Alternative economies Worker COOP proposal
The Worker Co-op Working Group
We are with the workers co-op sub-group of the alternative economy working group. Our goal is to help fund and facilitate the creation of worker owned co-ops. The working group and the worker co-ops will run horizontally and be completely transparent, using the same consensus process we use here. This will extend the occupation into the workplace, where we have the least control of our lives and our collective future. We want to create the kind of world we demand by organizing and seeking solutions horizontally rather than asking for solutions from above. We believe that the workplace environment of capitalism creates a culture that puts profits before human beings and the planet. The equality and shared ownership of worker co-ops create healthy social relationships that emphasize cooperation, democracy, and ecological sustainability.
As a working group we will provide guidance from people experienced with starting and funding co-ops. We have been working with a group called The Working World who has six years of experience starting co-ops in Argentina and Nicaragua and have made over two hundred productive investments in 2010 alone. As these co-ops emerge from the occupation, we want to help as many people get involved as possible.
Once a co-op is established it will run autonomously with a commitment to pay forward what would traditionally be called profit into a co-op fund. We intend for this to grow into a spokes-council of co-ops that would share this fund using a consensus process. The council would use the fund to start new co-ops. These co-ops could link up with co-ops that already exist in New York and could also find creative ways to to engage in mutual aid. Membership in the spokes council would be contingent on honoring a commitment to put profit toward the co-op fund.
The first thing we are asking is the GA’s approval to be an independent working group. This would give us our own space on the website, and allow us to access funds without having to wait for consensus within the alternative economy working group, which meets only once a week.
Occupied Print Shop
Our second proposal is funding for the first project, which is the creation of a worker owned printing shop. We would like to start small by first taking on all the fliers, pamphlets, and poster printing needs of OWS as well as making stickers and buttons. We will begin working at it ourselves on a volunteer basis in order to give it a jump-start on funding the next co-op.
So far outreach is spending a little under $2,000 a week on printing at Big Apple and Staples. If that money is invested in a co-op of occupiers, it would help build a solidarity economy that would be the beginning of what we hope to be a major outgrowth of this movement.
We also want to create a kick starter to raise funds to help start the other cooperatives, but we wanted to come to you first, on principle, because we see this as a piece of the movement we are building together.
If this passes the donation would be a seed fund created by you and by all those who have donated in the hopes of helping us rebuild society. This could create an independent local economy that would give the occupation sustainable permanency and repay the movement many times over the sum of the amount we are asking for today.
If you are interested in working at and owning this print co-op long term, let us know. Anyone is free to join the Co-op working group, and anyone is free to come to us with ideas for worker co-ops.
The Coop will charge the outreach team roughly .6 cents per 8 ½ x 11 page one sided. .10 cents double sided and .20 cents for B/W posters. Either finance or outreach can pay as orders are placed or can be billed weekly. The beauty of a coop is that it can develop relationships with its customers and adjust pricing depending on need.
What we need from finance is a $5,832.87 which will buy the first round of bulk paper, ink, sticker paper, a button making machine and supplies, plus the first months rent for the space.
|RENT$150 – one months rent, 100 sq ft @ Brooklyn commons-388 Atlantic ave150.00 TOTAL||STICKERS63.36 100 sheets vinyl sticker paperx 3 (three types)glossy, semi, matte190.08 +77.72 self laminate247.80+67.50 matte sticker paper335.30 TOTAL|
|BUTTONS219 1.25” machine+299 3” machine518107.50 1.25′ supplies+212.50 3′ supplies838.00 TOTAL||PAPER40.39 carton 100% recycled x 10 50,000 sheets403.39403.90 TOTAL|
|BLACKINK75.34 1 cartridge+72.95 2 refills148.29x 10 stock1482.901482.90 TOTAL||COLORINK107.64 1 cartridge+ 99.95 1 refill207.59x 3 stock622.77622.77 TOTAL|
|Plus 2,000 dollars for a used commercial printer. We are still shopping around to find the best deal.|
GRAND TOTAL 5,832.87