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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meet-up: The Development of a Cooperative Economy in Practice (80 comments)

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  •  Great Info! Geminijen (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your excellent research.  

    I was involved in starting-up a cooperative here in Venezuela, which ran into some of the problems you mentioned.

    The one that did us in was that we all worked extremely hard to prepare a grant application to several government agencies.  

    For each one, we had to wait months for a response, and in each case, the folks in charge who originally were very enthusiastic about the project, were replaced by new people.  As it was considered an "old" project, it was not met with the same enthusiasm and there were more delays.  One agency actually approved it, and funding was approved at a high level, but then, due to the world economic crash, there was a budget-tightening move and we didn't actually get the money we needed.  

    In the interim, our cooperative folks got new job offers and went off on their separate ways.  At the very beginning of the cooperative, when enthusiasm was at its highest, it took several months to even get all the paperwork approves to be legally recognized as a cooperative. Bureaucracy!  

    We were confronted by more bureaucracy when we took the class from SUNACOOP on running the cooperative.  We learned we had to maintain 6 separate account books, by hand -- with no erasures -- which would be audited.  The account books were positively Dickensonian, as is much of the government bureaucracies here.  Many of their procedures seem to date from the 16th century.  

    I don't know how many other cooperatives faced similar problems, but it is not restricted to those dealing with cooperatives.  It seems that, throughout, the existing government bureaucracy is unable (or un-willing) to change their procedures so that ordinary people can comply with them.

    The government has passed some wonderful laws for social welfare and labor, but the long-encrusted bureaucracy stands in the way of  implementing them efficiently.

    The revolution certainly hasn't taken down the old forms of bureaucracy yet, and that is very much needed.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

    by Justina on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 03:54:43 PM PDT

    •  As I noted Justina, many of the procedural (6+ / 0-)

      regulations (forms)were required by state and local government agencies -- in fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the complexity was intentional --you have to bribe someone to get past the paperwork! (Kind of like when they had the poll tax in the South -- they made it complex to prevent people from voting.
      Anyway, I know that just passing a law does not get rid of all the old bureaucratic rules.  The pasing of the communal councils was one effort to get around that bureacracy -- let's just hope that we don't get a new kind of bureaucracy to add to the old (like some of the problems caused by not carefully vetting the Vuelvan Caras training program before it started.  With the best of intentions to get a program out fast to serve more people, come mistakes....

    •  Capitalism is one ill we must overcome... (6+ / 0-)

      but bureaucracy is a whole other dragon that we also have to slay. Bureaucracy is almost always implemented as a method to control large groups of people and inhibit self-governance. I would like to see some posts on ways to subvert bureaucracy.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 04:14:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tried to subtely suggest it in the article -- it (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat, TPau, mint julep, DawnN, Justina

        is always best to organize from the ground up -- problem is that it is usually slower so people get impatient and go for the big fix (Vuelvan Caras). Also, even when things get bigger, you can usually break them up into decentralized parts (like Mondragon's sub-categories of coops) so you have a solid base.

        course, you're right -- until we get rid of capitalism, these are only efforts toward a solution and will eventually get absorbed under the current system -- but just trying them helps people see "another world is possible" and, I think, is part of the transformative struggle.

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