Monopoly Bookstore Chains and Left Wing Magazines.

G*rd*n gcf at
Sun Oct 25 11:47:17 PST 1998

Tom Waters:
> ...
> Anyhow, the question is why coops would do this. In some ways, coops
> combine the most dangerous features of universities and trade unions: like
> universities, they are an environment where it's often not felt to be
> necessary to confront capitalism directly every day; like trade unions,
> they build up a reformist place in society that comes to seem worth
> defending with compromises. Not to mention the fact that they put people
> in the position of employers. But all of these institutions can be roads
> to accomodation, and when they don't serve this function it is generally
> because of specific interventions of radicals.
> ...

In theory, though, just as a coop could facilitate the movement of radicals toward liberalism, it could facilitate the movement of liberals toward radicalism. That is, the liberals could find themselves in a well-functioning body where non-capitalist relations were the rule, whereas they would be unlikely to show up just to struggle against the system which, after all, they probably sort of believe in.

My take on the situation is that coops work too well, which decreases aggression; the coop becomes lazy about expansion and proselytization, and is uninterested in producing the surpluses necessary to energize such efforts. Capitalist organizations, by contrast, have aggression in their bones and constantly attempt to expand and absorb.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list