New Economy Coalition

Jan 30, 2014

Our dream is to help catalyze a just transition to a new economy that is grounded in racial and economic justice and that enables both thriving communities and ecological health. The New Economy Coalition team has filled out the Kindle Questionnaire together. To learn more about Mike, Eli, Esteban, Emma, Emily, Nicholas, and Rene click here.

• What do you see as the greatest challenge your community is facing?
All of us come from communities that are struggling, in different ways, with the problems of trying to live well in the context of a deeply unequal, unfair, and unsustainable economy. That said, we’re also part of a community of organizers, innovators, and cooperators who are trying to figure out smarter, more compassionate, more fulfilling ways to organize economic life. (Mike)

• What is the strongest asset of your community?
While we still have work to do to be fully representative of the communities on the frontlines of this movement, I think our strongest asset is the growing diversity of perspectives, strategies, and focus areas represented in the Coalition. (Eli)

• Who are your real-life heroes in your field?
Grace Lee Boggs, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Jessica Gordon-Nembhard (Esteban)

• When and where did you feel most fulfilled in your work?
In Boone, NC, during a student-led summit supported by our Campus Network Program, a participant told me that he and his peers were leaving “hungry to relearn how to care about one another, and to relearn how to be a community.” It’s incredibly beautiful to see people enter the new economy space and find a home for the things they care about most. (Emma)

• What is one thing you wish the general public knew about your work?
A lot of the practices that we label as “new economy” work aren’t “new” at all. (Emma)
Economic democracy takes a lot of engaged-effort and integrity but it’s so rewarding and it builds community in unanticipated ways. (Esteban)

• If funding were no object, what would you do?
Boost economic development and community land-trusts, while re-granting money to establish revolving loan funds administered democratically in communities around North America. (Esteban)

• If you weren’t doing this kind of work, what would you be doing?
Organizer-priest in a multi-racial congregation. (Nicholas)
Tuning pianos. (Rene)

• Favourite moment at work?
Listening to stories from the first year Campus Network projects at the reRoute conference (Nicholas)

• Favourite visual artist?
James Turrell (Rene)
Kehinde Wiley (Esteban)

• Favourite song?
‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. It only took one recent listen for me to realize that it wasn’t my joke favorite song, but that it was in fact my actual favorite song. (Emma)
“Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Harpsichord” J.S. Bach… does that count? If not, current favorite song “Soca Del Eclipse” El Guincho (Rene)
“26 is Dancier than 4” its written in a crazy time-signature and it really is dancy! (Esteban)

• Favourite activist?
Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon, founders of the Idle No More movement in Canada fighting for Indigenous sovereignty, democracy, environmental protection and more. (Emily)
Aaron Swartz. Even after his death, his work continues on in his brilliant unfinished projects. (Rene)

• Favourite historical figure?
Emma Goldman and the Black Jacobins of France and Haïti then Saint Domingue (Esteban)
Harriet Tubman (Eli)
Lydia Mendoza (Rene)

• What did you eat for dinner last night?
Huevos rancheros and beer. It was a weird day… (Mike)
Leftovers from a huge Chinese New Year meal we had over the weekend (celebrating one week early). (Emily)

• If you could give $10,000 to any organization besides your own, which would it be and why?
PICO–their faith-based organizing work is blazing all kinds of trails, within congregations and the larger world. (Nicholas)
I think a $10,000 donation to Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee would have a meaningful impact – immediately affecting people’s lives, and I love the powerful, system-critiquing premise of it. (Emily)
City Life/Vida Urbana. They fight home evictions. (Rene)
The Worcester Roots Project. They are a worker co-op incubator for teenagers in a post-industrial working class city. (Esteban)

• What do you think is the greatest environmental issue of our time?
I think it’s hard to separate out the major ecological crises of our time — ocean acidification, soil erosion and degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change — they are all interconnected and also connected to the social crises of inequality and racism. (Emily)
Our global economic system depends on endless growth and extraction — both of ecological resources and social ones — exploiting people, communities, and the ecosystems we depend on. The climate crisis is one of its many symptoms. (Eli)

• How do you think we can change the world?
The change is happening- brave, committed, creative people are resisting an unjust and unsustainable economy, and building and maintaining new economic systems that serve their communities far better than the mainstream economy has. The change will accelerate as these projects continue to work in coalition- amplifying each others’ voices, rallying around shared values, and pushing, united, for better systems on a much larger scale. (Emma)

• What book are you reading right now?
Oppose and Propose by Andrew Cornell (Mike)
EcoMind by Frances Moore Lappe (Emily)
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuña (Rene)
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (Esteban)

• What’s your personal motto?
Pete Seeger once said “The key to the future of the world is finding optimistic stories and letting them be known.” I only heard that today but I think it sums up what we try and do quite well. (Mike)
“Ni modo”. It sort of means “stuff happens.” Accept and internalize what has happened and work from there. (Rene)

• What makes you the most angry?
The disempowerment of youth and young adults, particularly when we’re the ones inheriting the huge (economic, ecological) mess we’ve been left with. The cynical way in which the “American Dream” is marshalled to conceal this fact. (Nicholas)
Movements with unchecked racism, sexism, classism, etc.. (Rene)

• What makes you the most happy?
Speculative Fiction, imagining possibilities, music, roller coasters, and lunch specials. (Esteban)
Happiness comes from within… and a good beer. (Rene)



Join New Economy Coalition in their National Gathering this June

NEC is delighted to invite you to join us this June 6-8 in Boston, MA as hundreds of activists, organizers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders come together to share practices, tools, and stories; highlight achievements; and create an environment that propels existing work and powerful innovations forward: