“The phenomenal success of Weavers Way clearly demonstrates possibilities for wealth creation through the democratization of ownership," said Weavers Way Board Member Chris Hill. "The cooperative business model can be applied to a whole range of enterprises beyond food markets. Encouraging all kinds of co-op startups in our area would have the potential to impact our local economy in significant and very positive ways.”
The program, dubbed “The New Economy Project,” is co-chaired by Hill and longtime Weavers Way member Herb Levine. Levine recently retired as Executive Director of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness in Lawrenceville, NJ. “My long-time work on homelessness both in Northwest Philadelphia and regionally has shown me the profound need for job creation," he said. "Gar Alperovitz’s work in helping to create Evergreen Cooperative Ventures in Cleveland could be an inspiration to those of us living in Northwest Philadelphia who are committed to democratic principles and want to participate in generating what Alperovitz terms ‘community-sustaining economies.’ ”
The film grew out of ideas Alperovitz has promoted for more than a decade in such books as "America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and Our Democracy" and the recent "What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution." Alperovitz, a founder of the Democracy Collaborative (community-wealth.org), has just launched a new website “The Pluralist Commonwealth.” (www.pluralistcommonwealth.org) In his books and activism, Alperovitz has highlighted a path that is neither unbridled capitalism nor state socialism, but a third way that is embodied in worker-owned, cooperative enterprises.
An open discussion will follow the film showing, and attendees will be invited to join the project and help plan future events designed to support the proliferation of collectively owned local businesses in Philadelphia. A plan for a subsequent event showcasing a variety of existing co-ops in our area is already under way.
To learn more about Gar Alperovitz: Visit his website atgaralperovitz.com.
About Weavers Way: Founded in 1973 as a neighborhood buying club, “the Co-op” now encompasses two grocery stores, two specialty wellness and beauty shops and a pet store in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. Weavers Way is member-owned, open to the public and committed to offering quality products that are local, sustainable and nutritious. For more information, visit www.weaversway.coop.