In early 2003 ten cooperative and/or worker collective businesses in Madison Wisconsin joined together to form the Madison Post-Capitalist Business Association (MPCBA). They formed in order to share costs, particularly of advertising, to do joint outreach and education about capitalism and cooperatives, and to promote alternative business development. Their flyer¬s headline asks, “Wouldn¬t it be nice to shop truly responsible community businesses?” and then goes on to introduce their businesses and ideals. The Association plans to design workshops and programs for youth, and hopes to make presentations in schools. The following description and discussion is excerpted from the MPCBA¬s brochure. Ten organizations belong to the Madison Post Capitalist Business Association: Family Farm Defenders, Just Coffee Cafe, Lakeside Press, Mifflin Street Community Coop, Nature¬s Bakery, Peacemeal Vegetarian Restaurant, Community Pharmacy, Madison Hours, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, and Hilltop Farm. These post-capitalist businesses strive to counteract many of the signature characteristics of modern capitalism: A tendency to exploit the labor of workers to the maximum extent possible, coupled with the inclination (and increasingly, the ability) to geographically separate production from consumption; A tendency to subvert or conceal the real cost of production wherever possible. A tendency to exploit the electoral system. A tendency to be organized hierarchically. We view capitalism as a system which harnesses the forces of the market to produce increasing economic and social polarization. We therefore hew to principles which promote social justice, egalitarianism, human cohesion and environmental stewardship. Extracting “just enough” rather than “all I can get” distinguishes our practices from current popular business models. Because we believe in the value of democratic process in all aspects of society, we consider collective management to be an essential component of post-capitalist businesses. While we support the right of workers to organize, we believe the labor/management dichotomy ultimately limits the possibility for a truly liberatory workplace. Only a non-hierarchical structure, such as collective worker-management, can fully equalize unjust power-relations within business enterprise. Post Capitalist Businesses stand by the following ideals: Anti-capitalistic; Non-exploitative; Locally focused (employment, goods, currency); Fair-trade, organic products; Anti-violence; Anti-war; Promotion of environmental awareness; Promotion of diversity in community and workplace; Equal rights and opportunities for all people.
Family Farm Defenders, 29 N. Hancock, Madison, WI. 608-260-0900. Just Coffee, 100 S. Baldwin St., Ste#304, Madison, WI. 608-204-9011. Lakeside Press, 1334 Williamson St., Madison, WI. 608-255-1800.
Mifflin Street Community Coop, 32 N. Bassett, Madison, WI. 608-251-5899. Nature¬s Bakery, 1019 Williamson St., Madison, WI. 608-257-3649.
Peacemeal Vegetarian Restaurant, 115 State St., Madison, WI. 608-251-7687.
Community Pharmacy, 341 State St., Madison, WI. 608-251-3242. Madison Hours, 1202 Williamson St., Madison, WI. 608-259-9050. Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 426 W. Gilman, Madison, WI. 608-257-6050.
Hilltop Farm, 608-257-6729.Include the citation below and GEO Newsletter grants permission to copy, use, and distribute this article.