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by Carl Ratner

The cooperative movement, in general, seems to associate co-ops with non-capitalist market economics. This is articulated by J. Restakis (2010) in his popular book Humanizing the economy: Co-operatives in the age of capital. British Columbia: New Society Publishers.

In 2013 Acorn Community suffered fires to two of their buildings. The first was an accident in their steel building, home to their auto shop and clothing storage, among other things.

“Co-operative culture eats co-operative governance for breakfast!”   

An article gleaned from England’s Co-operative News talks about how to generate and nurture a strong co-operative culture. It identifies six factors for sustaining a co-operative culture.

Movements Self-Reflecting.

One role a journal like GEO can play is to provide a platform for our movements to reflect on their doings. The “Scaling-Up” theme currently running is an example. Also, a recent article by Carl Ratner is another as was one of my recent blogs.

There is a problem with corporate governance at traditional capitalist firms that often goes unmentioned in discussions of our current social and economic ills. It's a problem that I have reason to believe also effects some of our largest co-ops. It is a perverse dynamic that has lead to extremes of income and wealth inequality, and it is all the more pernicious for being largely invisible. (I'm going to have to dive into the weeds a little bit to get to where I'm going, but stay with me and I promise you, this will come back around to co-ops.)

I'd like to throw out a question regarding my recent article on corporate co-ops. They are clearly anti-cooperative, and are associated with the worst corporations such as Monsanto. I am curious to hear from readers about why they believe leading Co-op Associations, such as NCBA and the University of Wisconsin Center for Co-ops, ally with these corporate co-ops, honor them by admitting them into the Co-op Hall of Fame, and never criticize them.

Carl Ratner

Please, for the sake of our movements, some humility and self-criticism.

Every movement for social change involves  long periods of great frustration that can even lead to despair as well as sudden moments of breakthrough opportunities that spur hope and confidence. Unfortunately these moments of breakthrough also produce star-struck fantasies of unrealistic expectations. Such fantasies and mis-visions are a major way we shoot ourselves in the feet. Often, even, shoot our feet off.

"It's you, it's me, it's us."
 

This blog is connected to TTC 6, which I posted yesterday.

I am watching a PBS series of short documentaries on Shakespeare called Shakespeare Uncovered. They are really good. They are opening up his mind and his writing to me as never before. Also showing how dramatic writing can be more powerful and more precise than my didactic prose.

With cold, clear eyes and a warm, loving heart.

We embody our culture. Each of us in our unique way.

Our culture is many things in many complex ways. One of them is that it is very oppressive.

Many high impact, triple bottom-line ESOPS led by conscientious owners, investors, and worker-owners rise to the highest standards of fairness and inclusion. However, problematic ESOPS risk unloading unsustainable debt while practicing multi-class stock ownership that usually places workers at the bottom of the heap especially when markets turn downward similar to those infamous collateral debt obligation pyramid structures greatly responsible for the 2008 market crash, Great Recession, and subsequent public loss of trust.

I would like to introduce my work on co-ops and cooperation. In the near future I will post new material via blogs and articles.

Please see my web page:  www.sonic.net/~cr2

MOVEMENTS MOVING TOGETHER  6.

When I try to explain what solidarity (or social or social-solidarity) economics is all about to someone who has never heard of it, I often ask them to imagine a rainforest, those awsome ecosystems that are often called such things as "incubators of life" and "lungs of the planet."  I quote from Wikipedia to help them make their picture:

THE EVERGREEN EXPERIMENT.

GEO recently posted a link to a must-read article on the Evergreen experiment in Cleveland: Can the Co-ops Save Us. It’s a must-read because it is an excellent piece of journalism by Steve Friess that reports on the financial and economic side of the experiment, its warts and its roses.

Today’s global social economy debate on inhibiting inequalities (wealth aggregation, social mobility, and basic opportunities) illustrates the vital roles that structure and values play to foster community-focused, triple bottomline, socially-oriented businesses that can’t be outsourced. Similar to the progressive advocacy media depiction of Jackson Rising: Creating the Mondragon of the South there is so much Appalachian hilltop and valley academic centers can do to organize and network inspiring rust belt graduates into a better future that allows them not only to be home-schooled but also locally and gainfully employed.

The Marriage of Abuse and Vulnerability.

The title comes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I don’t know if his theme relates to the theme of “two under-cultures” or not. The title does relate, however, at least superficially.

One thing I use my blog for is to think about themes that I think are strategically critical for the success of democracy movements. Recently I have been focusing on empowerment of ordinary people. Below I kind of sketch out the main lines I have been thinking along.

The idea to start a series of blogs on this theme came to me as I read a blog from a friend who is exploring what’s going on in Palestine. The story she tells in her blog is very moving. Great example of ordinary people empowering themselves. And she writes well. I urge you to read it.

I think we are in rather desperate need of a sharp, rigorous cooperative/empathic economics that goes after this kind of thing with intellectual brutality and compassion for all of us struggling with love relationships:

Sexual Behavior as Predicted by a Social Exchange Model: Three Tests of Sexual Economics

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