Posts Tagged: cooperatives

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How Co-ops Helped Produce Foot Soldiers for Civil Rights - COLORLINES

Southern pews and pulpits weren’t the only source of people power during the long civil rights movement. So, too, were cooperative economic enterprises. These worker or consumer-owned alternatives to U.S. capitalism helped train and produce civil rights leaders from A. Philip Randolph to Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer to sitting congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.). That historical link, between the civil rights fight and alternative economic self-help, is just one of the surprising nuggets unearthed by economist and community economic development expert Jessica Gordon Nembhard in her book out this May, “Collective Courage: A History of African-American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.” Gordon Nembhard is a professor in Africana Studies at John Jay College in New York City. Very often the history of cooperative enterprise is the unwritten and undervalued story of marginalized people. She’s already writing her next three books in her head and as with this one, invites everyone now learning about co-ops for the first time to hit her up if they suddenly realize, “Ohhhh! So that’s what my grandmother was doing with the other women in the community.” …

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Who Needs a Boss?

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction. Of the $3.50 you hand over for a latte (plus $2.75 for the signature sourdough croissant), not one penny ends up in the hands of a faraway investor. Nothing goes to anyone who might be tempted to sell out to a larger bakery chain or shutter the business if its quarterly sales lag.

Instead, your money will go more or less directly to its 20-odd bakers, who each make $24 an hour — more than double the national median wage for bakers. On top of that, they get health insurance, paid vacation and a share of the profits. “It’s not luxury, but I can sort of afford living in San Francisco,” says Edhi Rotandi, a baker at Arizmendi. He works four days a week and spends the other days with his 2-year-old son. …

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Gro-operative: A Worker-Owned Co-operative for Sustainable Food Production

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Communities Self-insure for Cooperative Healthcare

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Big Banks Start Campaign to Destroy Credit Unions

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Michigan's first beer co-op to begin selling memberships | The Rapidian

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The Company With Lower Prices And Better Benefits Than Walmart

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Why cooperative banking is better than microfinance: ownership and control matters!

Ownership & control matter:

These differences are highly relevant. Who owns and controls a financial institution takes the decision on the type of lending it should make, and in turn the relations of production it promotes. Longer-term larger loans from cooperative banks – which were owned and controlled by local small and medium-sized businesspeople – contributed to the making of today’s German Mittelstand. The small short term loans from today’s MFIs – owned and controlled by a potpourri of philanthrocapitalists, Wall Street bankers and development finance organisations – on the other hand are contributing to the establishment of bazaar economies, full of business activity but hollow in terms of job-creation, innovation and capital accumulation.

The cooperatives in Germany (and elsewhere) in time became formal local banks; microfinance groups still meet for the sole purpose of accessing loans from the external MFI source, for whom they represent little more than a risk management tool. This group structure compels them to share losses on the downside, but not gains on the upside. (One rare exception to this pattern is the route taken in recent years by India’s SHGs, which Prof. Seibel has been involved in, where SHGs are registering as independent cooperatives.)

Thus it becomes clear, at the level of organisational philosophy and culture, that the motto which became synonymous with the Raiffeisen movement “one for all – all for one” has never applied to microfinance. Expecting one to perform like the other is a mistake.”

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Workers at the New Era Windows Cooperative are celebrating the grand opening of their new unionized, worker-owned and -operated business.
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WORKER-OWNED

At Equal Exchange we all walk around like we own the place. That’s because we all do! Our co-op has over 100 worker-owners, each with an equal stake - and an equal vote - in our business. …