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Showing posts with the label cooperatives

Self-Management or Self-Exploitation

People are suffering and hungry for a solution. People are becoming increasingly atomised, alienated, and anxious. With the financialisation of capital and globalisation it seems that power is concentrating in the hands of a few – a class – the elite capitalist class. The situation that we are in is getting worse politically, socially, and economically, and a Left that is so divided we can't get organized to oppose the powers that be. Today the Left faces the same problem that it has faced since the 1800s, which is being comprised of so many factions that there is no popular and radical force to challenge the current power structure.
Gallup in 2013 showed that 70% of workers "emotionally disconnected" and approximately 20% are "actively disengaged" meaning that they are acting out their unhappiness and, effectively, sabotaging their workplaces. Productivity and profitability are higher for cooperatives than for capitalist firms. It makes little difference whet…

Orbiston –The New Babylon

Since the beginning of civilisation, men have repeatedly attempted to build better societies than the ones they have known. The industrial revolution had changed both the prospects and livelihoods of the majority of workers, and rather than increasing their opportunities, they had led to greater uncertainties. The earliest communitarian movements attempted to transform this by forming religious and secular communities with participatory governments and to produce an equilibrium between the private and common ownership of property and work.
The word ‘socialism’ originates with the followers of Robert Owen who is still popularly regarded as “the father of British socialism”. It is not always remembered, however, that the socialism he advocated was co-operative or community socialism. Owen did not think along the lines of the later socialists. His approach was basically apolitical and he rejected the notion of class struggle as a means of social change. Instead, he believed in communitar…

Co-ops Hopes

Work is set to begin which could transform this former potato farm in Lanarkshire's Douglas Valley, into Britain's first new garden city for nearly a century. Owenstown is named after the visionary philanthropist Robert Owen whose New Lanark model village, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, is close by. Owenstown, could one day be home to 5,000 co-operative pioneers drawn by the promise of living and working in a society that is being described as "a new international benchmark for utopian living".  It is hoped that the £500m project will eventually yield more than 4,000 jobs – helping revitalise an area ravaged by the decline of coal mining and other traditional industries.

One of the objectives of the town is to provide affordable housing, with the community founders hoping to offer high-quality, environmentally friendly homes – many built at a factory on site – at 60 per cent of the market value. Bill Nicol, the project director, said this would be achieved by ad…

Co-ops are for coping

One of the main proposals advocated by the New Economic economists and many others is worker-owned and controlled  co-operatives. It has never been argued by the Socialist Party that co-operatives are a means to-wards socialism but rather it is the aim of the people - the Co-operative Commonwealth.

The idea of the workers’ co-operative originated in the early days of the labour movement. It is based on the simple attractive idea: “Get rid of the bosses who make a profit from our work and instead work for ourselves so we can enjoy the full fruits of our work.” Capitalism is not to be overthrown by class war but undermined by the  cooperative movement until it crumbles is the theory  But how does the ownership of the factory by the employees differ from ownership by a capitalist? A cooperative has to buy its raw materials on the market, just the same as every other company. A cooperative has to sell its finished products on the market, just the same as every other company. A cooperativ…