Author Archives: John McNamara

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-op in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University. He has served on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Board of Governors for the late, great Democracy at Work Network. He currently sits on the Co-op Circle for Sociocracy for All. He has taught on worker co-operatives and democratic management in the summer at The Evergreen State College and Presidio Graduate School.

Worker co-ops are not the solution, but a vehicle (and a sturdy one at that).

“We do not aspire to economic development as an end  but as a means.”-– Don José María Arizmendiarietta (029)*
In early December, I attended a workshop in Post Falls, Idaho for Reimagining the Rural West. This initiative of the Western Governors … Continue reading

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Willy St: Co-op for Consumers, Union for the Workers

Beatrix Potter ( who with her husband Sidney Webb led the Fabian Socialists (predecessors to the Labour Party in the UK) generally opposed the notion of worker co-ops. The argument went something along the lines that all humans share the … Continue reading

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Sociocracy: The Worker Co-op Operating System

Over the last couple of years, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with Sociocracy For All (SoFA). This organization has worked diligently to bring the concepts of sociocracy out of the “best kept secret” category and into the … Continue reading

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The Worker Co-op Movement in 2040: Revisited

Ten years ago, when I was blogging much more regularly, I wrote a series on envisioning the worker co-op movement in 2040. You can read them here. As the Co-op Decade comes to a conclusion over the next couple of … Continue reading

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The Quest for Capital

The final goal for the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade focused on capital (although in a lot of ways, the other goals also touched upon capital as well). The goal states, “Secure reliable co-operative capital while guaranteeing member control”.

Starting a … Continue reading

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The Legal Framework

The 4th goal of the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade has also showed significant advancement since 2010. This goal states, “ensure supportive legal framework for cooperative growth”.
At the state level, the spread of Limited Cooperative Association (LCA) acts have gained … Continue reading

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Centering the Co-op Identity

The third goal of The Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade engages the Co-op Identity. Specifically, the goal states, “Build the co-operative message and secure the co-operative identity.”

The authors comment, “Co-operatives need a more sharply articulated message so that people … Continue reading

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Sustainability-Coops Leading the Way

In the 2013 Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, the ICA authors make the following case:

“Quite simply, a co-operative is a collective pursuit of sustainability. Co-operatives seek to ‘optimise’ outcomes for a range of stakeholders, without seeking to ‘maximise’ the … Continue reading

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Participation Reward

In the Blueprint for a Co-op Decade, one of the five pillars is “participation” with the stated goal: ““Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level”.

I am not sure how this will be measured or even if … Continue reading

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The Co-op Decade and After

This month, I have posted about different co-ops every day in celebration of National Co-op Month (celebrated in Canada and the United States). I did this in conjunction with NWCDC’s daily Facebook post about the same co-op. Today, on the … Continue reading

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