beyond capitalism

Editor's note: Embedded below is a paper that Aaron Shaw and Benjamin Mako Hill recently uploaded to arXiv.org.  It addresses an issue we here at GEO are greatly concerned with: how to increase the size of the cooperative movement and the solidarity economy without losing our cooperative values.  Carl Ratner's recent article, The Corrupting Role of Corporate Co-ops, details some of the unwholsome effects that result w

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"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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The Austin Cooperative Summit brought together more than 100 people interested in cooperative businesses to help move the Central Texas economy toward shared abundance and prosperity. The summit is a program of the Austin Cooperative Business Association and NCBA CLUSA.

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This May, Baltimore played host to an Economic Democracy Conference, organized by It's Our Economy.  We've rounded-up coverage  from across the web so you can read reports from the conference, listen to conference organizers and watch video of conference sessions--all in one place.  If you couldn't make it to the conference, this round-up is the next best thing!

Here's a report from It's Our Economy:

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cross-posted from Shareable

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To change our present economic system, we need to have a vision of what we are working for, even if that vision cannot be realized right away, and even if it will never be realized in quite the way that we can now imagine. In this spirit, I here offer some thoughts as to what an economy of abundance would look like, with seven key elements that I consider crucial.

This interview, shot May 2013 in Oakland, CA begins to introduce an idea that has been floating through my mind the past several years around the need for community colleges (in particular) to include training on cooperatives in their business programs, not as a form of  "kinder, gentler capitalism" but as community-based, capital subordinated business models hewing to the seven International Cooperative Principles.  The unemployed have headed back to community colleges to upgrade skills or to learn new skills. One of our local community colleges has a trades program.

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.

 

There can be a creative tension between reform and change-the game approaches, if the focus is not on purity. [1]

Abstractions are guidelines and communication tools, not principles. Decisions are always connected to specific here-and-now situations. There is no principle that trumps all others. We are always balancing out one that is in tension with at least one other principle in the context of here-and-now needs, desires, and capacities

The Nation magazine ran a forum on “saving the Democratic Party” in its latest issue. The base article, written anonymously under the pseudonym L. R. Runner, is here and the responses to it are here .

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

 

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.

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(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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In a recent conversation with Jim Johnson, the topic of co-op structure came up and we chatted briefly about the new Benefit Corporation, a new form of corporate entity available by statute in at least seven states: California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Virginia. The enabling legislation is moving along in several other states already: Michigan North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Jim reflected some "sour grapes" from the co-op movement.

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