This is my response to Michael Johnson's recent blog post, Movements Moving Together, Part 1.

This keynote address by Robin Seydel from the 2011 California Cooperative Conference deserves to be widely seen.

Some time ago, Paul Hawken accurately proclaimed “a blessed unrest” pulsating across the planet. Few folks were seeing such rich possibilities for a better world. A few years later came Occupy Wall Street and all that responded to it. That phenomenon lit up the “blessed unrest” like a global Christmas tree.

By Mike Leung


This article deals with the conversion of an existing business to a worker-owned cooperative. Specifically, it lays out a basic strategy for allowing employees of a profitable company with publicly-traded securities to effectively convert to a worker cooperative in the absence of owner permission.


Proposition: first, experience; then, words and stories.

Pope Francis just released his first encyclical, "The Joy of the Gospel." And indeed, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the new Pope's primary spokesperson, seems to have been a genuine herald.

The Mondragon Cooperative Group is ranked not only as the world’s largest worker-owned industrial cooperative group, but also as the top Basque industrial group, tenth in Spain with 80,000 personnel, a presence in 70 countries, and winner of the 2013 Financial Times “Boldness in Business” award.

It seems like the Pope Francis team is rejecting "neoliberal dictatorships that rule democracies" and promoting "the globalization of mercy and solidarity"

The debate over who lost Detroit and how to fix it rages on while Politico reports in “Break-up-the-big-banks fever hits the states” that legislators from “at least 18 states have introduced resolutions this year calling on Congress to split up banking giants by putting back in place a wall between commercial banking, taking deposits and making loans, and investment banking, the world of traders and deal-makers.” It turns out that quarantining the banksters and salvagi

Bedrock conviction: oppression is a relational dynamic involving at least two roles: oppressor and oppressed. If we want to relate to someone or some situation in a different way, then we have to move out of and beyond these two roles. We have to focus our attention in a way in which we can experience the other as neither oppressive nor oppressed. It has to be focused on the other as genuinely and humbly as possible in order to experience them as they are. At least as much as possible.

GEO has posted entries on two stories in the past week with the same underlying story line. The co-op borrows money on the public equity market (sells bonds) and then finds it can't pay the loans back and has to restructure.

It’s goal is to address strategic barriers limiting the creation and growth of worker cooperatives and show how they can be overcome.

A friend sent this link to this New Clear Vision piece. In Swanson's piece there is a paragraph worth posting in your bathroom to get you going every morning:

The Occupy Money Co-operative is getting NY Times coverage as it works its way to actually issuing pre-paid Visa Cards. Drawing smiley-face points from their association with Occupy Wall Street and the Co-operative movement, the initiative paints a comforting picture. I find two things troubling when I go to the Occupy Money Co-op web-site.

Here’s  a stunning video report on some research that is looking with some depth at economic behavior and how we see ourselves and others. I think the implications of this work for economic democracy and understanding empowerment processes could be awesome.

Some thoughts on MJ's Culture trumping Structure: I like the garden analogy, but I also think that some “structures” are culture builders, much as some plants are soil builders. E.g., part of Mondragon’s “structure” is that cooperative membership is more than having an equal say in one’s co-op. It also involves being an “empresario”, a labor entrepreneur. (See Ana Gutierrez Johnson, in Changing Work, #1, p. 40.) That is, it involves building a cooperative culture. As Ana put it, “This entrepreneurial orientation is the factor which explains the expansion of the [Mondragon] cooperative network and its level of technological and organizational development.” Think as well of P6, where the line between structure and culture also appears to fade away. (This is also true of the democracy building work of groups like Everyday Democracy, which rely on trained community-based facilitators of a carefully constructed democratic process.) So it looks to me that getting the structure right is not just replacing hierarchy with non-hierarchical, one person, one vote, governance. It involves, or can involve, learning new norms, changing old habits, inventing new processes for making group decisions. Like listening to other voices as much or more than expressing one’s own views; or seeing leadership as developing the leadership potential in others rather than leading/directing them towards goals they did not shape. Still, I’d agree “transformative tilling” of our own cultural soil is essential. (But do we have solid evidence for this?} In any case, perhaps it too can best emerge from deeply democratic structures (e.g., like that of Highlander) and deeply democratic processes, like those of Everyday Democracy. At the least, I think, those structures/processes can play a crucial supportive role in keeping that personal tilling work an ongoing common priority – and in ensuring that it is harmonious with cooperative development and community building missions. Here again, the relationship is between structure/process and culture seems, to me, more symbiotic than you appear to allow. P.S. And what are we to understand by a "strong democratic culture"? Examples?
Over her 20+ years as a reporter she has gotten a sense of what's happening that isn't easily replicated by anybody else. She sees a crisis and opportunity like that famous Chinese character.


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