Ruth Rohlich is a Business Development Specialist for the City of Madison. In this clip from an episode of All Things Co-op, she shares how she's seen the flexibility of Madison's cooperative initiative gives opportunities to adjust as needed, but the rigidity of some entrenched state legislation creates unforeseen barriers to some of their cooperative projects, particularly for disadvantaged communities.
"Some of the barriers are ones that you know no business planning, traditional, or cooperative, or whatever could have foreseen. [It shows] just how deeply entrenched our systems are to prevent especially people of color from really empowering themselves through ownership... [There is] this very small but important detail that as employees of a company they can have certain bankruptcies, credit messiness and work as an employee for a company.But they can't be a worker owner... And you can see how that is, That is institutional everything: racism, classism. All the things in that one little thing... I said to the women organizing this "Well then just make them employees. Don't make them owners, just make them employees. Just keep moving forward." And they both said, "No. That's the whole point. The whole point."And I was like, "Oh, wow. Right." I was saying "It's too complicated. Go back." and they're saying "No, we have to change that rule.""
Watch the full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEWR1vaOpxo
All Things Co-op is a show that explores everything co-op. From theoretical and philosophical conversations about political economy and the relations of production, to on-the-ground interviews with cooperative workers, All Things Co-op aims to appeal to a wide audience of activists, organizers, workers, and students to be better educated and motivated to create a new cooperative society.
All Things Co-op is hosted by Democracy at Work (d@w). d@w produces media and live events to expose capitalism’s systemic problems and to show how democratizing our workplaces solves them. We can do better than capitalism.
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