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Wu-Lee @wu_lee

I just signed up for this free on , run by Univeristy of , starts 8th Jan: edx.org/course/economic-democr

"Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative
Could a cooperative market economy, in which firms are owned and controlled by their workers, be a viable and efficient alternative to capitalism?"

Unfortunately cooperativism is an economic project without any associated political project, so history has already borne out that the answer to this question is clearly NO.

@kavbojka @wu_lee

Market Anarchism, Market Socialism, Libertarian Socialism (Anarcho-syndicalism and others) seem to be closely related with the coop movement.

Mondragón and CNT in Spain are quite strong nowadays.

As far as I have seen, there is no distinct political project associated with Mondragon. This is a good read about their recent failures and system flaws truth-out.org/news/item/19704-

@kavbojka @fabianhjr

Interesting article. Alperovitz++. The authors seem to include coops as *part* of a potential solution.

"There is nothing inherently wrong with [new system based on cooperative ownership]; far from it, the principle is one to be advanced and supported. The question of interest, however [...] is whether trusting in open market competition is a sufficient answer to the problem of longer-term systemic design."

Yes I agree they are PART of a solution. Too many people are lazer focused on it as a solution to the exclusion of the harder work to be done building true political power. History has repeatedly shown that coops without a radical political project are not revolutionary.

@fabianhjr @wu_lee
In fact many of these cooperatives have served to reproduce the very nefarious social outcomes they claimed they opposed.


Your article here also interesting:

Further references and more specific criticisms welcomed, particularly if relevant to the aforementioned MOOC.



Overall I agree, coops alone not sufficient. My feeling:

- "The Corporation" (book/film) had an insight: institutional designs shape the world, and trumps morals of (replaceable) individuals within.
- Top-down joint-stock (IT) companies toxic as designed, both on personal and global level.
- Our financial/economic system also riddled with systemic badness. (Money accumulates, etc.)



Hence I am searching for more benign institutional replacements/economic tools to belive in.

Motiviated not just by questions of fairness or idealism, but also that, whether politically left or right, our systemic growth imperative leads to ecocide, collapse. Thresholds are being crossed as of now, and may accelerate out of control soon.



These are not easy questions. I suspect, ironically, they are questions of ecosystem design - our own human ecosystem.

Butterfly effect makes revolution or technological fixes like ecological change: inherently dangerous, due to unforseen consequences.

A rock and a hard place. My fear is this century is on track to be much worse than the last, once our ecosystems start to go tits-up and people start to panic and pull up their drawbridges.


@wu_lee @kavbojka @fabianhjr coops are definitely on my list of 'models which help'

One-person-one-vote on fundamental issues is intrinsically political in my opinion, and epitomizes the principle of equivalence.

There are better and worse ways of implementing this practice! Don't use majority voting before checking out #ScoreVoting electology.org/score-voting

@wu_lee by the way, two of my Edinburgers now signed up to that course :) They thank you I guess.

@douginamug @wu_lee @fabianhjr

They are on my list too, but having been involved with coops for over 20 years now, I know that they don't necessarily result in producing the kind of counterpower required for system change. In fact, they *usually* don't.

@kavbojka @wu_lee @fabianhjr Fair enough. I know a lot of housing coops and workers coops that seem to have figured things out for themselves and the founders—presumably exhausted—decided to live comfortably in their walled gardens.

Coop federation is tricky. The Mietshäuser Syndikat in Germany is a successful example IMO: they lock coop housing from being re-sold and require occupants to pay solidarity payments in perpetuity to fund other coops. syndikat.org/en/

@wu_lee @fabianhjr I highly recommend checking out #GarAlperovitz and the Democracy Collaborative's Next System Project thenextsystem.org/ I especially enjoy the podcast; people are presenting some very innovative ideas there

@fabianhjr @kavbojka

"... If 'the system question' is not addressed in theory and in practice, and in sophisticated longer-term design, many of the hopes generated by even so brilliant an experiment as Mondragón may be thwarted by forces more powerful than any one element in a system can handle alone."

@fabianhjr @kavbojka @wu_lee I agree that coops ultimately need to be connected horizontally by embedding them into anarchist, e.g. syndicalist, organizational frameworks.

This, however, can (and should, in my opinion) only really work in a bottom-up way.

@wu_lee @kavbojka @fabianhjr
That is one of the many reasons why cooperative/collective economic projects should, in my opinion, already incorporate an inherently anarchist approach at the founding level, and options for long-term horizontal scalability via federation with politically and structurally compatible projects shouldn't be an afterthought.

@therealraccoon @wu_lee @fabianhjr I'm not particularly enthused by anarchist approaches myself. I appreciate the anarchist analysis and wariness of the state but when it swings into an all-out reification of democracy/ consensus and opposition to explicit leadership and organization I show myself to the door. Also I find the anarchosocialist prefigurative project to lean too far towards an unappealing self-segregation/retreat. I'm for crisis and confrontation.

@kavbojka @wu_lee @fabianhjr Maybe I have a very different understanding of anarchism, but as far as I am concerned it is not opposed to consensus, including actual, grassroots democracy, and organization. On the contrary, anarchism in practice is pretty much about bottom-up organization of consenting individuals. (I am not writing about insurrectionalism, but what would an insurrectionalist approach have to do with cooperative/collective economic projects?)

@fabianhjr @wu_lee @kavbojka I also do not understand how horizontal scalability would lead to "self-segregation/retreat", but maybe that is just me. Unless you mean not working with political opponents like centralist socialists and other authoritarians or chauvinists. Yes, I really want to be "segregated" from these.

@kavbojka @wu_lee @fabianhjr As an anarchist, of course, I am opposed to leaders, both the explicit and implicit kinds, and instead want organizational structures that render leadership (≠ initiative and/or dedication) obsolete.

@fabianhjr @wu_lee @kavbojka This is the first time, though, I read that anarchism is supposedly not confrontational enough. So much for direct action. However, I am indeed a lot more interested in building a positive counter-reality, not feeding crisis, and in actively connecting compatible approaches instead of wasting energy in non-stop friction with incompatible ones.

@therealraccoon @wu_lee @fabianhjr My belief is that power has to go somewhere. You can't just devolve and expect it to be be absorbed back into the soil (which is what I think many well-meaning anarchists presume). Not to be trite but please Google #murraybookchin. I recommend Listen, Anarchists! and The Politics of Social Ecology.

@fabianhjr @wu_lee @therealraccoon OOPS, Bookchin is Listen, Marxists! David Harvey is Listen, Anarchist, ha! I still stand by Bookchin though. Solidarity, C

@kavbojka @wu_lee @fabianhjr Just devolving? Expecting power to be "absorbed back into the soil"?
I really don't think we are talking about the same things here. As an anarchist, I am all about empowering individuals through liberation and solidarity and building and maintaining collective organizational structures that facilitate specifically that.

Regarding Harvey: I am not really interested in reading the thousandth marxist/centralist critique of anarchism. That chauvinist stuff is tiring.