Cooperatives

Cooperative and common ownership

Company buy-outs and transformation into cooperative enterprises are often presented as a step in the construction of commons, as the various stakeholders – workers and users – are involved in the process of preserving and developing a resource. However, even though the cooperative form departs from the traditional rules of capital, it still remains essentially private in nature, which leads to frequent capitalist drifts when the cooperative is successful. read more »

Who Needs a Boss?

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction. read more »

Towards a radical cooperativism against the crisis of imagination: Speech at the Athens Biennale 2015-2017

This session explored four institutions of human economy – alternative currencies, cooperativism, urban welfare and commons – and reflected on how these forms can become permanent and sustainable alternatives. read more »

The leading Greek newspaper that is run by its workers

At the Journalists’ Newspaper in Athens, everyone is paid the same, from the receptionist to the senior reporters, except the editor-in-chief. He works for free and lives off his pension. They don’t argue about salaries because they are also the owners of the paper, which is run as a co-operative, so everyone knows how tight finances are. In return, they get to thrash out front page stories, editorial positions and headlines without even the shadow of interference by a media baron chasing political or financial interest. read more »

Own The Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time

The explosion of worker cooperatives in recent years has social justice organizers talking. Transitioning to a people-powered economy will require the work of many different social movements and worker co-ops have come to the center of the conversation due to their ability to address multiple issues at once. read more »

Cooperatives and workers’ control in 20th century Greece

The ensuing excursus in the history of farmers’ cooperativism and workers’ participation brings into visibility a variety of partly non-capitalist processes of collective self-activity in Greece. These have operated alongside and intertwined with a state-dominated market economy involving a multitude of small business, an under-industrialised production and a large service sector (commerce, tourism, finance, etc.). Taking our cues from the constructive critique of ‘capitalo-centrism’ put forward by Gibson-Graham, we adumbrate here the historical contours of a heterogeneous economy which is not fully captured by any single logic, global force or sovereign structure. read more »

Seeding an Agrarian Revolution in Rural India

Her farm looks like a mini rainforest, with a profusion of crops from ground level up to way above our heads.  The diversity of species and varieties is bewildering. There’s an array of jowar (sorghum or great millet), bajra (pearl millet), ragi (finger millet), red gram, green gram, til (sesame), sama (little millet), korra (foxtail millet), and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. As we walk through this explosion of life, trying hard to avoid stepping on plants that would yield something precious, Nadimidoddi Vinodamma, softly explains her farming techniques and philosophy. read more »

When the Workers Become the Owners: Taking the Co-op Movement to the Next Level

There's a revolution taking place in the US workforce - but you may not have heard about it.

Around the country, workers are starting businesses that they democratically control and that financially benefit them. These businesses, called worker cooperatives, are owned and governed by the employees. Every worker is a member of the co-op, which gives them one share and one vote in the company's operations. read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 3: The Instrumental and Subordinate Nature of Capital

“We do not aspire to economic development as an end, but as a means.”

–Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, spiritual founder of Mondragon read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 1: Sovereignty of Labor

The Mondragon principle “Sovereignty of Labor” created departure from the cooperative movement. While the Rochdale Pioneers had good intentions, they abandoned worker cooperation in the 1870’s. The Fabian Socialist moved even further from the ideals of Robert Owen declaring consumerism as the lowest common denominator for human relationships eschewing workers as merely another stakeholder group. Even the French cooperativist Charles Gide turned away from worker associations. read more »

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