CommonBound Track: "Building the New Economy in Red and Rural America"

Working people generally, and rural folks in particular, feel alienated from Progressive economic, political and environmental movements, even as their lives and livelihoods have been shredded by conservative policies and governments.

In this track we will assess both how we got to this place, and, more importantly, what emerging strategies hold the potential to turn the tide in rural areas and among working people. We will explore a handful of "bottom up economies" that are emerging in unlikely places (beyond coastal cities, in “flyover country”), identify common elements, and brainstorm through workshops how to rapidly and dramatically bring this model of transformation to other parts of the country. Involving long-time activists, thinkers and doers and rural and urban participants alike, track sessions will identify effective strategies--and pitfalls to avoid--in building a progressive, new economy movement that links practice with policy.

This highly participatory track will explore both case studies of new economy projects that are succeeding in rural and “Red” America, and insights from successful base building, policy and bottom up political efforts in these places. Through workshops and roundtable discussions, this track seeks to expand our collective understanding of these issues and to seed a national network of people willing to continue this work going forward.

We are seeking proposals for sessions within this track, and are particularly interested in submissions from people that have on-the-ground experience with efforts to build the “New Economy” outside of urban centers and in traditionally conservative places, who have also:

  • developed strategies that are beginning to build a bases of popular power to bolster these efforts, or
  • begun addressing public policy changes needed to support this work and level the playing field, or
  • developed communications strategies that are beginning to change the narrative in rural and red state areas

For more information, please contact flaccavento [at]

Coordinated By:

  • Anthony Flaccavento, Bottom Up Economy
  • Derrick Von Kundra, Bottom Up Economy
  • Eric Dixon, Appalachian Law Citizens Law Center
  • Ada Smith, Appalshop

Propose a Session