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Old 06-09-2007, 09:04 AM   #1
hagbard_celine
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Default Workers' Cooperatives

A workers cooperative is a company where everyone who works there is an equal shareholder. You have to stop and think for a moment what that means!

Setting up a workers cooperative might seem hard if you're unskilled and already working for a big employer, but it doesn't mean you can't do it. Firstly: there's no such thing as "unskilled"; this is simply a conformist label. Everyone is an expert at whatever they do even if they've not needed formal qualifications to do it. You also don't have to take a jump into the dark. In the unstable economy we live in, opportunities can come along easily. Get together with your colleagues and form a provisional workers' cooperative while you're still in your current job then if your employer suffers bankruptcy or shutdown you can buy some of its assets with your redundancy payout and continue on your own. Nobody is more qualified to do the job you're doing so you have all the expertise and training you need! For instance if you work at Tesco's and head office decide to close your store; normally they'd lay you all off and sell the site to a developer. Instead, you get together and buy the store and start it off again as your owe business. If you work in public services, like me, you could get a provisional coop ready in case the govt put your service out to tender for private contractors, which they're doing a lot these days.
As a coop member you'll have a share in the company's profits rather than a salary. This might sound less secure, but on the plus side you're master of your own destiny because you don't just "work here" and "do you job", you have a say in the running of the place. You'll elect a board and management or supervisor’s positions. You can get your share paid to you in weekly or monthly installments like a wage and because there's no fat cat at the top taking it all you'll be a lot better off! If you get elected to management or work extra long hours you'll deserve a bit extra so some of the capital can be kept aside for bonuses; this will replace the manager's salary and overtime you get from regular hierarchical companies.

Keeping some of the capital aside sounds a bit ominous, but it isn't because at the end of the financial year, any money left over in the bonus pool can be given out to the members as a capital dividend. In the future there may even be a ritual public holiday on the 31st of March: "Capital Dividend Day"!

The current economic system mean work for most people is drudgery. It's boring, unfulfilling and humiliating. The world economy is going to fall and many businesses will go bust. We can do one of two things: Let it go bust and fall into the gutter with it or take control of the global economy ourselves. Together with our own currencies there's no reason why economic collapse should be feared; it should even be welcomed! It's only a problem when we're attached to its apron-strings.
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Old 21-09-2007, 07:58 AM   #2
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After WW2 in the Basque region of spain, a catholic priest established the Mondragon co-operative. The last figures I saw, Mondragon had an annual turnover in excess of 15 Billion Euro. The members of the co-op retire 5 years earlier than the rest of Spain and on an income considerably higher than a state pension due to the fact they own a part of the entire co-op and receive an ongoing dividend per share.

In recent years Mondragon has become more like a standard shareholder business, but it is still an outstanding example of the power of co-ops.

So the principle of co-ops is a sound one and in line with ethical and honest behaviour. So too partnerships, particularly the recently introduced UK Limited Liability Partnership, LLP for short. However, once you start pushing fiat money through these structures (that is dollars, euros, pounds etc) you are effectively poisoning your own system.

Fiat money is the interest bearing, produced out of nothing, number one control mechanism over the people of planet earth. No other system comes close in terms of the power to control you, me and everyone else who has to endure this system. It is the supreme carrot and stick slave driving technology.

I liken fiat money to leukemia. Given that money is the "lifeblood" of economic activity then the type of money we are compelled to use is literally cancerous and eats up the substance of the person using it. The process is slow, insidious and goes unnoticed by the great mass of people, but more and more are beginning to recognise the damage caused by the type of money we use.

Most people of course are not even aware that there are "types" of money. The lack of education about money in schools worldwide (now who organised that I wonder?) has seen to that. But Lets is a type of money, as too is barter, as too is gold and many other commodities that have been used by humanity to facilitate exchange of goods and services. In fact, anything that we agree upon can be used as money, an intermediary of exchange.

The aim I would suggest is to stop using THEIR money (you are merely the bearer of a pound or dollar, not the owner of the note) and to start using YOUR money. But there is a major hurdle with that.

Most of the financial regulations, statutes and acts, have been written to enforce your continued use of pounds, dollars euros etc. In addition, because the mass of humanity uses them, freedom builders also find themselves ensnared in this structure. We cannot build freedom using THEIR slave driving money system. So, what to do?

One approach which I favour is to organise an educational pledging programme. The educational aspect will show how the current money system works, how it is not possible to build anything close to "civilisation" by continuing to use it, and show solutions to the problem. The main solution being that we need a huge number (although a small percentage) of the population to be willing to start using THEIR own money. Hence a Pledging programme.

The Pledge could be along the lines of "I pledge to use GOLD (or whatever system is deemed sound) for some of my expenditures so long as 1 million other people also pledge to use it."

The first part is to co-ordinate large numbers of people who say that they are willing to start using a new, honest money system. Once that is in place, and a comprehensive online marketplace of goods and services is compiled, then the gold or lets system could be switched on.

Growing Lets systems locally is a good training but has so far never grown to much of a size. The biggest one I am aware of was/is Blue Mountain Lets in Australia which at one time had 5000 participants. A Lets with a few million people however is another matter.

Finding a way to peacefully and in full view of the existing money system, co-ordinate large numbers of willing participants is the challenge we face.

Until we change the money, we change nothing.

-- Paulfree
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Old 24-09-2007, 12:52 PM   #3
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I've heard of the Mondragon cooperative. It's fascinating and inspiring. If the idea catches on just imagine how it could change the world! One of the lovely things about workers' cooperatives is that it makes work into a creative experience, rather than just a chore to be endured for survival. Wokrers' coop members are happier, healthier and more productive and efficient. As you say, they can retire earlier. They can work shorter hours and are better off financially. The fururistic novel Antarctica by Kim Stanley-Robinson is worth reading for many reasons, and one of them is because the characters get fed up working for a slave-labour corporation and set up their own workers' coop:
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Old 19-11-2007, 02:23 PM   #4
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One of my favourite beers is made by a worker owned coop.

Quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That not all beers are created equal.
And neither are the breweries that create them.

That we, the 47 employee-owners of the
Full Sail Brewing Company, proudly proclaim ourselves
to be I N D E P E N D E N T.

That to be Independent is to be free.

Free to live a life less ordinary somewhere extraordinary.
Where the sirens are sounded by blue jays,
and the skyscrapers have names like Hood, Adams
and St. Helens.

Free to measure our lives not in dollars and cents,
but in waves carved and powder
runs tracked, in music made and meals shared,
in pint glasses lifted and bonfires burned.
http://www.fullsailbrewing.com
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Old 15-10-2008, 08:25 PM   #5
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Subbed. I'm going to read this thread properly when I've done my chores and brewed up.
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Old 15-10-2008, 08:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by armoured_amazon View Post
Subbed. I'm going to read this thread properly when I've done my chores and brewed up.
Hope you like the idea. It's very interesting and fills me with hope. The number of W-C's is increasing every day!
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Old 18-10-2008, 03:18 PM   #7
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Great thread thanks everyone
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Old 19-10-2008, 04:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steevo View Post
Great thread thanks everyone
Cheers, Steevo.

I've got the provisional JRHPC set up, but there's a limit to what we can do unless we're actually in a position to bid for the contract. There are too many variables, and I'm not a natural businessman!
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Old 19-10-2008, 04:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulfree View Post
After WW2 in the Basque region of spain, a catholic priest established the Mondragon co-operative. The last figures I saw, Mondragon had an annual turnover in excess of 15 Billion Euro. The members of the co-op retire 5 years earlier than the rest of Spain and on an income considerably higher than a state pension due to the fact they own a part of the entire co-op and receive an ongoing dividend per share.

In recent years Mondragon has become more like a standard shareholder business, but it is still an outstanding example of the power of co-ops.

So the principle of co-ops is a sound one and in line with ethical and honest behaviour. So too partnerships, particularly the recently introduced UK Limited Liability Partnership, LLP for short. However, once you start pushing fiat money through these structures (that is dollars, euros, pounds etc) you are effectively poisoning your own system.

Fiat money is the interest bearing, produced out of nothing, number one control mechanism over the people of planet earth. No other system comes close in terms of the power to control you, me and everyone else who has to endure this system. It is the supreme carrot and stick slave driving technology.

I liken fiat money to leukemia. Given that money is the "lifeblood" of economic activity then the type of money we are compelled to use is literally cancerous and eats up the substance of the person using it. The process is slow, insidious and goes unnoticed by the great mass of people, but more and more are beginning to recognise the damage caused by the type of money we use.

Most people of course are not even aware that there are "types" of money. The lack of education about money in schools worldwide (now who organised that I wonder?) has seen to that. But Lets is a type of money, as too is barter, as too is gold and many other commodities that have been used by humanity to facilitate exchange of goods and services. In fact, anything that we agree upon can be used as money, an intermediary of exchange.

The aim I would suggest is to stop using THEIR money (you are merely the bearer of a pound or dollar, not the owner of the note) and to start using YOUR money. But there is a major hurdle with that.

Most of the financial regulations, statutes and acts, have been written to enforce your continued use of pounds, dollars euros etc. In addition, because the mass of humanity uses them, freedom builders also find themselves ensnared in this structure. We cannot build freedom using THEIR slave driving money system. So, what to do?

One approach which I favour is to organise an educational pledging programme. The educational aspect will show how the current money system works, how it is not possible to build anything close to "civilisation" by continuing to use it, and show solutions to the problem. The main solution being that we need a huge number (although a small percentage) of the population to be willing to start using THEIR own money. Hence a Pledging programme.

The Pledge could be along the lines of "I pledge to use GOLD (or whatever system is deemed sound) for some of my expenditures so long as 1 million other people also pledge to use it."

The first part is to co-ordinate large numbers of people who say that they are willing to start using a new, honest money system. Once that is in place, and a comprehensive online marketplace of goods and services is compiled, then the gold or lets system could be switched on.

Growing Lets systems locally is a good training but has so far never grown to much of a size. The biggest one I am aware of was/is Blue Mountain Lets in Australia which at one time had 5000 participants. A Lets with a few million people however is another matter.

Finding a way to peacefully and in full view of the existing money system, co-ordinate large numbers of willing participants is the challenge we face.

Until we change the money, we change nothing.

-- Paulfree
WOW amazing first post

i was aware of similar ideas in spain/basque/catalanya pre franco which imo was the best political movement ever.
not too suprised it continues in the basque country.bless em
thanks for the info
great thread hagbard
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:01 PM   #10
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I see David Cameron is trying to schmooze voters with this issue. Don't fall for it!

See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...ic-sector.html
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hagbard_celine View Post
Hope you like the idea. It's very interesting and fills me with hope. The number of W-C's is increasing every day!
I've read about things like this on the World Socialism website, sounds really interesting and worth a try.
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:39 PM   #12
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i was told just the other day that some farmers are doing this.They allow people to come onto the farm and work a small patch.Everyone helps each other and shares equally in the harvest.I'm sure it could be done with several models!Thanks for your post hagbard_celine!
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Old 08-03-2010, 02:19 AM   #13
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I'm actually looking into something like this to purchase farm property for homesteading between multiple families, in the same way that people buy into apartment co-operatives in the US. A corporation is set up to own the property, and then each family buys "shares" in that corporation, sharing the costs (taxes/utilities) and profits (in the form of unpaid maintenance fees as dividends) equally. Then if someone decides to leave the farm, they sell their share back to the corporation at market value.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sm1973 View Post
I've read about things like this on the World Socialism website, sounds really interesting and worth a try.
I know many Socialist organizations and trade unions are in favour of Coops, but it's paradoxical in a way because Coops are not a part of Socialism. Fundamentally Coops define the very essence of Capitalism! The private ownership of industry and the means of production; whereas Socialism, as defined by Karl Marx, is the state ownership of industry and the means of production. So Coops are thee opposite of Socialism. Today the industries and means of production are owned by small a feudal-style corporate Elite; this has much more in common with the first stages of Communism than Capitalism.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by from beyond View Post
i was told just the other day that some farmers are doing this.They allow people to come onto the farm and work a small patch.Everyone helps each other and shares equally in the harvest.I'm sure it could be done with several models!Thanks for your post hagbard_celine!
You're welcome, mate; glad you like it. The Jewish tradition of the Kibbutz is a good example of a farming Coop, although people tend to join Kibbutzim only for a temporary period and don't usually buy shares in it.
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"Because he refused to compete in games for domination he was indomitable."
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by veritasvoice View Post
I'm actually looking into something like this to purchase farm property for homesteading between multiple families, in the same way that people buy into apartment co-operatives in the US. A corporation is set up to own the property, and then each family buys "shares" in that corporation, sharing the costs (taxes/utilities) and profits (in the form of unpaid maintenance fees as dividends) equally. Then if someone decides to leave the farm, they sell their share back to the corporation at market value.
Is that the "Condo" that so many Americans live in? It's a good model.
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Doctor Who- Bad Wolf.

"Because he refused to compete in games for domination he was indomitable."
from The Dispossessed by Ursula le Guin
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