Skip to main content

Previously in this series:

Notice: The Growing Cooperatives Movement & How You Can Get Involved. YES! Magazine Conference Call - Includes some information on cooperatives and YES! Magazine, an important resource for understanding New Economy and other subjects of relevance to progressives, especially those inclined toward direct action.

YES! Magazine arranged the call with the following panel to expand upon it's spring 2013 issue, How Cooperatives Are Driving the New Economy.

Conference Call Participants

Sarah van Gelder, Executive Editor, YES! Magazine

Laura Flanders, GRITtv and the Laura Flanders Show
Omar Freilla, The Green Worker Cooperatives
Eric Bowman, The Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC)
Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative, Evergreen Cooperatives
Mike Beall, The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA)

Call Transcript, Pt 1 (Sarah van Gelder, Laura Flanders)

Call Transcript, Pt 2 (Omar Freilla)

Call Transcript, Pt 3 (Eric Bowman)

Call Transcript, Pt 4 (Ted Howard)

Call Transcript, Pt 5 (Mike Beall)

Call Transcript, Q&A

Notes on items appearing in the chat thread follow.

Various organizational representatives who identified themselves

Kendra Gonzales (Ventura, CA) Just came from a new Co-op and I'm forming one as well.
Kathy Pelish (Seattle): Hi from Seattle sailors co-op!
Larry Buzbee (Willits, CA: the North Coast Mushroom Farmers Cooperative
Antony McMullen (Australia): work for Uniting Church supporting Earthworker Co-Op.
David Woo (Philadelphia): Weavers Way Coop
Adam Schwartz (Wash. D.C.): The Cooperative Way
Rebecca Kemble (Madison, WI): President, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Melissa Hoover (SF): Executive Director, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Joe Rinehart (Brooklyn): Democracy at Work Network
joel brock (portland): w00t Portland, OR. ~~People's Food Co-op Board President
Chris Govella (Seattle): Hello from the Green Party of Washington State

Comments (not containing links)


"Favorite quote and my new mantra: You never change things by fighting the exisitng reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." -Buckminster Fuller
"I'm using the idea that the power of the collective dollar is tremendous...that may speak more than well..."'its green, its local'"

"Most of the Cooperators here do know the story of the Window Factory."
"We need new stories."
"Many Americans don't want to learn anything about Cooperative Enterprise."
(These comments related to the question--How do we get the rest of America excited about this?--addressed by Eric Bowman during the call.)

"Yes, yes, we have to break out of the "'Choir.'"
"get out 'there'..."
"Agreed. do not rely on the corporate media to report on non-corporate initiatives"
"As with everything we need to be the media. I honestly think the younger generation isn't getting their news from mainstream media"
"I think Mainstream Media is a lost cause!"

"Frankly...its the younger generation we need to be focused on."

"Working together cooperatively. All ages. Let's build a new economy of life."

"Up here in Ontario, we have a fun resource for raising coop awareness in local high schools:" "We've had lots of coops/credit unions sponsor the unit as part of their youth engagement strategies."
"The Canadian youth link above looks interesting. I'm currently in a wonderful babysitting coop."


"Many of us know our sectors, but have little contact with other sectors."
"NFP/faith/coop alliances are needed with strong international relations."
"Cross sector collaboration between co-ops is critical, "it takes a village"


"Lots of worker cooperatives come out of community organizing, particularly in immigrant communities. Interfaith Worker Justice workers' centers are exploring worker cooperatives, and the Bronx Coop Development initiative."

"Co-op model increasingly popular in the Transition Town movement, too."

"Let's build a cooperative eco-system accross national borders!"

"Id' recommend looking to established cooperatives - they're generally really willing to share their knowledge and resources. They have the real-world experience to share hard lessons."

"Purchasing coops like Ace Hardware and Carpet One that help small businesses have not been mentioned"

"Shout out to DKos for the last minute notice!"

Various Links Posted

TRAINING, INFORMATION, SUPPORT Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference CCMA Consumer Coops FB Page Mid Atlantic Food Cooperative Alliance Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance

Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy:
Southern Grassroots Economy Project:
Western Worker Cooperatives Conference:

one on one help from experienced worker cooperative folks you can also check out the Democracy at Work Network

Great resources and toolboxes at

Download the Co-op Directory to your smartphone/tablet:
co-op branded URL-shortener

We post jobs at jobs section of our site.

"There are three conferences on worker ownership this summer around the country."
"Almost every region of the US has a worker cooperative conference happening." - The Green Worker Cooperatives - Omar's talking about co-op training program at this org

YES! Magazine: ....Hi Yes!This is a great conference call!Just want to mention that we have been providing training programs on how to start cooperatives:The Art & Science of Starting a Cooperative Enterprise Sessions  One, Two and Three since 1997. I've attached the program info, FYI. We deliver the program at cost and bring some of the best co-op developers from across the country to share lessons-learn. The program includes lectures, interactive sessions, case studies of existing co-ops and tours to local co-ops to talk directly with stakeholders. Many of our co-op leader today, such as Eric Bowman, have been through our program. For more info visit or contact me:

Audrey Malan
Training Programs: 307-655-9162

CooperationWorks! does an annual institute.

Cooperation Texas does an academy. - Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy event in Philly July 26-28 - more events - "Strengthening Local Independent Coops Everywhere" (Pacific NW network of co-op allies, developers, practitioners, and enthusiasts) helps co-ops start and grow - Cooperative Development foundation (501 c3) helps coops

If your in a rural area you qualify for free help from any RCDG center:

For models and materials for co-ops in faith communities: and

If you're looking to support and tap into organizing efforts seeking to strengthen youth engagement and employment with/in the cooperative movement, check out the USA Cooperative Youth Council:


The issue of worker co-ops surviving that you raise are addressed in a great paper by MIT CoLab
it is a bit of a 'Bible' for

some good videos on financing a co-op

Good sources of financing: worker cooperative fund:

funding sources, individuals can invest in local businesses through Community Sourced Capital in Seattle

Cooperative Fund of New England:

Community Development Finance Institutions.
(The Reinvestment Fund)

Idea to generate capital creat a 401k fund for co-ops:

PUBLIC POLICY/LEGAL National Cooperative Development Act
Federal Legislation that needs congressional sponsorship to move it forward - law firm working on certain coop related legal issues


NW Cooperative Development posted this link recently:  - union co-ops

The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives has a Union-Coops Committee, you can access some of our resources here:


The YES! Magazine article Ted Howard mentioned:

YES! Magazine newsletter sign-up:
Send questions to: email -

North Coast Mushroom Farmers Cooperative Lots of good info on structure, governance, principles and the mushroom business in general. Please drop on by and check us out on Face Book

Evergreen is directly inspiring in Australia. Our first product - solar hot water units. We have a similar strategy with the addition that we a very strong focus on unionized workplaces buying Earthworkerproducts.

Kendra Gonzales from Ventura, CA: A Co-Op to be launched:

Kendra Gonzales from Ventura, CA: if you are interested in

Sorry, but I have not tested all of these links. :)
Questions Discussed in the Thread

The Securities Exchange Commission makes it really, really hard to invest small amounts in small businesses/cooperatives..QUESTION: how does the SEC figure into the Cooperative Movement? How does the SEC figure into policy regulating Cooperatives?
-> Not very much unless your using the new crowdfunding law- which some folks are.
Why aren't we using words such as economic democracy in describing what Cooperative Enterprise is?
-> I agree...lobbyists??!!
-> Didn't they mess us up in the first place?
Do any of the panelists have specific insight into so called "New Generation" base capital funded Coops?
-> New Gen coops are agricultural cooperatives, you should check with your local USDA funded cooperative development center.
I have someone who will give funding for planning and start up if it can be tax deductible. Does anyone have any ideas or experience such as "laundering" through a synergistic 501c?
-> 501(c)3 acts as a fiscal sponsor, but you must find one willing to do this for your cooperative start-up efforts. Your mission must align with the 501(c)3 's mission.
-> it's actually fairly common for 501c3's to be set up to support training and planning. I don't think of it as "laundering," rather it's the mission of the nonprofit. The key is to make sure the 501c3's role is appropriate, and that its training builds the capacity of the worker coop it helps create, rather than institutionalizing a dependency relationship.
-> Feel free to give us a call at USFWC to talk more about the role of 501c3s
Unanswered questions

A student at Wesleyan Univ, in Illinois: "Hi I am a college student at Illinois Wesleyan University. I have talked to business majors and other majors who do not know what coops are. I think it is interesting that students studying economics and business are not taught about the cooperative businesses major. I was wondering if anyone knew how to get more students involved in coops. I think it would be a great way to get more people interested and involved in the co-op world"
I've been told that I can use an existing 501c that has nothing to do with co-ops to receive the money and then, for a fee, transfer it to my development.
The rest of the questions asked in thread were addressed by a panelist. Those questions and answers appear in the Call Transcripts linked at the top of this post.


"I would love to see a panel featuring worker-owners themselves answering some of these same questions, and others too!"
"I support [the] idea of asking worker coop representatives to present on your next call if you do another one."
"Yes, do more"
"Yes! More. We are subscribers - thanks for your support for mutual enterprise."
"Yes! please keep doing these."
"this should be a regular activity."
"Yes! please keep doing these."

Originally posted to Words In Action on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Intentional Community Research and Development, TrueMarket, and Extraterrestrial Anthropologists.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site