Worker Cooperatives

Businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their workers/employees (called "worker-owners").

From taking power to making power. This week on The Laura Flanders Show, a special report from Athens, Greece where many are asking if progressives in government can change much at all if people don’t first change society. In 2015, anti-austerity Greeks were disappointed by the progressive left Syriza government, which they'd voted into office after the financial crisis, but the other things they did to meet society’s needs just might be sowing the seeds for transformation.

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[Editor's note: Ajamu Nangwaya has been a cooperative educator and trainer with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, served as a board member for the US Federation for Worker Cooperatives, and is the co-author (with Kali Akuno) of the forthcoming book Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Mandela MarketPlace is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low income communities. Our approach is based on a systems model that addresses issues of economic disinvestment, food insecurity, and health inequity, building on community assets to cultivate a thriving food hub.

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"Cooperative Care: Empowered Caregiving" is a 40-minute documentary about a home health care coop in Wisconsin. The film explores the philosophy of the group and the daily activities of the CNAs who work there.

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This article was originally published in 2007 as part of GEO Newsletter #72/73: Worker Coops Unite!

Waushara County Director of Human Services Lucy Rowley, obtained a grant from the State of Wisconsin’s Community Links program in 1999 to study the possibility of creating a direct care worker cooperative. “I read about a cooperative of direct care workers out in the Bronx in New York,” said Rowley, “and I asked myself: why couldn’t we do something like that here in Waushara County?”

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Robert Matney is Co-Owner and COO of Polycot Associates, a web development agency and is a co-founder and Technology Director of Whirligig Productions. Robert is also Technology Director for Hidden Room Theatre and a Board Trustee for Austin Shakespeare, a multi-award-winning stage and voice actor and director, and a web technologist with Polycot Associates...

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[Editor's note: This presentation was part of the 2016 Left Forum (Rage, Rebellion, Revolution: Organizing Our Power), held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on May 21, 2016.]

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Impact Investing in Worker Cooperatives: How to get involved from Alison Lingane on Vimeo.

 

Worker cooperatives are a highly underrepresented business model that have tremendous positive impacts for employees, businesses and communities.

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Step-by-step guide to starting a worker co-op. Includes sections for incubated co-ops and conversions of traditional businesses to worker-owned cooperatives.
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[Editor's note: below are two videos about the new board game from worker cooperative Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA), Rise Up!  You can listen to an interview with TESA worker-owners Darya Marchenkova and Brian Van Slyke here.  To purchase a copy of Rise Up!, click here.]

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Pamela Boyce Simms

"Old and cherished ideas and ways of life die; new experiences arise and require a new vocabulary, a new grammar, a new vision." —Charles Johnson

Cooperative culture done well, is pivotal in building the critical mass needed to reach a societal tipping point in this era of existential crisis. Is it time for co-op activists to look in the mirror? 

A conversation with Darya Marchenkova and Brian Van Slyke of the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) worker co-op. Topics include TESA's new board game Rise Up!, what it's like to work in a geographically distributed collective, and how the collective has balanced consensus  and autonomous decision-making.

Toolbox for Education and Social Action website

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Prof. Richard Wolff interviews GEO Collective member Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard about her book Collective Courage: The History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.

 

Watch more from Democracy At Work

 

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I woke up to applause just as the plane touched down at Jose Marti Airport in Cuba, a place I had been wanting to visit for decades.  I finally got my chance because of an educational tour organized by the Center for Global Change in Mexico.  Disappointment and grief had kept me up the night before because I wasn’t allowed to board the plane with my tour group because I didn’t have my passport on me.

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Let me start by summarizing why I wanted to go to Cuba now. My learning objectives were the following:

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This Development Studies seminar titled "Transformative Politics and the Solidarity Economy" was given by Professor Michelle Williams and Dr Vishwas Satgar (School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) on 2 February 2016 at SOAS University of London.

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A mix of grey- and pastel-toned buildings on San Rafael Street in central Habana stand in stark testimony to part of the effects of a cruel U.S. embargo on life in Cuba.  I was standing on the street looking for a textile co-op.

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Cliff Martin and Len Krimerman discuss ways the cooperative movement can better engage youth, and how the Young People's Action Coalition is fostering the next generation of cooperative and social justice leadership. Also discussed is solidarity economy organizing in rural contexts and responses to the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential elections on the US solidarity economy movement.
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