Today in the quiet co-op consensus: David Brooks talking up worker ownership for the gig economy.

It's interesting that the working class has made a comeback in politics and rhetoric in many countries. When I was studying sociology, we had debates about whether 'class' is a meaningful term anymore.

(Of course social science and public discourse are somewhat separate realms but anyway)

@ntnsndr As David Brooks would do so. “Shopping for a worker co-op would be more like buying a gym membership.” Uhhhh.

@tbeckett @ntnsndr So many tellingly elitist aspects of that article. Start with the subtitle: "And how we can make a difference in their lives." The 'we' being the "college-educated sliver" of society, and 'their lives' being the ones lived by working-class poor people.

As Lila Watson said, "If you've come here to help me, you are wasting your time. If you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine, we may have work to do together." For Brooks it's a one-way street.

@tbeckett @ntnsndr Because, I guess, from Brooks' point of view it is people like him who have a responsibility to do right by the rest of us. As opposed to involving the working poor in governance, he simply wants the educated class to do a better job listening to their needs....and apparently neither Brooks nor his editors at the Times can tell how offensive this is to those of us who are actually working-class and poor.

@tbeckett @ntnsndr And it seems like Brooks and/or Cass doesn't really understand what a worker co-op is. What he describes sounds more like a union to me.

"...train and retrain workers as they moved from firm to firm..."?!? I mean, WTF is he even talking about? A worker co-op that "represents workers in negotiations..."? Pretty sure that's not how union co-ops work, bro. Might want to talk to Collective Copies or something...

@tbeckett @ntnsndr Someone with no other info could read this piece and be totally confused as to what a worker co-op is. "'s like a gym...but with unemployment insurance?"

Other weird things: first he bemoans "alternative work arrangements" with their lack of stability and security, but later on he throws shade on the "old, adversarial" union model for being "inappropriate for the gig economy." Um...make up your mind, David.

@tbeckett @ntnsndr "We in the college-educated sliver have built a culture, an economy and a political system that are all about ourselves." But this is all wrong. What about the struggling adjunct professors, or all the college educated construction workers I know, building houses for $12/hour? Is the economy all about them? Hardly.

@tbeckett @ntnsndr Someone needs to tell David Brooks that you can't freely admit to having royally screwed things up for people, and then turn around and claim to know what's best for everybody now that you're more enlightened. No one is buying it.

@GuerillaOntologist @tbeckett @ntnsndr an adversarial labour union model is "inappropriate"?? wtf is he smoking? sounds p reactionary.


False consensus? He is not really talking about co-ops, sounds more like 1990s labor-management participation schemes, updated to for the gig economy workers. He doesn't mention ownership, just "gym membership." @GuerillaOntologist has broken this down well.

The call for labor market reform, premised on a break from the "old, adversarial union model" is classic neoliberal doctrine. Meanwhile teachers' strikes are showing what adversarial unionism, i.e., solidarity, can achieve.

Sign in to participate in the conversation is a a coop-run corner of the fediverse, a cooperative and transparent approach to operating a social platform. We are currently closed to new memberships while we improve our internal processes and policies, and plan to re-open to new folks when that work is complete. [9/2/2018]