Productive Justice

The need for productive justice is largely the result of inequitable systems of distribution and unfair structures of ownership that allow a shrinking group of the élite to accumulate socially produced and socially needed production resources in their hands.

  • Productive justice is having equitable access to productive opportunities.
  • Productive justice means not having to beg someone for a job.
  • Productive justice means not having to beg for land to grow food on.
  • Productive justice means being able to provide for yourself and your loved ones—the very young, the old, the infirmed, and the caretakers—with your labor which produces for all.
  • Productive justice means enjoying the dignity that comes from being a productive and needed part of society.
  • Productive justice means being a role model and teacher to the young who follow.
  • Productive justice means being an independent political thinker and actor, unfettered by fear of displeasing elites on whom you might otherwise depend upon.

Productive justice is needed because the current system means that the control of who is or is not allowed to be productive is in the hands of a small group of people.

This small group has enormous power that derives from this control.

This power is literally power over the life and death of others.

This power robs other people not only of their produce but also of their dignity.

By determining who has access to opportunities, spaces and resources needed to be productive, these owning elite control the actions, direction and rules of the whole community.

They use this power to increase their power and wealth.

This system of the few controlling the many has gotten worse, despite all the talk about democracy.

With the elites controlling even what are the choices put before us, it matters little how we chose.

We need to work in the cracks and fissures of the existing structure to expand and broadly/openly distribute productive opportunities while still looking for ways to undo the historical patterns of power and distribution that have resulted in current inequities.

Southern Grassroots Economies Project

The first meeting of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project took place this weekend, March 18-20,  at the historic Highlander Research and Education Center and it was a great success. There will be much more information posted here in the coming weeks, but for now we want to say how good we feel about the 30+ representatives from organizations from across much of the South from Texas to Georgia and as far north as Kentucky who came together to consider the importance of developing cooperative economics as a part of their social justice work. A temporary steering committee has been formed and will have its first conference call in a week to begin to plan for additional activities to strengthen this part of the movement in the South. As Niqua, a youth member of a worker owned co-operative lawn care business in Atlanta organized by Project South, said on the last of day of the meeting, “I feel like we are a part of history now.”