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EDA NEWSLETTER - MAY 2020
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THIS MONTH IN EDA
SPECIAL EDITION: LIFE AFTER COVID-19
    Whatever It Takes to Survive and Revive
    Pandemic Calls for System Change
    Will Disaster Lead to Local Cooperation?
ELECTION RESULTS: Meet our New Trustees
EDA RATIFICATIONS: By Members of our Governing Circle
2019 ANNUAL REPORT
WHAT WE'RE READING AND WATCHING

JOIN US FOR THE NEXT CONNECT WITH EDA
THE ADVOCACY TEAM NEEDS YOUR HELP

YOUR SUPPORT IS DEEPLY APPRECIATED
COMING IN THE JUNE NEWSLETTER!

 
WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SURVIVE AND REVIVE
ARE WE PREPARED?
Lockdowns. Self-isolation. Uncertainty about the future. Besides threatening our health and safety, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered supply-chain disruptions and financial turmoil on a scale unknown since the 1930s and 40s. But the feeble measures created to stem recession in the United States — low interest loans and aid payments to citizens — will have little impact.

Coronavirus has revealed the myriad gaping holes in America’s social and economic safety net. It’s no longer possible for us to ignore the enormous disparities that exist in health care, job security and government bailouts. These rifts are unsettling and frequently painful. Governments, companies, banks and working people will face years of distress as our rampant debt leads to bankruptcies, unemployment and skyrocketing prices for essential goods. The urgent rebuilding of society promises to be uneven and precarious. It will test our character to the core. Most of us are highly unprepared.

On this May Day, EDA asks: will anything good result from this health crisis and market shutdown? Who will mobilize the public investments necessary to build resilience into our economy? How shall we navigate through this calamity and come out the other end with body, mind and spirit intact, along with the resources necessary to address the fundamental challenges of production, distribution and human survival?

 
DESIGNING OUR FUTURE
PANDEMIC CALLS FOR SYSTEM CHANGE
Covid-19 has unmasked us. During good times, when the economy generated a high standard of living and seemed relatively efficient, citizens became complacent about its obvious flaws and risks. Now, the market’s lack of resilience, spare capacity, coordination and leadership are in full view. The biological virus has exposed the veiled social viruses of inequality, avarice and a profit motive that undervalues human life while overvaluing consumption. This pandemic may be new, but the intense privation and despair it has produced is not much different from what many societies have been experiencing for decades.

Every year across the world, millions of people die from causes that are totally preventable: acute hunger, inadequate health care, gun violence, racist policing, militarized border enforcement, global economic sanctions, war-induced starvation and toxic pollution. We’re unable to address these widespread assaults on human life for the very reasons that we are personally tormented by the coronavirus.

Our failure to take responsibility for the shortsighted policies and institutions of the past has made us unwilling to hold our leaders to account for today’s intensifying crises. Despite frantic attempts by those in power to patch the endless cracks that have opened up before us, we are witnessing the rupture of long held patterns and ancient structures. Poverty, decaying infrastructure, climate crisis, biodiversity loss and concentration of wealth are all national emergencies that are surfacing right now. And all require a common solution: equitable and sustainable management of our shared resources.

 
WHY COULDN'T IT BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME
               CAN DISASTER LEAD TO                LOCAL COOPERATION?
We will not return to ‘normalcy’. That possibility is all but gone. Yet history has shown that when humans are under severe stress, it often leads to cooperation and compassion. Our brains are wired to seek social support when dealing with trauma. Yes, we’ve been required to practice physical distancing, but the result is that communities are finding unique ways to connect with and support one another. Many of us are looking past our differences and coming together around our shared vulnerabilities. We are seeing just how resilient and creative people can really be.

Crime rates are plunging. Facebook and Zoom support groups have been popping up everywhere. We check with neighbors before grocery shopping to see if they need anything. Restaurants offer food to the poor and homeless. Others are bringing coffee and treats to health care workers. Volunteering has increased. Although working from home has been challenging for some, it has brought many families closer together. Still more far-reaching, our staunch efforts to contain the pandemic have slowed our consumption of resources and reduced CO2 emissions. Outside, the air is sweeter, there’s far less traffic and some endangered species, unaffected by the virus, are strolling blithely down our streets.

By forcing us to stay home and getting to know our neighbors better, the practice of local conservation is teaching us the values and designs of a more just and caring society — behaviors that we are experiencing and practicing personally. We may not know it yet, but we have begun to internalize mutual decision-making for community resource management. Coronavirus has not killed off our deep sense of social responsibility, it is only making it stronger. A new culture of resource democracy is coming into being amidst the pandemic.

 
MEET OUR NEW TRUSTEES
EDA is focused on bringing about a new system that follows the principles of participatory democracy. To advocate for these democratic values in society, we must practice them within our own organization. Based on our deep commitment to free and equal elections for EDA's leadership, we are pleased to announce the newly elected members of our Board of Trustees:
 
President Roar Bjonnes

 At-Large Trustee Terry Blatt

You can get to know them better by checking out their CVs and personal statements in Candidate Submissions, under the Election 2020 thread on the Active Members site in Loomio.

EDA is also proud to announce that 77% of our Active Members participated in the recent election in April. This is a resounding vote of confidence, both in our candidates and our organization. Through your active engagement in this election, each of you has demonstrated ownership in our democratic process. EDA’s Election Board sends a big thank you to everyone who took part!

If you're not an Active Member yet, please join us today as EDA steps into an exciting future with Roar and Terry on board. Congratulations to all!

 
EDA RATIFICATIONS
BY MEMBERS OF OUR GOVERNING CIRCLE

As a democratic cooperative, EDA encourages the personal involvement of Active Members in our organizational decisions. In the same way that elections are held for the authorization of candidates into elected positions, we hold ratifications for the approval of proposals and to confirm some appointments made by the Managing Director and Board of Directors.  

From May 8-14, EDA members will be asked to take part in five ratifications:

           - IMPACT (Integrative Management Planning and Coordinating Team):
             Proposal for a policy committee that formally links our Action Council
             with our Operations Department for the planning, implementation and                                  marketing of EDA programs

           - Policies and Procedures: Proposal for a handbook of        
             organizational guidelines for our workers, and the methods                                                   by which these guidelines will be applied in daily tasks

           - Code of Conduct: Proposal of a set of rules for workers that       
             outline EDA’s expectations for professional behavior on the job

           - Research Team Chair - Confirmation of Appointee David Cunningham                              as head of EDA’s Research Team

           - Advocacy Team Chair - Confirmation of Appointee Jacelyn Eckman                        as head of EDA’s Advocacy Team

Background information on these ratifications is located in two places in the Active Members section of EDA’s Loomio site. The proposals can be found under the thread, Documents for Review. The appointees’ job appraisals are in Peer Review Job Performance Evaluations. Please familiarize yourselves with both the proposals and appointee evaluations.

The time for review and comments by Active Members is from April 13 - May 6. The proposals and appointee evaluations will be presented to members for ratification from May 8 - 14.

In addition, our At-Large Trustees will be holding a Ratification Discussion Night on Monday, May 4 at 8 pm EDT. Each of the matters that are up for ratification will be reviewed and EDA members’ questions will be addressed. Here is the Zoom link:
https://zoom.us/j/498340110?pwd=UVJJMnBrbmZ6M2dNNSsxY1dzOStCZz09

Please know that your cooperation in these ratifications is every bit as important as your participation in our elections. Your personal input makes EDA more responsive, vibrant and relevant to you as a member, and also to our supporters and strategic partners.
 

Beginning this year, we are issuing a financial report to all EDA members and the general public that summarizes our work from the previous year. The 2019 Annual Report is now posted in the Active Members section on Loomio and on our website. Please have a look at this highly interesting 17-page booklet. You will learn a lot about EDA finances and culture that you won’t see anyplace else. Enjoy!


 
WHAT WE'RE READING AND WATCHING
FORECASTS AND SOLUTIONS

Food System Expert: Rationing Based on Health, Equity and Decency Now Needed
Is there rationing in our future? What would this mean? Although it addresses the possible impact of the coronavirus on food chains in the United Kingdom, this article also has bearing for the United States.

The Carbon Underground
Larry Kopald, co-founder of The Carbon Underground, talks about no-till agriculture as a way of keeping carbon dioxide in the ground and recapturing a sizable amount of the carbon emissions that are currently entering our atmosphere. If you want to learn more about regenerative farming that includes no-till practices, this video is a good place to start.

Al Gore Is Opening a New Front in the War on Climate Change
Al Gore’s 400-acre farm is located in the small Tennessee town of Carthage, where the former Senator and Vice President used to kick off his political campaigns. During Gore's second act as a world-renowned environmentalist, this farm became the site of a training program for aspiring climate activists. More recently, it has become an experiment in what Gore sees as the world’s most realistic chance for averting climate catastrophe. Check out this very hopeful project.

Regeneration: The Beginning
This film follows the trials and victories of the four-generation Breitkreutz family through its transition from conventional farming to regenerative agriculture at the Stoney Creek Farm, Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Using conventional methods, the family watched their soils degrade and their farming costs rise every year. After shifting to regenerative practices, the family's row cropping improved and the maintenance costs for their cattle also declined significantly.

 

Join us for the next Connect with EDA
Fridays at 4:00 PM PDT/ 5:00 PM MDT/ 7:00 PM EDT (US and Canada)

Active Members hold informal discussions every Friday that focus on issues facing us right now. We explore how the coronavirus is affecting each of us personally. We have also talked about what you can do to help EDA as we consider what life may be like in the future.

These weekly conversations are a great way to further your understanding of economic democracy and provide a place for you to ask questions and share ideas. Themes will vary and depend on what our group wishes to discuss. Meetings are open to members and non-members. Please feel free to invite friends and family.

You can post comments or questions on the EDA Active Member website, under ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP DISCUSSION. The Zoom call information is available there and also below:

https://zoom.us/j/97499353525?pwd=OVhNcHNrVlpoYk9hQndJVC8rbGVUQT09


If you’re not an EDA Active Member, please consider joining us by going to
economicdemocracyadvocates.org and clicking on GET INVOLVED – Membership.

 
Advocacy is looking for someone to help our team develop a series of short video segments for EDA's website and Facebook page. If you have experience in any aspect of video production, we invite you to join us as we work to further EDA's mission of training people to advocate for economic democracy.
 
 
YOUR SUPPORT IS DEEPLY APPRECIATED

EDA and EDA Foundation are asking for financial support from friends and members to help amplify our work and our messaging. Funds are needed to expand our Research, Advocacy and Education Teams. We need to develop a new website and expand our online and social media presence as we continue our outreach with new collaborative partners.

We're grateful to those of you who have already donated, and want to give our special thanks to those who have signed up for regular monthly contributions. Your generosity helps us sustain our important work.

All contributions to EDA Foundation are tax-deductible and support research, education and training programs. All contributions to EDA are non-tax-deductible and support our advocacy work with your elected officials. Thank you kindly.




Coming in the June Newsletter!


 
  - What kind of world are we inhabiting next?


  - Creating community resilience


  - Principles of local cooperation

 
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