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growth and expansion of portland area cooperatives

Questions about the current growth and future of cooperatives around pdx
Am wondering about the current status of cooperatives in the Portland area. It seems that they've had some significant growth in the past few years and more seem to be opening up. Curious if anyone sees this as indicative of a larger movement. Some of them date back pretty far and I am wondering how they have evolved over the years. Have they had to adapt over time? Do you see the future of cooperatives as overtaking more corporate-style stores?

coops aren't growing enough coops 15.May.2013 08:16


Somewhere there is a comment about this, but I agree, the coops in town need to help create more coops, it is one of the main coop principles. Many coops stated that wiping out the corporate food-opoly was part of their mission and now few still have that type of language in their statements.

Education is Key 15.May.2013 08:25


The co-ops aren't doing enough to educate people about what a coop is. They should be teaching it in community spaces. REI actually does spend money providing advisors for coop start-ups, but this doesn't attract people like it would if it were advertised.


coops should make more coops 15.May.2013 00:06

Jack Reed

Robert Owen planned on coops taking over capitalism by helping create new coops. That doesn't happen enough in PDX.

Worker-Owned Cooperatives in Portland 15.May.2013 11:30

Dave Myers opencommons@gmail.com

PortlandWiki is attempting to keep track of worker-owned cooperatives in Portland:

The People's Budget Project's Anti-Austerity Study Group has done one study group session on worker-owned cooperatives, and will likely do more in upcoming months.
 link to portlandwiki.org

Since it's a wiki, you can add / edit the information shown.

(The web server is having issues today, so if links aren't working, please check back momentarily.)

co-ops & system change 15.May.2013 12:38

ChrisL clowe@igc.org

Recently when Gar Alperovitz was in town on his book tour, I had the luck to be part of a discussion with him and some co-op activists and others interested in cooperative approaches to collective action, collective ownership and system change. Among other things I found out that there is a network of co-op activists of which I had not been aware, name is escaping me just now. It did not seem to involve people connected to the IWW or other anti-authoritarian/anarchist anti-capitalist formations, though I think many who participated were in some sense anti-capitalist.

Alperovitz pointed to the variety of different kinds of co-ops: consumer co-ops, food co-ops, producer co-ops agricultural co-ops, worker-owned co-ops, credit unions and so on. In my neighborhood there is a child care co-op organized by a Friends Church (Quakers, but the evangelical trinitarian wing). The social and political orientations of those participating vary widely.

Alperovitz also raised the issue that if we are interested in co-ops as a strategy and tool for "system change" (read, ending or transforming capitalism), we need to think beyond the project or organizational level. Co-ops as individual organizations within capitalism with adapt to the requirements of capitalism, at least unless we are highly intentional about trying to do otherwise.

One element of this would be trying to create a "cooperative economic sector" in which different co-ops supported one another in different ways, including ways that did not involve interaction in capitalist market terms, I suppose, but also perhaps mutual support in meeting the requirements for surviving in that setting. If there had been more of such a structure, could we have found a strategy or means to save Egalite Press when their space fell through?

Another element I believe might in time require engagement with the state, to create different legal possibilities for forms of organization than currently exist. This may be an intermediary practical necessity even for people whose long term aim includes doing away with capitalist states and not replacing them with other kinds.