By Gloria Lowe

Governor Rick Synder has decided to remove 1200 or so individuals or families from the Family Independence (welfare ) rolls  in Michigan in or around October 2, 2011.  Many people hail this decision because of mis-informed opinions they have acquired. 

 But there are more important implications to consider.  What will be the outcome of these decisions made at this time of economic hardship when there are no jobs?

The old economy is failing, the old American dream is dead.  A new form of economic sustenance must be developed. 

 In America Beyond Capitalism Gar Alperovitz  writes:

  “ …if the local foundations of democracy are to be rebuilt, this also requires an approach to achieving greater local economic stability that does not rely so heavily on traditional business oriented strategies.” 

 Later he explains the close ties between economic health and democracy. “…Real community democracy, in short, requires real community economic health—and the kinds of institutions that can sustain it.”

 We, as Detroiters and Americans, are on the threshold of re-discovering ourselves:  our passions, our skills, our abilities to ‘make a way out of no way’.    

 This crisis can end in chaos. OR we can seize it as an  opportunity to engage in a conversation that will help us create a new democratic America that embodies our dream of self-governance.

 What does it means to be a citizen at this time on the clock of the world? What does participatory democracy look like?  What are alternative economies?  How do we start to grow our souls and our humanity? These are some of the questions that this crisis challenges us to ask ourselves .

 Wendell Berry has written that ”a culture disintegrates when its economy disconnects from its government, morality and religion.  If we are dismembered in our economic life, how can we be members in our communal and spiritual life?”

 This disintegration is happening in Detroit and around America, but we can end it. We have to end it.  A new world is waiting!

  We have the opportunity  and creativity to make the transition from Jobs to Work  that will reconnect us with our best practices, practices that restore our humanity and community values. 

 This transformation from the old industrial Detroit to a new, innovative Detroit, exploring and inventing a new economy, and recreating our Beloved Communities is as significant today as the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture thousands of years ago.

 In America beyond Capitalism Gar Alperovitz  writes: ‘We are doing the hard work, making the hard decisions, re-inventing ourselves through our creativity.  The establishment of alternative economies: time-banking, employee-owned cooperatives, bartering circles, small family owned sweet shops, artisans selling their wares at local fairs; a new economy is taking place, right here, right now. It will take time, to decide what works best for us, we will keep ourselves focused and we will be victorious.  Together in conversation with those who share our vision we will do the critical thinking to becoming more responsible citizens.”.

 Over the  weekend of October 28-30, visionaries and solutionaries will gather in Detroit to discuss how the disappearance of industrial Jobs has created the necessity and the opportunity to Re-Imagine Work in a way that develops our skills and recreates our humanity, our families, and our communities. 

This three-day conference of thinkers and doers will help you recognize that change begins with you,  that ‘YES WE CAN’, and that many people  are  already  engaged in this profound transformation.

 SAVE THE DATE!! Spread the work of this groundbreaking event. For more information go to:  www.reimaginingwork.org.  Also visit:  www.boggscenter.org