CoTech Meetup: Why are co-ops relevant in a time of political and economic crisis?

We're looking forward to welcoming you to the first CoTech Meetup for a while!

Prior to 2020 we were already witnessing growing levels of inequality and precarious work. Now, with the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic colliding with the UK's exit from the EU, we seem to be entering a period of massive economic and social change. This may well lead to spiralling levels of unemployment. But then again, there is also an opportunity for people to experiment with new ways of organising, and for us to question our old assumptions about the economy and social hierarchies more generally.

What role is there for coops in this new era? How can they grow to create a more equitable future for workers and society in general?

Join us for an informal evening, with short presentations for 4 great speakers, and an opportunity for discussion. The speakers will be:

Rose Marley has recently started as CEO at Co-Ops UK. Rose has been a social entrepreneur for over 20 years and founded SharpFutures, a creative digital agency that supports diverse young people into employment prior to starting at Co-Ops UK. Rose will use one of heroes Bertrand Russell to kick off the discussion, with his 1954 quote that is just as pertinent in today's climate, if not more so: “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation".

Daniel Cox is Project Development Manager at Co-Operative College in Manchester. Daniel will be discussing his work, which focuses on inspiring and empowering a new generation of young leaders to use the co-operative model to disrupt and redistribute power in society. He'll also be talking about how we can work together to expose young people and community leaders to ideas of co-operativism to provoke their imagination.

Sion Whellens is a London-based cooperative worker, adviser and organiser at Calverts, Principle Six and Solidfund. He represents the UK at CECOP and CICOPA, the European and world federations for co-ops in industry and services. Sion will be talking about how the relevance of worker co-operation is not its potential to rescue the small business sector, or to mitigate the effects of structural unemployment and social deprivation. Rather, it is the capacity of organised workers to deconstruct useless and oppressive work, and collaborate in creating a new productive arrangement based on meeting human need without exploitation, class oppression and ecological destruction.

John Evans is a co-founder of Code-Operative, a tech freelancer’s coop, and project lead of Wobbly. He has a VR headset and aspirations to hang glide. John will be talking about why the coop structure is versatile and robust enough to provide for an individual during a crisis and making the case for being part of a coop during a crisis.

Check back soon for the link to watch.

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