Community and Worker Ownership Project

The Community and Worker Ownership Project (CWOP) is a new initiative at the Murphy Institute intended to support a range of efforts percolating around the nation and the city focused on worker-owned cooperatives, economic democracy, and community planning.  In this age of burgeoning inequality and pervasive challenges to political and workplace democracy, this project seeks to support undertakings in worker participation and control, as well as grassroots leadership in community development. The Project will provide research, public forums, training and education in collaboration with University partners and a broad array of organizational stakeholders, including unions, worker centers, community-based organizations, businesses and worker cooperatives. Through this project, we will serve as a resource where these efforts can be studied, promoted, organized and taught.

This initial phase is being managed by Rebecca Lurie. Please reach out to her for more information, to join the work as an advisor, or to serve as a member of one of the working groups. 

The Murphy Institute will focus our commitment in these five areas:

1. Training and workshops

Bring non-credit courses and workshops to CUNY sites for existing and potential cooperative worker/owners

2. College degrees and certifications

Design credit courses, certificates and degree programs with scholars to expand education options for economic democracy and cooperative ownership

 3. Business conversions and start-up 

Support expansion of coop businesses with organized labor, worker centers, community-based organizations and industry sectors

 4. Public programming

Host and sponsor forums and conferences

5. Research

Initiate research to evaluate economic and social justice impact of cooperative ownership and democratic engagement 


Visiting Scholars at the Center for Community and Worker Ownership Project

Dario Azzellini, is currently a visiting scholar at the Murphy Institute, CUNY, writer, and documentary director. He holds a PhD in political science and a PhD in sociology. His research and writing have a focus on democracy, social movements, self-management, popular power, migration, and racism. Azzellini published several books, essays, and documentaries. He is co-editor of Ours to Master and to Own: Worker Control from the Commune to the Present (Haymarket 2011) and the editor of An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy (Zed Books 2015). With Marina Sitrin, he co-authors of They Can’t Represent Us. Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy (Verso 2014). His latest book is Communes and Workers’ Control in Venezuela: Building 21st Century Socialism from Below (Brill 2017). He serves as associate editor for WorkingUSA and for Cuadernos de Marte. Azzellini is a founding member of As a documentary filmmaker, he has been filming in Latin America and Europe. Together with Oliver Ressler he is producing Occupy, Resist, Produce, a series of documentaries on recuperated factories under workers control in Europe. More information: Contact:

The Murphy Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Sofía Arana Landín, as a visiting scholar to our city. Dr. Arana arrives from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). There she is Director of International Projects and Professor in Tax Law. She serves on the Non-discrimination and Equality Commission at the Faculty of Law at the University. Her expertise is in cooperative business, the solidarity economy and the tax codes that make cooperative economics accountable. She is well-published and has worked with the European Commission’s independent experts’ program for the correct application of EU law. Being multilingual and traveled, Dr. Aranas also had the privilege of being a visiting professor to the University of Liège, Belgium, and the University of Talca, Chile. While at the Murphy Institute at CUNY SPS, Dr. Aranas will do a comparative study of taxation and procurement policies of New York with the Basque Country to explore best practices in how and when cooperative businesses contribute to social equity and well-being. You can reach Dr. Arana at