Audiences offered traditional socialist visions have increasingly responded with skeptical indifference translatable as “been there, done that.” Many have formed the judgment that traditional socialisms, where achieved, exhibited too many shortcomings, were unsustainable, or both. Provoked by the capitalist crisis since 2008, rapidly rising public interest in alternatives to capitalism has confronted falling confidence in traditional socialism.
The frustration of the left, given this exhaustion of traditional socialisms’ appeal, arose from having no other broadly agreed-upon vision of an attractive alternative to capitalism. The left could not provide what mass audiences craved as they deepened their criticisms of capitalism’s longer-term decline and short-term crisis.
Enter the notion of workers’ cooperatives or, better, the awkward but more specific term: workers self-directed enterprises (WSDEs). This centuries-old idea has been revived, redesigned and applied to go well beyond traditional socialism. The result is a new vision of an alternative to capitalism that could help to mobilize a new left.
Read the rest here: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/20991-worker-coops-and-left-strategy