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Are Co-ops the Answer?

Source: In These Times

Around the world, people are democratizing the workplace.

Long before the Occupy movement sparked renewed protest of rising inequality, another global movement was quietly engaged in building a more democratic economy. From coffee growers in Kenya seeking a fair market price to worker-owned green businesses reviving the American Rust Belt, cooperatives are helping to spur a reinvention of work in a period of worldwide recession.

Globally, an estimated 1 billion people are members of cooperatives, and many believe that the scope of worker- and member-owned enterprises across the world represents a revolution already in the making. With combined earnings rivaling Canada’s GDP, co-ops could be the fastest-growing business model by the end of the decade. To promote awareness of their potential, the United Nations has declared 2012 the “International Year of Cooperatives.” Cooperative organizers, though they have generally worked on a separate track from protest movements, have called on Occupy and other mass movements to help build “an economy worth occupying.” read more

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Quebec’s conflict of contrasting social visions

Source: Al Jazeera

What began as a protest over tuition hikes has now become a standoff over a much deeper political discord in Quebec.

A mass student strike in Quebec over rising university tuition fees is quickly turning into a major social movement and a real challenge to the provincial Liberal government.

Despite growing international attention and constant protest, including demonstrations among the largest in Canada’s history, Liberal politicians continue to hold firm on a decision to hike post-secondary tuition fees by C$1,778 over seven years, a 82 per cent increase per student. read more