Gene Gordon, Founder and Executive Director
…Leading The Way
Gene Gordon is Founder and Executive Director of Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Gene never attended college, nor did he end up in prison. Gene believes that people are measured by how close they are to the poor and the disenfranchised, and how well they help others overcome systemic challenges and barriers that prevent people from accomplishing their dreams and aspirations.
As President and Partner of Direct Source Maintenance, a Facility Service Management company, Gene and his team offer a broad range of services such as “green” cleaning, construction management, build outs, additions, and urban development. The company’s website, directsourcefsm.com, provides more information on their full line of services.
Gene Gordon serves on the Board of Directors of the global Center for Economic and Social Justice headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. CESJ is headed by Dr. Norman Kurland, a pioneer in expanded ownership institutions and laws. His accomplishments include designing the initial Federal ESOP laws for worker ownership and working with community leaders in Central Harlem in the late 1960s and in East St. Louis from 2000-2009 to introduce mechanisms for equal citizen ownership of community land.
Under Gene Gordon’s leadership and in partnership with CESJ, Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice has launched The Heart of America Project. Gene and his CESJ colleagues convinced Missouri State Senator Karla May to introduce SB460, which would create a model for-profit Community Investment Corporation, a citizen-owned land development corporation, in St. Louis and surrounding areas. In March 2020 Gene Gordon testified in support of the bill before the Missouri Senate Oversight Committee. This groundbreaking model would demonstrate at the community level how the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks (starting with the St. Louis Fed), commercial banks and private insurance companies could finance sustainable economic growth, while creating equal capital ownership opportunities for every citizen.
The Heart of America Project introduces a series of monetary and tax innovations targeting the systemic causes of poverty, racism and the growing gap in wealth, income and opportunity. If successful, this model will be replicated throughout the U.S.
Through his life, Gene has always believed that there are three sides to any coin. He believes in the ability to think independently, outside the box. Being the person he is, he knows that what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. [Cf. Fulton Sheen, “Right is still right if nobody does it, wrong is still wrong if everybody does it.”]
Gene Gordon has spent his life on the front line working with organizations, community leaders, and activists to lift the systemic barriers and challenges that plague communities today. Despite adversity and personal tragedies, Gene has remained positive, steadfast and hopeful that effective change will correct the economic and social injustice that fosters crime within communities.
When Gene was introduced to the work of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, he felt that “This Is It” – a solution to the problems that Americans and people throughout the world face today. CESJ’s “Just Third Way” recognizes that unjust and exclusionary systems and policies have created barriers that are maintained by leaders who are disconnected from community life. To dismantle those barriers, people must organize to change systems and policies to provide equal opportunity, access, power and justice for every person. To that end, Gene Gordon has worked every day to spread the ownership message and solutions to leaders and ordinary citizens alike.
Norman G. Kurland, J.D.
Dr. Kurland is a lawyer-economist, pioneer of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and a leading global advocate for “the Just Third Way,” a post-scarcity development model that transcends both capitalism and socialism by combining free markets with the democratization of economic power and capital ownership.
He serves as President of the all-volunteer, interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), a non-profit think tank headquartered in Arlington, Virginia that he co-founded with Fr. William Ferree and other social and economic justice advocates in 1984 (www.cesj.org). Dr. Kurland also founded and heads Equity Expansion International, Inc., an “investment banking firm for the 99%,” which implements “Just Third Way” strategies around the world to turn non-owners into owners (www.eei-consultants.com). He is a co-founder of the Coalition for Capital Homesteading (www.capitalhomestead.org), the Canadian-based Global Justice Movement (www.globaljusticemovement.org), and the Unite America Party (www.facebook.com/uniteamericaparty) launched in 2014.
He has taught binary economics and expanded ownership policy reforms in privatization seminars around the world, including the International Law Institute in Washington, D.C. In 1985, President Reagan appointed Dr. Kurland as deputy chairman of the bipartisan Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice, to promote economic democratization through Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) reforms in Central America and the Caribbean. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06vP84SqnS4)
Dr. Kurland was a close colleague for eleven years of the late Louis O. Kelso, father of binary economics systems theory, inventor of the ESOP and the co-author with the Aristotelian-Thomist philosopher Mortimer J. Adler of The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists: A Proposal for Freeing Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings (1961). With Kelso, Dr. Kurland co-founded in 1968, and served as executive director of, the Institute for the Study of Economic Systems. He later became Washington Counsel for Kelso’s investment banking firm. Collaborating with Kelso, Kurland authored and lobbied the first and subsequent ESOP legislative initiatives in the U.S. Congress (The New York Times, 1/6/74, Sec. 3, pp. 1, 6).
Before joining Kelso, Dr. Kurland was director of planning of the Citizens Crusade Against Poverty (1965-68), a national coalition headed by the labor statesman Walter Reuther. Before that, he served as a Federal government lawyer for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare on welfare and education issues (1960-1962). He then joined the general counsel’s office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1962-1964) where he became deeply involved as a civil rights investigator in the Mississippi “one-person, one-vote” movement. Kurland later was hired to join the core group shaping grassroots economic empowerment initiatives in President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” (1964-1965).
In March 1965, while engaged in Federal funding of Community Action Programs in California and Arizona communities, Kurland was introduced to Kelso’s revolutionary “Just Third Way” alternative to monopoly capitalism, coercive collectivism and Keynesian “Welfare State” solutions to poverty. He left the Federal Government, reversing his earlier support for poverty expedients like Milton Friedman’s “Negative Income Tax” and the “Guaranteed Annual Income.” Kurland shifted the focus of his life’s mission to addressing unjust structural barriers in the world’s monetary, credit and tax systems that bar at least 90% of Americans and over 99% of humanity from equal ownership and economic empowerment opportunities.
Armed with the Kelso-Adler principles of economic justice and Kelso’s market-based, limited government version of economic democracy, Kurland and his fellow “architects of the future” would challenge ideologues and academics of the left and the right with a radical centrist solution to the economic root sources of war, global terrorism, class conflict, oppressive and corrupt political elites, underdevelopment, rising unemployment, crime and widespread poverty and hopelessness.
Dr. Kurland has lectured and consulted on expanded capital ownership in over 30 countries, including South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic and the Vatican.
He was the principal architect of several model ESOPs and legal systems for expanding ownership in the United States and internationally, including: the first ESOP and worker shareholders association in the developing world at the Alexandria Tire Company in Egypt; the “Capital Homestead Act” (a comprehensive program of national monetary, tax and inheritance reforms for growing the economy and universalizing capital ownership opportunities for every child, woman and man); the for-profit “Citizens Land Cooperative/Bank” and “Natural Resources Cooperative/Bank” (for sustainable land development with citizen ownership, governance, and sharing of profits from land leasing and rising land values); the “Capital Homestead Account” (for providing every citizen with access to no-interest capital credit for acquiring ownership shares in profitable companies expanding and adding technological and system innovations); the Homeowners Equity Corporation (for turning renters into owners of homes subject to mortgage foreclosure); and “Justice-Based Management” (a system for applying Kelsonian principles of economic justice to build participatory ownership cultures in the workplaces and governing boards of business corporations and cooperatives).
Business Week described Kurland as “the resident philosopher of ESOP in the capital” (4/15/85, p.108). He received CESJ’s first Kelso-Ferree Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor he shares with the late Senator Russell Long, legendary champion of ESOP on Capitol Hill. Dr. Kurland has authored numerous articles on the Just Third Way, binary economics, capital homesteading and related concepts for universalizing access to capital ownership. He authored five chapters in the 1994 compendium Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property (John H. Miller, ed., Social Justice Review), including “The Abraham Federation: A New Framework for Peace in the Middle East.” He was the principal author of CESJ’s comprehensive economic reform agenda, Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen: A Just Free Market Solution for Saving Social Security (Economic Justice Media, 2005). His most important article, “A New Look at Prices and Money: The Kelsonian Binary Model for Achieving Rapid Growth Without Inflation,” was published by the Journal of Socio-Economics (Vol. 30, 2001).
Dr. Kurland was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree in 1959 on a full scholarship from the University of Chicago, where he studied law and economics and received the Walter Wheeler Cook Prize for legislative drafting. He received his B.A. degree with honors in 1952 from the University of Connecticut, where he co-founded the first intercultural fraternity in the State of Connecticut and was awarded membership in the Phi Kappa Phi scholarship society. Upon finishing his undergraduate work, he received a direct commission in the U.S. Air Force, where he earned his wings as an electronics countermeasures officer, commanded two radar installations in Japan, and then was assigned to a B-47 bomber wing in Strategic Air Command before entering law school.