United States of America

The Working World: Financing Workplace Democracy

An interview with members of a structure that provides solidarity financing for cooperatives and worker-run workplaces, to show the possibility of building a new economy.

The Working World (TWW) is an alternative loan fund that supports worker run co-operatives and other democratic workplaces with micro-credit loans and technical support. They also refer to themselves as a “solidarity financial organization” which promotes community wealth maximization and worker ownership through loans to worker-run companies.

Annie McShiras talked with Brendan Martin, founder and president, and Ethan Earle, a board member, about the solidarity philosophy they use as an organized loan fund, their goal of maximizing community wealth through their loan funds, and the importance of building a “culture of belief.” She also reviewed the basic kind of work they do with them. read more »

Occupy Sandy builds worker power in Far Rockaway

Begun in the spring of 2013, WORCs (Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives) is an initiative to rebuild after Sandy in a way that addresses both the storm’s impact and the long-term systemic issues in the neighborhood. The program’s goal is to equip Far Rockaway residents with the skills and financing to launch small, worker-owned businesses that fill a need in their community. read more »

A New Era for Worker Ownership, 5 Years in the Making

The New Era Windows Cooperative opens its doors (and windows) for business.

Becoming a worker-owned cooperative is the latest chapter in the saga of the workers of Republic Windows and Doors, who gained the nation’s attention by occupying their factory—twice—and became a symbol of resistance in the face of corporate corruption and the economic crisis. read more »

The importance of education and conscientization: Part II on labour self-management

Part II

The people have been long exposed to the capitalist approach to economic development and it is quite fair to assert that the ideas of capitalism are dominant on the question of economic efficacy. The people might have critique of capitalism but it is generally seen as the only game in town, especially with the demise of the former Soviet Union and with it bureaucratic, authoritarian state socialism. In this context Marley's exhortation to the people to "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds" is very instructive. read more »

We have to make sure that economically we're free': Worker self-management in Jackson, Miss.

Part I

Ajamu Nangwaya participated in the recent Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy 2013, speaking about the potential for worker self-management in the City of Jackson, Mississippi, following the historic election Chokwe Lumumba as mayor. This article, Part 1 of 2, is based on Ajamu Nangwaya's presentation to the conference, and is part of our ongoing focus on labour and workers' issues this week on rabble.ca.

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Autoworkers Under the Gun: An Interview With Gregg Shotwell, UAW Activist and Author

Shotwell talks about the onslaught of auto management, the decline of the UAW and the efforts of autoworkers to resist both.

The sit-down strike by General Motors workers in the winter of 1936-37 was one of the galvanizing events in U.S. labor history. Similarly, the efforts of the primarily African-American autoworkers of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement and the other RUM’s sparked the resurgence of rank and file militancy in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. In more recent years, the New Directions caucus and Soldiers of Solidarity carried on the radical tradition in the United Automobile Workers. read more »

 New Era Windows Opens for Business in Chicago

Tired of their lives in other people’s hands, window makers started a co-op.

Meet the takers: They took over their factory, they took on their bosses, they took the initiative to form a worker cooperative and today they’re taking the wraps off a brand-new worker-owned company: New Era Windows. It opened May 9 in Chicago. read more »

A New Era of Worker Ownership?

All over the country, people—like the workers of Chicago’s New Era Windows—are building worker-owned cooperatives that root jobs in the communities that need them.

The workers of the just-formed New Era Windows cooperative in read more »

Worker Direct Action Grows in Global North in Wake of Financial Meltdown

The wave of factory occupations continuing through 2009 may represent only the beginning of a broader sit-down movement throughout the world, and, following examples in Latin America, demands for work

The traditional path of labor-management collective bargaining has taken a dramatic turn in an era in which unions are too weak or timid to take action even as joblessness grows and companies losing financing are forced into bankruptcy by their creditors. As plants close and layoffs grow—and as workers recognize they can no longer interrupt the workflow with a strike when there is no flow to be interrupted—they are engaging in militant action to save their jobs and livelihoods. read more »

Worker Co-operatives and Democracy, Pt.1

Although workers' cooperatives amount to an insignificant percentage of the larger economy, they resonate with a history of liberation that situates itself outside the boundaries of capitalism.

Three months into the UN year of the co-op, after over half a year of OWS and now beginning the fifth year the continuing economic crisis a vast expansion of interest in co-operatives has been generated. More specifically, this interest has focused on the most radical aspect of co-operative development – worker cooperatives. Those of us who are active in promoting a democratic economy, as an alternative to the economy of the oligarchy, can only be pleased with this interest and the inquiries that we have received. read more »