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Viewing posts categorised under: Cooperatives

The Real Game Changers: Co-opoly & Rise Up

by Jasmine in Cooperatives

A Game Like no Other

“Just like fiction and other works of art, games are a reflection of our beliefs, fears, values, hopes and dreams. Games can help us use our imaginations to challenge the status quo. For over a hundred years, board games have been created to be used in the fight for a better world.” Brian Van Slyke, Truthout.

Brian Van Slyke is a co-founder of TESA Collective, a cooperative who created the revolutionary board games Co-opoly: The Game of Co-operatives and Rise Up: The Game of Power and People.

Monopoly, meet Co-opoly

Co-opoly: The Game of Co-operatives, released in 2011, is a creative and educational board game. The game acts as a teaching tool and educates its players on cooperatives. TESA Collective released two versions of Co-oply, the worker cooperative edition and the United Kingdom edition. However, TESA Collective is working on delivering other editions in the future. These editions include food co-operatives, artisans co-operatives, housing co-operatives and more. The purpose of creating different versions of Co-opoly is to provide an understanding, and address the different traits of each cooperative.

Rise Up!

Rise Up: The Game of Power and People is the newest board game TESA Collective created. Rise Up challenges the traditional themes of warfare, exploitation and conquest in board games. The game promotes social collaboration to initiate change, and players either win or lose as team. The game is about directing power back to the people, and beating unjust systems as a unit. However, Rise Up is not just a board game, but a tool encouraging players to use their imaginations and to create discussion with others on the change that is needed to improve and help the world.

Both board games are ethically made from environmentally friendly material by a team of activists, artists, game designers, and cooperators. The games are produced in the United States.


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A Quick Guide to Co-operatives

by Jasmine in Cooperatives

What are co-operatives?
Co-operatives (Co-ops) are enterprises established by a group of individuals who are united to meet their common economic, social and/or cultural needs and goals. Co-operatives are  businesses, serving the needs of its members. The operation and decision making of co-operatives are overseen democratically by its members.

What are the Seven Co-operative Principles?
Co-operatives all around the world are guided by the seven cooperative principles recognized by the International Co-operative Alliance.  These are:

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organizations. The services and responsibilities of membership are open to everyone regardless of one’s gender, race, religion and political orientation.

2. Democratic Member Control 
Co-operatives are democratically controlled by their members, who actively participate in establishing policies and the process of decision-making.

3. Member Economic Participation 
Members equally contribute and democratically control the capital of the co-operative. The benefits that derive from co-operative operations go back to the owners, are reinvested in the co-operative, or used to provide services for its members.

4. Autonomy and Independence 
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.

5. Education, Training and Information 
Co-operatives provide education and hands-on experiential opportunities for members, representatives, and workers. This allows them to effectively contribute the growth of their co-operative, and become educators informing the broader community about the benefits and nature of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives 
Co-operatives work to ensure their members are effectively served, and to strength the global movement by collaborating with local, national, regional and international structures

7. Concern for Community 
Co-operatives operate for the best interest of its members, and working to achieve and improve the sustainable development of their communities through the policies its members implement


Why Co-operatives?
Unlike large corporations, co-operatives focus on member needs and the welfare of communities, including promoting social and economic development. Concrete benefits that co-operatives provide for members and local communities include:

  • Creating jobs
  • Fostering gender equality, diversity and participation in the workplace
  • Favourable working conditions and benefits
  • Promoting more sustainable and ethical business practices
  • Community development programs and business incubation to meet community needs
  • Training and capacity building for members, employees and community members

What types of co-operatives are there?
Co-operatives can be broadly grouped into several categories. Some of the categories include:

  • Consumer Co-operatives
            Co-operatives that are owned and managed by its consumers (e.g., supermarkets, services).
  • Producer Co-operatives
            Co-operatives that are owned by the producers (such as farmers, fishers, forest workers).
  • Worker Co-operatives
            Co-operatives that are owned by the workers of the co-operative.
  • Purchasing Co-operatives
            Co-operatives that are made up of groups of businesses that purchase services or supplies collaboratively.
  • Hybrid Co-operatives
            Co-operatives where different types of members (e.g., producers, consumers, workers) cooperatively operate, organize, and manage the business together

Cooperatives operate in a wide variety of economic sectors. These include:

  • Artisanal goods (clothes, crafts, etc.)
  • Food retail
  • Other retail sectors (e.g., sporting goods)
  • Agricultural commodities and products
  • Financial Services (banking, insurance, etc.)

Where can I find a co-operative?
You can search for local co-operatives near you by visiting Ontario Co-operative Association

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