Principle Six and Co-operatives London are organising an event on co-operative democracy on 8 February.
Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green E2 6HG
Saturday, 8 February 2014 from 13:00 to 16:30
The crisis at the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Group is a wake-up call for the traditional co-operative movement and its supporters.
Rather than raking over the coals, this discussion will focus on the meaning of co-operative democracy, its practice and potential for social and economic transformation.
Everything Changes But You
The seven principles that unite the global co-operative movement are constantly being reinterpreted, but the vital element of member democratic control is the least theorised and least developed.
We are living in a radically different world from the era when co-operatives were born, and when parliamentary democracy, one-person-one-vote, represented the acme of democratic engagement. The command-and-control era of democratic centralism that governed many movements in the 20th century is dead.
Against that, we have emerging technologies like liquid democracy, which radically alter how people come together, develop consensus and act together in a transparent process.
The Talking Cure
We think the co-operative movement – amongst many others – hasn’t been thinking this through enough. It hasn’t engaged with questions like:
- What does democratic control mean in co-operatives, and how do that relate to what members want to do?
- How can democracy be done at scale with members ranging from the apathetically unbothered to the sociopathically engaged?
- Can we harness the talents and energy of people in an agile way, and at the same time maintain the stability we need to ensure members drive and control co-operative enterprise?
- What does co-operative management mean in a co-operative democracy?
How the day has been unorganised
This is an unconference. There are no set speakers, keynotes or plenaries – just a space where people interested in the same things can gather, meet and talk. We’ll spend the first 30 minutes sorting out what those things are, and from then on, it’s over to you.
Free at the point of use
It’s free to attend, but there’s no food provided – you can either bring your own or visit one of the many places on Bethnal Green Road.
This gathering is organised by Principle Six, and sponsored by Co-operatives London.
Principle Six is a co-operative partnership based in London and Brighton, helping people who want to build better ways to work and live using co-operative enterprise. We specialise in supporting and advising worker and community co-operatives and community enterprises, helping people work out their plans, implement them and keep running effectively afterwards. We have a particular interest in the skills and tools that maximise participation.