Organizational Support & Development

Since 2011, we’ve been steadily growing the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance. We’ve been developing as an organization, establishing programs and services, and building connections among cooperatives and credit unions. In this article, I will discuss our evolution and speak to our successes and challenges with an eye towards helping other cooperative alliances in their own formation.

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Cooperative organizing, development, and technical assistance services are needed in upstate New York.  This void has been slowly—very slowly—shrinking for decades.  It is hoped that the creation and evolution of the New York Cooperative Network between 2011

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Movement building happens face to face. Groups of people meet, build common visions, and organize to change the world. So what does data, such an impersonal and abstract figment of bits and bytes, have to do with regional movement building? Quite a lot!

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In order to create a fully cooperative society, co-ops of all varieties need to reach out to other, similarly-aligned groups, such as racial, social and climate justice movements. Groups such as Solidarity NYC and the Southern Grassroots Economies Progect (SGEP) are already working along these lines. Len Krimerman suggests adopting an 8th co-operative principle to address this reality. Keywords: solidarity economy, co-ops, regional development, social development
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[Editor's note: the following is a critique of  Survey of Co-operative Capital, by A. Michael Andrews; published in March 2015, by the International Co-operative Alliance’s blueprint for a co-operative decade.]

This is a disturbing and potentially dangerous report for three reasons:

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Considers the difference between cooperative economics and economic democracy. The two viewpoints are not the same. The potential for collaboration between cooperators and proponents of economic democracy is explored as are methods for injecting economic democracy into consumer and producer co-ops. Keywords: cooperatives, co-ops, economic democracy, democracy, solidarity economy, governance.
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For the last six months, a coordinated dialog has been taking place among a number of the key worker cooperative development and networking organizations in the Bay Area community, a collective initiative to lift the movement onto a higher scale, and make a truly significant regional impact. The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) has been a participant in this process.

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The 2014 Worker Coop Academy helped two existing worker cooperatives to improve their business practices. Mandela Foods Co-op streamlined produce ordering and display, while DIG co-op developed a business plan and mapped out improvements to their by-laws. New Economy, Solidarity Economy, economic development, business education.
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GEO has argued over the years that the worker-owned cooperative is an appealing business model for many reasons (see here, here, or anywhere else on the

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Co-author of Building Co-operative Power and GEO Collective member Michael Johnson discusses the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives and some of the many worker co-ops of the Connecticut River Valley. He also provides an overview of the contents of the book and a history of how it came to be written.
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Jaques Kaswan (June 14, 1924 - January 28, 2015) studied cooperatives for 50 years and was a developer of systems to support the formation of worker coops and housing coops for over 35 years. He was a co-founder of the Arizmendi Assn, as well as Walnut Street Cooperative. 

Obituary at the San Francisco Chronicle

 

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A diversity of kindred approaches to alternative political economics is emerging across the country.  Many of them share a regional focus. This is showing unusual potential for advancing the development of worker co-operatives through inter-cooperative and cross-sector networking.  We are calling this Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economic Development (C/SE) (Please see the note below on why we are using this unusual phrase, “cooperative/solidarity.”)

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[Editor's note: GEO first published these two essays on the hurdles faced by coopeative and solidarity economy enterprises in 2001.  While the cooperative movement has made great strides in the intervening 14 years, the roadblocks identified here by the authors are still concerns for both new and existing co-ops.  In light of the recent surge in support that cooperatives of all kinds hav

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[Editor's note: In this video, recorded by the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), John McNamara of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center draws on his experience as a Cooperative Development Specialist and worker-owner at Union Cab in Madison, WI to present a number of useful insights for managing growth and maintaining cooperative culture and values at worker co-ops.

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[Editor's note: J Rainsnow is a novelist. His unusual review of Bulding Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-Operatives in the Connecticut River Valley comes from an artist’s perspective, outside of that of most co-operators, organizers, and activists.  His view is large and his grasp of details surprisingly rich.

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