“What Then Are We To Do?”: Understanding Co-ops And The IWW

Source: Industrial Worker, #1770, Vol. 111 no. 10, December 2014
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Could cooperatives usher in the next American Revolution? Historian, political economist, activist, and writer Gar Alperovitz argues that they could. I heard Alperovitz speak this past October at the Annual Membership Meeting of the natural and organic grocer, La Montañita Co-op (LMC) in Albuquerque, N.M. I was interested to learn if Alperovitz could offer some insight that would aid the IWW in its efforts to promulgate worker-owned cooperatives under the 2014 revision of co-op rules in our Constitution. I also wanted to observe the reaction that this speaker would receive from a consumer co-op, as not all co-ops are created equal. ….. Gar Alperovitz’s work on the New Economy Movement presents some exciting models of how to democratize wealth and move “Beyond Corporate Capitalism & State Socialism.” The capacity of models like Evergreen to build and democratize wealth offers something not covered in the IWW Organizer Training 101. It also offers a model for organizing among the unemployed and underemployed. …. The website http://www. community-wealth.org is a good starting point. An assessment of whether or not and how to partner with truly worker self-managed co-ops and activists within the New Economy Movement should also be considered….