The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode four

Building links with the Co-operative Movement.

Cyberunions Talk Show Ogg

Cyberunions Talk Show Mp3

You can subscribe to the show here for Ogg and here for mp3

Show notes

  • We test alternatives to Skype – not entirely successfully
  • Linphone – looks promising, but…
  • Ekiga – we couldn’t get either of these to work
  • Both use SIP – Session Initiation Protocol
  • We suspect the issue was due to fire walls or other networking problems
  • Linux Outlaws managed to get them working – great podcast that’s worth checking out

4:15 Why bother struggling with open source software that doesn’t always work?

  • Are we stubborn freetards, or just masochists?
  • Why do we reject the gifts of our great benefactor, Bill Gates?
  • We have a deep respect for the open and ethical development model
  • Debian is essentially an international workers’ co-operative
  • FOSS proves that democratic production is effective
  • Successful co-operatives prove that there are viable alternatives to hierarchical capitalism
  • Download some software and participate in an alternative economic model – how can you resist that?

7:00 Linking Open Source with the Cooperative movement

  • Co-operation isn’t new – people have been doing it for a long time
  • Trade unions have a long history of involvement with Co-ops
  • Links between Mondragon and United Steel Workers in North America
  • Mondragon is a federation of co-operative movements based in the Basque region of Spain
  • USW is a large general union organising in the US, Canada and Caribbean – linked to Unite in the UK and Ireland
  • Mondragon is a highly successful, multinational co-op
  • Mondragon works in finance, retail, education and manufacture, making bicycles and many other products
  • The work with USW aims to rebuild the manufacturing sector in the US on a co-operative model – very exciting!

11:25 The Coopertative movement in the UK

  • There’s a difference between coops and collectives
  • There are different kinds of coop
  • The Coop range of businesses
  • John Lewis
  • Cooperative businesses like this function within capitalism but demonstrate that stakeholder capitalism is more sustainable than shareholder capitalism
  • Suma Wholefoods is a workers’ co-op – not to be confused with the anti-union Wholefoods Market
  • Co-ops create islands of sane, human economics in a neoliberal sea
  • Let’s work to network these islands – unions, FOSS and the co-op movement
  • Let’s make work democratic

14:50 Useful free tools for union activists

  • You don’t have to install Linux to use free software
  • Save money – replace Office with a free alternative
  • Firefox – probably the mostly widely used free software – also Chrome and Chromium
  • Open systems are more secure – many eyes, fewer bugs
  • Libre/Open Office – can open most text files, and save in most file formats. Also exports to PDF
  • What’s the business model? Why do some companies sponsor open source? Because the benefit of sharing outweighs the profit they’d make by making it proprietary
  • The Document Foundation – oversees the Libre Office project
  • Scribus is an excellent desktop publishing programme – along the lines of Adobe InDesign or Quark Express
  • Inkscape – Open Source vector graphics editor, along the lines of Illustrator or CorelDraw
  • GIMP – similar functionality to Photoshop
  • Also Audacity for audio and OpenShot for video. We use Audacity to record the show

28:30 Listener feedback and acknowledgements

Posted in Podcast and tagged , .

Marxist. Socialist & labor movement organizer. Boston DSA Labor he/him
Bread & Roses Caucus in #DSA


  1. For voice communications I’ve recently switched from Skype to Mumble for conducting meetings.   Whilst its not P2P in the way Skype/SIP is having a central server means a conversation with more than two people takes much less bandwidth than the P2P approach.  Another tool that might be decent is QuteCom, which used to be called openwengo

  2. Pingback: Re: Cyberunions Podcast: Building links with the Co-operative Movement | Software Cooperative News

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