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Forum Post: Cooperatives – Info, Articles, Documentaries etc.

Posted 9 years ago on Feb. 3, 2013, 1:28 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Please share your info on cooperatives here. Whatever it is: documentaries, articles, websites, personal experience etc, please contribute. Hopefully this post can accumulate lots of good stuff for people to discover.




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[-] 7 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

Employee Owned Co-ops are an excellent way for The 99% to reclaim the fruits of their own labour where it is recognised that The ONLY True 'Capital' - is 'Human Capital'. Thanx for the invitation and :

fiat lux ...

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

Nice ! Digging that last link !! Also, in case you haven't seen it and appending below because it sits so well here : "American Autumn - An Occudoc" ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wulAQW5VkcI :-)

consilio et animis ...

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"A New Era for Worker Ownership ?", by Gar Alperovitz : http://www.garalperovitz.com/2012/07/a-new-era-for-worker-ownership/#more-1171

"Building the U.S. Worker Cooperative Movement in the Context of Global Capitalism", by D. Ciplet : http://american.coop/content/building-us-worker-cooperative-movement-context-global-capitalism

"The Cooperative Movement in Century 21", by John Curl : http://trustcurrency.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/cooperative-movement-in-century-21.html

Re. The John Lewis Partnership : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Partnership & ..

Re. The JLP : http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/16/john-lewis-model-lessons . Also see ....

"Noam Chomsky - "Public Education and The Common Good" (Video and Highly Recommended) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TLZN92-dZo [47:46] or .. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33891.htm .

ad iudicium ...

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 years ago

is the good life still around ?

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 9 years ago

UPD: new interview with Prof Wolff


FYI, in compliment, and a well deserved bump for this great post.

[-] 4 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago


Published on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by YES! Magazine The Cooperative Way to a Stronger Economy Co-ops—just like people—can get more done together than anyone can do alone. They come in many forms, and are more common than you might imagine.

by Sarah van Gelder

[-] 4 points by inclusionman (7064) 9 years ago

Employee ownership is better for the 99%


[-] 4 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

Richard Wolff:

Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism:


Occupying Our Future: Cooperative Solutions to Tough Times:


[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

Not cooperatives, exactly, but the idea of resources being available to the public and not privatized is one way to put economic power in the hands of the people:

"The commons protects large resources from privatization, such as the lobster fisheries in Maine or grassland management in Mongolia, and allows collectives to regulate extraction. Exploitation is avoided because no one individual has more of a right to the source than any other."

"The commons movement is a reaction to exploitative free market capitalism. It rejects the notion that resources, spaces and other assets are purely a means to wealth. It condemns the privatization of public works..."


These ideas apply to the internet as well where ownership and control by the capitalists are taking away the resources that the internet could provide to the rest of us.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"An Economic Alternative to Exploitative Free Market Capitalism", by Thomas Hedges - just putting a title on your excellent link and also appending the following links on this excellent thread :

verb. sat. sap. ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

I actually got that article from you, I think. And, yes it deserves a full spelling out and a full read as it shows how our society can be structured so differently than it is. Things don't have to be this way!

And, bravo to Charles Eisenstein for merging philosophy with economics. Sacred Economics is brilliant in its capacity to show how economics should be subservient to humans and their happiness and not vice versa.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"A Choice For Corporate America : Are You With America Or The Cayman Islands", by Sen. Bernie Sanders ; http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33901.htm .

Thanx for your heads up above re. Thomas Hedges, on this important thread and I append the Bernie Sanders item above in compliment of the Charles Eisentein links and re his book, 'Sacred Economics', I again link to : http://sacred-economics.com/read-online/ .

Finally, please also further consider : "The True Costs of Tax Breaks and Social Security" by Ellen Dannin : http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14394-the-true-costs-of-tax-breaks-and-social-security .

fiat lux ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

"Those private retirement subsidies cost over 5 times as much as Social Security payments. So, if cutting costly tax breaks is the goal, then we get far more savings by putting tax subsidies to private pensions on the chopping block. But for some reason, those private tax breaks are getting a pass, while paying Social Security benefits are taking all the heat."

And, Sanders points out the tax avoidance of corporations as working class Americans struggle to pay theirs.

This is all a ruse and the American people need to wake up soon and see how they are being ripped off!

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

It "is all a ruse" !!! Look - "Another Giveaway to the Banksters - Obama, Housing and the Next Big Heist", by Mike Whitney ; http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33961.htm - from which :

"Shouldn’t the investors or the banks take the haircut instead of taxpayers? After all, whose fault is it that 5 million families have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007 and 11 million homeowners are presently underwater? Not the taxpayer. Let the responsible parties bear the costs. That’s the way the system is supposed to work, right?"

Un-fkn-believable ! The mind boggles just as the sinews tighten and the teeth clench !! WTFU America !!!

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

In a nutshell: "This is how the free market capitalism works in the US today; all the profits go to Wall Street and all the red ink goes to Main Street." Sad sigh.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"9 Economic Facts That Will Make Your Head Spin", by Lynn Stuart Parramore :

In another nutshell and excerpted from the linked item : "The looting of America. - American capitalism as currently practiced clearly redistributes income upward. According to Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the richest 1 percent of Americans now hold 25 percent of the country's wealth. The total income share for the 1 percent has jumped more in the U.S. than in any other major Western country since 1960, according to new research by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. The top 1 percent's share of income dipped in some European countries and increased by up to 4 percentages elsewhere, but in the good old U.S., land of opportunity, it soared over 9 percentage points." Yes, "Sad sigh" but then 'stiffened spine' and onwards and upwards - because after all, what have we got to lose ?

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

And, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of us is $31,244. Mind blowing.

From: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"Banksters - William Black tells the real truth" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8CqaHTygSc & many thanx for your link of excellent 'info-stat-graphics' which I recommend to all readers along with :

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23620) 9 years ago

This is a good piece of what Richard Eskow had to say:

"We’re collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our generosity. Instead we’re demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the young, the middle class – pretty much everybody, in fact, who isn’t “too big to fail.”

That’s injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations."

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

Many thanx for the very telling excerpts & also fyi :

ver. sat. sap. ...

[-] 3 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago

"Shift Change": Creating Economic Democracy Through Workplace Cooperatives Tuesday, 05 February 2013 09:10 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview


[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago


”The Take” (by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis):


”The Mondragon Experiment”:


”Living Utopia” The Anarchists and the Spanish Revolution:


[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago

US Federation of Worker Cooperatives


[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago

Reading considers co-ops to boost economy Officials held a meeting last week to talk about worker cooperatives.


[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago

The Foundation of a New Democratic Economy Is Worker Self-Directed Enterprises


[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 9 years ago

36,000 jobs where created in Italian cooperatives in 2012


[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

"Think Global - Act Local" Links courtesy of Shadz.

~ Ethics and design principles that can be used to guide efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future.


~ Transition Network helps individuals train to set up and run successful Transition Initiatives.


~ Permaculture TV Free Video Cooperative



[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Relative to Co-ops: These links courtesy of 'quantumystic'

Kudos 'qm'!! This is one of the coolest things I've seen when it comes to solutions 'by the people, for the people'!! 'Turning the deserts green' and showing this beautiful earth's people how to feed themselves through sustainable gardens is the epitome of health. Sustenance and jobs! The bedrock of a "People's Society'.

These links are of the same ethos for the global population to collectively turn our backs on the system of the oligarchs, as the "Co-op" thread...and as such, these links would fit on that thread beautifully. I'll transfer them over...if you don't mind. ;-)

We people need to take care of each other...because the government never will! Thanks again quantumystic!


The Jordanian Department of Education is noticing too! This garden won a national competition for environmental projects for schools - which means the whole, water stressed country is looking at the solutions found in this garden.


Greening the Desert Video - Parts I and II


Green Gold - Documentary by John D. Liu

"It's possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems." Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits to people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.



[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 years ago


The FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service is the 501(c)4 organization that would assess the skills of the unemployed individuals to patronize it and match them with a suggested cooperative business plan. Upon acceptance or rejection of the plan for an alternative plan, the FreeDA/CES would facilitate the crowdfunding of the new cooperative business. Most likely to precede the establishment of FreeDA/CES would be a cooperative community composed of a Free Democracy Credit Union and its Free Democracy Mutual Insurance Company which together would lay the foundation of support for the FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service. With the nationwide establishment of the Free Democracy Credit Union, Free Democracy Mutual Insurance Company, and FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service, the unemployed of each city would be consistently channeled into either newly or already established worker-owner cooperatives, creating an American version of Mondragon http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/ENG.aspx and modifying the economic well-being of society at a fundamental level.

Moving Forward - A Tweet For Freedom

So, who should champion the various causes of FreeDA? College students affiliated with http://www.uspirg.org/ the Public Interest Research Groups http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Research_Group willing to work with the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives http://www.usworker.coop/front and Democracy At Work http://www.democracyatwork.info/ are the only individuals to have the organizational history, academic resources, and activist drive to actually make it happen. Without an interest from such students, it's doubtful anyone else will ever take up the cause for FreeDA. After all, "None are more hopelessly enslaved http://occupywallst.org/forum/none-are-more-hopelessly-enslaved-than-those-who-f/ than those who falsely believe they are free." However, even the average person can help champion the cause of FreeDA by simply spreading word of FreeDA through twitter to both friends and to college newspapers as with knowledge comes the freedom to decide one's own actions and with the freedom to decide, the freedom to take action.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 9 years ago

How worker cooperatives work.


Just a bump for this excellent post

[-] -1 points by LittleMatchGirl (-143) 9 years ago

Well, carry on. Don't go deeper. Someone once said something about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a diiferent response . . .

But . . . carry on . . .

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago


[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 9 years ago

This is exactly what we need. Some air time.



[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 9 years ago

Current events in democracy at work


[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 9 years ago

I heard Alexis Goldstein (OWS) talking about these organizations.



Looks like their doing great work, and represent a good approach to cooperative business/investment.

[-] 1 points by yodavision (3) 9 years ago

Government needs to cease making war and instead focus on helping Americans to cooperate in sustainability.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

That will only happen when the people rise up and demand changes.


[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

Gar Alperovitz:

"America Beyond Capitalism"(lecture):

Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3l4PtC7iTA

Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za5esiNvj5E

Part III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RMBmYa9Sbw

[+] -5 points by penguento (362) 9 years ago

Ah, but will someone actually go out and start a workers' cooperative? Everyone here likes to spend a lot of time talking about how great it would be, but no one ever seems to be much interested in actually doing it.

And then, of course, there's the small matter of actually making it work, which is a good deal more difficult and problematic than many of you might expect.

I've been waiting for some time for somebody here to actually have a go at it, but it looks like it's all idle talk - these threads come up every so often, but nothing ever happens. There are always lots and lots of excuses about why it can't happen.

If OWS were a serious movement, it'd start a workers' cooperative and prove that it's principles actually work in action and are capable of supporting people and providing the health care, pensions and other things it claims are people's rights. But then, folks would have to stop clinging to abstract political theory and deal with cold, hard facts like making payroll every month and staying up late at night to deal with worthless government bureaucrats who don't give a rat's ass about your business and only want money from you. Looks to me like everyone here finds the abstract political theory ever so much more fun and interesting, and they aren't so much interested in the grubby business of actually doing it. So I doubt that OWS and its supporters will ever do any such thing.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 years ago

OWS wouldn't even have to do it themselves.


Other organizations are already in position to make it happen. All OWS would have to do is simply popularize the idea and rally the support. The actual work would be done by others. But even this would be asking too much of those only dedicated to protesting the problems. Even the debt relief effort, which is very limited in scope and amounts to nothing more than a goodwill gesture for a problem too vast to be affected by it, falls short of actually establishing something like a mutual insurance company with health care insurance that can substitute for a single-payer universal health plan and at the very least reduce the patronage of the private health insurance companies profiting off of the masses. Even without worker-owner cooperatives, the act of either forming or expanding an existing credit union and mutual insurance company specifically for the financial collective benefit of the 99% would do a lot to change things for the better. And again, OWS wouldn't actually have to do it themselves, just popularize it and support the organizations to actually do it.

[-] 0 points by penguento (362) 9 years ago

But then of course, someone else would have to set up these other --currently hypothetical -- organizations, and they'd have to coordinate with OWS, and someone at OWS street would have to actually do some coordinating, and then everybody would have to confront the realities of running a business and paying people, and all the rest of it. And of course, it'll never happen, because nobody here, or in the rest of what styles itself as the radical left, is interested in actually doing anything useful.

For example, let's take your FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service, to which you link above. You and I chatted about it a year or so ago, and at that point it was a purely hypothetical exercise -- nobody had done anything, and you couldn't get any traction when you approached OWS and others about it. Has anything happened in the last year? Is it up and running someplace?

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 years ago

How are the other organizations currently hypothetical? The PIRGs exist. The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives exists. Democracy At Work exists. The PIRGs would do the actual coordinating. The only thing that OWS would be invited to do is popularize and support the effort in the same way they had brought attention to the 'move your money' effort and have been supporting the jubilee effort. No actual work on their part, just OWS doing what it does best; being seen and heard.

As I say above,

"College students affiliated with http://www.uspirg.org/ the Public Interest Research Groups http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Research_Group willing to work with the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives http://www.usworker.coop/front and Democracy At Work http://www.democracyatwork.info/ are the only individuals to have the organizational history, academic resources, and activist drive to actually make it happen. Without an interest from such students, it's doubtful anyone else will ever take up the cause for FreeDA."

Such students haven't been made aware of FreeDA yet. Spreading such awareness is a task in itself for just one person.

[-] -1 points by penguento (362) 9 years ago

The Federation of Workers Cooperatives is an interesting development, and on the right track to be sure. PIRGs not so much, but that's mainly because this sort of thing isn't in their bailiwick. Democracy at work not at all interesting. Looks like more blather from academics who mistake talking for doing. But I agree with you about the Federation. That's what people who like to spout off about workplace democracy ought to be going out and doing, and I commend them for it. The problem, of course, is that nobody around here that I am aware of is to be found on that list of coop businesses on their website, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. If I'm wrong, somebody please holler and set me straight.

[+] -5 points by Shayneh (-482) 9 years ago

Ok so everyone posts this information then what - just read it and move on?

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

What individuals will do after they read this, is up to them. This post is (like all other posts here) simply just a small contribution made by someone who wants more attention to the content.

[-] -2 points by engineer4 (331) 9 years ago

As the biggest proponent of these ideals, is there reason why you have not attempted such an enterprise or at least, been involved in? And if so, what was the result? If not, what would be the reasons why ?

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

My personal affairs are irrelevant. I happen to not work in a private, for profit institution, but that’s all I want to say. I shouldn’t have to tell you about what I do in order to advocate a more co-operative economic organization.

[-] -3 points by engineer4 (331) 9 years ago

I was not trying to pry into your personal life, but rather get some background on your business experience (or direct knowledge of), specifically in the area mentioned. Apologies if you misunderstood my intentions.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

How's my business experience relevant? If there is something I advocate here that you disagree with, then go ahead and criticize, but leave my personal life and affairs out of it.

[-] -2 points by engineer4 (331) 9 years ago

Maybe we have a misundstanding. I am just asking why you have not tried something you are such an advocate for. That seems to me not such a personal question. But that is fine if you choose not to answer. But your advocating something and expecting others to do it, yet excluding yourself. That is why I asked.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

No, there’s no misunderstanding – at least not on my part. You keep asking me about my personal business, business experience and this and that. Let me ask you something: does someone who advocates capitalism have to start up a capitalist institution in order to not be in any way defamed his opinions?

[-] -2 points by engineer4 (331) 9 years ago

I will answer it this way: A person who does not practice what they preach is not listened to as much as someone who does. I just asked if you ever tried your idea yet you advocate for others to do so. A simple "no" would have been sufficient.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 9 years ago

You’re not going to get a simple “yes” or “no”. I don’t answer personal questions.

You didn't answer the question. Do you believe that in order to not be in any way defamed your opinions and principles in supporting private enterprise and capitalism, you must have started, or be in the process of starting a capitalist institution?

[-] -2 points by engineer4 (331) 9 years ago

Not necessarily. But maybe it is this way. When one is advocating for change or something that seems risky to others, would not it be better for that person to be experienced or involved in the change or risk in order to convince others to follow, rather than asking others to do it for them? If one is advocating something, they should be willing to take part in it. Does that make better sense to you? No one is defaming the advocate by asking a question such as " did you ever or would you ever try it"? To me, that is not a personal question of one who is advocating something.