Correlated Issues

capital handstyle

Some of the key issues that often correlate, coincide, or are caused by the elements of "Capital" in a cooperative are as follows -


What financial capital and from where it is accessed can both shape how power and ownership functions within a cooperative, to the extent that it can degrade the enterprise’s Cooperative Identity and cooperative culture. Conversely, a cooperative with a sufficiently strong cooperative culture may be able to selectively and intentionally leverage certain financial “master’s tools” (e.g. loans from conventional banks) in ways that maintain the integrity and culture of the cooperative. There is a feedback cycle between culture and capital in most cooperatives.


Most financial relationships, especially those with conventional or profit-seeking funders, engage in some measure of coercive influence over a cooperative. Coercive influence can range from dictating spending, surveilling activities, to requiring compliance with structural or procedural standards. In the contemporary economic context, the success of financial relationships often dictates whether or not a cooperative can scale to a level of sustainable operation. As a result, coopyouth will need to take strong outlined in these lessons, particularly in the context of coercive relationships, if or when they pursue any kind of external financing. 


The main way in which most coopyouth accessed external capital that did not violate the autonomy of their cooperative or degrade their cooperative culture was via relationships of solidarity. For some, this involved creating community events that both raised funds while nurturing relationships of solidarity with their neighbors. For others, this meant connecting with an individual - often, an elder - who leveraged their influence and power in solidarity with and to benefit the youth cooperative. Many available capital sources are examples of the “master’s tools,” in that they compel the recipient to comply with capitalist behaviors or other practices that degrade an enterprise’s Cooperative Identity. As a result, prioritizing and participating in capital relationships that are borne of and sustained by solidarity enable cooperatives to build networks of exchange and care that will persist beyond the scope of capitalism.