Democracy Makes Us Powerful
This issue of GEO tackles the issue of democracy in our co-ops. We know what non-co-ops don't: that if we each share in decisions on the job and in life, we'll work more effectively for what is decided. And feeling that we can contribute and that our contribution is valuable, we'll be happier to boot. Many of us believe that democracy is good in itself, good for the people who participate in it, and good for the whole society. Workplace democracy develops skilled participants in governance who then bring these qualities to their role as citizens.
We'll focus on decisions in worker co-ops. Many of us recall long meetings about inconsequential details. Who has not yearned at weak moments for a boss to step in and tell us what to do, so we can get on with it. Worse are factional fights which poison the atmosphere at work or even wreck the organization. How can we bring out the best in democratic decision-making and steer clear of the worst?
Balancing everyone's will and melding it into a "decision" is a difficult but essential goal. GEO will feature a series on democratic processes in cooperatives starting with this issue on democratic leadership. Future issues of GEO will discuss other aspects of workplace democracy including listening skills, information sharing, democratic evaluation, consensus vs. majority rule, benefitting from diversity, creative resolution of conflict, and when (and how) to get outside consultation and mediation.
Also in this issue, Matt Grillo of Collective Copies in Amherst, MA, describes how decisions are made together at his co-op. Readers are invited to write and describe how decisions are made in their co-ops.
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