- basic overview of commons and co-ops, what they are, where they came from
- ‘co-operative commonwealth’ movement
- why are they important
- bringing them to life with some examples
- ownership models - legal structures
- challenges and limitations - open coops movement
Jonathan Dawson - new wave of disruption Guardian article
What then can I do? - Gar Alpovitz
Owning is the new sharing - Shareable/YES magazine
Open Co-ops: Inspiration, Legal Structures and Tools
Transition community scale stuff in response…
“"for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil and global economic downturn) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"
Nice principle from parecon:
“all persons should have a say in decisions proportionate to the degree to which they are affected by them” -> multi-stakeholder co-ops
- Ownership models and legal structures
- What are the challenges to this movement? Move into a Q&A???
- organising humans - politics
Saturday 15th August 2015 - workshop with Josef Davies-Coates
Module Objective: What emerging ownership, governance and exchange innovations reflect the new economy?
- Explore some practical case studies and real life examples of the ‘new economy’ across food, energy, housing, enterprise etc
- Understand how they reflect the principles and values of the new economy
- Reflect on and get inspiration for personal projects
- Understand the co-operative, commons and open-co-op movements, and their significance in the wider context and new economy movement
- bring them to life with some real life examples in different sectors
- look at the different ownership models
- think about the challenges/limitations
10:00-10:15 opening morning practice (get everyone to introduce themselves for Josef, Janosch and Mark) Chloe - what is our definition of new economics so far?
10:15-10:20 Amrita to introduce the module, place this in the context of the program
- the next 2 days we will look at the leading edge of the new economy as it is emerging in practice
- how it reflects the worldview and values we have looked at throughout this course
- look at all of this to take inspiration for our own personal projects and initiatives
- also think about the challenges and limitations
The importance of ownership structures, the commons, etc (take from thesis)
Today “the commons” encompasses the world of seed saving, community-supported agriculture, peer production, fab-labs and hacker spaces, distributed manufacturing, co-production, open source, copyleft (as opposed to copyright), creative commons licenses, the collaborative and sharing economy, and the social and solidarity economy.”
We will be exploring some of the above over this weekend.
The space between public and private -- going beyond the ‘binaries’ of public/private responses to the crises ---> grassroots community led innovation that is challenging the whole paradigm
“that realm of community self-organisation that is mediated neither by the market nor the state.” - Jonathan Dawson
Remember: no answers, only interesting things emerging with different values & worldview, but let’s also be critical
(Also, today is an experiment! We haven’t tried this before, so hopefully we’ve planned it well….)
10:20 - 10:30 Josef to introduce himself briefly
Josef Journey’s… intelligent (systemic) responses to climate, energy, economic uncertainty (system problems)… = co-ops & commons (new systems)
what excites me
why I’m passionate
what I do
what I’ve been involved in
10:30-11:30 What is the new economy in practice?
Basic introduction and overview of the co-operative, commons and open-co-op movement (maybe an example of each to illustrate?)
Intro to Co-ops:
Definition: what is a cooperative?
“A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”
“Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”
The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
- Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
- Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
- Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
- Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Principles 1-4: make you a co-ops
Principles 5-7: make you part of the movement
History: Rochdale Pioneers 1844
- The establishment of a store for the sale of provisions, clothing, etc.
- The building, purchasing or erecting of a number of houses, in which those members desiring to assist each other in improving their domestic and social condition may reside.
- To commence the manufacture of such articles as the Society may determine upon, for the employment of such members as may be without employment or who may be suffering in consequence of repeated reductions in their wages.
- As a further benefit and security to the members of this Society, the Society shall purchase or rent an estate or estates of land, which shall be cultivated by the members who may be out of employment or whose labour may be badly remunerated.
- That as soon as practicable the Society shall proceed to arrange the powers of production, distribution, education and government, or in other words, to establish a self-supporting home colony of united interests, or assist other societies in establishing such colonies.
- That for the promotion of sobriety, a temperance hotel be opened in one of the Society’s houses as soon as convenient.
Today: size and challenges
In UK: 6000 co-ops, 15 million members. £37B
why are they important today and in the context of new economics?
more members than shareholders
employ more people than MNCs
Co-op survival rate. community shops survival
Twice as many co-ops survive first 5 years
Intro to Commons:
David Bollier's excellent book Think Like a commoner define a commons as
= a resource + a community + a set of social protocols
"a commons is = a resource + a community + a set of social protocols. The three are an integrated, interdependent whole" p15
"commons = resources + community + the rules and norms for managing them" p141
"a commons arises whenever a given community decides it wishes to manage a resource in a collective manner, with special regard to equitable access, use and sustainability." p175
Community Land Trusts, Housing, food, energy
& their convergence:
Ostrom: “democratic management of commons isn't just possible, but normal.”
Ostrom’s 8 Principles:
8 Principles for Managing a Commons
- Define clear group boundaries.
- Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
- Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
- Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
- Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
- Use graduated sanctions for rule violators
- Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
- Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.
P2P Foundation recommendations for the new era of open cooperativism:
- That coops need to be statutorily (internally) oriented towards the common good
- That coops need to have governance models including all stakeholders
- That coops need to actively co-produce the creation of immaterial and material commons
- That coops need to be organized socially and politically on a global basis, even as they produce locally
convergence of co-op & commons…
Case studies - to weave in to the above intro’s
- Starting life as a small vocational school in 1943 the first Mondragon Co-op made up of 5 of it's students was founded in 1956.
- Now complex network of 289 business (of which 110 are co-ops), has a turnover of over €14 billion and provides a livelihood for over 80,000 people (at present just under one third of these are owner members but is due to rise to over 75% in the next 3 years).
- They have their own bank, 15 technology centres and a university.
- Wages ratios between the highest and lowest paid members are democratically agreed upon and average 5:1 with low paid workers earning on average 13% more than they would elsewhere.
- Individual co-ops are federated into four sector-wide co-ops: Industry, Knowledge, Finance and Retail.
- Member co-ops contribute between 15-40% of their profits to these sector co-ops in order to fund joint marketing, branding, and research projects etc. These contributions also help smooth out and share the losses and gains made by individual co-ops - losses made by one co-op can by partially offset (up to 40%) against profits from another.
- 10% of sector profits are paid to MCC Investments to fund co-operative development.
- In addition to this, individual co-ops contribute 10% of their profits to the MCC Foundation, 2% into an education fund and 2% into a solidarity fund.
- About £20 million a year is invested in educational and social projects.
- The Mondragon Team Academy system (originally a Finnish innovation), has recently begun to gain traction here in the UK too, with two universities (UWE and Northumbria) now running a degree programme which puts running a real company at the heart of the learning experience, and a thrid (Westminster) due to start soon.
- The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives is a Californian cooperative network made up of seven member businesses: six cooperative bakeries and a co-op development and support collective.
- The first business The Cheese Board opened as a small cheese store in 1967. In 1971, the two original owners sold their business to their employees and created a 100% worker owned business of which they remained a part.
- In 1995 the Cheese Board funded the Association's part-time staff cooperative.
- New businesses, all named "Arizmendi" after Arizmendiarrieta (the founder of Mondragon) opened in 1997, 2000, 2003, and two in 2010.
- Together they have about 100 worker owners.
- The co-ops share a common mission, share ongoing accounting, legal, educational and other support services, and support the development of new member cooperatives by the Association by pooling the lower of 4% revenue or 25% of profit.
- Older more established co-ops pay the equivalent of 1 full time wage per 20 full time equivalent members.
Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives
- Founded in 2005, VAWC is dedicated to building a sustainable local economy by facilitating the growth and development of worker cooperatives in Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont.
- They currently have 9 member co-ops (including 6 privately owned businesses who converted into co-ops) with a combined annual revenue of over $7.2 million operating in several industries: solar power, recycling, printing, body care, reusable and compostable nappies, etc.
- Members pay dues of 1/8 of 1% (i.e. 0.00125%) of their revenue to cover the assocation's operating expenses - staff, advertising, etc.
- They also pool 5% of their profits into a co-operative development fund used to support the development of new or existing co-ops of their choice.
Radical Routes - incl meta co-op plan
AltGen - freelancers co-op
Students for Co-operation - network of student housing co-ops
Why are these so significant and important in paving the way for a new paradigm?
A case study to get us started - virtual tour of Organiclea
Open Day last Sunday of each month 12pm – 4pm.
3 great short videos:
- Worker Co-op with Consensus Decision Making and Common Ownership
---- Off we go - leave for cycle tour - pick up Boris bikes from Wormwood Street docking station -----
Further things to discuss during the day:
- more detail about different set ups and legal models
- more detail about some of the challenges and limitations to the new economy
So, if we finish morning bit at 12:30, and assume 2 hours for cycling that leaves 2.5 hours for stops at projects or 5 x 30mins
0: START: St Ethelburgas EC2N 4AG
10 mins to get bikes? then
12 min cycle to:
1: St Lukes Community Centre EC1V 8AJ http://www.slpt.org.uk/
- Good example of a community centre - v busy, 75k people in 2014
- talk about Locality? (merger between DTA - Development Trust Association and BASSAC - British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres)
- Legal structure: Charitable Trust? Governance?
stop for 5 mins
then 8 min cycle to:
2: Trew Era Cafe N1 5QA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trew_Era_Cafe
- Russell Brand’s non-profit cafe run by people in abstinence based recovery from addiction
- Legal structure? CLG? Governance?
stop for 1hr for lunch and resilience mapping
then 3 min cycle to:
3: Hive Dalston E8 4DG https://hivedalston.wordpress.com
- Legal structure: lease held (I assume) by Respace Projects Ltd, CLG with 2 directors. Governance? Ultimately those 2 people until they put together a formal membership process, but also open weekly project meetings every Monday 7-9pm
ex squatters gone legal -
stop for 20 mins
then 6 min cycle to:
4: Hackney City Farm E2 8QA http://hackneycityfarm.co.uk/
stop for 5 mins
then 1 minute cycle to
5: London Hackspace E2 9DY https://london.hackspace.org.uk/
- one of the first maker spaces in London
- Legal structure: CLG
- Governance: mailing list, but ultimately majority vote at AGM with at least 10 members
- open source type stuff - community commons stuff
stop for 30 mins
then 1 min cycle to:
6: Calverts http://www.calverts.coop/
- £1m turnover
- Legal structure: Workers Co-op (Co-operative Society, probably )
- Sion Whellan member, one of the main people behind the Worker Co-op Solidarity Fund
stop for 5 mins
then 19 min cycle to:
7: East London Community Land Trust E3 4NW http://www.eastlondonclt.co.uk/
- First urban community land trust in the UK.
- London Citizens & Community Organising.
- Legal structure: Community Benefit Society with tripartite board (and I assume asset lock). Only actually owns about 23 home (all of the homes for affordable sale - just under 10% of the total amount of home, the rest Registered Provider housing association housing). Doesn’t actually have the freehold though, that will be held in trust by a Charitable CLG being set up called The Ricardo Community Foundation (the founding directors are employees of the developers, but apparently the CLT, Peabody and other local stakeholders will also be represented on the board) once the project is complete (I assume that for risk purposes the developers have it until then, but with a pre-signed agreement to transfer it after).
stop for 30 mins
then 30 min cycle to:
on way: stop and look over at North Greenwich are realise we’re looking at the Jubilee Line:
The Crosscity line financing lessons look like they are going to repeat those of the Jubilee line extensions in the 1990’s? One lesson is that the uplift in land values captured for a few landowners will be a number of times greater that the cost of the project.
In the case of the Jubilee line the windfall gains arising in land within 1000 yards of each of the eleven new stations was £13 billion while the cost was £3.5 billion - less than a third of the cost. Don Riley reported this result in his 2001 book, "Being Taking for a Ride".
8: Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency SE10 9QF http://gcda.org.uk/
- Organic box scheme
- Food business training
- South East London Community Energy
- history: started GLL etc
- Legal structure: Community Benefit Society
stop for 30 mins
then 10 min cycle to:
9: Sanford Housing Co-op SE14 6NB http://www.sanfordcoop.org/
- 130 members in 14 houses and 6 flats
- purchased freehold last Oct for £160k
stop for 30 mins
then 1 min cycle to:
10: Ceramics Studio SE14 5RW - Workers Co-op http://www.ceramicsstudio.coop/
stop for 5 mins
then 6 min cycle to:
11: END: The Field SE14 5HD - Commons http://thefieldnx.com/
Nearest Santander Cycle then about 15 min ride up Old Kent Road, or about 20 mins away back to north side of Greenwich footpath.
Some of us might then carry on to London’s only co-ops pub The Ivy House in Nunhead SE15 3BE http://www.ivyhousenunhead.com/ for a drink.
Or to Burgess Park for end of free music festival?
Building Bloqs http://buildingbloqs.com/
Blackhorse Workshop http://www.blackhorseworkshop.co.uk/
Brixton Cycles http://www.brixtoncycles.co.uk/
Hackney CDA http://www.hced.co.uk/
Ivy House http://www.ivyhousenunhead.com/
Common House http://www.commonhouse.org.uk/
The Drive http://thedrive.coop/
Cycle Training UK http://www.cycletraining.co.uk/ - can’t go this time