Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Charles, Participation, Self-Management

Got a very nice note from new Weave Worker-Owner Director, Charles Traitor. He confirms he will be speaking at the WSM Board Meeting tomorrow evening (November 4), in support of new language for WSM Board Policy 'Treatment of Staff,' entrenching not erasing WSM employees' rights to be allowed to participate in WSM decision-making; which decision-making must also be transparent.

I am delighted that Charles will be representing worker views so soon and so actively. Thank you, Charles. That said, if any WSM owners, worker or consumer, are available tomorrow evening, please do not leave him on his own. Try to find the time to attend the Board Meeting, to show your support.

And to any WSM Board Members or managers reading this, if no throng turns up (e.g. I will be working), please do not take that as a lack of support. The true indication of support that worker democracy has in our co-op was demonstrated quite clearly in the 62 votes garnered by Charles, and the 33 votes received by Caitlin, in the recent Worker-Owner Director election.

The truly interesting part of Charles' note was the emphasis he puts on the organization and self-management of worker-owners. Charles makes the point that the correct language in policy is important as a reference. But it counts for nothing if there is not that organization and self-management.

I am a tad concerned that we do not become so taken with 'organization and self-management' that we do not apply it where it can work. For myself, I have spent my time over the past nine years focusing on the proper language and its implementation, so that the space exists for workers to take advantage if they so wish. I have not attempted to organize as such. My view is that I can not force folks to do things. I can only show them what is possible.

But you know, I really think that what Charles and I are doing are the flip sides of the same coin. On the one hand, making sure the correct language and opportunity are in place. On the other, organizing folks to take advantage of the opportunities created.

Now, that said, I do think you can expect Charles to be knocking on all of your doors, to ensure that you do now participate. Not just in implementing the language and opportunity that has been forged. But generally, in utilizing worker-ownership in a collective sense, so as to inculcate among workers more of a sense of what is possible in our co-op.

Charles also very kindly closed his note with a quote from Eugene Debs: "I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out." Grateful for the quote. Even if no-one would ever mistake me for a socialist!

As Charles said: "Good luck to us all - I mean, good organizing" ...