Bernie Sanders and worker coops

Professor Wolff, during your program last week with Professor Jessica Gordon Nembhard in which you discussed worker coops you said that you wished that worker coops were more front and center in Bernie Sanders' platform. In case you were not aware of it, I am passing on a link to an article in In These Times that begins to address your concerns. I hope you find it of interest.

Official response from submitted

While I welcomed the bills Bernie has introduced and the In These Times article about them, I must say that I continue to wish for something more or different from Sanders et al. Even what Corbyn has proposed in the UK is much further along. First, there is a world of difference between worker ownership and worker directorship. At best, the former is a step toward the latter. However, we have many, many years and examples of worker ownership (in ESOP and other forms) that never went further toward a democratic restructuring of the enterprise. A worker coop - in the specific sense of workers becoming their own board of directors - is a real democracy in which all the basic enterprise decisions (what, how, and where to produce and what to do with the net revenues) are made by majority rule with one employee getting one vote etc. Thats why we use the term WSDE - workers self-directed enterprises - to give concrete specificity to what we seek. Because that is several steps further than worker ownership, steps that have often been ignored or forgotten or denied, the Sanders proposals leave us wanting much more. Corbyn has committed the UK Labor Party to (1) passing laws mandating conversions under specific conditions from capitalist to worker coop (in our WSDE sense) enterprises, and (2) providing government financing to enable workers to buy enterprises from capitalist owners and convert them into WSDEs.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-05-15 10:16:37 -0400
  • Steve Peppas
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-05-14 22:16:17 -0400