Cooperatives Between Worker Activism and Normalization: A Comparative Perspective
Wednesday, October 5, 20228:00 am – 9:30 am EDT/GMT-4
8 AM New York l 2 PM Vienna
The OSUN Economic Democracy Initiative and the Democratizing Work Initiative present an online workshop on "Cooperatives Between Worker Activism and Normalization: A Comparative Perspective" with Sonia Maria Dias (WIEGO), Suroto Ph (AKSES, INKUR Federation), and Morshed Mannan (The New School NYC, European University Institute). Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen, Netherlands) and Flavia Maximo (University of Ouro Preto, Brazil) will serve as chairs.
This webinar brings together three speakers from three continents and with ample expertise about the cooperative sector and its specific challenges. Together with them, and in dialogue with the audience, we want to explore how cooperatives can contribute to the democratization, de-commodification and de-carbonization of work, and what kind of structural changes would allow more cooperatives to be successful.
Cooperatives are often seen as the democratic form of work, with workers not only sharing in governance structures, but actually owning the company. And yet, the form that cooperatives take in different countries is very distinct. In some parts of the world, they result from forms of worker activism, often in response to crisis, and are embedded in broader social struggles for social justice and the emancipation of workers. In other countries, they occupy a small but stable niche and struggle not to become normalized with regard to business practices and work relations. And in the digital sphere, the principle of cooperatives has been rediscovered in the "platform cooperativism“ movement, which sees growing interest in industries such as delivery or household services.
How much promise lies in the form of cooperatives for organizing work? Do they live up to their promise to give workers real voice in the workplace? How do the experiences in different countries compare, and what can they learn from each other? How could we ensure that more capitalist firms can turn to the cooperative form?
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