cooperative commonwealth

[Editor’s Note: this article by Tony Patterson originally appeared on the Co-op Canada Accelerator blog in June of 2013. One year is an eternity in internet-time, but the suggestions Patterson makes have relevance today as much as last year, and in other countries as well as in Canada.]

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Amalurra, Basque for 'mother earth', was formed from a meditation group with life coach Irene Goikolea over 20 years ago. Wanting to take their practice further, they bought an old seminary and oriented their lives around making it beautiful and offering hospitality. Fast forward to now, and there are several gleaming buildings, including a hotel, hostel, spa, cafe, restaurant, many spaces for meetings and workshops, and a sweat-lodge next to a stream and extensive gardens.

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Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high and employee wages are at their lowest ever as a percent of GDP.i Worker cooperatives embody the hope that we can reverse the downward spiral in wage stagnation, wealth distribution, and concentration of ownership to build an economy that truly serves people and communities.

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[Editors note: Collective Courage can be purchased online from PSU Press here.  Use the code JGN14 at checkout to recieve a 20% discount. Please encourage your local libraries and co-ops to purchase a copy of this important resource.

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March 14, 2014 – Washington, DC

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Dramatically redistributing ownership and restructuring the institutions of wealth administration to align resource allocation decisions with the interests of people, communities, and nature is essential to a healthy and prosperous human future. Sorting out how to accomplish a transition from the system we have to the system we need is a defining — and so far largely unaddressed — question of our time.

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Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and Executive Director of the Next System Project.

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An anthill. A beehive. A crackling campfire around which the cave kids could play, the cave elders stay, and the buffalo strips blacken all day
The point is to change the world, and to do that we have to become that change. Our political mission is a hugely spiritual mission of personal and collective transformation. More simply: learning to love.

Memory moves us as surely into the realm of what shall be as it moves us back to what has been: by extracting what is indeterminately lasting from the latter, it allows the former to come to us. --Edward S. Casey1

 

Why Do Some Worker Co-ops Succeed While Others Fail?
The Role of Internal and External Social Factors.
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Frank Lindenfeld and Pamela Wynn, Bloomsburg University, PA

 
Len Krimerman 

This issue is a much-belated tribute to Frank Lindenfeld, who co-founded both GEO (in 1992) and Changing Work Magazine (1984).

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...we are coming to our national worker co-op conference sounding the theme that worker co-ops are the solution. My worry, however, is...
A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATIVES IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA By John Curl At the time of its incorporation in 1817, Pittsburgh was already a manufacturing center, with a population of around 6,000, supplying the western region with artisanal products almost entirely made by home industry. It had become a manufacturing center during the war of 1812, when the supply of British-made goods have been cut off in the region. In 1817 most manufacturing was still done by independent self-employed artisans using hand tools. But their livelihood was already threatened by the growth of a new system that was making their economy obsolete: factories and wage labor.
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By Len Krimerman

In 1995, the International Cooperative Alliance adopted seven cooperative principles to define and guide cooperatives throughout the world. Briefly stated, the "traditional seven" include: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

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