We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Workers of the world, co-operate!

from Red Pepper (UK). The author provides his assessment of the benefits of worker cooperatives. Referring to the latter, he asks:
But are they microcosms of the democratic society that we crave? Or do they hinder political change by taking people away from social movements and trade unions and into self-contained, competing and self-exploitative economic units? Workers’ co-ops clearly have massive advantages over authoritarian systems of workplace organisation – but do they have the potential to change the world?
Read the rest of the article to find his answers to these questions. IMO worker cooperatives are not in themselves a way to change society. Yugoslavia used them extensively and found that they took on many characteristics of private enterprises because they competed against each other. 

Still when societies have to increasingly localize to cope with diminishing fossil fuels, they can then serve a critical function if they are organized to serve, and answerable to, the wider community.