Organizational Support & Development

In this video Marnie Thompson, Co-founder and Co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities, talks about the origin of F4DC and how they are working to build a just economy.

Watch more from Fund for Democratic Communities

 

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Unions met with worker cooperatives November 13th and 14th to consider how the two can work together to build an economy balancing profits with wider ownership, higher labor standards, environmental conservation, and community well-being. The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) organized the symposium connecting varied unions with worker co-ops or planned co-ops across the country.

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[Editor's note: for background information about SolidarityNYC's #SolidiarityCities project, see the first article in the series here.]

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“There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 167-168)

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As worker-owners, we’re used to doing things ourselves. We start businesses, figure out democratic decision-making, and confront systemic issues that deny wealth to communities. We’re tenacious and self-governing, so why limit our influence to our workplaces? As our movement grows—and it is, rapidly—we’re innovating faster than the law can keep up, often operating in gray areas that can be as uncertain as they are productive.

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[Editor's note: this is the fourth installment of GEO founding-member Len Krimerman's new memoir. You can read the preface and introduction and the first two chapters here, here, and here. Look for chapter four next Monday.]

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Two brief interviews with participants in GEO's 2015 Advancing the Development of Worker Cooperatives conference. The theme of the conference was "Regional Cooperative/Solidarity Economy Organizing."

Asar Amen-Ra from Detroit, MI and Georgia Julius from Troy, NY talk about why they came to the conference and developments in their local communities.

 

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This video from the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) looks at two methods of worker co-op development. Keywords: coops, cooperatives, economic development, business incubation, consulting, business development
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cross-posted from matslats.net

Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn't initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin.

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I became an international networker last week. I didn’t mean to. But apparently unexpected things happen at Findhorn Community, in Scotland.

Worker assistance programs and government funded co-op incubators have a poor track record for creating worker co-ops. More effective methods of creating worker cooperatives include converting existing businesses to worker co-ops and leveraging the institutional capacity of already existing co-ops to create new worker-owned businesses. Keywords: ESOP, conversion, worker assistance, economic democracy
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Many people, including those in the labor and worker co-op movements, think that unions and co-ops are singularly mismatched.  Logic has it that worker co-ops don’t need to be unionized since workers own and manage their businesses, and that workers in labor unions just naturally aren’t entrepreneurial but rather are used to resisting “the boss.”  In addition, people may be familiar with large agricultural co-ops in the Midwest that fight with unionized workers, or with food co-ops that resist worker unionization.  

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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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