Organizational Support & Development

[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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by Devra Gartenstein

The more I read and learn about cooperatives and the more experience I get participating in one, the more provocative I find the question, “What is a cooperative?”

The legal definition is reasonably clear, covering two main prerequisites:  one vote per member, and equity and profit allocations based on patronage—or participation—rather than monetary contribution.

Uberfication has become shorthand for many new concepts—from the sharing economy to any significantly disruptive digital business model. But what exactly did Uber do that was materially different to earlier disruptive digital businesses? In short:

  • It created software…

  • To replace existing industry-wide operational structures…

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[Editor's note: this video from FairShares Association provides brief introductions to two new on-line collaborative decision making tools from New Zealand's Enspiral network.  Loomio is a tool that allows group discussion and consensus building, while Cobudget is for use specifically with group budgeting decisions.  Loomio was successfully crowdfunded in 2014 and released version 1.0

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cross-posted from Seeds Beneath

When I first got involved in the co-op movement I didn’t do it because I thought the co-operative model was an end in itself.

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[Author's note: A revised version of this paper will appear in Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC, edited by Sabiyha Prince and Derek Hyra.]

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Go to the GEO front page

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(Editor's note: This article emerged out of conversations Michael had with Terry Mollner and his thinking about creating institutions grounded in the idea the common good. We were quite surprised to find out that it turned out to be one of this most read articles on GEO: 10,500 a week or ago; almost 11,000 now. We were more than delighted when a recent article passed the 3,000 mark in page views. 1,500 is a seen as a big plus. But 11,000! We can’t explain it. However, since there has been so much interest in it, we decided to post it anew.

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Tall luxury condominiums, new restaurants, coffee shops, and health food stores now punctuate most of the neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, bringing (what some consider) prosperity the likes of which the one-time "Chocolate City" has never before witnessed.

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[Editor's note: In this presentation from The Sustainable Economies Law Center's 5th Annual Fall Celebration, SELC's staff presents a comprehensive vision of a Cooperative Economic future and, more importantly, lays out concrete steps that can be taken in order to arrive there.  As an additional bonus, the presentation is creative and entertaining.  Enjoy!  (The show starts at 1:50 and runs until 35:52)]

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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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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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[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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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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I approached the New Economy Coalition’s CommonBound conference  fully expecting the majority of plenaries and workshops to be platforms for Coalition members to herald their own projects, or to preach to the converted about the necessity of cooperatives and democratic governance.

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