Cooperatives

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 2: Participatory Management

The next principle from Mondragon is that of Participatory Management. This seems like a no-brainer for worker co-operatives. What is the point of going through all the work of setting up a worker co-op if the workers don’t actually have a say in how the place is run? They would be better off in a unionized Employee Stock Ownership Program. read more »

Inside America's Largest Worker-Run Business

Fifteen years ago, Clara Calvo had just left her husband and her job. Both were abusive in their own ways. Her husband beat her, while her job at a beauty salon required long, unpredictable hours for little pay. read more »

Why Unions Are Going Into the Co-op Business

“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.”

Gerard was announcing a formal partnership between his 1.2-million-member union and Mondragon, a cluster of cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. read more »

Platform Cooperativism vs. the Sharing Economy

The backlash against unethical labor practices in the “collaborative sharing economy” has been overplayed. Recently, mainstream media started to rail against online labor brokerages like Taskrabbit and Uber because of an utter lack of concern for their workers. 

But just for one moment imagine that the algorithmic heart of any of these citadels of anti-unionism could be cloned and brought back to life under a different ownership model, with fair working conditions, as a humane alternative to the free market model. read more »

The Working World: Financing Workplace Democracy

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 »

Occupation, worker co-operatives and the struggle for power: Britain in the 1970s

The essence of occupation as a form of industrial action is that it inherently challenges the basis of private property under capitalism, that workers appropriate the means of production.  However these expressions involve the abandonment of the means of production by labour. The temporary occupation of the workplace immediately raises the issue of the commodification of labour in the form of ‘job rights’ of the worker investment of their labour as “a momentary of the disposal by the capitalist”. Even when they occur individually or in small number,  occupation often requires a renegotiation of relations with the dominant economy as worker cooperative or nationalised enterprise - be it with the demand of being ‘under worker control’ - as their conclusion.   

OCCUPY, RESIST AND POSE FOR THE CAMERA

Nationalisations, bailouts, economic stimulus... much has been written about these and other recent events by the corporate media in the Global North and this so-called new wave of “socialism.” Fortunately many have responded that these events are all about saving a failing neoliberal model as opposed to building any alternative. read more »

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

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.

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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