Worker Cooperatives support Occupy Wall Street…
The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street
movement, and the Occupy movements around the world. As a national grassroots membership organization of
worker cooperatives—businesses owned and democratically controlled by our worker members — we support
and are honored to join you in this call for an economy organized to meet human needs.
We are heartened to see the beginnings of a genuine discussion and debate about different economic models —
models that value fairness at their core. As many of us come together for the first time to discuss the problems
that face us, and as we begin to collectively reimagine our economy and society, we believe it is critical to
actively make space for all voices to be heard. We urge this new movement to remain open and plural.
Cooperatives are the fastest growing socioeconomic movement in the world, with close to one billion members.
Worker cooperative businesses are in all sorts of industries: engineering, importing coffee,
baking bread, doing web development, cleaning houses, nursing and home health care, running
grocery stores, driving taxis, and more. But worker cooperatives are part of a much larger cooperative
economy that includes credit unions, consumer coops, housing coops, agricultural producer coops, and rural
electric coops — in the US, nearly 30,000 cooperative enterprises own over $3 trillion in shared assets.
Cooperatives are based on values.
Worker cooperatives are businesses that are owned and operated on democratic principles by the people
who work in them. Because they are organized around the will, talents and needs of the human
beings who work in them rather than the imperative of growth and ever-increasing profit margins,
worker cooperatives have the capacity to promote and extend new, humane and imaginative ways of
meeting the material needs of people by producing and distributing goods and services in society.
When dozens, hundreds and thousands of these enterprises pool resources and cooperate with
each other based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and
solidarity, a fundamental transformation of culture and society occurs. This has taken place most notably
and enduringly in Mondragon, Spain, and the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, where worker coops drive
the economy and fund and control social services, health care, retirement and education.
The cooperative movement needs you. And the world needs the cooperative movement.
As the Occupy movements have made clear, and as the UN recognized in declaring 2012 the
International Year of Cooperatives, we need a new way forward to a better world. Cooperatives can be
economic engines and laboratories for democracy — a powerful, practical part of building an economy
and society that works for all its members.