Some Great Quotes on Cooperativism

“Is there, then, an alternative to capitalism? … yes there is an alternative: co-operativism.”

Rob Harrison

“Since capitalism’s start, worker co-ops have haunted it as its own built-in opposite, bearing hopes for a non-capitalist future.”

Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone

“Cooperatives are a reminder … that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.”

Ban Ki-Moon

“We need a brand of socialism that brings trade unions and worker co-operatives to the forefront of decision making and governance. Instead of centralisation and bureaucracy, we need power (and funds) being given to local democratic bodies. Similar to the system in Switzerland, Britain needs to become more accustomed to the ideas of technocracy and direct democracy; real power in the hands of ordinary citizens.”

James Gibson

“Cooperativization shifts the basic priority of society’s productive infrastructure from profits to needs. Making profits is a quantitative and infinite goal, meeting needs a qualitative and inherently finite one.”

Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone

”The strength of the collective model is testified by the continued success of the John Lewis Partnership and Co-operative Group as two of the leading retail brands here in the UK. While Mondragon, a worker co-op in Spain, might have suffered some hits recently, it has been one of the Basque region’s leading companies for decades. Surely it is obvious that we should be promoting the ethical and collective model of industry over the top-down and exploitative model?”

James Gibson

“Worker co-ops are in capitalism but they are not of it. To form a co-op neither “investing” nor selling one’s labor is called for. It is rather to “throw in one’s lot” with chosen others, a “pooling” of living labors rather than of cash or “interests” — though these may also be pooled. Such intermixing makes identifying one’s own piece impossible. Co-op formation thus defies market “rationality.””

Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone

“Unlike most businesses, co-ops aren’t governed by the actions of stock brokers, and aren’t forced to suppress employee wages for the benefit of shareholders. In fact, the co-operative model is the only one in which sustainability can be more important than pure profit.”

James Gibson

“Labor can and will become its own employer through co-operative association.”

Leland Stanford

“While comparable in scope and economic impact to for-profit businesses, co-ops are fundamentally different from them. Their values and economic relationships between managers, workers and communities are not driven by the obligation to deliver enormous wealth to top managers and distant shareholders.”

Frank Joyce

“Initially the needs a co-op serves are those of its own worker-members. But this already sets it radically apart. In capitalist firms worker needs figure marginally if at all and only if backed by tacit or explicit threats of strike. In shifting to need, the heart of an enterprise shifts from an amoral to a moral bond.”

Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone

“To build Cooperativism is not to do the opposite of capitalism as if this system did not have any useful features – Cooperativism must surpass it, and for this purpose must assimilate its methods and dynamism.”

José María Arizmendiarrieta

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