Cooperatives

Worker Co-operatives and Democracy, Pt.1

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 »

2011 Eastern Conference in Baltimore

Immanuel Ness reports, via the "Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung", on the 2011 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. read more »

America’s Worker-Owned Plywood Firms

Worker-owned and -managed firms have succeeded impressively in the US , within the plywood-manufacturing industry of Oregon and Washington state.  The following article (downloadable as a .PDF file) presents their history, and examines their inner life in detail. read more »

Worker Cooperatives in the United States: A Historical Perspective and Contemporary Assessment

    The philosophical foundation of the worker cooperative movement emerged in the 19th century in response to capitalist efforts to destabilize workers during the Industrial Revolution in England.  Two main factors propelled popular demands for cooperatives: invention of the "spinning mule" and the steam engine—new technologies that shaped a vast expansion in textile production, reducing worker wages and lengthening the work day.  Initiation of new mass production also reduced business demand for skilled labor and spurred migration to urban areas.  The deskilling of labor contributed to arduous working conditions and long hours that expanded poverty in the burgeoning industrial cities. The concentration of laborers working in the factories spurred the formation of trade unions to shorten hours, improve working conditions, and increase wages.  While labor unions gave some workers a voice in private businesses, other workers rejected traditional bureaucratic trade unions and sought a democratic voice in the fundamental decisions of their workplaces and communities.  To achieve this goal, these workers organized in their rural and urban communities to democratically control and take ownership of their workplaces, and build greater certainty in their livelihood. read more »

A Multiple Socialist Administration Model and Enterprises of Social Property (ESP) in Venezuela - Success, Difficulties, Prospects

For a transition from capitalism to socialism the multiple  socialist administration model is proposed in order to avoid what the author calls the Soviet mode of production, in which, despite the elimination of the private property of the means of production, there still persisted social alienation, a hierarchical social division of labor and thus the exploitation of man by man.  Through Direct Social Property Enterprises (the property of popular communities) and Indirect Social Property Enterprises (state property) articulated in hegemonic integral socio-productive chains and networks and with the participation of forms of private property, including cooperatives, it is possible to advance toward integral sustainable human development. read more »

Intersections between worker cooperatives and labour unions

Speech hold the 4th November 2011 at the International Conference: «Den Betrieb übernehmen. Einstieg in Transformation?» / «Occupy, Resist, Produce». Worker Cooperatives – Potential for Transformation?

Panel: Gewerkschaften und Betriebsübernahmen/Genossenschaften

03. - 05.11.2011, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin
http://www.rosalux.de/documentation/44505

Cooperatives in Argentina after the crisis

The creation of new social relationships is an important part in the process of cooperative endeavours. Sitrin (City University of New York) has conducted research since 2001 in Argentina with the oral history method, and highlights the importance of cooperative enterprises in the communities.

03. - 05.11.2011, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin
http://www.rosalux.de/documentation/44505

Mondragon revisited

In the face of the global financial crisis that has Spain’s unemployment level standing currently at some 22 per cent, the Mondragón co-operatives offer an astonishingly successful alternative to the way we organise business and economies.

Revisiting recently for the fifth time, since the early nineteen-eighties, the great complex of worker-owned manufacturing, retail, agricultural, civil engineering and service cooperatives centred on Mondragón in the Basque region of Spain, it was impossible not to be impressed by the resilience that has enabled them to take their share of economic hits and emerge largely unscathed. read more »

The Sangham Strategy: Lessons for a Cooperative Mode of Production

Dalit women farmers in the district of Medak, Andhra Pradesh, India formed a mutual aid credit cooperative (MACC) in the early 1990s with the support of a development NGO, the Deccan Development Society (DDS). In India, mutual aid credit cooperatives come out of a new wave of reform that emerged within the Indian cooperative movement as transnational financial institutions began to gain control of microfinance banking. read more »

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