Europe’s Co-op Movement

More people should look for remedies; in peace

The Most Revolutionary Act

Together: How Cooperatives Show Resilience to the Crisis

CECOP/CICOPA Europe  (2012)

Film Review

Together examines how the cooperative movement enabled tens of thousands of European workers to survive the 2008 downturn. As of 2012, there were 1.5 million co-op workers in Europe. The filmmakers interview workers from French, Polish, Italian and Spanish worker cooperatives. All agree that the traditional capitalist model – in which a financial group loots an enterprise for a few years and abandons it – is obsolete because it inevitably predisposes to financial crisis.

In France, workers converted 150 failed businesses to cooperatives between 2008 and 2012. The first co-op featured is a foundry workers converted with the help of a French organization that specializes in this type of conversion.

The Polish example is a bottling plant that survived Poland’s transformation to a “free market economy” in the 1990s. There were many so-called worker cooperatives in communist…

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