According to the International Co-operative Alliance, more than 12 percent of the global population belong to the world’s three million cooperatives. The African diaspora has contributed to this legacy. Many Caribbean people view cooperatives as trustworthy because these institutions put people’s local needs first. Both Haiti and Grenada have deeply embedded cooperative values and identities that are rooted in the ancient African systems of Sol and Susu. The African diaspora has a strong history of organizing solidarity financial economies to counter exclusion in business and society. This article draws on interviews with 138 direct users of cooperative institutions, bankers, and experts. Based on the findings, it argues that the African diaspora has had a key role in cooperative development and that Susu and Sol are the preferred financial institutions because they give people a way to help each other in times of adversity. This research uses the theory of the Black Social Economy to analyze Caribbean cooperators and their use of informal and formal cooperatives to stymie exclusion in business and society. Documenting the Haitian and Grenadian people’s cooperative legacy reveals that the choice of the people of the Black diaspora to politicize their economic solidarity, and this has been a major contribution to the global cooperative movement.
The Legacy of Cooperatives among the African Diaspora: The Cases of Haiti and Grenada
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Caroline Shenaz Hossein; The Legacy of Cooperatives among the African Diaspora: The Cases of Haiti and Grenada. National Review of Black Politics 1 October 2021; 2 (3-4): 171–194. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2021.2.3-4.171
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