The Occupy Money Co-operative is getting NY Times coverage as it works its way to actually issuing pre-paid Visa Cards. Drawing smiley-face points from their association with Occupy Wall Street and the Co-operative movement, the initiative paints a comforting picture. I find two things troubling when I go to the Occupy Money Co-op web-site.

Here’s  a stunning video report on some research that is looking with some depth at economic behavior and how we see ourselves and others. I think the implications of this work for economic democracy and understanding empowerment processes could be awesome.

Some thoughts on MJ's Culture trumping Structure: I like the garden analogy, but I also think that some “structures” are culture builders, much as some plants are soil builders. E.g., part of Mondragon’s “structure” is that cooperative membership is more than having an equal say in one’s co-op. It also involves being an “empresario”, a labor entrepreneur. (See Ana Gutierrez Johnson, in Changing Work, #1, p. 40.) That is, it involves building a cooperative culture. As Ana put it, “This entrepreneurial orientation is the factor which explains the expansion of the [Mondragon] cooperative network and its level of technological and organizational development.” Think as well of P6, where the line between structure and culture also appears to fade away. (This is also true of the democracy building work of groups like Everyday Democracy, which rely on trained community-based facilitators of a carefully constructed democratic process.) So it looks to me that getting the structure right is not just replacing hierarchy with non-hierarchical, one person, one vote, governance. It involves, or can involve, learning new norms, changing old habits, inventing new processes for making group decisions. Like listening to other voices as much or more than expressing one’s own views; or seeing leadership as developing the leadership potential in others rather than leading/directing them towards goals they did not shape. Still, I’d agree “transformative tilling” of our own cultural soil is essential. (But do we have solid evidence for this?} In any case, perhaps it too can best emerge from deeply democratic structures (e.g., like that of Highlander) and deeply democratic processes, like those of Everyday Democracy. At the least, I think, those structures/processes can play a crucial supportive role in keeping that personal tilling work an ongoing common priority – and in ensuring that it is harmonious with cooperative development and community building missions. Here again, the relationship is between structure/process and culture seems, to me, more symbiotic than you appear to allow. P.S. And what are we to understand by a "strong democratic culture"? Examples?
Over her 20+ years as a reporter she has gotten a sense of what's happening that isn't easily replicated by anybody else. She sees a crisis and opportunity like that famous Chinese character.
Think of democracy as a garden: structures would be the plants and culture the soil. The soil will determine the quality of the plants more than the plants the quality of the soil. Plant democratic structures in conflicted soil and you get a mix that seriously lacks cooperation and collective power.
How did gays move a nation while racism tenaciously holds its ground?
A film about people transforming trash into music; about love, courage, creativity
Phyllis Chesler’s reflections on how the radical feminist movement was powerful but also killed its own
How to destroy relationships, communities, and democracy
A major figure in the women’s liberation movement in the 60s and 70s, her dynamic flame burned out when she was only in her 20s. Her story dramatizes two dynamics that cripple radical movements.
How do we talk and think together coherently about love, domination, and cooperation?
An anthill. A beehive. A crackling campfire around which the cave kids could play, the cave elders stay, and the buffalo strips blacken all day
We in the various change movements have our myths and dogmas, and they screw up how we approach our work and our longings for a different kind of world
A "grassroots" response to the question: What would it really take to give students a first-rate education

There’s a good graffiti story that goes with this title.The graffitti was "your karma ran over my dogma," but that story will have to wait for another time. The basic idea is not difficult: reality will make a mess outta of our theories, dogmas, ideologies. The 2008 meltdown is one example. Another is finding out that the other does not love me the way I think she/he should. This bubble gets busted ad infinitum.

We short-shift ourselves if we don't think in the long term, the really long, long term.


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