Blogs

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.

I've been meaning to write something that lets me use that picture for weeks now. It's from the cover to Fred P. Brooks's The Mythical Man Month and I've always wondered whether these were his mythic beasts or if they were a play on his being a dinosaur in the industry.

I just paid a chunk of money to the Employment Security Department for Patty Pan Coop’s quarterly unemployment tax.  The form and the payment were two months late; we’re usually pretty good about keeping up on our tax obligations but this report is particularly likely to get away from us because it asks for more information than the others, including Social Security numbers and payroll hours by employee.

by Alexander Kolokotronis

 

There are alternatives: economic, political, and cultural. The trick of any ruling elite is to convince just enough people that there are no such alternatives. There is no magic bullet alternative; no singular alternative institution that by itself can transform or transcend a system. Yet, in combination, as a set, and in a network, such alternative institutions carry the possibility of both building and fomenting system-change.
           

by Josh Davis

 

AN INSPIRING AND CAUTIONARY TALE.                

A new article by a GEO cohort Ajowa Ifateyo is as surprising as it is inspiring and saddening. Surprising because it tells a whole different story of Marion Berry, a powerful Black leader in D.C. politics who was much maligned and discredited by the media.

Inspiring because we learn from Ajowa’s piece that his mayoral ambitions

by Josh Davis

 

One of the many topics that came up for discussion at the recent GEO retreat was whether or not we wanted to participate in Amazon's Smile program.  The program lets shoppers support the charity of their choice through purchases on Amazon's website. Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to a shopper's selected charity.

Our title is taken from the title of "Today's Must Read" article from my favorite site's list of daily links: Stop Trying to Save the World". The article tells us first to honestly measure what we are trying to achieve when we introduce some vaunted improvement program. Then it tells us that just because the formula within the program that succeeds in the test case, don't assume that it will apply to every other situation.

by Carl Ratner

The cooperative movement, in general, seems to associate co-ops with non-capitalist market economics. This is articulated by J. Restakis (2010) in his popular book Humanizing the economy: Co-operatives in the age of capital. British Columbia: New Society Publishers.

In 2013 Acorn Community suffered fires to two of their buildings. The first was an accident in their steel building, home to their auto shop and clothing storage, among other things.

“Co-operative culture eats co-operative governance for breakfast!”   

An article gleaned from England’s Co-operative News talks about how to generate and nurture a strong co-operative culture. It identifies six factors for sustaining a co-operative culture.

Movements Self-Reflecting.

One role a journal like GEO can play is to provide a platform for our movements to reflect on their doings. The “Scaling-Up” theme currently running is an example. Also, a recent article by Carl Ratner is another as was one of my recent blogs.

There is a problem with corporate governance at traditional capitalist firms that often goes unmentioned in discussions of our current social and economic ills. It's a problem that I have reason to believe also effects some of our largest co-ops. It is a perverse dynamic that has lead to extremes of income and wealth inequality, and it is all the more pernicious for being largely invisible. (I'm going to have to dive into the weeds a little bit to get to where I'm going, but stay with me and I promise you, this will come back around to co-ops.)

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