The Kuwasi Balagoon Center for Economic Democracy and Development
"where we live and work, we must not only escalate discussion and study groups, we must also organize on the ground level. the landlords must be contested through rent strikes and rather than develop strategies to pay the rent, we should develop strategies to take the buildings. we must not only recognize the squatters movement for what it is, but support and embrace it. set up communes in abandoned buildings, sell scrap cars and aluminum cans. turn vacant lots into gardens. when our children grow out of clothes, we should have places where we can take them, clearly marked anarchist clothing exchanges and have no bones about looking for clothing there first. and of course we should relearn how to preserve food: we must learn construction and ways to take back our lives, help each other move and stay in shape."
~ kuwasi balagoon
The Kuwasi Balagoon Center is the coordinating base for Cooperation Jackson, its overall operations and administrative offices. The primary function of the Balagoon Center is to host the various cooperative development activities of the organization including, community orientation meetings, general membership meetings, working group meetings, trainings and skill shares.
We’ve renamed the Center in honor of Kuwasi Balagoon who embodies the vision and work of Cooperation Jackson. Kuwasi Balagoon is a New Afrikan anarchist / Vietnam War vet / former NYC Tenant Organizer / a queer Black man / Black Panther Party for Self-Defense BPPSD member who was forced underground due to heightened state repression and framing of BPPSD members [see: cointelpro / Panther 21 case]. Balagoon became a Black Liberation Army member who lived an uncompromising life in every way shape and form. he was a citizen of the Republic of New Afrika, and did everything in his power to "Free the Land" and actualize the collective vision of a Black Nation. he broke out of jail and prison multiple times, also freed comrades from the walls multiple times. the monies expropriated from the banks were used to fund the breakfast and health programs of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lord Party. People who knew Kuwasi say that he was never in the closet about his sexuality, in a time when that wasn't socially acceptable.
Baba Kuwasi’s life embodies Cooperation Jackson’s Build and Fight strategy of contesting the state, while in the same breadth building sustainable communities that will have the capacity to determine our own exchange value(s) irrespective of capitalist markets and influence.
The Balagoon Center is also the primary site for Freedom Farms Cooperative, an Urban Farming Coop producing naturally grown produce with no pesticides, no herbasides, and no GMOs.
As part of our commitment to developing “new and sustainable” forms of economic activity and social living that will lead a just transition from the extractive and exploitative economy, Cooperation Jackson is committed to creating a Center that is “green” as a model for Jackson, MS. Per our sustainable vision, we are using roof space for the production of solar energy and hope to continue expanding on this technology and other ways to harness natural resources.
The Balagoon Center is located at 939 W. Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 39203. For more than 20 years, the Center was the home of Carrie’s Learning Day Care Center, which was long-time cultural anchor in West Jackson. Cooperation Jackson is proud to make their home our home and to continue the essential work of serving the West Jackson community and beyond.
Space is available on a sliding scale for community groups and residents to rent.