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See detailSaving jobs, promoting democracy: worker co-operatives
Nolan, Stephen; Perrin, Eleonore UL; Gorman, Tomas

in Irish Journal of Sociology (2013), 21(2), 103-115

The article examines transformative alternatives that may offer pathways to a more participative, sustainable and equitable social order. It focuses on one form of alternative, worker-owned co-operatives ... [more ▼]

The article examines transformative alternatives that may offer pathways to a more participative, sustainable and equitable social order. It focuses on one form of alternative, worker-owned co-operatives, and argues this existing form of democratic and economic relations has already proven capacity to generate more equitable socio-economic outcomes and residual social capital. The worker-owned model is located within an ideological framework that focuses on the inherent democratising principles of their praxis that can in the right circumstances underpin firm strategic foundations for radical social change. It examines the development of worker-owned co-ops in Ireland north and south and the obstacles that need to be overcome to make these a more feasible and common form of economic ownership. Reflecting on the current debate in Ireland it argues such co-ops cannot work effectively without a secure legal framework governing their status and softer supports including entrepreneurship development, leadership training, market research, accessing loan finance and grant aid, inter-cooperative networking and federation building. The article poses workers’ co-operatives as sites of political struggle and consciousness, expressed in co-operatives’ core values including sovereignty of labour, the subordinate nature of capital, democracy, inter-cooperation and sustainability, and in tangible democratic experiences and transformative praxis. [less ▲]

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