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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Fagor Goes Bankrupt - Trouble in Camelot (112 comments)

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  •  I think that is very nice. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, Geminijen, annieli, AoT, Justina

    And, like I said, it helps a few people, and that's a good thing for those few people.

    In the mean time, millions and millions of people are working at shit jobs for shit wages, and there will never be enuf money within the working class to buy co-ops for all of them.

    The working class cannot buy its way out from under capitalism, because capitalism owns the vast majority of the wealth. And that is the plain and simple fact that the co-op movement fails to address.

    Call it "old-left" all you want. But it is just the plain simple fact of what capitalism is, accumulated stolen wealth. They have the wealth and we don't, so, while it's possible for a few of us to buy our way out from under capitalism, the vast majority of workers are left out of that plan for liberating the working class.

    The rest of us working slobs, just have to keep on organizing and fighting, however "old-left" that they may be.

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 04:25:49 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Also, the cooperatives are really part of the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, JayRaye, AoT, Justina

      struggle in other countries around the world.  They are not the answer, but they are definitely proving to be part of the movement toward the socialist  revolution, although they can certainly be sidetracked and used manipulatively in the ways you say.

      For a long time unions, after working with the cooperative movement in the late 1800s, only saw them as a way of buying off workers.  Recently they are beginning to see that unions and coops working together == not to become more in system -- but as a way of bringing large segments of an unemployed working class into the struggle.  

      Personally I think that by working together -- unions and the cooperative movement -- they each guard against the potential nonrevolutionary dangers  of the other and the class struggle as a whole comes out stronger for their newly formed alliance.

      Desparate times require no approaches and sentimentality for a union movement that has been dessimated, while its history is important, can only help us move forward if we open ourselves up to new possibilities.

      •  There is nothing new about the co-op movement. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, AoT, Geminijen, Justina

        Mother Jones joined one way back in !870s, she left because she said she preferred to be in the thick of the fight.

        Now, I am all for food co-ops and co-op clinics, etc, as ways to help the working class cope. But millions and millions of workers will never have the opportunity to join co-ops. Never. And that is where I will stay and fight. With them, in the thick of the fight. Right now they are choosing to do so in worker organizations that are are more loosely connected than unions. I have no opinion on that. Whatever works for them is fine by me. But the idea that the vast majority of workers can ever get the money to buy their own co-op businesses is simply unrealistic. They have no choice but to stand and fight right where they are.

        God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

        by JayRaye on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:25:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am active with the fast food workers movement (6+ / 0-)

          which uses tactics that are closer to the political approach favored by the KOL. As the the coop movement being small, at this point there are more members of coops even in the US than in labor unions and coops have become a new form of organizing workers in many third world countries where capital mobility allows MN to flee at the drop of a hat and leave large numbers of destitute workers. Even there it is not viewed as the solution ----we agree on that--but it is a major p[art of labor organizing  these days.

          BTW, while I also support consumer coops, the really radical news is that worker or producer coops are beginning to emerge and have much more potential for radical action in my view than consumer coops. This is a long discussion. I'm going to e-mail you to come back to the site to read these comments. Hope you will.

          P.S. Workers in Venezuela do not have to put up collateral to become coop members -- though they do have to pay in from their paycheck and many of the problems you are afraid of I agree r real--i.e.that money eventually ending up in the hands of some wealthy capitalist banker as just another way to redistribute the wealth when the coops fail and many do)--is one reason I wrote this column. Just think I try to keep organizing options open especially in this very difficult time of change to a global economy. I'm more afraid of total inaction than sometimes making mistakes.

          •  The Fast Food Workers conduct strikes. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat, Geminijen, Unca Joseph

            Terence V Powderly was against strikes. The K of L was anti-strikes, believed education alone was enuf to lift the worker up out of poverty.

            The Fast Food Workers use both strikes and political action which is straight out of the AFL-CIO play book. The AFL and later the AFL-CIO always conducted both strikes and political action. Mother Jones, as an employee of the United Mine Workers (an AFL union), did both also. She was on the front lines of a strike one day, and then in the halls of congress the next day. She even got political action out of Senator Kern while she was in the Military Bastile.

            I think you are confusing the AFL with the IWW which advocated direct action over political action. Altho Wobs seem to forget that Big Bill Haywood ran for Governor of Colorado while he was chair of the IWW. But that was before they took such a hard line against political action.

            God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

            by JayRaye on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:43:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspect it requires both. (5+ / 0-)

              Fast food workers are, at present, enlightened enough to realise that they are being had, as are Wal-Mart workers. Their strikes are visible  as there is a Wal-Mart and/or a McDonalds in every town. Those workers make others, whose work is equally precarious but perhaps less visible, reflect on their own situation. However, the only way to attain social justice is to convince the majority of exploited workers, from adjunct lecturers to Amazon sorters, to make common cause with each other. In the meantime, we need to support those who are out there on the leading edge.
              However, I think the goals of most current strikers do not reflect a dissatisfaction with the current system, only with their place in it.
              In the meantime, cooperatives show a possible, probably small-scale, alternative to the top-down businesses model. I say small-scale because apparently the larger they are, the more likely they are to adopt aspects of exploitative capitalism to compete. Until the majority of workers understand that systemic socialism is in their own best interests, coercing them to accept it will not work. If cooperatives show how it can work on a small scale, people will be more likely to accept it on a large one. Our eventual aim is to change "common sense", to  use Gramsci's term, to a place where social justice is possible.

              "The 'Middle' is a crowded place - that is where the effective power is - the extreme right and left might annoy governments, but the middle terrifies them." Johnny Linehan

              by northsylvania on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 12:32:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Coercing" (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Unca Joseph, Geminijen, Justina

                Seriously? You can't make your case without resorting to a redbaiting, anti-union word like "coercing."

                Do you have any idea what has been perpetrated upon unions and radicals as the Capitalists accuse them of "coericing" their fellow workers into finally standing up.

                The Copper Bosses used this very word against the strikers in Michigan to disastrous results, likewise, this is the very charge that Rockefeller used against the United Mine Workers in Colorado 1913-14, the very charge that justified bringing in the militia, again with disastrous results for the strikers.

                And I had this very word used against me when I was suspended for the work that I did as a union shop steward during our rank and file safety action. I was suspended indefinitely (lasted about 30 days) accused of having "coerced" my fellow workers into not performing certain of their healthcare duties. Reported to the State Board, so that not only my job, but my ability to work anywhere was threatened. My co-workers were forced to sign statements that I had somehow "coerced" them into a wildcat strike, when in fact we conducted a safety action based on language in our contract. However, we won that fight, and I did win my job back.

                This ugly accusation of "coercing" has been used against unions and radicals by the Capitalist from the start of our struggles and has no place in any anti-capitalist debate.

                Really, northsylvania, I expected better from you then to casually throw around an anti-union, redbating words like that.

                God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

                by JayRaye on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:09:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry you had to go through that -props for (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Unca Joseph, Justina

                  standing your ground and winning. I know that sometimes, even after you've won you end up licking your wounds for a long time because they make it so difficult and try to make you feel so isolated.

                •  the comment by Northsylvania (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Unca Joseph, Justina

                  was referring to what I believe is a strong error on the left which is trying to institute socialism from above rather than as a democratic movement built from below. It was not a reference to tactics in the labour movement as all labour movements (with the exception of anarcho-syndicalist ones) are essentially in-system oriented more towards reform than overthrow of a system. I think that is what Northsylvania was referring to in their comment rather than anything else. On that, I agree with her; socialism must be built as a democratic movement ... it cannot be instituted from above or we will never produce a democratic socialism.

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:09:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm really reluctant to jump in here (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Justina, Unca Joseph

                    (I'm a little weary of dkos lately) but I will, to say that Anarchists are far more supportive of non-coercive tactics than most statist-socialists, depending on how this is defined. We all may have different notions of what coercion is.

                    I apologize in advance for the length. I'll admit I get sucked into the writing process to the point of being swallowed whole. I'm a bad editor.

                    It was not a reference to tactics in the labour movement as all labour movements (with the exception of anarcho-syndicalist ones) are essentially in-system oriented more towards reform than overthrow of a system.
                    Not quite sure what you've intended to suggest, so I'll answer in broad terms, for the general readership, with an intent to inform, rather than contradict your comment.

                    I think some might think you're suggesting anarchist tactics are coercive, even if that was not your intent. And I'm not quite certain how people define coercion. I've noticed people have widely differing views on this. Is direct action coercive? Is political action non-coercive? On this, anarchists would would probably state this in reverse. I thought I'd understood this exchange until your comment, NYbrit.

                    Since anarchists believe in horizontal direct democracy, wherein each person has the right to freely associate without force, and has an equal voice in community and workplace self management, based on networks of federations of small particpaotry communities, it follows that coercion of any kind is not endorsed by anarchists, and anarchists would not force socialism on people.

                    But as to forcing socialism on people, anarchists do not see their own forced, involuntary submission to wage slavery as non-coercive, and in fact view this as a form of extreme violence, since the state, through its authority, enforces private property rights with threat of arrest, and imprisonment, and even lethal force. Anarchists thus believe they must liberate themselves from this bondage, since the ruling class (which always controls to a large degree the electoral process) will not simply have an epiphany one day and see the error of their ways, and give us back our freedom, after having been asked politely. And the ruling class includes any form of central authority.

                    So, anarchists view all forms of the state (or central authority) as extremely coercive, and based ultimately on violence (and state sponsored violence, such as drone warfare that so many indirectly support with complicit votes, is part of this of course).

                    Anarchists are only minimally supportive of top-down, hierarchical unions. These organizations are seen as undemocratic and coercive towards the rank and file workers.

                    Anarchists would not view labor strikes or direct actions to put pressure on the owning class as coercive, but rather defending against coercion and ruling class domination.

                    The reason anarchists don't usually (although there are exceptions) work within the electoral process is not because they have a violent craving to overthrow government as a preferred preference, but rather because anarchist analysis sees this approach as more or less unproductive, and designed from the outset by elites to fritter away the money, time, and energy of the working class, leaving them exhausted and apathetic. It is seen as appealing for permission from the very interests which are diametrically opposite, and which will always oppose an egalitarian, democratic, stateless society. Since the State is hierarchical, and top-down, and central, it will never concede the error of its ways and relinquish power by choice, and voluntarily give back the thieved wealth to the people and willingly embrace a bottom-up social organization.

                    Anarchists see most movement forward as deriving historically from direct action, which is more in line with anarchist theory of direct democracy and horizontalism, since with direct action, there is no intermediary above from whom we must ask for permission before acting. Direct action is not coercive, unless one thinks putting pressure on the ruling class is coercive.

                    And anarchism is not necessarily violent, and certainly isn't violent towards people , or the working class, and as to terrorism, anarchists for the most part as a whole never endorsed that, but for a few lone individuals, and most of that violence ended more than 100 years ago. Most never endorsed violence against people and the few that did tended to realize it didn't work a long time ago. But this gets into how people define violence. Anarchists do advocate civil disobedience.

                    Anarchists are the least coercive all all branches of socialism, since it is all about free association, direct democracy, based on federations of participatory communities, with each person free to participate without force or coercion.

                    I think most of you in the anti-capitalist group know most of this, so I'm writing this to be informative and to clear up confusion, not to argue or lecture.

                    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                    by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:29:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Great Subject for a Diary Post! (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Unca Joseph, ZhenRen

                      And the post is half-way written already!  Perhaps you could take a date on the Anticapitalist's Meet-up schedule?

                      Convict the War Criminals, Surveilers and Fraudsters. Support universal health care, unions, WikiLeaks, Manning and Snowden. On Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

                      by Justina on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:55:06 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Throughout Labor History there has always been (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TPau, NY brit expat

              a gradient of groups from those primarily doing political education and reform to those striking and refusing to d political action.  I want to look at the interaction of all these approaches and find both the good and the bad in each.

              •  People have been arguing about this forever (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Unca Joseph, NY brit expat, Justina

                Here's an anarchist view:

                It is by and because of the direct acts of the forerunners of social change, whether they be of peaceful or warlike nature, that the Human Conscience, the conscience of the mass, becomes aroused to the need for change. It would be very stupid to say that no good results are ever brought about by political action; sometimes good things do come about that way. But never until individual rebellion, followed by mass rebellion, has forced it. Direct action is always the clamorer, the initiator, through which the great sum of indifferentists become aware that oppression is getting intolerable.
                Voltairine De Cleyre 1866 - 1912

                This is from the famous essay, Direct Action, and the case for it in effecting social change. She had a great mind and was thought by some to be a skilled writer in the anarchist movement. She was originally an individualist anarchist, but evolved to be more inclusive, and some described her as becoming more in line with anarcho-communism (like Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman) before she died.

                I don't take this to mean she supported a large involvement with the electoral process (she was an anarchist -- most anarchists don't), but this is a statement which I agree with.

                "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:45:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  the coop movement is an old one indeed! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unca Joseph, Justina

          We can go back to the early 19th century in Britain for example; it has a long history.

          I agree with you that getting the investment money to buy in is problematic on an individual level for workers; however, funds could be borrowed from the government (as was the case in Wales with a coal mine that was going down that went coop; its technology and know-how was rather useful in Chile when the mine collapsed), workers there also were able to develop codes for health and safety which they were able to provide to others (they literally have been selling their knowledge rather than coal for quite some time). Wages will be higher than in a capitalist firm as profits are not the raison d'etre in the business so that even if contributions are taken after the fact to pay back the debt, they will not be starving as in the case of a straight-forward capitalist system.

          In the 19th century in Britain, it was the coop which defeated the tommy shops (the mill towns shops) and general bad provision of food for working people by providing better quality items ... the coop bank which was mentioned above, is part of the original coop on Toad Lane which was a consumers coop, which not only does food, but appliances, funerals, credit unions, pharmacies ... to join, I had to fill out a form ... it doesn't require me working, but whatever I spend is put into a pot and people get divvies back if they are members. The Unity Trust credit union run by coop provides a safe place for community, union, and left-wing groups to keep their funds. The Coop has been around for quite some time ... it has provided much to working people ... including jobs, decent food, affordable items, funerals, etc ...  

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:03:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, Mondragon started after a war, in a poor . . . (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen, Geminijen, NY brit expat, Justina

          district, by a politically suppressed group. How much worse could it have been for them?

          Coops don't need to emerge fully functional from the get go. They start small with small interests and overhead. The worker owns his work. In many cases, it is only the work that is traded initially to create the coop.

          Likewise, the fact that coops have been around and have not yet taken over the world and capitalism seems like not much of a point. Neither have worker unions or socialism.

          I agree with Geminijen. We need all the tools in the toolbox we can get. We need to use every bit to leverage, worker unions, strikes, political organization, AND ways out of the capitalist system like public banking and coops.

      •  I feel like there's some wishful thinking (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, Geminijen, NY brit expat

        going on when I read things like this:

        Personally I think that by working together -- unions and the cooperative movement -- they each guard against the potential nonrevolutionary dangers  of the other and the class struggle as a whole comes out stronger for their newly formed alliance.
        Could you elaborate on this?

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:16:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nessecity makes strange bedfellows., With the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, NY brit expat, Justina

          increasing loss of jobs due to technological changes and outsourcing through globalization, we have ended up with large pockets of unemployed workers in all countries who have no companies within which they could try to organize a union. Some unions in the US like the Steelworkers have recognized this and are trying to support the development of coops both as job creators and a new form of organizing worker solidarity.  They are still suspicious that coops have been generally used by bosses to bust unions by offering workers worker ownership without democratic control (generally this is to the detriment of workers), so they insist on a hybrid model that includes a union in the coop.

          Mondragon didn't used to allow unions but had a social committee that was supposed to deal with worker grievances. Over time, usually when the coops developed larger economies of scale and the relationship between the coop management and the regular worker became more distant, the social committee was insufficient - otherwise workers would not have to strike as they did at ULGOR, a Mondragon coop, in 2009.

          One of the problems of coops is getting capital which unions can now provide. Better to get the money from unions which come with a worker ethos, than capitalist banks. Unions can now educate and organize a new group of workers with a workers solidarity consciousness that are in coops. And it does provide jobs This crossfertilization is just starting (much more developed in other countries than the US)although it also has a history in the past century.

          We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but we need some changes in our model and new models if the labor movement is to survive globalization. (Mondragon and the Steelworkers Union now have some joint projects)

          -

        •  C link below for benefits of labor-union alliance (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unca Joseph, NY brit expat, AoT, Justina

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