Worker Cooperatives

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x359594's picture
x359594
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Mar 19 2013 16:47
Worker Cooperatives

Recently an outfit called Occupy Jobs has approached an IWW GMB with a proposal to join in a campaign to form worker cooperatives.

There's tremendous skepticism on the part of the GMB. Is this really building the new society within the shell of the old when co-ops exist within the a capitalist economic framework?

Here's some background on worker co-ops in the US and elsewhere: http://www.ncba.coop/ncba/about-co-ops/co-op-types/worker-cooperatives

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Mar 19 2013 20:25

My go-to texts on co-ops:

http://libcom.org/library/co-ops-or-conflicts
http://libcom.org/library/co-operatives-all-together
http://libcom.org/library/participatory-society-or-libertarian-communism

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Steven.
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Mar 19 2013 23:11

Yeah, those are all good. I would also like to point out this article I which I wrote and the discussion which followed with some IWW people about the union and co-ops:
http://libcom.org/blog/co-operatives-capitalism-iww-18022012

syndicalist
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Mar 19 2013 23:33

Just as an FYI only:

Quote:
Why Unions Are Going Into the Co-op Business
The steelworkers deal that could turn the rust belt green.
March 15, 2013 |

“Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollow out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants,” said United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard in 2009. “We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.”

http://www.alternet.org/food/why-unions-are-going-co-op-business?fb_acti...

EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
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Mar 21 2013 15:19

Coops don't get rid of the boss they get rid of the workers. There are times and places where as a tactic they may make sense but those decisions should be made based on whether the coop model is a good fit for the project not whether or not coops are "good" or not. There's very little anti capitalist about coops in themselves, just like there is very little anti capitalist about unions in themselves. It's what you do with them not what they are that counts.

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Chilli Sauce
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Mar 21 2013 21:08

YES!!

I do think co-ops have a place in a movement (free printing or to give work to the blacklisted, for example) but as revolutionary vehicles, not so much.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Mar 21 2013 21:10

DP

boozemonarchy's picture
boozemonarchy
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Mar 22 2013 12:35

Where a coop comes from is important to me. If its born out of a struggle, like say a manoeuvre to protect folks in a fighting union from the blacklist, or is the result of a factory takeover, it makes sense to me. It its started by your bearded friends to make capitalism a nicer place for progressive hipsters, its probably gonna suck. All that said, coops born in struggle can probably turn to shit too. I will say there are plenty of coops I really like, and support their work. Most of those were started without any pretension about reforming or making a better capitalism but simply filling a niche that was desperately needed by the movements the founders support. That shit is awesome.