Here at the Red Sun Press, we are counting down the final days of 2011 with a spring in our step. You see 2012 is the United Nations Year of the Cooperative, and we are celebrating it by working on a campaign to raise awareness of the cooperative movement
To us this is much more than the typical UN, warm and fuzzy, “year of”. As a print shop and design studio, you wouldn’t necessarily expect Red Sun Press to be organizing a campaign, but then maybe you don’t know our history or how personal us coop(ites) take this cause, and why we think increasing human cooperation is so important.
By putting people at the center of their activity instead of capital acquisition, cooperatives are the natural form of organizing to increase human cooperation and progress – in all fields.
With Time magazine awarding “The Protestor” as their person of the year, there are clear signs that social consciousness is rising around the world. Corporatism and conflict are discredited. They have left us with increased unemployment, environmental degradation, poverty, war and debt. Yet, when we lift our heads up from our current activities, and look down on our struggle, we see our fellow occupiers, our fellow community activists, our neighbor looking for a job, and we can’t help but notice how separate we are in our struggles. It’s that separatism that keeps us from getting to real solutions. The modern communication tools provided by the Internet give us unprecedented opportunity to overcome this separateness, bridge the gaps, and finally, empower each others struggles and campaigns. But we haven’t gotten there yet. We are still struggling in our own patch.
With more than a 100 million Americans already participating in cooperatives, either through food cooperatives, cooperative employment, cooperative housing, or by entrusting their finances to a cooperative Credit Union, we have in place a network of immense economic and positive potential. And with a new generation awakening to the struggle for social justice and desiring solutions, here we are again, more ready than ever: the cooperative movement.
Modernizing our campaign to promote the cooperative movement is the opportunity that I see before us, and is what our campaign will emphasize. It is the raising of awareness to the fact that by increasing human cooperation here in Massachusetts we can create more jobs, strengthen our community, and build a narrative of human cooperation and the cooperative entity as the basis for finding solutions to our problems.
In the way that “Occupy” has come to define protest in 2011, so “Cooperation” can be the banner under which we define solutions in 2012. Cooperation is to embrace each others struggles and know that each is part of the whole.
The UN year of the cooperative will be there constantly reminding us of the serendipity of this moment. It’s up to us to make it real. After all, human cooperation is the most powerful resource we have.
(If you would like to get involved directly in the campaign contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on twitter.com/redsunpress)
Red Sun Press, Boston’s Cooperative Printer