Kwanzaa’s fourth principle, Ujamaa, this year is celebrated on Tuesday, December 29. Ujamaa is a commitment to the practice of shared social wealth and the work necessary to achieve it. It grows out of the fundamental communal concept that social wealth belongs to the masses of people who created it, and that no one should have such an unequal amount of wealth that it gives him/her the capacity to impose unequal, exploitative or oppressive relations on others.

In general, sharing wealth is another form of communitarian exchange, i.e., sharing and cooperating. But it is essential because, without the principle and practice of shared wealth, the social conditions for exploitation, oppression and inequality as well as deprivation and suffering are increased.

Ujamaa also stresses self-reliance in the building strengthening and controlling of the economics of our own community. The assumption here is that we must seize and maintain the initiative in all that is ours and that we must harness our resources and put them to the best possible use in the service of the community.

Ujamaa: “To build our own businesses, control the economics of our own community and share in all its work and wealth.”

Read this story on BK Reader about Brooklynite Joshua Brown who reimagined the real estate industry to create a different type of company – one that serves its community and is built on a business model that treats its agents like partners.

Brown launched Push Forward Realty, a Bushwick-based cooperative real estate firm committed to community development. To help fulfill his mission, Brown asked his father, Reverand Cornelius Brown, to join the team.

Let’s begin to think of ways we can turn our talents and earning power into cooperative economics!


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