cooperative economy

One of the great treats at a national worker coop conference is to learn about the incredible stories that exist. It is easy, sitting in our cooperatives at home, to imagine a world where we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then we come to a conference and get our mind blown--not just once, or twice, but several times.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I wandered into the meeting room. The description discussed the important role of compassion in dealing with conflicts as opposed to the more common acts of assigning blame.

It was led by Michael Johnson who is part of the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, GEO and has been living in an intentional community for 30 years. Part of this workshop was based on his real-life experiences in attempting to find more productive methods of resolving conflict.

The Evergreen cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio was the story everyone wanted to hear at the opening session on Saturday Aug. 7, 2010 of the U.S. Federation for Worker Cooperatives conference in Berkeley. 

The mascot of the Alvarado Street Bakery (ASB) is an orange and black cat, with a swinging tail and a sly grin. Perhaps his feisty smile is the result of good working conditions. ASB is the worker owned and run cooperative featured in Michael Moore’s recent film Capitalism: A Love Story as an example of economic democracy. ASB is based in Petaluma, California, but ships nationally through their website. In this interview, Joseph Tuck of ASB tells The Socialist about the company’s practices.

Regions: 
Institutions & Structures: 
Visions & Models: 
Economic Sectors: 

From grocery stores and bakeries to bike shops and day care centers, worker-owned cooperatives are gaining popularity across the country. How are they faring in the recession? What solutions do co-ops offer for today’s recession/depression? If they gain even more popularity, could they transform the economy and the way we think it should work?

Guests include Dan Thomases, a founding member of Box Dog Bikes co-op, John Kusakabe of the Arizmendi Bakery co-op, and Hilary Abell of Women's Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES).

 

 


 

 

Regions: 
Institutions & Structures: 
Practices, Tools & Strategies: 
WAGES is being used as a model by Mexican and Central American immigrants to create their own jobs. Minsun Ji, El Centro Humanitario's executive director in Denver, CO, said when they contacted WAGES to be able to adapt the WAGES strategy locally: "We were so desperate. There were no jobs. We were really, really desperate."

I still have a few more posts on the National Worker Cooperative Conference held in Berkeley last week, but this post isn't about the specific workshops, but a general feeling and vibe that I found at the conference (and at other conferences). The work of building a cooperative society isn't quite like other trade associations or business cultures.

We are not going to become the solution any time soon, but I believe that we have the opportunity to achieve a lot, like laying down a foundational strategy and infrastructure open to diverse approaches for the generation to come.

A new video interview with Jim Hightower on "unemployment and worker cooperatives."

Watch it here!

Regions: 
Institutions & Structures: 
Visions & Models: 
Movements & Struggles: 
Practices, Tools & Strategies: 

One of the formative questions of the contemporary worker cooperative movement has been that of who the movement is for.  What group of people are included in the movement's organizations, have access the movement's resources, share and shape the movement's values and the campaigns around those values?  

 

At the opening gathering of the 4th bi-ennial conference of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, it was clear that the movement has reached a significant milestone. 

Melissa HooverAudience raising hands to indicate where they're from

The Toxic Soil Busters are a youth cooperative. These are "youth" in terms of age. They are located in Worchester, MA. They work to clean the soli of their community of the lead paint that was so heavily used by during the industrial age of this area. Since lead poisoning effects children in a more severe manner than adults (although still dangerous), this coop is essentially young people (non-adults) helping to clean the community of lead to help the generation behind them.

"How do we refashion ourselves as humans and deal with co-workers who either won't or can't refashion themselves."--Rebecca Kemble, Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and Director, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
...we are coming to our national worker co-op conference sounding the theme that worker co-ops are the solution. My worry, however, is...
A brief introduction from John McNamara in preparation for the Worker Cooperative Conference.
A shadow is hanging over America, the shadow of a wrecked economic system. Tens of millions of unemployed remain despondent about ever finding a job again, an entire young generation despairing of any hope for a good life, while corporate market pundits pontificate that our system creates the best of all societies, and no alternative is possible. A nationwide group gathering in Berkeley this coming weekend is putting the lie to the pundits.
Evergreen Cooperative Laundry managers take ACE conference attendees on a tour of the facility. CEO Jim Anderson gives a workshop on the cooperatives.
The Association of Cooperative Educators established the John Logue ACE award at its 58th annual conference in Cleveland July27-30, 2010. Ohio Employee Ownership Center staff members, Bill McIntyre and Logue's wife, Olga Klepikova, talk about Logue's work, vision, "moxie" and his impact on Ohio and the U.S. Other ACE awardees for 2010 are also mentioned.

One of the things that I loved at the Association of Cooperative Educators conference was the invocation that ACE administrator Bill Patrie opened the proceedings with.  It really impressed me because I had recently decided that I am going to bring more of my spiritual self forward in everything I do, especially on the cooperative front where I spend more of my time.  I am not religious, but I am greatly spiritual, and it truly informs what I do.

Asset Building for Cooperatives
Cooperation: Unique Prescription for Health
Mondragon and Steelworkers Union Alliance
Cooperatives and Peace
Overcoming Barriers
Ohio City Bike Cooperative tour

Today was another amazing day of presentations at the ACE conference!....

Unlike other conferences that I'm used to attending, you don't have to choose from workshops at the Association of Cooperative Educators. There is only one track, and everyone is on the same one.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - cooperative economy