Webinar Invitation: Energy Democracy and Capitalism
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Dear Edward,

We are excited to be co-organizing this year’s New Economy Week with the New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine from November 9th through the 15th. As part of the week, The Next System Project is organizing and participating in two exciting online discussions.

Please join us on November 9, 1:30-2:45pm ET for an online conversation on varying views of capitalism, featuring our co-chair Gar Alperovitz as well as a number of signatories to the Next System Project statement on systemic crisis. This discussion will not necessarily aim to build consensus around a particular definition of capitalism, but will attempt to help participants develop a more strategic understanding of the concepts, beliefs and values we evoke when we use the c-word, i.e., capitalism, in the course of our work to build a new economy and the next system.

And on November 12, 2:00 - 3:30pm ET we’ll be hosting an online discussion on how to popularize and advance energy democracy as a key strategic perspective within the climate justice and new economy movements.

See below for more information on both of these exciting events, and stay tuned for more exciting New Economy Week updates.

The Next System Project

P.S. Please help us get more signatories on our statement by forwarding this newsletter to your friends.

[Online Panel] Using the "C-Word": 
Will the New Economy Be Capitalism, or Something Else?
November 9, 1:30pm - 2:45pm ET (10:30-11:45am PT)
Register Here
Does building a truly just, democratic and sustainable economy mean creating an entirely new system beyond capitalism—or can we reform capitalism to operate according to those values?

This as an important strategic question that new-economy advocates must come to terms with as we attempt to build public understanding of and support for a just and sustainable new system. Indeed, as the first Democratic presidential debate of the season highlighted, “capitalism” can be a politically charged and confusing term. Thus, as with all controversial terms, how we use the “c-word” matters.

Yet, as one might expect from a diverse and growing movement, new-economy advocates have widely differing views on the term. Thus, for example, while Gar Alperovitz may write of an America Beyond Capitalism, we see his friend and colleague John Fullerton promoting a Regenerative Capitalism that nonetheless resonates with Alperovitz's vision in its particulars. Some feel the need to qualify our current system as "corporate" capitalism, while others are happy to call it capitalism, plain and simple. Yet in each case the choice of terminology is a deliberate one, indicating that the differences are not merely semantic, but reflect deeper political and cultural realities that no advocate should ignore.

This New Economy Week panel will serve as a live installment of Keith Harrington's "Checkerboard Revolution" series of articles for YES! Magazine, which explores big picture strategic issues confronting the emerging new-economy movement. To shed light on this often murky issue, an expert panel will discuss varying views of capitalism from the perspective of theory and practice. The discussion will not necessarily aim to build consensus around a particular definition of capitalism, but will attempt to help participants develop a more strategic understanding of the concepts, beliefs and values we evoke when we use the c-word.


Keith Harrington (YES! Magazine)


Gar Alperovitz (Next System Project)

Sohnie Black (Fund for Democratic Communities)

John Fullerton (Capital Institute)

Julie Matthaei (Wellesley College)
[Online Panel] What is Energy Democracy and Why Does it Matter?
November 12, 2:00 – 3:30pm ET (11-12:30pm PT)
Register Here
As the climate crisis heats up, and its impacts on the economy and people’s lives become more pronounced, concerned people everywhere are looking for new alternatives. Energy democracy seeks to replace the current corporate fossil-fuel economy with one that puts racial, social, and economic justice at the forefront of the transition to a 100% renewable energy future.

By energy democracy we mean bringing energy resources under public and community ownership and control, a key aspect of the struggle for climate justice and an essential step toward building a more just, equitable, sustainable, and resilient economy – a new economy.

We’ve invited key energy democracy leaders to kick-start a conversation on why energy democracy is important.

The webinar discussion will focus on ways to build strategies to advance community-based energy that intersect with the broader movement toward resilient communities and a regenerative economy. Our panelists will discuss how issues such as land use, food justice, housing, public safety, and clean energy jobs are critical to energy democracy.

Come engage with leaders of the recently-formed Energy Democracy Project to learn more about their perspectives on energy democracy and how they are seeking to build a powerful movement to democratize energy in this country.

We’ll be discussing these questions:

How is energy democracy different from "really good" renewable energy? Why does it matter that it's different?
What does energy democracy have to do with building collective, community wealth? And how does it help correct past distributive injustices among and within communities?

4 key questions we have to ask ourselves when talking about energy democracy: 1. What purpose is energy for? 2. Who generates the energy? 3. Who owns the energy? 4. Who uses the energy?

Changes in energy systems at the local level is important work, but the International Energy Agency has said that we need to revolutionize the global energy system if we are to avoid 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise and catastrophic change. How do we address energy democracy at the global level? Or even at the national level?

Does energy democracy in fact help us understand and make energy a service and a commons, as opposed to a commodity? How?  

What is the bigger /broader movement that the energy democracy sits in or should relate to? How do they have to integrate to succeed? 


Janet Redman, Institute for Policy Studies

Conversation Starters

Denise Fairchild, Emerald Cities Collaborative

Meghan Zaldivar, PUSH Buffalo

Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Presented by The Energy Democracy Project, New Economy Coalition, and The Next System Project
Copyright © 2015 Democracy Collaborative, All rights reserved.
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