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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

From Occupation to Co-operation in Texas

By Robyn Ross, Fri., Jan. 25, 2013 <>

They called it "breaking up with your bank."

At the height of the Occupy movement in 2011, more than 700,000 people nationwide moved their savings from institutions like Bank of America to credit unions. Besides offering more competitive rates, credit unions are in principle democratically governed, owned by their customers. The one-person-one-vote egalitarianism and cooperative structure of credit unions appeals to people tired of banks structuring loans and imposing fees to profit distant shareholders, as well as to those who objected to the role of major national banks in creating the conditions that led to the nationwide recession.

A group of Austinites is proposing to sustain that cooperative spirit and expand it to other sectors of the economy. "With Occupy Wall Street," says Mark Wochner, a board member at both Wheatsville Food Co-op and Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery, "people were asking for an alternative model that was focused on the individual, the community, and being good for the environment. For hardcore co-op people, it's like, 'We're right here.'"

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