- visiting workers co-ops with links to community organising/grassroots economic organising - ie, those who are actively trying to promote the workers co-op model and support people in disadvantaged communities to set them up.
- meeting with various people from the US Federation of Workers Co-ops and the Democracy at Work Institute. Particularly with a view to learning about their training programmes: how the curricula are worked out, where the funding comes from, what the governance/links between DAWI and the Federation are - which elements or programmes would be relevant to and replicable in the UK?
I want to find out about projects/institutions/mechanisms that
- make workers co-ops and the worker co-op movement more resilient
- work in the overlap between co-ops and community organising
- raise the profile of worker ownership and control
- connect co-ops into alternative economic systems, eg LETS and crypto currencies
- embed politics in workers co-ops and workers co-ops in political activity. I'm personally most interested in ecological and anti-consumption politics and how to reconcile that with making a living.
I can bring information and experience of:
the UK workers co-op movement over the last 5 years
the Radical Routes network of radical co-operatives over the last 20 years. RR is a federation of radical co-operatives working for social change. It is a mutual aid network, mostly run by work contribution of the members, which operates on a consensus decision-making basis through quarterly general meetings. It offers loans to member co-ops, as well as skills training, advice, support, inspiration and solidarity. http://www.radicalroutes.org.uk/aims-and-principles.html
newly acquired information about the integrated co-operative economies being developed in Catalunya, and the local and global infrastuctures they are developing to extend their reach
experience of living in a small, urban, communal housing co-operative over 24 years and working in a small collective printers workers co-op since 2000, including thoughts on how separately and together the two co-ops have contributed to a growing ecosystem of co-ops in our area.
Using the equity of existing housing co-ops to support the growth of new ones.
Being a worker co-operator, co-op activist and co-op development advisor at the same time, with a focus on helping co-ops work out how to embody their values and principles in their working practices and identities.
Outcomes during the tour
to produce case studies and interviews in blog and video format - this serves the purposes of providing a structure to the visit, creating something that I hope is of use to the host co-op/organisation in terms of having an outside perspective, having a format that enables comparison of different co-ops and is of use to UK co-ops in understanding similarities and differences. And last, but not least, putting faces to names and making the stories human, resonant and accessible.
to produce reports for Co-operatives UK and the Workers Co-op Council and articles for UK publications and forums: Co-op News/ the workers co-op Loomio Group/ other publications as relevant (eg Peace News, New Internationalist, Stir to Action, Red Pepper, etc). I assume there will also be US and Canadian media that will be interested.
to share information I have about the UK co-op movement/Radical Routes and CIC/FairCoop in seminars and talks and
to host real-time online discussions between people I'm with and co-operators back in the UK/Barcelona.