United States

cross-posted from Generocity

Most Americans don’t know what a co-op is. However, most of the Americans who do know what a co-op is tend to really like co-ops.

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This Swedish documentary film on worker-owned cooperatives considers some of the most common criticisms of cooperative businesses and confronts them with real life experiences from worker owners from the US. Worker co-ops, cooperatives, solidarity economy
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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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WORKER OWNED: In Their Own Words is a 30 minute documentary about the Linnton Plywood Association. LPA was a worker owned cooperative formed in 1952 to manufacture plywood. With a down payment of $1000 each, about 180 men committed to purchase a share in LPA for $5000. The remaining $4000 for each members share was to be paid over time from their earnings as workers in the new operation. All workers were paid the same hourly rate for whatever job they did.

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[Editor's note: this webinar, organized by Project Equity and the Democracy Collaborative, includes presentations from worker-owners at Namaste Solar and Mariposa Gardening and Design, as well as co-op developers from The Cooperative Development Institute and the Democracy Coll

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Following last week’s feature on the start-up co-op New Hope Farm, this post continues our series on the 2014 Worker Coop Academy (WCA) in Oakland, California by focusing on “converter” co-ops On the Spot Massage and Sarana Community Acupuncture. Converters are businesses or organizations that have existed as conventionally owned entities but whose owners want to transition into a cooperative.

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If cooperative and solidarity economy organizers are serious about creating democratic, cooperative culture, they need to focus more on working in middle and high schools.
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The workers-owners at New Era Windows Cooperative have overcome many hurdles to create a sustainable, democratic business, after having twice occupied their previous place of employment, Republic Windows, in response to abuses by the owners. Worker Co-ops.
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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 s

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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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THE LOSS OF PUBLIC HOPE?

by Len Krimerman, GEO Collective

Some days it does seem that we are on the wrong planet, that the worst aspects of humanity are now beyond challenge and are inescapably producing disasters – unending warfare, global climate crises, abominable increases in child slavery – that will bring short term profits to a few and leave the rest of us penniless and powerless. In his book, Radical Democracy, philosopher C. D. Lummis speaks of the “loss of public hope”:

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Eric Berne was a psychiatrist, famous in the 60s. He was also a logical thinker and playful writer. He began his book on sex something like this: “The first thing to consider about sex is that it’s messy.”

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by Michael Johnson                       

Are the identities of activist and entrepreneur compatible? Judy Wicks is an entrepreneur and author who’s work has taken her from the Zapatistas in Mexico to neighborhood activism in Philadelphia. She co-founded the Free People's Store, which later became Urban Outfitters, and is the author of Good Morning Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer. Also, activist and movement theorist Gopal Dayaneni takes us on a journey through critical economic analysis and how to resist capitalism.

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The loss of perspective around 6th Principle solidarity that I spoke of in my last blog seems to be in play in Madison, WI. A recent report from the March 18, 2015 issue of the Credit Union Times Magazine critiques its own sector in this regard:

The best kept secret about credit unions might be the opportunities that exist in partnering with other local cooperatives.

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