Workplace Democracy

This keynote address by Robin Seydel from the 2011 California Cooperative Conference deserves to be widely seen.

By Mike Leung

 

This article deals with the conversion of an existing business to a worker-owned cooperative. Specifically, it lays out a basic strategy for allowing employees of a profitable company with publicly-traded securities to effectively convert to a worker cooperative in the absence of owner permission.

 

The debate over who lost Detroit and how to fix it rages on while Politico reports in “Break-up-the-big-banks fever hits the states” that legislators from “at least 18 states have introduced resolutions this year calling on Congress to split up banking giants by putting back in place a wall between commercial banking, taking deposits and making loans, and investment banking, the world of traders and deal-makers.” It turns out that quarantining the banksters and salvagi

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.

Memory moves us as surely into the realm of what shall be as it moves us back to what has been: by extracting what is indeterminately lasting from the latter, it allows the former to come to us. --Edward S. Casey1

 

Valve is a Software game development company founded by an alumnus of Microsoft. Self-funded, it has about 300 employees. Its first product came together quickly and paid off handsomely. Most importantly, it has no bosses. It is entirely flat. There have been several write-ups recently about Valve in the mainstream (Capitalist) business press pointing out the "no boss" structure.

Solidarity Economic perspectives develop from penetrating reflection on our actual experience to find the questions we need to be asking
Institutions & Structures: 
Movements & Struggles: 
Practices, Tools & Strategies: 

Report on the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Conference, Berlin Germany, November 3-5, 2011

 

Is the time right for worker-owned enterprises to socialize or nationalize traditional businesses to create a more humane economic system?

That and other questions were debated at an international conference on cooperatives and advocates of worker self-management and control.

Movements & Struggles: 

(EDITOR'S NOTE: In the article below Alberto Corbino gives us a view of the Solidarity Economy movement in Italy. He will be doing a lecture tour in the US this summmer. The idea is to continue discussing the subjects he reports on in the article here at universities, colleges, and centers of solidarity economic justice movements.

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Institutions & Structures: 
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I see economic democracy at three main levels: 1) workers gaining greater control of the workplace and participating in management, 2) collectively controlling investment funds to benefit local and regional economies, and 3) democratically allocating resources through a national investment fund to achieve social goals.
The Union Co-op Model: this country’s largest industrial labor union teamed up with the world’s largest worker-cooperative to present a plan that would put people to work in labor-driven enterprises that build worker power and communities, too.
SolidarityNYC has worked to "challenge the social justice movement to take up grassroots economic community development" as a way of building solidarity and concrete alternatives to capitalism.

South-By-Southwest is  a huge convention that had an interesting forum on Tech-shop co-ops. The audio is available, at the linked location, for you to listen to the session.

From California to Maine, over the last 15 years low-wage workers have steadily organized employee-owned small businesses
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Institutions & Structures: 
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