What is a Co-op?

What is a Coop?

Okay so I have been asked to write a blog about this after a great discussion. I don't really want to. I have a good bit of trauma history and like any good first generation immigrant woman, I like to just focus on survival and staying out of the way. But here goes.
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We have a coop.

Which means we love and cooperate and listen to each other all the time, and dance around the fire and sing kumbaya. It's like having a hundred besties! Isn't it?

Nope.

What is a coop?

“The earliest cooperatives appeared in Europe in the late 18th and 19th centuries, during the Industrial Revolution. As people moved from farms into the growing cities, they had to rely on stores to feed their families because they could no longer grow their own food. Working people had very little control over the quality of their food or living conditions. Those with money gained more and more power over those without. Early co-ops were set up as a way to protect the interests of the less powerful members of society – workers, consumers, farmers, and producers.” (internet)

In POCA, “Our mission is to work cooperatively to increase accessibility to and availability of affordable group acupuncture treatments.”

“co·op·er·a·tive
kōˈäp(ə)rədiv/
adjective
adjective: cooperative; adjective: co-operative

    1.
    involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal.
    “every member has clearly defined tasks in a cooperative enterprise”

noun
noun: cooperative; plural noun: cooperatives; noun: co-operative; plural noun: co-operatives

    1.
    a farm, business, or other organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits.” (internet)

A coop is about helping each other in working toward a common goal. It's cooperative in part because we have a democractic governance structure we even give patients, acupuncturists, clinics, and organizations a voice!

“de·moc·ra·cy
dəˈmäkrəsē/
noun
noun: democracy

    1. a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

    2. control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.”

POCA is a multistake holder coop. That means we have an elected Board. Every year we have our members vote for a board. We have a GC. And anyone can submit proposals to the GC using the link at the About Us page.

It's pretty awesome! There isn't some hidden illumanti at the top running the whole things who doesn't give a damn about the opinions of its members. If you don't think a member would represent your voice, don't vote for them. If you don't think there's anyone that is representing the members properly run for the board!

It's pretty awesome anyone can submit proposals to the GC. Now we'll hear you and debate the issue you've brought up. It doesn't mean the GC will always agree with you. That's just the way things are. But it's not like there's no way to be heard. There's a structure of democracy. Not like you have to bribe a ton of people in the KGB with fame, sex, and fortune to get your stuff in front of the dictator. That's transparency.  Most organizations that are not organized democractically are not like this.

We have clearly stated mission and a vision to achieve that mission. (please read on the vision and mission page)

Our mission is to work cooperatively to increase accessibility to and availability of affordable group acupuncture treatments.

Yes, we kind of have a social justice type of mission and vision. Because we don't want acupuncture to be available to only the people with lots and lots and lots of money.

“so·cial jus·tice
noun
noun: social justice

    justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”

So let's talk about inclusivity, here's the definition below.

“in·clu·siv·i·ty
ˌinklo͞oˈsivədē/
noun
noun: inclusivity

    an intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.”

So now we've got that out of the way. Inclusivity is not about including everyone. Because everyone is not into our particular mission or our particular vision. If you are abled or disabled, cauasian or not, male or female or trans, young, middle aged, or old and you care about our mission and want to work with us toward achieving our vision please we'd love to work along side you and hear what you have to say.

But if you don't care about our particular vision and disagree with us about it. There's a really nice conflict matrix that you can refer to.

Just please avoid us, thank you!

Because if we include you and you don't really care about our mission or vision, that's just tokenism.

“to·ken·ism
ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
noun
noun: tokenism

    the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.”

And tokenism feels bad. We don't do that.
-Jade

POCAGuestBlog
Author: POCAGuestBlog

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Responses

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  1. Jade, as usual you help me get the big picture. I think because we have a lot going on it can be easy to lose track of the basics (especially in the context of having the same arguments over and over). Caring about social justice doesn’t mean disregarding the fundamentals of what we’re doing, and inclusivity doesn’t mean tolerating endless boundary pushing. A lot of people have put tremendous amounts of time, energy and love into the very basic structures of POCA, like making sure we have elections and annual meetings. It’s frustrating when all that work gets overlooked because it’s not flashy. Co-ops are also about investment and it takes some investment of time and effort to participate. Thank you again for being our resident co-op geek. We need it and we appreciate it.

  2. Thanks Jade. This really helps clarify a lot around boundaries and why groups trying to achieve a common goal have them.