This book identifies political currents that underlie the organization and practices of contemporary co-ops. The politics of co-ops and cooperation generate distinctive, important insights into the characteristics of co-ops and the reasons for them. Three currents of cooperative politics are identified: populist politics, market politics, and capitalist politics. Extensive examples of these cooperative politics are presented. They include the leading co-op organizations such as the American National Cooperative Business Association, and the International Cooperative Alliance, all the way down to local co-ops.
The three cooperative politics that dominate the landscape of contemporary co-ops are shown to be problematical. They are all inadequate to guide genuine, complete cooperation. Their weaknesses are manifested in problematical cooperative practices that shall be elucidated.
Because co-op practice is grounded in political theory and practice, weaknesses in cooperative practice must be overcome by implementing a new cooperative politics. I articulate socialist politics of cooperation and co-ops as a valuable candidate for this corrective . This politics will be explained and assessed. (Imprint: Nova)