Title

Building the U.S. Worker Cooperative Movement in the Context of Global Capitalism

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

This paper asks the question “What are the key elements to building an effective United States-based worker cooperative movement in the context of global capitalism?”

Data was collected by reviewing literature in the field, interviewing 24 worker cooperative movement activists, attending a Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) meeting, reading posts on the NoBAWC list-serve and talking with worker cooperative movement activists at social and job related events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Eight main themes emerged as the key elements to building an effective U.S.-based worker cooperative movement in the context of global capitalism. They are: (1) solidarity-based movement building; (2) inter-cooperation among worker-cooperatives and with other organizations and movements; (3) education within and outside of the worker-cooperative movement; (4) support structures; (5) strategic growth; (6) grassroots and democratic processes; (7) flexibility and pragmatism; and (8) autonomy of funding.

The researcher presents three conclusions. First, the worker cooperative activists should embrace cooperative principles for the movement, and strategically engage in the tensions of building a democratic movement in the context of global capitalism. Second, further research and movement discussion about race, class, environmental justice and other forms of solidarity and/or marginalization within the worker cooperative movement and society would be valuable. And third, further research and/or movement discussion about the core purpose of the movement would be valuable. It is my hope that this paper will help to support movement activists’ efforts to strategically, creatively and effectively strengthen the U.S. movement in the context of global capitalism.

Disciplines

Labor and Employment Law | Labor Relations | Work, Economy and Organizations

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