Are Worker Cooperatives Actually Socialist?

Employee-run and operated businesses follow a definition of socialism in which the means of production are owned by the labor.

Yet these cooperatives work as if they are in a capitalist market.

Imagine a hypothetical situation:
Let’s say that all corporations became cooperatives. Whatever these cooperatives produce is sold to individuals or to other cooperatives in exchange for capital.

Is this a socialist market economy because the means of production is owned by the workers or is this a capitalist market economy because trade and industry is controlled by “corporations”.

Pic related:
Badmouse works at a coop cafe.

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Cooperatives are great in socialist and third world countries like Cuba,Angola or Congo or Ethiopia.



If you watch some of his videos he claims he works at a coop cafe part time.

big news buddy nobody has ever abolished value, the soviet union and maos china had market economies, if it can be considered empowering to the working class and brings them closer to the abolition of value, which co-ops undoubtedly do, given that they place more power over property in the hands of the worker, rather than the capitalist, then it is socialist. Simple.

Almost a socialist market economy. In order to turn it into a full socialist market economy you would need to allow individuals to own means of production too based on personal property, not just these coops. So only turning all corporations into coops wouldn't quite cut it.

Isn't a co-op under capitalism just a "collective capitalist"? It still hires wage-laborers, accumulates capital, etc but it is differentiated by the democratic ownership aspects. They're good but not the solution. Correct me if I'm wrong

Interesting take.

Another question too involves their efficiency:
By definition a co-op cannot be open to investors and banks seldom lend them loans.
Thus, in order to be successful, perhaps some percentage of a “co-op’s” share could be sold to investors as to promote production. This would be more capitalist but perhaps this is necessary for a co-op to grow.

In a co-op wage-laborers are owners of the organization and may or may not contribute to the direction of the co-op democratically.

The meaning of socialism is the collective ownership and management over the means of production. Or, as Marx puts it "a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community". In other words, there cannot be a socialist market economy, because that implies that different companies own the means of production. Instead of that, socialism is a system where all the producers collectively own the means of production, and all the producers collectively decide how production is directed.

The reason why this is necessary is outlined by Marx in a variety of his works. To put it in a very VERY simplified fashion, what Marx argues is not that market exchange is distorted by capitalists who own the means of production, but that the logic of market exchange itself leads to capitalists owning the means of production. You cannot have a market without exploitation, the two are both sides of the same coin. You can where this can lead by looking at big cooperatives like Mondragon.

charged that work rhythms were faster in the co-ops than in other firms, that cooperators worked an enormous number of extra hours, and that their dehumanized work environment made them apathetic.

competitive, the cooperatives became more like private firms; thus, cooperators were subject to the same kind of exploitation as non-co-op workers. This critique became more forceful as the 1973 economic crisis impacted Spain, Euskadi, and the local cooperative economy. It is probably not coincidental that
the Vigor strike occurred over the issue of salaries, since, after accounting for
the high rate of inflation after 1973, workers in Spain had not received a real increase in their wages since 1972 (Albarracin 1987, 50-51). Another criticism was that democratic organs in the cooperatives, especially the Social Council, were ineffective and unable to represent workers. Finally, cooperative management was accused of being paternalistic and of using the ideology of cooperativism to exploit workers.

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Market "socialism" and Cooperatives are like reformist liberal ideas and practices, I don't like them.

So they weren't co-ops, but just private businesses pretending they were co-ops. What else would you expect in Francoist Spain?

The local community can decide to pool money to lend to starting co-ops, through a local mutualist bank for instance.

common property? workers owning the means of production?
no it's actually reactionary because of something Bordiga says!

fyi OP coops are socialist but markets aren't, read Marx. market economies are inherently unsustainable.

Coops are alright only in they're better than capitalist workplaces. They're not something to be desired or aspired to.

google marx

Co-ops may not be revolutionary, but I'd rather work in a coop where I own the means of production along with the other workers than be an employee where I have to sell my labour power for a wage.

you should really look into what both of these words mean, your Zig Forums tier dictionary isn't gonna cut it on this board

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I like how your ideology filter only read the top half of my post

Co-ops ARE revolutionary in that they give an additional avenue of power to the workers. They can use the economic force of the cooperative to push for working class interests. This shouldn't be overlooked.

What's important is that cooperatives have a strong popular management structure. Today this should preferably be a kind of online decision-making platform, organized according to liquid democracy. All layers of management need to be transparent to the entire organization.

What's also important is that cooperatives are deeply involved in a wider labor movement, and form part of a network of solidarity with other cooperatives and the local community. Ideally they should also strive towards decommodification and participatory planning.

If these two properties are lacking, as is apparently the case with Mondragon, there isn't much of a point.

I'm curious. Is there anything that combines worker, community and consumer coops into a single coop entity?

Yeah, socialism.

That would be an interesting approach to building a socialist system. Enterprises are considered legitimate if and only if those three parties are represented in it.

that's called Proudhonianism. read Kapital.

Even as a co-op defender i have to say: Delete this

There would obviously need to be some large form of organization to prevent co-ops from trying to compete with one another. This should allow the co-ops to not have to operate as a private business and give the workers full means of their productive environments.

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Not really the same, but the All-Russian Central Executive Committee represented all the local Soviets, which of course included worker and consumer cooperatives and coordinated their activities. That’s the one example that I can think of.

Co-op market economy won’t abolish value production, so it is barely even lower stage socialism IMO. I think of it as the current ideal reformist direction based on the material conditions of developed western countries, and support Corbyn’s interest in using the state to build the co-op sector.

Yes no, maaaaybe can you repeat the question?

Not neccessarily. Worker co-ops can exist under both capitalism and socialism. The problem is that workers in worker co-ops under capitalism will be forced to oppress themselves due to market competition. Worker co-ops can only fulfill their promises of a democratic mode of production after capitalism has been overthrown politically.


What's the difference between Proudhonism and Mutualism

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Venture Commune

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One of the ways worker co-ops already get around this is by issuing shares without voting rights attached to them.

Yes they are socialist (workers own the means of production) but not communist (stateless, moneyless society). One of the most important benefits of market socialism (besides that it actually works and provides resource allocation that planned economies fail to do) is that it completely removes bourgeoisie from the picture. They can also easily compete with capitalist societies on economic growth and living standards because economic growth is based on the fundemental level on the creative destruction of technology and ideas that markets automatically do when inefficient cooperatives fail and others succeed. The perfect post revolutionary society would be a mixed economy of worker cooperatives and heavy industry under central control and a slow transformation to planned economy and communism. If a centrally planned economic sectors fail to allocate resources markets can be implemented until economists can figure out how to fix this problem.

read cockshott

Stop this shit. No one will read Cockshott, no one is reading Cockshott. The man is totally irrelevant. Utopian dreams of cybercommunism, get real.

If we ever get to establish communism we'll do it from the ground up, after a lot of the infrastructure has been destroyed. What does Mr. Dickblastt think about cybercommunism being established in a country ravaged by war?

Stop this shit. No one will read Marx, no one is reading Marx. The man is totally irrelevant. Utopian dreams of communism, get real.

If we ever get to establish real capitalism we'll do it with small to mid sized businesses, after globalism and corpratism has been destroyed. What does Mr. Karltual think about real capitalism being established in a country ravaged by jews?

One of the key ideas of Marxism is that capitalism doesn't come into being by everybody voting on some social contract or by a gigantic evil conspiracy, but from the ground up. Everybody left to their own devices and acting spontaneously will just generate capitalism again. That some big horrifying event has to happen before things get better you say not based on solid reasoning, it's just a belief you have acquired by exposure to a cliché endlessly repeated in the future worlds of pop-culture (the reason the fictional catastrophe is common is because it makes writing easier).

I'm talking about the revolution. What, you think capitalism won't put up a fight? Bolsheviks had it easy, fighting at a time when armies were armed with little more than muskets. Look at the weaponry available to States today. The revolution will be bloody and destructive.

Loads of people read Cockshott and calling him a utopian is laughable. The guy is a well respected professor of Marxism, the critiques you could make of him are that he is ivory tower and has some 1970s views on trans people. Nonetheless there are few living who provide a literal scientific materialist analysis of capitalism as it currently exists and still fewer offering an actual alternative. His writing on cyber communism applies specifically to existing technologies and computational power. He literally says the ussr could not have had cyber communism because tech wasn’t advanced enough. I am 100% sure he is aware the material conditions in many countries do not provide the technological backing to have cyber communism, which is why his position is that through the feedback of consumer and worker co-ops you can develop the current mode of production to a point where it is possible. I even agree with your autonomist from the ground up position to an extent, real working class power will not be built in parliament, however I do not see how that negates suggestions on what we do once that power has been built and has come to control the organs of power. I will say, being Maoist, I think you should do both, enter parliament, and build organs of working class power, I think the building of the organs is more important, but the two are mutually supportive and any successful socialist project shows this

A system of cooperatives is not "socialist" unless it changes the relations of production away from what currently exist under capitalism. This means ending production for market exchange, pricing systems, wages etc. in addition to common ownership of the means of production. The end result being a system where workers freely associate and produce to satisfy the needs and desires of themselves and their communities, not to facilitate the expansion of capital.

IMO cooperatives are a progressive step forward within capitalism, and should be promoted to introduce ideas of economic democracy and alternatives to capitalist value production into the public consciousness. However, without some way of planning and networking co-ops together they can only reproduce capitalist social relations, albeit in a "nicer" fashion.

read rosa

read a 90 page pamphlet which mentions co-ops for about a paragraph that sure debunks them

didn't know the Russian revolution took place in the 18th century.


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You couldnt make this shit up. This is why no one takes leftists seriously

They didn't have tanks, planes, helicopters, drones, tomahawk missiles, nuclear weapons… Yes, a rifle that can only hold 5 rounds, with a receiver that needs to be manually cycled after every shot is a 'little more than musket'.