how do we keep co-ops accountable to radical movements?

Submitted by mockingjanthony in organize

i think it was haywood who said something like "at best co-ops turn our best and brightest militants into part time capitalists" reflecting on the role co-ops play in a radical movement. often radicals, in need of employment/income for personal needs, and also in need of developing tools and resources, and infrastructures for movement needs, turn to co-ops, understandably, as an imperfect alternative to hierarchical workplace relations.

radical communities throw down to start up many co-ops, but then have no actual say in the co-op, because in the spirit of co-ops they are worker run. but workers having a taste of power, however insignificant, sometimes settle on their collective pette bourgoisie lifestyle and privelege, and also as radicals get older and tired, and jaded, they sometimes settle as well. over time we see what may have started as radical co-ops, distance themselves from their origins, and become more neutral spaces, maybe even liberal, or conservative and hostile to those who helped form the co-op in the first place.

i think a foundation of radical co-ops is needed, an alternative to the mainstream bourgoise co-operative foundations. something that can help fund co-op startup and growth, and something radicals can donate to and know their funds will be going to fund co-ops that stay radical, co-ops that with success will continue to pay into helping fund movement activities, and processes to actually hold them accountable if they dont. if they get successfull and grow, and try to distance themselves from the movement that grew them, we need to have a way to hurt their bottom line, or shut them down completely, and black ball those involved, because its a form of exploitation and treachery. exploiting movements to grow an enterprise, without being upfront about ones personal motives.

the foundation can also respect personal needs and struggles by funding mutual aid services and survival programs as well as co-operative development. maybe this is all such a foundation would do, although it would be good to also have a hand in sustaining resistance efforts, that might be something delegated to the individual co-ops that way there is seperation and plausable deniability and empower more diverse tactics.


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DissidentRage wrote

This is the difficulty in trying to make sure people's needs are met in the meantime while trying to upend capitalism. We are in a unique position because, unlike fash and liberals, there is no serious establishment to help us. We are on our own. All the while, we still have to play by their rules to make it day-to-day. Co-ops are probably the best way to do it in lieu of a serious benefactor (which is another reason why the George Soros thing is just downright silly). The other option would be to just fuck off and form a collective off-grid, but most land is claimed by liberals who will, at best, charge fines and taxes for doing stuff off the books.


mockingjanthony wrote

co-ops now, expropriation tomorrow, is my stance on this. co-ops are well and good but we cannot compete under capitalism, where capitalists form enterprises with a growth strategy, we need to form co-ops with an escelation strategy, we need to know how many years the co-op is forming, and then spend a couple years growing it, and then a couple years liquidating it into something else, keeping behind only the shell of whats needed to feed into the next level organizing.more or less leaving self sustaining movement infrastructures in our wake. we need printing, we need venues, we need housing, we need transportation and health care, can we form movement co-ops that provide these things to members, develop the personell and tools in our movement networks to help one another, while also sustaining broader resistance with dues and whatnot. we need to support one another economically, we need to develop communal networks, for support as well as resistance.


zod wrote

"at best co-ops turn our best and brightest militants into part time capitalists"

Exactly. Co-ops are like a shiny new paint job for a car with no engine.