From: living nonviolence
I always describe IISC as a “Collaboration Shop.” The founder of Interaction Associates, David Strauss, authored the seminal book “How to Make Collaboration Work.” I’m all for people working together to achieve a common goal. I make a living helping them do that.
But Stowe Boyd has me thinking about the distinction between collaboration and cooperation. He says that cooperation means not subordinating your own interests to those of some ‘collaborative’ collective, it instead leads to nimble fast-and-loose connectives.
I am wondering if cooperation is a more appropriate term for working together in the network age. In social movement work, I often draw the distinction between a coalition and a network.
I describe a coalition as a fundamentally industrial formation. Coalitions are centripetal in nature; they are oriented towards a center. When we work in coalition we agree to bring our strength together by agreeing to do the same thing at the same time – this way we can pull a bigger lever.
I describe a network as a post-industrial formation. Networks are more centrifugal in nature. More accurately, it’s not so much that they move away from a center, it’s that they are resilient because they are decentralized.
If we agree with Boyd’s definition, then the distinction between collaboration and cooperation seems to follow a similar pattern. In which case it seems that in the age of networks cooperation might indeed be more appropriate than collaboration.
Harry Waisbren of the Jobs Party recently introduced me to the Occupy Network’s concept of “do-ocracy.” Which, if I understand it correctly, has the potential of liberating the movement from the tyranny of consensus. He says that “do-ocracy” is centered around respecting the work from those who do it.
“[I]f a team member does the heavy Read on….
People employed in Bangladesh’s garment factories protest unsafe conditions and low wages. (Flickr/Dblackadder)
Exclusive stores in Manhattan, London and Milan are busily stocking shelves with the one-shouldered dresses and Miley Cyrus-esque crop tops that were on display earlier in September at New York City’s Fashion Week.
But half a world away, in the city where the western world’s clothes are actually made, the sewing machines have stopped.
More than 300 garment factories are currently shut down in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as hundreds of thousands people — mostly women — take the the streets in the third day of sweeping protests for wage increases in the notoriously exploitative industry.
The latest round of protests began on Saturday, when approximately 50,000 women rallied in Dhaka to demand a wage increase to just over $100 a month. The rally appeared to have been aimed at actually stopping production rather than making appeals to public officials or the international community. About 10,000 women blocked the highway about 18 miles north of the capital city, halting traffic. Many of the remaining 40,000 women rallied outside various factories, forcing them to close operations for the day.
The demonstrations continued to grow on Sunday. By Monday, the police chief of the region’s industrial district reported that about 200,000 people employed in the garment industry were demonstrating in the streets, prompting the closure of some 300 factories that supply clothing to Walmart and other western companies. The desired wage increase, up to $103 a month, would represent a more than doubling of the women’s current salaries, which averages about $38 a month.
Since last April’s collapse of a factory building killed more than 1,000 people, Bangladesh’s government and the country’s garment industry have been under scrutiny. The European Union threatened to cut trade benefits to Bangladesh over the summer, prompting the nation’s government to Read on….
From: wnv feedburner