New Organization for Solidarity Economy, Postal Banking

New Organization for Solidarity Economy, Postal Banking

An expanded organization dedicated to postal and public banking, worker-owned cooperatives, debt forgiveness, and basic income will host a variety of speakers in its Spring 2015 phone conference series, according to the group’s web site.

Commonomics USA, formed by veterans of the public banking, debt forgiveness, and foreclosure prevention movements, aims to “advance economic justice, reclaim the commons, and promote democratic economies through nonpartisan partnerships with America’s public officials, grass roots activists, and the general public,” according to its web site.

Working with postal unions and other policy groups, the new organization will focus on postal banking, the delivery of basic financial services through the post office, during much of 2015, according to the group’s policy director, Matt Stannard. Dean Baker, American macroeconomist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, will speak on postal banking and dispel austerity-driven myths about the United States Postal Service during a free conference call hosted by the organization on February 3 at noon pacific time.

For most of the 20th century, Stannard says, America’s most successful savings bank was run by the post office. In 2014, the USPS Inspector General proposed, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) endorsed, the implementation of basic financial services at post offices. At that time, members of Commonomics USA, operating under the name BankACT, successfully promoted resolutions on postal banking passed by the United States Conference of Mayors, the California Democratic Party, and the Sonoma County Democratic Party.

“The US Postal Service has a heritage of trusted delivery service spanning four centuries, money delivery services since the Civil War, and profound logistics and technological innovation,” says Marc Armstrong, president of Commonomics USA. “Because the postal service now has ongoing and significant operating profits, our organization believes that the time is right for it to invest in a postal bank, a utility that is offered throughout the developed world. We are working with the four postal unions and over a dozen other national organizations to form a coalition and launch a national postal banking campaign in 2015.”

The larger vision, according to Commonomics USA’s founders, is a defense of the commons, and implementation of policies that promote human solidarity and resiliency. Armstrong explains that “the commons includes everything from open source software to banking. Government austerity and privatization are the dual threats to our common wealth. We advance the idea that the expansion and protection of the commons, particularly those in the economic arena, will improve our collective wealth.”

“Economic justice isn’t just about redistribution,” Stannard adds. “We aren’t just playing Robin Hood. New economic justice organizations are building alternatives: worker-owned cooperatives, resilient local communities, and an expanded scope of public utilities. Our organization aims to finance the materialization of empathy and human solidarity.”

The group is seeking individual and supporting members, as well as strategic partners. Its web site is http://www.commonomicsusa.org/.

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