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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Toward an Open Co-operativism

Report from the Commons Strategies Group Workshop

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February 4, 2015
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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

Is it possible to imagine a new sort of synthesis or synergy between the emerging peer production and commons movement on the one hand, and growing, innovative elements of the co-operative and solidarity economy movements on the other?

That was the animating question behind a two-day workshop, “Toward an Open Co-operativism,” held in August, 2014 and now chronicled in a new report by UK co-operative expert Pat Conaty and me. (Pat is a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation and a Research Associate of Co-operatives UK, and attended the workshop.)

The workshop was convened because the commons movement and peer production share a great deal with co-operatives....but they also differ in profound ways. Both share a deep commitment to social cooperation as a constructive social and economic force. Yet both draw upon very different histories, cultures, identities and aspirations in formulating their visions of the future. There is great promise in the two movements growing more closely together, but also significant barriers to that occurring.

After two days of thought and discussion, participants identified three main priorities for actualizing the promise of "open co-operativism": 1) New regimes of law, governance and management; 2) New and better systems to aggregate patient capital for “co-operative accumulation”; and 3) Blending co-operatives and digital/open platforms.

This report is an important contribution to the Solidarity Economy and Commons movements.  Please share widely.]

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About the Author: Californian working in England and Wales, fellow of new economics foundation and a research associate of Co-operatives UK. He specialises in action research and development that focuses on innovative forms of economic democracy and community land trusts. He has specialized in innovative work on Commons solutions since 1999. Many of these solutions are covered in his 2012 book with Mike Lewis The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-state Economy. In Commons Sense (2014), a book he co-edited with Martin Large, the case is made for democratically capturing economic rents and land values through co-operative place making and 21st century Garden Cities.

David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and consultant.  His full bio can be found on his blog.





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