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On Labor Day yesterday, we ran a series of photographs from six regions of the country, each answering an underlying question as aspirational as it is achievable: What does it look like when people are their own bosses? You can see the answers here.

It’s a striking portrait—commissioned by Mother Jones in collaboration with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and Solutions Journalism Network—of how co-ops are returning power to workers in North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont, California, and other areas where labor rights is a paramount movement of civil rights. “It’s no wonder,” writes the author, Alissa Quart, “that people are drawn to a model that gives them back some power” in an era of “epic income inequality” and “corporate consolidation and union-busting” that reliably produce “unstable and episodic” work. The interest in co-ops marks a return to what one worker in the series calls making a “livelihood” rather than just earning a paycheck.

To sustain a co-op, the portrait shows, is to be freer of the grasping moves of top-down profiteers who’d sooner vacation in space on rank-and-file dime and moonwalk in the media than invest more meaningfully in worker safety, security, and health. Give the photos a look.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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