We have Stephen and Walton and … Some one else??
- It’s coop fortnight and we’re speaking to MJ Ray about cooperatives. MJ is a member Software Coop
How does it work?
- Production but consensus decision-making as far as possible – we are a collective (we fired the boss) but other co-ops like The Co-operative Group and JohnLewis Partnership look more like other hierarchical businesses.
What industry is your coop a part of?
- We’re a Tech Worker Co-op… that is, we do tech and the workers are the members who run the co-op
What service or business does your coop take part in?
How do we relate to other co-ops?
Our co-ops is a member of other co-ordinating co-ops like http://www.scotland.coop/ and http://www.uk.coop/
What is a coop?Formal internationally-agreed definition: http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html
- We prefer to trade with other co-ops, but most of our business is still with private businesses.
- are there different coop structures?
- What are they?
- Consumer and user co-ops: the members are customers who buy through the co-op
- Worker and producer co-ops: the members are the workers or people who sell through them
Co-operatives and Labour movements: not as many links as there should be? Disputes:
- Variations of these, or mixes like multistakeholder
- Walton thinks of Unite and Co-operative Distribution
- MJ thinks of GMB and Co-operative Funeralcare derecognition
What are the politics of co-ops?
- Various consequences. For example, UK’s biggest Co-operative not currrently welcome at http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/index.php?page=martyr-s-festival festivals
- Consumer co-ops maybe leftish?
- The co-operative group a major donor to http://www.party.coop
Would you say all coops are better than no-coops?
- Worker co-ops maybe more mixed: strong individualist, anarchist and libertarian strands?
- Can you speak about any bad coop experiences?
Capitalism versus co-operativism
- MJ ducked this, partly because of a dispute with a co-op http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/11518/social_enterprise_mark_threatens_legal_action_against_members_of_its_former_parent
How do you start a co-op?What advice do you have for people wanting to start one.
- UK co-op economy growing faster than the UK capitalist economy – major report published in co-ops fortnight http://s.coop/q0uq
- Smaller co-ops often start informally, but bigger/riskier ventures best to agree the ground rules and that you are a co-op fairly early on.
- Maybe international links should be on http://cultivate.coop/wiki/Starting_a_cooperative
Is now an opportunity for co-ops?
- http://cultivate.coop international wiki resource
- People tired of things like Barclays Bank fibbing http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/120796
- MJ can’t pronounce Caja Laboral, the bank linked to the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caja_Laboral
Converting businesses to co-ops: what to do about “Well the boss took the risk in creating this, so we should be loyal to the boss”?
- The Co-operative Energy success in Which? Big Switch content, but capped the number of customers so that it didn’t hurt customer service http://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/2012/06/22/co-operative-energy-triumphs-at-which-awards-2012/ – would any private provider have done that, or would they just take as many as they could?
- Tricky challenge, not a position MJ has been in.
- Sometimes risk is shared by the workers, so arguably should be a co-op.
- Sometimes the boss wants to leave – worker succession? http://www.somerset.coop/node/60 and this was sort-of how John Lewis became worker-owned http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/about/our-founder.html
The best praise for this show would be more people buying from co-ops
- BBC TV series “Baker Boys” about a worker co-op running a bakery http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017ljl1/episodes/guide
First show recorded with http://jitsi.org over XMPP
- http://www.uk.coop/cooperate app to find co-ops (US version to come?)
TagsArab Spring Bangladesh bicycle Big Blue Button CiviCRM co-ops coop Creative Commons debian Diaspora Drupal EFF Elections elgg Facebook FOSS Friendica Google+ Greece Icecast Immigration Labor Notes labornotes littlesis lorea mayfirst Mexico microsoft Occupy palestine Privacy Reddit Skype social media StatusNet strike survey swarm organising Tails Tech workers textile workers Tor webrtc wordpress World Social Forum