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structure:coop [2021/10/12 12:08]
vxa created
structure:coop [2021/12/19 01:18] (current)
vxa Rewrite some parts for clarity
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 Settler-colonial democracies, such as the u.s., have tried to violently eradicate these ways of living and knowing — yet they have survived nonetheless. Settler-colonial democracies, such as the u.s., have tried to violently eradicate these ways of living and knowing — yet they have survived nonetheless.
  
-For those violently brought to north america from Africa through chattel slavery, cooperative organization could provide the means for their essential nourishment. According to Jessica Gordon Nembhard, "Even though separated from their clans and nations in Africa, enslaved as well as the few free African Americans continued African practices during the antebellum period—cooperating economically to till small garden plots to provide more variety and a healthier diet for their families."((Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice, p. 31))+Cooperative organization could provide the means for essential nourishment. According to Jessica Gordon Nembhard, "Even though separated from their clans and nations in Africa, enslaved as well as the few free African Americans continued African practices during the antebellum period—cooperating economically to till small garden plots to provide more variety and a healthier diet for their families."((Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice, p. 31))
  
-Mutual aid practices and resistance formations developed during slavery provided the foundations for Black people in the u.s. to establish wide networks of formal and informal co-operatives, after the civil war and beyond. Many of these early co-operatives were workers pooling resources to own the means of agricultural production, instead of sharecropping under white landowners. +After chattel slavery was abolished, many new co-operatives sprung up. Former slavesnow workers, pooled their resources to own the means of agricultural production, instead of sharecropping under white landowners. 
  
 > We find that the spirit of revolt which tried to co-operate by means of insurrection led to widespread organization for the rescue of fugitive slaves among Negroes themselves, and developed before the war in the North and during and after the war in the South, into various co-operative efforts toward economic emancipation and land buying. Gradually these efforts led to co-operative business, building and loan associations and trade unions. > We find that the spirit of revolt which tried to co-operate by means of insurrection led to widespread organization for the rescue of fugitive slaves among Negroes themselves, and developed before the war in the North and during and after the war in the South, into various co-operative efforts toward economic emancipation and land buying. Gradually these efforts led to co-operative business, building and loan associations and trade unions.
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 </figure> </figure>
  
-Consumer co-ops can offer lower prices, since there is no drive for profit. Typical businesses exist to produce profit for the owners; when the shoppers //are// the owners, they will seek to pass these savings into lower prices for members. But members and management may balance low prices with other concerns, such as buying organic foods or natural products.+Typical businesses exist to produce profit for the owners. Since the shoppers //are// the owners, consumer co-ops should be able to pass these savings into lower prices for members.
  
-Consumer co-ops typically often have some form of democratic control, where members elect the leadership of the co-op. However, as we will see, this often varies in effectiveness.+Consumer co-ops typically have some democratic control, where members elect the leadership of the co-op. However, members have more power in some co-ops than others.
  
 Labor is the biggest expense in most businesses, and this sometimes put shopper-owners of consumer co-ops in an oppositional relationship with employees. Labor is the biggest expense in most businesses, and this sometimes put shopper-owners of consumer co-ops in an oppositional relationship with employees.
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 > Abetted by their counsel, co-op management made an initial proposal to the union that would reduce employees' medical benefits and their pay step increments ... In addition, management has reduced the work force 20% in the past two years while increasing productivity. This has made work much more intense and stressful. > Abetted by their counsel, co-op management made an initial proposal to the union that would reduce employees' medical benefits and their pay step increments ... In addition, management has reduced the work force 20% in the past two years while increasing productivity. This has made work much more intense and stressful.
  
-In this case, workers petitioned members to support higher wages and better working conditions, and gathered 2,000 signatures. 130 members picketed at a board meeting, some asking how much was being paid to retain the corporate lawyer(s). Although they were member-owners, according to an article by Carl Ratner, "management refused to tell the members the exact amount that they paid [the law firm] Jackson Lewis."((Carl Ratner, [[https://geo.coop/story/co-op-vs-union|"A Failure of Cooperative Values at California's Largest Consumer Food Co-op"]]))+In this case, workers petitioned members to support higher wages and better working conditions, and gathered 2,000 signatures. 130 members picketed at a board meeting, some asking how much was being paid to retain the corporate lawyer(s). Although they were member-owners, according to an article by Carl Ratner, "management refused to tell the members the exact amount that they paid [the law firm]."((Carl Ratner, [[https://geo.coop/story/co-op-vs-union|"A Failure of Cooperative Values at California's Largest Consumer Food Co-op"]]))
  
 Management may have different interests or values than members and workers within a consumer co-op structure. They could view the membership as an advisory board or suggestion box, while making entirely independent decisions. If a co-op lacks diverse mechanisms for members to steer its operation, or if the co-op's elected leadership is highly deferential to managers, the decisions of management officials may be virtually impossible to reverse. Management may have different interests or values than members and workers within a consumer co-op structure. They could view the membership as an advisory board or suggestion box, while making entirely independent decisions. If a co-op lacks diverse mechanisms for members to steer its operation, or if the co-op's elected leadership is highly deferential to managers, the decisions of management officials may be virtually impossible to reverse.
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 There are a number of prominent worker co-operatives in Berkeley, including the Cheese Board bakery.(([[http://arizmendi.coop/|Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives]])) The [[https://www.mandelagrocery.coop/aboutco-op|Mandela Grocery Co-op]] in West Oakland is another local worker-owned co-op. There are a number of prominent worker co-operatives in Berkeley, including the Cheese Board bakery.(([[http://arizmendi.coop/|Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives]])) The [[https://www.mandelagrocery.coop/aboutco-op|Mandela Grocery Co-op]] in West Oakland is another local worker-owned co-op.
  
-The United States Federation of Worker Co-ops estimates there are more than 500 such co-ops in the country today. When successful, worker-owned co-ops can ensure high pay and offer job opportunities for people who might have difficulty getting certain positions elsewhere.((U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, [[https://www.usworker.coop/what-is-a-worker-cooperative/|What is a Worker Cooperative?]]))+The United States Federation of Worker Co-ops estimates there are more than 500 such co-ops in the country today. When successful, worker-owned co-ops can ensure high pay and offer job opportunities for people who might have difficulty getting positions elsewhere.((U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, [[https://www.usworker.coop/what-is-a-worker-cooperative/|What is a Worker Cooperative?]]))
  
 Co-ops have also supported or been closely associated with the labor movement. According to Paula Jaramillo, "communal living played an important part in the labor movement throughout the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Many saw the exploitation from landlords and the exploitation from bosses as part of the same struggle. Uniting and cooperating both in labor and housing was a way to retake control and assert self-determination. Co-ops have also supported or been closely associated with the labor movement. According to Paula Jaramillo, "communal living played an important part in the labor movement throughout the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Many saw the exploitation from landlords and the exploitation from bosses as part of the same struggle. Uniting and cooperating both in labor and housing was a way to retake control and assert self-determination.
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 ==== Co-ops and Communism ==== ==== Co-ops and Communism ====
-Some co-ops have been seen as subversive, communist organizations; others, as more equitable forms of capitalism. 
- 
 The Unemployed Exchange Association (UXA) in Oakland was a self-help cooperative organized around reciprocity rather than money. At its peak in the 1930s, the UXA provided food, medical and dental benefits, auto repair and some housing to around 1,500 people. In fall 1932, the police “Red Squad”, who had received information that the UXA was led by “Communists,” raided their meeting and shut them down under the pretext that they were violating ordinances which prohibited the sale of food and clothing from the same store.((Paula Jaramillo (2015), [[https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Communal_Living_Sketches_in_Berkeley|Communal Living Sketches in Berkeley]], FoundSF Wiki)) The Unemployed Exchange Association (UXA) in Oakland was a self-help cooperative organized around reciprocity rather than money. At its peak in the 1930s, the UXA provided food, medical and dental benefits, auto repair and some housing to around 1,500 people. In fall 1932, the police “Red Squad”, who had received information that the UXA was led by “Communists,” raided their meeting and shut them down under the pretext that they were violating ordinances which prohibited the sale of food and clothing from the same store.((Paula Jaramillo (2015), [[https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Communal_Living_Sketches_in_Berkeley|Communal Living Sketches in Berkeley]], FoundSF Wiki))
  
-During the cold war, however, co-ops came to be viewed by some anti-communists as a favorable compromise to promote in a conservative way abroad. This view became known as the "Third Way."+The UXA, which many BSC members participated in, became a political target of the state. During the cold war, however, some anti-communists began to see co-ops as a possible bulwark against communism in the global south. They wanted to promote co-operative models which emphasized participation in the capitalist economy and downplayed the radical democratic elements.
  
 >This [the co-op model] was going to be the third way; it was going to stop communism in other parts of the world. >This [the co-op model] was going to be the third way; it was going to stop communism in other parts of the world.
 >— Robert E. Treuhaft, reflecting on anti-communism in the co-operative movement((Oral interview with Robert E. Treuhaft, conducted by Robert G. Larsen for the Berkeley Historical Society (1990), p. 64)) >— Robert E. Treuhaft, reflecting on anti-communism in the co-operative movement((Oral interview with Robert E. Treuhaft, conducted by Robert G. Larsen for the Berkeley Historical Society (1990), p. 64))
  
-These politics arose in the Berkeley Consumer Co-op in the mid-1960s. At that time, it was revealed that the u.s. national Co-op League, which it contributed to, was also "receiving large amounts of money from the CIA through a foundation" — about $200,000 to $300,000 per year — to promote co-ops abroad. However, when board members expressed interest in expanding co-op education //within// the u.s., they were told it was not possible — a bizarre contradiction that lead to the unraveling of the scandal.(("So we had a dozen people abroad selling the co-op idea, and they couldn't afford to send anybody into the South in the United States. Why was this going on? What expertise did we have to begin with, when we were the most backward country in the world from the point of view of co-ops? The Co-op League could never build a co-op movement in the United States. What were they doing in Southeast Asia and South America? So I explored this, and I was familiar with the fact that it was national public knowledge, it was a major public scandal, about the CIA funneling money through foundations. Some of the recipients were student organizations, who were considered anti the most radical students ... I corresponded with some of the people, and Neil Sheehan, a New York Times reporter, finally came up with the information that the Co-op league had been receiving large amounts of money from the CIA through a foundation..." Oral interview with Robert E. Treuhaft, conducted by Robert G. Larsen for the Berkeley Historical Society (1990), p. 77))+The Berkeley Consumer Co-op grappled with these machinations in the mid-1960s. The board discovered that the National Co-op League, which it paid into, was also "receiving large amounts of money from the CIA through a foundation" — about $200,000 to $300,000 per year — to promote co-ops abroad. However, when board members expressed interest in expanding co-op education //within// the u.s., they were told it was not possible — a bizarre contradiction that lead to the unraveling of the scandal.(("So we had a dozen people abroad selling the co-op idea, and they couldn't afford to send anybody into the South in the United States. Why was this going on? What expertise did we have to begin with, when we were the most backward country in the world from the point of view of co-ops? The Co-op League could never build a co-op movement in the United States. What were they doing in Southeast Asia and South America? So I explored this, and I was familiar with the fact that it was national public knowledge, it was a major public scandal, about the CIA funneling money through foundations. Some of the recipients were student organizations, who were considered anti the most radical students ... I corresponded with some of the people, and Neil Sheehan, a New York Times reporter, finally came up with the information that the Co-op league had been receiving large amounts of money from the CIA through a foundation..." Oral interview with Robert E. Treuhaft, conducted by Robert G. Larsen for the Berkeley Historical Society (1990), p. 77))
  
 Under the anti-communist Nixon administration of the 1970s, co-ops in the u.s. were systematically undermined and dismantled.((Paula Jaramillo (2015), [[https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Communal_Living_Sketches_in_Berkeley|Communal Living Sketches in Berkeley]], FoundSF Wiki)) Under the anti-communist Nixon administration of the 1970s, co-ops in the u.s. were systematically undermined and dismantled.((Paula Jaramillo (2015), [[https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Communal_Living_Sketches_in_Berkeley|Communal Living Sketches in Berkeley]], FoundSF Wiki))