Co-ops Could be the Answer to “Vulture Capitalism”

I wonder if they still have the “partner” system in Jamaica. Remember? Everybody has times when they need a little extra cash – for school fees, for example. So throughout the island, people would get together – say a group at the office – and contribute a little something each paycheck. Then they would take turns getting the jackpot.

It’s what Americans should be doing today – in a more sophisticated way, of course.

It’s not a new idea; there are co-ops all over the country. Credit unions, for example. They’re building a Mid Florida Credit Union branch down the road from our home as I write this. I think MidFlorida was started for teachers but now just about anybody can join.

I’ll have to talk to Sandra about moving our account.

Why should we put our money in the bank so they can lend it back to us at a profit?

But that’s what we do. And it’s what the government does, too.

The co-op idea could be the answer to the way big, bad banks treat the public. And it could be the answer to the “vulture capitalism” that has blighted the American workplace

Writing in The Nation this week,  Laura Flanders tells the story of  a group of Chicago workers who have formed a co-op to take over the factory.

You might remember them; they’re the ones who occupied the Republic Windows and Doors factory in 2008 when the owners closed the plant and tried to flee the state owing them back-pay and benefits (photo above). They won a $1.75 million settlement from Bank of America and Chase Bank. But now,  the plant’s new owners plan to close the plant.

The workers have responded by founding New Era Windows, LLC a worker-run cooperative to keep the operation going. They’re hoping to raise about $500,000 to buy the plant.

I think the government should lend them the money.

It seems to me that if taxpayers don’t mind the government printing money and giving it to the banks, then borrowing it back at interest, they shouldn’t mind lending workers some seed money to get co-ops off the ground.

But that’s just me. Other folks might consider that Socialism, and most Americans would never put up with that.

Click here to read the article in The Nation.