Skip to main content

Building the Democratic Economy, From Preston to Cleveland

Democratic Ownership Democracy & Governance

This week, the Laura Flanders Show has released a Special Report, “Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland ,” co-produced with The Democracy Collaborative.  The documentary features the exciting trajectory of a new model of inclusive, democratic local economic development in what had been one of the most deprived areas in the North of England.  

Preston, Lancashire was once a thriving manufacturing city in the cradle of the industrial revolution.  But in recent decades it has been beset by deindustrialization, disinvestment and intractable poverty in a pattern familiar from America’s Rust Belt. Confronted with crisis and austerity, and with little prospect of rescue from the UK government in Westminster, local officials in Preston decided to take the response into their own hands, aided by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.  

Inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, the result has been the “Preston Model” of community wealth building, an increasingly celebrated approach (that we first reported on in 2016) in which the foundations for a very different kind of economy, with a focus on ownership, control, democracy, and participation, are being laid from the ground up.  As the film shows, the work in Preston is now in turn being taken up at the national level in the UK by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as a laboratory for “Corbynomics” and a proving ground for bottom-up economic system change. 

We are grateful to our partners at the Laura Flanders Show for all their hard work and collaboration, and we hope you enjoy this inspiring story – more evidence that another world is not just possible but is already being built right before our eyes!

More related work

A Common Platform

A Common Platform: Reimagining data and platforms

Digital platforms have proven indispensable to how we live, work, and play. The challenge is to set principles and implement policies that liberate the democratic and enlivening potential of the platform from the logic of concentrated corporate ownership and profit maximization. read more
Multi-stakeholder cooperative

Multi-stakeholder cooperative

Multi-stakeholder cooperatives include two or more membership groups and can use their flexible governance structures to provide an institutionalized means for those groups to communicate their needs. read more
Election celebration outside White House, November 7, 2020

After Trump, before Biden: What’s next for the American left?

Trumpism—whether or not it morphs into a new form, with a new leadership or strategy—is something we still don’t understand properly. The outcome of this election shows we have a lot more work to do to ensure the Trumpers don’t have a continuing path forward. read more