Corporate capitalism is deeply, inherently flawed. Its vicious effects are exacerbated by continuing globalization. Corporate domination is destroying living wage jobs in advanced capitalist countries. It is further impoverishing poor nations through so-called structural adjustment. Movements to resist exploitation by foreign capitalists and their local counterparts have been countered by repression, often with U.S. military and CIA intervention, as in Chile, Nicaragua and El Salvador. However, there is a new spirit of resistance growing in a number of third world countries. See Jesse Kates-Chinoys article below on youth organizing in El Salvador today, and Walden Bellos report on the World Social Forum in Porto Alegro, Brazil. We hope to include more material on this important gathering of grassroots globalization groups in future issues.
To counter corporate domination, we need both to build viable coalition political movements and to organize networks of democratic, cooperative, alternatives. As John Lawrence points out in the lead article, the development of democratic worker cooperatives linked to a broader political movement can be part of a viable strategy to replace corporate capitalism. Another part would be development of a conscientious consumer movement, boycotting products and services of the giant transnationals. And Carl Hedmans report on the Riverview Co-op, also in this issue, reminds us that consumer cooperatives are as relevant today as they were a generation ago.
A crucial aspect of economic organizing is to promote networks of cooperatives as well as locally-owned small businesses and microenterprises. The feature section in this issue highlights the work of the Sirolli Institute in facilitating the development of local small enterprise in Australia, Canada and now U.S.comunities, including northeast Oregon and Hastings, Minnesota. Recently the Sirolli Institute began organizing from its new location in Sacramento, CA.
A major principle involved here is local production for local and regional consumption. Locally owned small businesses help create needed jobs, keep money from flowing out to corporate centers, and build community. Enterprise facilitation can (and should) embrace democratic and values. Small enterprises, facilitated by technical assistance groups like the Sirolli Institute, can go far beyond the traditional business model to include democratic control by workers collaborating with managers.
We are indebted to Peter Donovan from whose website, www.ManagingWholes.com,
we reprinted edited versions of the articles on enterprise facilitation in this
issue, including two talks by Ernesto Sirolli , Donovans review of Sirolli
book, Ripples from the Zambezi, and his report on enterprise facilitation in
Baker and Wallowa Counties in Oregon.