Executive Director Report, December 2012

Some CWCF members have asked that CWCF better play the role of intermediary
between worker co-ops on the ground and the international associations of worker
co-ops in which we are involved: CICOPA (world level); CICOPA-Americas for the
continent, and CICOPA-North America where the Canadians including Québécois, the
US FWC and the Mexicans come together. I would say that there are two major reasons
that CWCF finds it important to be engaged internationally: mutual learnings, and
inspiration. Although practicality requires us to primarily “meet” via email exchanges,
conference calls and internet-based discussions, we have an enormous amount to learn
from each other. Our Canadian worker co-op movement can meet on an even playing
field with the worker-owners from the much larger movements in France, in Brazil, in
Mondragon, Spain, etc. It is quickly apparent to what degree we share the values of
putting ordinary working people before capital. The connection is deeply shared, and we
have a surprising amount in common.

As an example of the shared vision, I suggest the CICOPA position paper on the ICA
Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade. Here is an excerpt:

“We share the (ICA’s) vision, and we do agree that cooperatives should be "the fastest
growing form of enterprise by 2020, but do not share the way it is expressed. We intend
“fastest growing” in a more equitable and fair world, one in which a model leading
to concentration and exclusion, which destroys human beings and the planet, can be
converted into a model of generation and distribution of general wealth in the long term,
inclusive for humanity, and aimed at preserving our planet. For this world to emerge,
the cooperative values should prevail in it, and we are convinced that achieving this will
require big efforts. Our enterprises should be an instrument to foster such change, and
a model and an inspiration for the rest of the economy and the relevant public policies.
Our enterprises, therefore, should be built with distinctive values in terms of management
model, and, with the power they have, should commit themselves to foster change, to
favour the transition towards another model, and to help build a civilizational change.”

As the International Year of Co-ops draw to a close, we can all look forward to the
coming Co-operative Decade including with more solidarity for each other and those who
share a common vision for the Decade.

If you have an article you’d like to submit to a future newsletter, please send it to James
Mitchell, james@canadianworker.coop. As always, if you have a question or comment,
please contact us.

May you have a happy holiday season, and all the best in 2013!

In cooperation,
Hazel Corcoran