Omar Freilla

Coordinator
Green Worker Cooperatives
Omar Freilla is the founder and coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives, a Bronx-based organization dedicated to incubating worker-owned green businesses to build an economy rooted in economic and environmental justice. He is a loving papa, husband, and relentless trailblazer, with a deep appreciation for democracy and a knack for participatory education. He's the creator of the academy model of cooperative development and has over 15 years of experience in cooperative & green business development with almost an equal number of years as an organizer challenging environmental racism, classism, and sexism. He's written stuff, been awarded stuff, and keeps it moving.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Moving Beyond Capitalism - A Case Study of Worker Cooperatives in NYC

Our fights against white supremacy seem to always be grounded in a fight over the control of wealth, who gets to produce it, and who gets to use it. Yet, by and large, our social justice movements typically accept the rules of our economic system as an unchangeable given, as if we expect capitalism to live forever. We critique it, but limit ourselves to “realistic” campaigns that can win concessions from capitalists or the agencies that regulate them. On occasion we develop movements that seek to build power yet replicate the same economic model that disempowers and creates poverty in the first place, changing some of the faces but leaving the system intact. But what would it look like if we actually built the economy of our dreams? How do we even start?

We offer up worker cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them) as one place to start.

In this workshop we’ll explore the contrasting assumptions of ownership in cooperatives vs capitalism and their implications for social justice movements. We’ll take a deep dive into the powerful ecosystem in NYC that has successfully moved over $8 million in City funds towards worker co-op development over the past 4 years, producing over 100 worker co-ops. And after all of that, you’ll get a chance to put our work on the hot seat and pick, prod, and poke holes so that we can all learn and build a new economy together.

Speakers: Omar Freilla, Saduf Sayal