I am sending a link to a TED talk. Unusal for me. This one is really unusual. If you watch the first two minutes or so, you will probably have to watch the whole thing.

It's about the core of democracy and our cooperative/solidarity movements far more than any scaling up efforts could possibly be. Everything we do needs to burn gently and fiercely with this, and that includes changing ourselves.

 

The best system does not help if we can’t do it in our groups. How can we keep our teams on track?

I assume that we’re talking about a scenario where the group has been trained on process. As colleague Jerry Koch-Gonzalez says: sociocracy depends more on good followers than on good facilitators. Culture training does not change overnight, and none of us have grown up in non-coercive systems. It takes practice and more practice to replace our internalized coercive patterns by non-coercive, truly collaborative ones.

Matthias Scheiblehner on why his Seattle construction firm Metis converted into a worker co-op.

Watch more from Democracy At Work

 

Last month I conducted a series of workshops at a brace cooperative houses in Austin TX. While there I got into an interesting conversation with folks about the pros and cons of open membership (where anyone can join if their rent check clears). I want to share the highlights of that exchange.

The Co-op is a student housing cooperative on Landfair Avenue, which includes three buildings that house around 400 students total. Residence is open to any college student. In return for reduced rent, students must work a four-hour shift every week in an assigned area, such as the kitchen, the facilities or the mailroom.

Justin Downing, a fourth-year political science student, moved into the Co-op this fall. Residents in their first quarter are obligated to work either in the facilities or the kitchen, which serves 19 meals a week.

In a limited-equity cooperative, members buy a share in the development, which gives them the right to occupy one of the units. Members pay monthly fees to cover maintenance expenses and participate in decision-making around building management. To ensure that limited-equity cooperatives remain affordable, shares have restricted resale values and members must also fit income limitations.

The concept behind Working People is incredibly simple: I talk to working-class folks from around the country, from all walks of life, and I record it. We talk about their life stories. We talk about where they grew up. We talk about family, friends, school, politics, and whatever else comes up. And we talk about their working lives … their dreams, their victories, and their struggles.

There are only a few spots left to join members of NYC co-ops and solidarity economy enterprise for a deep dive into how we work—individually, collectively, and in community. Apply to the Cooperative Leadership Intensive today!

The employee ownership field is gaining visibility and setting more ambitious goals, particularly in the area of co-op conversions (the transfer of ownership in privately held firms to employees through democratically controlled cooperatives). To meet these goals, however, the field will need larger, more diverse but still values-aligned capital to finance these conversions.

TechCollective is a worker-owned and operated tech support cooperative, providing IT services for businesses and nonprofits in the Boston area. We're seeking a full-time Desktop Support technician to work from our office in Cambridge, as well as to work on-site with business customers in the area . This is a customer-facing role providing quick, clear communication and support for clients under service level agreements, as well as the occasional break/fix support issue. This position will work closely with TechCollective team members.

Pages

Subscribe to Grassroots Economic Organizing RSS