Strategies for Change

Can people with different roles in an enterprise—such as producers, workers and consumers—all form a cooperative? This workshop discusses important considerations and strategies to avoid what some argue are inevitable conflicts. The workshop was led by attorney Jenny Kassan and Spiral Foods Cooperative member Tucker Hemquist and took place at the 2014 California Cooperatives Conference.

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On June 21, 2014, the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives (NYC NOWC) hosted the first annual NYC Conference on Worker Cooperatives (videos of most of the conference sessions are posted here.) Two hundred people gathered at the CUNY Law School in Queens.

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Amherst, MA – September - 2014 - Levellers Press, a worker co-operative, announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power! Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-Operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. 

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The collective that brought you Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution is teaming up with Rachel Plattus and Eli Feghali of the New Economy Coalition to assemble a toolbox for building a just and livable future.

[Editor's note: This episode of Clearing the Fog Radio features interviews with GEO member Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo and author Janelle Cornwell, whose new book Building Co-operative Power (co-authored with Adam Trott and GEO's Michael Johnson) is out now from Levellers Press ($19.95).  Janelle's interview starts at 5 minutes in, Ajowa's begins at 29.] 

 

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A Hidden Disease

If there's one thing we American's love, it's a health fad. Whether it's the paleo diet, cross-fit, vitamin supplements or hot-yoga, we gravitate towards just about anything that promises us improved health and well-being. And why shouldn't we? Health is wealth, after all.

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“The word ‘pathbreaking’ should not be used casually, but this is, in fact, a pathbreaking book. There is nothing like it. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s study of Black cooperatives opens a door on a critical aspect of Black history in general and cooperative history in particular" ~ Gar Alperovtz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland

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Editor's note:  Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel prize in Economics for her work on "common pool resources," was born on August 7, 1933.  In order to mark the occassion, and to celebrate the life and accomplishments of this great woman, we present four videos of Elinor explaining the fundamentals and implications of her research.  Though we lost Elinor in 2012, her work and her

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“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.

Editor's note: This excellent documentary by Ric Sternberg details the "re-cooperativisation" of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative in central Texas as well as the steps towards environmental sustainability that some other electric co-ops are taking.  You can find more from Ric on his Youtube channel,  and be sure to check out his latest project:

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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.

Editor's note: Today we present the testimony of more worker-owners, delivered this past February at a hearing convened by the New York City Council Community Development committee.  Read more hearing testimony from co-op practicioners here.  Read about the end results of the hearing here.  Complete written testimony from the hearing is embedded below this article.

 

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Editor's introduction: Today we present testimony from four worker-owners, delivered at the the New York City Council Committee on Community Development hearing this past February.  the hearing was to consider a proposal for a city budget line devoted to cooperative development.  Given that we don't often get to hear directly from worker-owners, we've rescued this important documentation from the bowels of the NYC Council website

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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.

 

"One cheer for democratic culture; another for democratic structure; three cheers when they join together in collaboration."

~Anonymous

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Before the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative’s 10th anniversary conference in Chicago, GEO asked some co-op veterans to talk about what they thought the USFWC had achieved in its first 10 years.

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