot, with a clear conscience, accept the term in reference to ourselves and our struggle against sexual violence and for women’s liberation. 

We therefore feel it is our responsibility to address the organizers and participants of SlutWalk and remind them that Women’s Struggle Cannot and Should not Be Monochromatic. 

Our Concerns

We call upon the SlutWalk steering committee to reassess language use and re-examine how it is, in a sense, offensive to our history, how it is neglectful of historical and cultural sensitivity and competency. Indolent ideology only further pushes transnational women, women of color, away from the current mainstream feminist narrative. It prevents us from establishing a broad front that can create a powerfully dynamic and long-lasting women’s movement.  The ebb-and-surge of the women’s movement in the US is clear enough an indictment of such neglect of the historic particularities of the condition of transnational women and women of color.  

Our collective transnational histories are comprised of 500 years of colonization. As women and descendants of women from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, we cannot truly “reclaim” the word “Slut”. It was never ours to begin with. This label is one forced upon us by colonizers, who transformed our women into commodities and for the entertainment of US soldiers occupying our countries for corporate America.  There are many variations of the label “slut”:  in Central America it was “little brown fucking machines (LBFMs)", in places in Asia like the Philippines, it was “little brown fucking machines powered by rice (LBFMPBRs)".  These events continue to this day, and it would be a grievous dishonor to our cousins who continue to struggle against imperialism, globalization and occupation in our families’ countries of origin to accept a label coming from a white police officer in the city of Toronto, Canada.   

There are two pervasive pejorative words used for women globally, and “slut,” puta (in Spanish, Tagalog), sharmoota (Arabic), Jendeh (Farsi), Ahbeh (Lebanese) - is one.  This label has become integrated in our languages and cultures, and has followed us across oceans into our own communities here in the United States. It has followed the poisonous spread of feudalism and capitalism into the economies and ultimately cultures of the global South, building its own systems of power and exploitation of women’s bodies. It has followed us into migration and still plagues us in our communities here in the United States. Women are treated and dismissed as “sluts”, “putas”, etc., as a product of both the structurally racist and sexist US society, as well as transplanted cultures from our families’ countries of origin.

We invite you, organizers of SlutWalk, to study how many times im/migrant women of color have been coerced into sex by immigration personnel, by border patrols, by jailors.  Surely that will suffice to underscore why even the idea of joining a SlutWalk is like a massive boulder on our chests, squeezing out our breath, killing us, in effect. 

We invite you, SlutWalk organizers, to peruse the catalog of women offered to men by mail-order bride agencies.  Surely that would suffice to underscore why joining a SlutWalk would be equal to accepting an identity conferred on our being by this sexist, exploitative society of violence. 

We invite you, SlutWalk organizers, to walk the brothel houses and see how our women are treated truly as “sluts” – i.e., mindless flesh with orifices from which profit can be made.  Surely that would suffice to underscore why every fiber in our mind and being scream in protest at the word. 

AF3IRM rejects this label; AFIIRM refuses this identity; AF3IRM views it as an abomination.  It has been used to exacerbate class-exploitation, race and gender discrimination.  AF3IRM prefers to work to eradicate it from the common vocabulary, along with other five-letter, four-letter, words derogatory of the humanity of womankind. More, AF3IRM works to eradicate the material social conditions which have made these words possible and acceptable. 

We are not sluts.  We are women, whose struggles are very much layered, trying to end the pervasive view of women as objects and commodities for profit and entertainment.
AF3IRM hopes this will serve as a basis for a dialogue with the Slut Walk organizers, because to achieve the egalitarian society we all aspire for, we need, will need, and have always needed a movement of women of all colors. 
Thank you and we await your response. 

In order to reach AF3IRM, please feel free to contact its officers from various regions.
National – Jollene Levid, AF3IRM National Chairperson,
New York/New Jersey – Leilani Montes, Coordinator,
Boston – Emelyn De La Pena, Coordinator,
San Francisco/Bay Area– Katrina Socco, Lauren Funiestas, Co-Coordinators
Los Angeles – Angela Bartolome, Coordinator,
Irvine – Mona Lisa Navarro, Coordinator,
Riverside – Gayle Palma, Coordinator,
San Diego – Olive Panes, Coordinator,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack, either approved or condoned by government or military authorities, directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious, or other, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes, businesses, and religious centres, property...

So you tell me, what is going on in Bulgaria.

The following is from Racism Today.

Violent Anti-Roma Demonstrations Spread Across Bulgaria

The hit-and-run killing of a teenager blamed on the criminal underworld has sparked violent protests across Bulgaria against the Roma community and the government for its failure to deal with organised crime.
Police have arrested 200 people during protests since Friday when Angel Petrov, 19, was killed near the city of Plovdiv in central Bulgaria.
Properties have been set on fire and cafes ransacked by rioters, while police have acted to prevent attacks on Roma districts and mosques in a number of cities.
Bulgarian television has shown what appeared to be gangs of Roma vigilantes armed with swords, knives and air guns in anticipation of confrontation.
The Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has come under criticism for not reacting to the unrest quickly enough, amid accusations from the opposition that he has failed in his pledge to tackle Bulgaria’s criminal underbelly.
Mr Petrov’s death, after being hit by a van, has been blamed on associates of a Roma clan leader.
The arrest of the van’s driver has not quietened uproar among ordinary Bulgarians, many of whom feel that the incident goes to the heart of the biggest issues facing their country: organised crime and corruption, and the status of the Roma minority.
“We have not previously had such a series of racist, anti-Roma protests carried out in a number of cities,” said Daniel Smilov, of the Centre for Liberal Strategies think-tank. “These were low-intensity violent and racist outbursts, but over the past 20 years we have not been accustomed to such events.”
Bulgaria is situated on major drugs transit routes into Europe from Asia and the authorities are also fighting human trafficking. Since joining the EU in 2007, Bulgaria has had substantial amounts of European funding temporarily suspended due to concerns about corruption.
The nefarious “business” links of leading politicians regularly come under scrutiny, and the police have been criticised for failing to control the expansion of underworld networks.
The Roma community constitutes between 5 and 10 per cent of the country’s population of 7.5 million. Many Roma are among Bulgaria’s poorest and most marginalised people, in poor housing and living outside the regular economy and society.
Many ethnic Bulgarians resent their alleged involvement in crime.
“The Gypsies have too many rights and no responsibilities,” said Angel Katushev, a 22-year-old student from Plovdiv, wearing a Bulgarian flag at a rally in Sofia. “We pay for them, and we want them to play an active part in social life, paying taxes, following the law and living in a civilised way.”
The protests have largely been orchestrated through social network websites and opposition media, including the SKAT television channel associated with the ultranationalist party Ataka (“Attack”).
But many demonstrators disassociated themselves from the nationalist hardcore on whom the unrest has been blamed. “I don’t want to be with the freaks, the football thugs,” said Orlin Mitev, a 29-year-old tour guide at the Sofia rally.


Hmm, gotta think it over a bit

The book Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective sounds interesting to me.  Unfortunately it is only available and Spanish and I am one of those dumb Americans who only speak English.  Alas, I'll have to wait and hope it comes out in English.  Meanwhile, I've only got about twenty books on my reading pile.  

The following comes from SOLIDARITYECONOMY.


Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective is a new Cuban book published in Spanish earlier this year. A compilation of essays, it is divided into four parts. Part One introduces cooperatives; Part Two examines the views of Marxist theoreticians including Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin and Che Guevara on the role of cooperatives in a socialist-oriented society; Part Three looks at the experiences of cooperatives in other countries from Spain to Venezuela; while Part Four analyses the Cuban experience of cooperatives as part of its socialist project.

This important and timely compilation is edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker. Avid readers of my blog will recall that I translated and posted a commentary by Camila, titled "Cuba Needs Changes", back in January.

Camila, who lives in Cuba, holds a degree in sustainable development from the University of Berkeley, California. She is a professor at the Centre for Studies on the Cuban Economy at Havana University, and her works have been published both in Cuba and outside the island. She is also, incidently, the daughter of Chilean-Cuban journalist and author Marta Harnecker and her late husband, Manuel "Red Beard" Piñeiro, who headed revolutionary Cuba's state security and intelligence service for many years.

Camila hopes her book may be published in English soon. In the meantime, she has kindly agreed to allow me to translate and publish this extract (about a third) from her preface to Cooperatives and Socialism with permission from a prospective publisher. I hope that sharing this extract with readers of my blog will make you want to read the whole book. If it does become available in English I'll post the details here.
At the end of the text you'll find the footnotes, translated from the Spanish.
Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective
Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, Editor
* * *
Preface (extract)
By Camila Piñeiro Harnecker
Translation: Marce Cameron
This book arises from the urgent need for us to make a modest contribution to the healthy “birth” of the new Cuban cooperativism and its subsequent spread. Given that cooperatives are foreshadowed as one of the organisational forms of labour in the non-state sector in the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Sixth Cuban Communist Party Congress, the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Centre approached me to compile this book. The Centre has made an outstanding contribution to popular education aimed at nurturing and strengthening the emancipatory ethical values, critical thinking, political skills and organisational abilities indispensable for the conscious and effective participation of social subjects. The Centre considers it timely and necessary to support efforts to raise awareness about a type of self-managed economic entity whose principles, basic characteristics and potentialities are unknown in Cuba. There is every indication that such self-managed entities could play a significant role in our new economic model.
For this to happen we must grapple with the question at the heart of this compilation: Is the production cooperative an appropriate form of the organisation of labour for a society committed to building socialism? There is no doubt that this question cannot be answered in a simplistic or absolute fashion. Our aim here is to take only a first step towards answering this question from a Cuban perspective in these times of change and rethinking, guided by the anxieties and hopes that many Cubans have about our future.
When it is proposed that the production cooperative be one – though not the only – form of enterprise in Cuba, three concerns above all are frequently encountered: some consider it too “utopian” and therefore inefficient; others, on the basis of the cooperatives that have existed in Cuba, suspect that they will not have sufficient autonomy[1] or that they will be “too much like state enterprises”; while others still, accustomed to the control over enterprise activities exercised by a state that intervenes directly and excessively in enterprise management, reject cooperativism as too autonomous and therefore a “seed of capitalism”. This book tries to take account of all these concerns, though there is no doubt that more space would be required to address them adequately.
The first concern is addressed to some extent with the data provided in the first part of the book regarding the existence and economic activity of cooperatives worldwide today. This shows that the cooperative is not an unachievable fantasy that disregards the objective and subjective requirements of viable economic activity. Thus, the experiences of cooperatives in the Basque Country, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela that are summarised in the third part of the book demonstrate that cooperatives can be more efficient than capitalist enterprises, even on the basis of the hegemonic capitalist conception of efficiency that ignores externalities, i.e. the impact of any enterprise activity on third parties.
The efficiency of cooperatives is greater still if we take into consideration all of the positive outcomes inherent in their management model, which can be summarised as the full human development[2] of its members and, potentially, of local communities. The democratic abilities and attitudes that cooperative members develop through their participation in its management can be utilised in other social spaces and organisations. Moreover, genuine cooperatives free us from some of the worst of the negative externalities (dismissals, environmental contamination, loss of ethical values) generated by enterprises oriented towards profit maximisation rather than the satisfaction of the needs of their workers.
It’s not possible to take up here the arguments of enterprise administration theorists who hold that cooperatives are inefficient. These criticisms are based, in general, on the fact that democratic decision-making takes time, ignoring the fact that this participation is also the principal source of the advantages of cooperatives over other, non-democratic enterprises. In addition, they condemn cooperatives for not resorting to dismissals, as well as for a supposed tendency to undertake little investment due to the maximisation of member incomes and their aversion to risk. However, such behaviour is not revealed in the practices of the cooperatives analysed in this book, practices which also demonstrate the advantages of democratically managed enterprises in terms of the positive motivation of cooperative members. While the negative incentive of the fear of dismissal is undoubtedly effective in eliciting certain behaviours, not even this is sufficient. The tendency of capitalist enterprises to incorporate methods of democratic management suggests that they understand that participation in decision-making is needed in order to achieve the levels of worker motivation necessary for competitive success in the capitalist market.
We hope that those who, on the basis of the Cuban experience, doubt that it is possible for a cooperative to be truly autonomous and democratic will find this concern adequately addressed in the first part of the compilation. Here, when we explain what a cooperative is, we point to the basic differences between a cooperative and a socialist state enterprise. In a genuine cooperative, the participation of the cooperative members in management does not depend on the enterprise management council deciding to involve them more in decision-making; such participation is a founding principle, concretised in the rights of members established in the internal rules of functioning and exercised through bodies and decision-making procedures that are drawn up and approved by the cooperative members themselves. Although the degree of autonomy of the new Cuban cooperatives will depend, of course, on the content of the anticipated legislation on cooperatives and on the implementation of the regulations it establishes, the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines seem to indicate that they will be granted the powers of self-management that characterise cooperatives everywhere, and without which democratic self-management is impossible. We hope the legislation resolves the deficiencies of the current legal framework for Cuban agricultural cooperatives, which are analysed in the fourth part of this book.
The third concern, that which gives rise to the inclination to reject the cooperative as an option for socialist enterprise organisation because it is considered too autonomous and therefore incompatible with broader social interests, takes up the most space in this book. Beginning with the first essay in the compilation we attempt to demonstrate that genuine cooperatives function according to a logic that is diametrically opposed to that of capitalist enterprises. Instead of profit maximisation for the shareholders, the driving force of cooperatives is the satisfaction of the human development needs of their members, needs which are inevitably bound up with those of local communities and of the nation, and even of humanity as a whole. Throughout the book it is suggested that while it’s true that cooperatives cannot be incorporated into the national economic plan or regional or local development strategies though mechanisms of coercion or imposition, it is possible to harmonise and coordinate the orientation of their activities towards the fulfilment of social needs identified through the planning processes, above all if the latter are democratic and respond to the interests of the surrounding communities or those to which cooperative members belong.
However, to argue for the relevance of cooperatives as part of a socialist project we need to begin by clarifying what we mean when we refer to these socioeconomic entities. In the first part of this book, Jesus Cruz[3] and I try to define the cooperative as simply as possible. Here, it is important to stress that in the international context, cooperatives carry out a great diversity of economic activities, and that a not insignificant part of the global population either belongs to one of these organisations or directly benefits from their activities. This should not be surprising if we consider that the form of the organisation of labour that characterises a cooperative, self-management, has existed since the emergence of humanity. The cooperative has persisted as the most common organisational form chosen by groups of people that seek to resolve common problems through their own efforts.
What differentiates a production cooperative (referred to hereafter as “cooperative” since we emphasise this type[4]) from other forms of enterprise organisation is emphasised, based on an analysis of the cooperative principles[5] that have contributed to the success of these organisations since the emergence of the first modern cooperatives. These early modern cooperatives understood the imperative of achieving an effective enterprise management that would allow them to survive within the more savage and monopolistic capitalism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. To the degree to which cooperatives have observed these principles in their daily practice, they have benefited from the intrinsic advantages of this form of enterprise. These advantages ultimately derive from a democratic management model that permits the harmonisation of individual interests with those of the collective (i.e. of the common interests of cooperative members) and even, though in a less axiomatic way, with the social interests of the local communities with which they interact the most.
The observance of these principles is also what allows cooperatives to reduce the inevitable corrupting effects of the capitalist surroundings in which the majority of them have developed. The capitalist environment privileges individual over collective solutions; makes it difficult to achieve equality by generating and reproducing differences in abilities and social status among cooperative members; denies them the time needed for democratic decision-making; punishes genuine acts of solidarity; and promotes the super-exploitation of human beings and nature. While this undoubtedly limits the horizon of human emancipation – the overcoming of the barriers that stand in the way of us fulfilling our human potentialities – an emancipatory dynamic has always been latent in genuine cooperatives. The capitalist environment is not an absolute barrier to cooperatives becoming spaces in which these principles are put into practice, and in which the values that such practices instill may develop. The experiences of successful cooperatives presented in this book demonstrate the economic and ethical-political potential of these organisational principals, above all when cooperatives that embody these principles are able to link up with other self-managed entities, and when they promote the approval of laws and regulations that undermine the prejudices that exist regarding cooperatives in the legal framework and in the practices of capitalist enterprises and state institutions.
As Julio Gambina and Gabriela Roffinelli argue, the cooperative should be seen as one of the many forms of the self-managed social organisation[6] that will allow us to transcend the capitalist logic of maximising narrow individual interests. Because it takes no account of human nature and its social and ecological constraints, such economic “rationality” is in fact irrational and suicidal. For as long as it pervades our daily practice, the logic of capitalism will not only distance us ever more from the socialist or communist ideal of complete social justice; it is also taking us to the brink of an irreversible rupture in the dynamic equilibrium of the biosphere.
The rationality that drives a cooperative, as with all forms of genuine self-management, is the necessity for a group of people to satisfy common needs and interests. It is based on the recognition that they share collective interests that correspond to some degree with their own individual interests, and that it is collective action that allows them to pursue these interests most effectively. This, together with the recognition that all its members are human beings with the equal right to participate in decision-making, results in democratic management in which the cooperative members decide not only who the leaders are and how revenues should be allocated, but also how to organise the process of production: what is produced, how and for whom.
The managerial autonomy of the collective that makes up the cooperative – the ability of this group of people to make decisions independently – is the key reason why the historical experiences of socialist construction have rejected their relevance to the building of socialism and have relegated them to agriculture or marginal economic spaces. Some see in autonomy a disconnection from, or a wanting to have nothing to do with, social interests and the strategic objectives embodied in the socialist economic plan, and ask the following questions: Is it possible to “hitch” an autonomous enterprise to a planned economy? Can a cooperative respond not only to the interests of its members but also to wider social interests? When one thinks in terms of absolute autonomy and authoritarian (i.e. undemocratic) planning, if the interests of collectives (groups) are considered a priori to be indifferent to social interests, then the answer is obviously negative. The authors of this book are motivated by the certainty that the answer is affirmative. We argue the case here, though we are unable to respond to all of the questions about how this can be achieved in practice.
Here, we must point out that we make no claim to have solved this practical problem which dates back to the times in which socialist theories were first elaborated. It is perhaps more of a conceptual problem than a practical one, since there are examples of collective and even private enterprises that satisfy social needs more effectively, and that have established decentralised horizontal relations that are more socially responsible, than some socialist state enterprises. Our focus here is on the form of organisation of labour within a productive unit and not in the economic system as a whole. The analysis of how a socialist-oriented society should guide the management of enterprises, or of the form in which the fruits of cooperative labour should be distributed in society, are thus topics that we do not attempt to grapple with in this initial approach to the problem. However, we do put forward some ideas in relation to these themes throughout the book.
The “fruits” of cooperative labour that interest us most here are the human beings themselves that are “produced” as a consequence of the particular form in which the productive process is organised in the enterprise: the social subjects that work together as members of a cooperative and who are motivated to give the best of themselves to the success of their enterprise and, potentially, to local communities.
What differentiates a cooperative member from an employee of either a capitalist or socialist state enterprise? In light of the experiences of cooperatives analysed in this compilation, the member of a genuine producer cooperative, or other form of self-managed entity, is the true owner of their enterprise and thus feels like it. He or she, together with the collective they belong to, participate in a conscious and active way in strategic and managerial decision-making, as well as in their implementation and in verifying that decisions are carried out. What characterises a cooperative is not legal ownership of the means of production (premises, land, machinery) by the collective or group of people that comprise it, but the fact that decisions regarding the use of means of production are made by the cooperative as a whole, either directly or by representatives that they elect, in such a way and with such powers as decided by the collective. Albeit limited to the cooperative enterprise and its activity, this is a concrete form of self-management, of the exercise of popular sovereignty.
Given this, for Gambina and Roffinelli the relevance of various forms of worker self-management, in particular cooperatives, to the building of socialism depends on the degree to which they serve as an “an apprenticeship in administration outside the control of capital”. Thus the value of the cooperative lies in the nature of its daily practice, in the social relations of production that are established among its members: relations between associated producers rather than between wage-workers and capitalists. Cooperative members are not obliged to renounce, in exchange for wages or salaries, their capacity to think, be creative and make decisions. They exercise these capacities via democratic mechanisms in conditions of equal rights and duties. There are no bosses and subordinates in a cooperative but an organisational structure and a technical division of labour that have been collectively drawn up and approved.
Thus cooperatives can be valuable weapons in the struggle to build socialism. They are not the only such weapons, they are insufficient by themselves and are not devoid of risks and challenges, but they are nevertheless tools – perfectible and adaptable – for socialist construction. They are tools that we should not allow to be abandoned due to either state-centric dogma or the misconception that only what is privately owned and managed, and operates according to capitalist logic, works. As Gambina and Roffinelli argue, “... there is a dialectical relationship between socialism and cooperativism that is either promoted or discouraged in specific socio-historical conditions.” The extent to which cooperatives contribute to the building of socialism depends on the context in which they arise and develop, and on the relationship they establish with this context.
[1] By “autonomy” we mean the ability to make decisions independently. As we shall see, no social organisation anywhere in the world is completely autonomous since its options are always conditioned in one way or another by its social context.
[2] The term full or integral “human development” is used to make clear our rejection of the progressivist and economistic mythology that reduces development to achieving an abundance of material goods, without taking into account that development also has intrinsic ethical and spiritual dimensions, in which people can achieve professional fulfilment and the realisation of their potentialities as social beings.
[3] A brief biography of each of the contributors to this compilation is included at the end of the book.
[4] Cooperatives can be classified as either production cooperatives, in which cooperative members unite in order to collectively produce goods or provide services; or consumer cooperatives, in which the members acquire goods or services collectively.
[5] Essentially, as is clarified in the first contribution to this compilation, a cooperative must be: (1) open to members joining and leaving and flexible with regard to its internal organisation; (2) run democratically; (3) based on the labour of its members; (4) managerially autonomous; (5) prioritise the education and training of its members and the general public; (6) establish mechanisms for cooperation with other cooperatives; and (7) committed to the community.
[6] Other forms of enterprise self-management are the various forms of co-management (in which the work collective participates in the management of the enterprise together with the legal owners of the means of production, or owns shares in the company); professional partnerships (professional associations in which members provide services on an individual basis, but pool a part of their incomes to acquire services and goods collectively; they are usually limited liability companies); associations, etc. There are also forms of self-management outside the economic enterprise sphere, such as self-management in regions, communities and local governments.