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January 15th, 2017 17:36

LIVESTREAM: Richard Wolff on acTVism Munich

Betsy Avila
Betsy Avila Public Seen by 437

On January 15 at 1pm EST, U.S. time, Richard Wolff will be joining a panel on Freedom & Democracy alongside Jürgen Todenhöfer, Jeremy Scahill, Paul Jay, Srećko Horvat and Edward Snowden. Please follow any of the links below to join the livestream on the acTVism website, Facebook or Twitter:

Website: http://www.actvism.org/en/news/live-stream-actvism-event-snowden-und-fuehrende-experten/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1175890255800670/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/acTVismMunich
(Livestream videos will be activated shortly before the event starts. If you cannot yet see a proper video window to click on, please stay tuned.)

About: “At the end of the Second World War a new era of globalization of capital and production began that continues on today and is enforced through manifold free trade agreements. In addition, the disparity between rich and poor is growing ever larger and global society is experiencing the increasing regression of stability and civil rights. Are these events interconnected? Can we see a pattern? We will speak with international experts about supposed structures and connections to find out if and how we can make a change for the better of all.”

I'll be watching, hope everyone else can join, too!

John Rhoads

John Rhoads January 16th, 2017 17:33

Excellent event! Hope everybody was able to attend. Lots to talk about here.

Are these events interconnected? Can we see a pattern?

Yes, they are interconnected and there is a pattern. I think the events are mutually dependent on each other. As the wealthy get more, society gets less - less of everything especially public health. In order for public health to improve, the wealthy must become less wealthy.

Mary Douglas

Mary Douglas started a proposal February 10th, 2017 01:07

Democratize The Enterprise Closed 7:02pm - Sunday 12 Feb 2017

Hi Guys. As the new groups coordinator, I'm trying to figure out ways to make our dreams of a worker ownership society a reality. One Idea is to have a Worker Ownership "ALEC" of sorts, as a reference for people who want to lobby their state legislators to pass worker owner bills of all kinds. There are concrete to-dos that all activists can use to start changing the system. I would like to get the group's thoughts on this idea and also solicit any expertise in any area of web design, marketing, finding model bills, and online organizing.

Our idea is to partner with groups who may be amenable to making change and ask them to adopt this type of economic platform and lobby for it on their home turf. This way we can start seeing change.

If you think you have the expertise or time to help with this project, we have a slack and a trello board started- please let me know and I can add you.

Results
Agree - 4
Abstain - 1
Disagree - 4
Block - 0
9 people have voted (0%)
SBH

Sean B Higgins
Agree
February 10th, 2017 01:22

Ralph Nader just put out a book which details the process involved using the power of your local reps to make change.

I suggest it would be good to look into it.

I haven't read it nor am I associated with Ralph Nader.

Andrea Iannone

Andrea Iannone February 10th, 2017 01:51

Hi Mary,

EDIT: for clarification, this response was to the proposal "Democratize the enterprise". I guess I posted it in the wrong thread... oops...

Thanks for proposing this. I think it makes a lot of sense to want to move in that direction, as having a national body that can coordinate State coop bills will eventually be vital.

However, I think strategically we need to be more nuanced. Let me explain...

California has recently amended its laws governing coops with a bill called AB816. In case anyone would like to read more about it, I've attached some presentations from a conference we attended in order to better understand the contents of the bill without having too read too much legalese.

The issue in CA is that while coops are abundant in the SF Bay area, for example, they are scarse in other areas such as LA. This creates uneven demands from people state-wide, and thus insufficient pressure on the legislature to pass any new bills.

My point, ultimately, is that in order to have legislation, we need to have coops that demand it. I think we should spend our efforts on favoring a cultural shift toward cooperatives and cooperativism, rather than attempting to lobby legislature with a power we do not yet have.

The major obstacle is public perception: people don't know a lot about coops, and the little they do know makes them think they are ineffective. But, as we know, they are wrong. Let's build the demand for coops, then the coops themselves and the state laws governing them.

For the above reasons, I choose to disagree with the proposal.

Either way, I've also attached the Cuban law concerning cooperatives. Sorry it's in Spanish; is there anyone who could write Cliff Notes on it?

Thanks!
A.

Vic Jasin

Vic Jasin
Disagree
February 10th, 2017 01:58

Shareholder/stakeholder owned & operated is 1 thing, democratized enterprise is another. Having seen & been part of both, those who do not have necessary expertise/skills, but seek to be part of the decision process are enterprises that do not work.

Vic Jasin

Vic Jasin February 10th, 2017 02:21

Reinventing the wheel is not necessary. Coops and stakeholder owned business and limited partnerships exist now and are common.

What is lacking is the awareness of such things. Finding like-minded people to fill all the necessary functions in the enterprise is challenging and requires consensus and chemistry to cooperatively collaborate.

If you can find people who will cooperate and collaborate then you can use that as a unified force to acquire businesses/enterprises or create new ones. The idea of a top-down reform of a business structure when there are hundreds or thousands of employees to suddenly take over the legal, financial/fiduciary responsibilities is not as likely to be successful as forming such an enterprise from the bottom up in the first place.

Democratised enterprise needs to be clearly defined in order to judge it's viability as a concept. Simply all workers to have a voting right in making enterprise/business decisions that are beyond their scope of understanding or ability is an idealism that is not workable.

Administrative hierarchies are necessary. Before I participate in any such ideas or groups I would need to understand what the group considers or intends the end system and enterprise to be vs just talking about it conceptually.

As someone who has extensive business experience as a corporate employee and business owner, I can say that division of duties and responsibilities is essential and expertise and skills are essential.

Joining a team to just take over what exists and expect a democratic process or method of decision making to be viable imho is a tad naive and idealistic. What do you want to achieve? Collaboration and joint ownership? Yes, that is done and doable but a democratic process as a core business process or as an overlay for any general or universal enterprise is not something I would want to be part of. Good luck. :-)

Joe

Joe February 10th, 2017 13:27

Well said Vic. I'm in your court.

The process, the rules, the management---in short, the details of how each coop participant is to engage is missing in all approaches I have seen as yet from d@w proposals.

I've attempted in the past to steer the discussion over to this side of the challenge before us, but have garnered little support within d@w. Happy to start it up in a sub-group of like-minded enthusiasts.

The greatest thing that any pro coop community can do is to demonstrate it has a viable solution for self governance at the highest levels of initial organizational . Once this is evident then others will come in droves.

The key is technology and a new way to communicate with one another --- where every participant understands and feels they have equal power within the decision-making process. There can be no leader with more power than anyone else. I have a starting-point solution for anyone, who agrees with the approach, to take a look at and begin a comparative analysis to other options with. It's called muxive. Here's a intro article:

https://medium.com/@strugglethru/the-next-big-technological-advancement-14f51e939ee6#.y5o82fe4l

I'm giving muxive to the world for free. Anyone can build it with no obligation to me or anyone else. It's far more important it exists than to profit from.

Mary Douglas, here's where you might consider starting your work forward. "Make everyone feel their voice matters within the coop." For until every unique individual - with wildly different opinions, beliefs, values, etc. feels they are an equal - even "the coop concept" (which BTW is a great one) will not change the present course the world is on. BTW - Welcome Mary!

Joe

Joe
Disagree
February 10th, 2017 13:30

There's no way to improve the present model in a long-term sustainability way. Instead we create a parallel model that can coexist. Then simply sit back and wait for "the people" to favor the one over the other.

Andrea Iannone

Andrea Iannone
Disagree
February 10th, 2017 16:19

David Brinovec

David Brinovec
Agree
February 10th, 2017 18:33

I think it would be a mistake for cooperatives to wait until they're more established to start exerting their will politically. We can't ignore the existing system that we're dependent on.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads
Agree
February 10th, 2017 19:05

Good to see activity here.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads
Agree
February 10th, 2017 19:07

Good to see activity here. The thing to remember is that a good thing can only get better and is always a work in progress.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 10th, 2017 19:17

@marydouglas Thanks!!!

John Rhoads

John Rhoads
Agree
February 10th, 2017 19:19

Good to see activity here. The thing to remember is that a good thing can only get better with "participation" and is always a work in progress.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 10th, 2017 19:33

I totally disagree. Technical knowledge is in no way an impediment to making the "important" decisions. The thing you are missing is the worker/owners elect management based on a common understanding of their skills/performance. You will see that all the burning questions are most often based more on things that require no technical expertise and are best answered by those that don't have it - necessity is the mother of invention. See Mondragon. Lastly, management of a coop in no way has to be any different than a standard capitalist company other than who calls the shots. I sense fear in your comment. Where's your courage?

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 10th, 2017 19:36

I agree 100%. We cannot wait around for failure. We have to get our feet
wet and now!

Vic Jasin

Vic Jasin February 10th, 2017 20:04

Well then you and I will have to agree we disagree and I prefer to work with folks of like mind and understanding. Management decision making is based not only on technical skills but the managerial experience that is a human/personal quality of leadership and as such is itself a skill/trait.

Democracy management I have experienced and do not need academic or some other authors opinion or reference/validation to understand what is involved. Groups who were consensus run were those groups who in my experience were forever arguing and in conflict because those who had no experience or skills did not have the empathic or experiential skill set to be able to consider issues involved due to lack of EXPERIENCE and familiarity.

I am and will be promoting LOCAL "family" networks and "neighborhood" food co-ops and shared community gardens (1st step), which then can be levered into "living facility/housing", via cooperative mutual capital ownership.

Coops that are shareholder membership vs. individual compartmentalized personal capital chunks. That is how I plan to work toward my ideal of a MONEYLESS SOCIETY using shared economics, volunteerism, mutual capital, time banking, and collaboration.

But to think you can just take over an existing enterprise and turn it into a democratic run process and divest existing ownership to make way for a stakeholder owned enterprise is something I have never seen work effectively in my 45 years of business and entrepreneurship.

We both want the same equitable stakeholder shared things but have different paths to achieve it and do not have to be in competition to do so.

You do it your way and some of us will do it our way. People will be able to see each working model/system and decide which one they would like to be part of. This does not need to be a top-down forced equation.

I have participated in many group think efforts since the mid-80s and MY experience for what is the best approach, is to find people of like mind, who have complimentary skill sets and who are of a compatible personal chemistry, to then cooperatively form a group that will work collaboratively together on a common goal/intention, versus try convincing the uninitiated to conform and participate in a top-down reformation of a theoretical structure that does not consider the limits of consensus organisation. Good luck. :-)

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 10th, 2017 20:13

@joe21 Do you feel your voice doesn't matter? Why, because they won't embrace
Muxive?

Vic Jasin

Vic Jasin February 10th, 2017 20:45

Nothing to do with fear but practicality. I have friends who have organized community resettlements using a consensus model, one of whom lectures on the subject as someone who lives and has organized such a community. HE (Jack Reed) has said that consensus organization breaks down at about 300 people and that is with folks who already have much in common beyond simply an employer and enterprise. An enterprise is closer to that of a community than a sterile academic structure. Human factors complicate decisions no matter how well intentioned.

Without first looking into those complexities and then forming a group who are in consensus, I simply find that there are no working models where that exists. Tribal living is usually subdivided into neighborhoods.

Taking an existing enterprise where all those involved currently are open minded and compatible as partners on choices is simply a tad naive to expect. I say that as someone who has started 10 businesses, 2 failed and worked for another half dozen or so well known national/international corporate employers.

Until we learn each others background I can't be certain my words are heard by ears that can relate, not due to any missing intellectual ability, but simply lacking common and/or topical life experience and organizational experience.

You can look up my LinkedIN profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/senvi/) , to see what mine is and then perhaps you will see where my thinking is coming from. I don't know you and or do not know what experience you have to relate my discussion to. That is a common issue for open democratic governance.

This is a road I have been down and simply chosen from experience to go a different direction.

MUTUAL capitalism is my term that simply means mutual ownership and equitably shared economics similar to RBE (Resource-based economics but not exactly). I believe in access vs. ownership, collaboration vs. competition, need vs. greed and have bannered the idea for a moneyless society for almost 10 years now along with the founder of FreeWorld Charter (Colin Turner) and the hundreds of Freeworlders.

I have examined and follow http://www.ic.org (intentional communities) and transition towns (like Guelph ON) who are the first community in Canada to officially declare itself as a transition town. If you go into this to simply implement your idea or a fixed concept vs. seek a dynamic solution, toward a general goal of mutual stakeholder ownership and shared benefits, and an equitable quality of life, then I think you will meet with resistance.

When structure and method become the focus vs. ideal and intention, vs what cooperatively works, within a practical set of ideas, then conformity and individual adaptation become essential whether those who participate in it are suited for such adaptive behaviors or not.

I prefer to work with a prescreened/filtered small group of under 300 and then duplicate and network.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 10th, 2017 21:35

"those who do not have necessary expertise/skills, but seek to be part of the decision process are enterprises that do not work." Let us be clear that those affected by a decision should partake in that decision. All those affected will be included. If our water is polluted and it has been shown that some chlorine treatment can be beneficial, we that do not know how much chlorine to put into the water will come to a consensus as to delegating someone who does. Just because some of us are not chemical engineers doesn't mean we don't have the ability to understand the chlorine issue. People are not stupid and usually understand common sense very well. I feel the same holds true with any issue you can throw at them.

Joe

Joe February 10th, 2017 22:02

John, It's unclear to me your intention of your reply. So I will not directly reply.

Muxive is a gift, free to embrace or ignore. It does not matter to me whether a specific individual or group explores it deeper or ignores it. It's only offered as an alternative approach consideration.

One of the greatest problems with democratic approaches/solutions today is the "majority vote wins" solution being employed. Muxive is a better solution that can make 'everyone' - on all sides - happy with any outcome. Imagine a compromise solution being adopted in our world today - crazy right?

But like anything radically different and new - it has a huge initial hurdle to get over to establish full understanding with initial adopters. I have my work cut out for me - I know. But I will continue the fight :smiley:

KJ

Kayla Jones February 10th, 2017 22:52

Thank you for your thorough explanation Andrea--as I was trying to formulate my own argument, I found that you managed to articulate and source what I was already thinking. This is first and foremost a battle of hearts and minds, in my view, and the way to win it is through interaction and activism.

Thank you for the proposal, Mary. Let's revisit this when the movement has matured a bit.

KJ

Kayla Jones
Disagree
February 10th, 2017 22:52

Jon Iten

Jon Iten
Abstain
February 11th, 2017 19:15

I think this is something groups will need some time to figure out on there own.

WM

Wave Maker
Agree
February 12th, 2017 01:23

I would be willing to join the Slack channel and continue to explore and develop this idea.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads February 12th, 2017 05:30

You have a very good point. However, I don't see why we can't do all of the above (Mary's idea and your idea) even though one may seem to be not ready for prime time. I can see how Mary would like start "hitting" the political front as one of a multiple facet approach. Your idea is definitely one facet which needs attention but feel we should get started, however seemingly less significant, on all approaches. From this we can create a methodology and even prove your point statistically which will only serve our purposes and start laying the foundation for what we need to focus on politically.