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An Interim Report on Subscriber Responses To GEO's Survey and Makeover Plans

Compiled and edited by Len Krimerman

Thus far we've received about a dozen responses, all of them—in varying degrees and in different ways—positive and encouraging. Some definite patterns seem to be emerging:

NO CONTEST: Everyone agreed on the type of article they most liked: "articles describing specific co-ops and what they do."

WHAT'S NEEDED? Several respondents, however, felt the need for more coverage of issues around "marginalized" or "disenfranchised" groups, e.g., how to expand our outreach and the co-op idea to those groups; what issues women and minorities face within co-ops. Another stressed the importance of the issue of "financing for cooperative development"; where, he asked, is our "Caja Laboral" (Mondragon's Bank of the People's Labor)?

"Count us in!" With one exception, GEO's projected self-transformation plan (see issue #43) got a clear and often hearty thumbs up! In addition to very imaginative and constructive suggestions for how to become a "member-based, education and activist" organization, several folks offered to work with us to develop this new and deeper initiative. (You know who you are, and we'll be getting back to you before year's end!) Here are just some of those constructive suggestions:

"Go for it! Encourage participation by women, people of color, poor people, disabled...there is great wisdom there—intellectuals don't know it all."

"How about establishing regional or area representatives of the new organization to promote the ideas and an expanded newsletter? This is the example that worked for the Positive Futures Network/Yes! Magazine....I'd love to work with you and GEO in a similar capacity."

"Here are (some) things I would do if I were the Enlightened Dictator of GEO: Make it a membership organization costing $10 a month (like being a member of National Public Radio), and make the list of all willing members available to all other members; encourage every member of every co-op to become a member; promote 'work' as having value way beyond just making a living—specifically, a valuable place to practice such things as empathic listening, telling the truth, and being creative; encourage members to have a monthly dinner together with a speaker when 10 or more members are within 1 hour's driving time of a central dinner location...."

"Great ideas! I'm all for expanding the role of GEO in cooperative development. COUNT ME IN!"

As for the one exception, she stated: "The changes proposed for GEO don't impress me. It could, of course be that I don't understand them—in which case, make it actual and I may even like it." Fair enough. And for a prefigurative look at some of these changes, see Mat Grillo’s account of his—very successful—inter-cooperative work in New England over the past few months.

What a great start! And this is just a brief summary of the good ideas and challenging responses we received. Others included ways to expand and improve An Economy of Hope, enlisting the aid of politicians to develop legislation supportive of co-op development, and much, more....

* If you haven't yet sent us your ideas and your subscriber survey, it's far from too late. These can be emailed to Len Krimerman at lenmvgeo@connix.com , or post mailed to him at 83 Charles Lane, Storrs, CT 06268. Don't have a survey form?

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