Lindenfeld, Frank
May 1982
Humanity & Society;May82, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p135
Academic Journal
The article focuses on the status of the Jamaican sugar workers' cooperatives in respect of success or failure. Workers' cooperatives have provided their members with dignity and job security. Their problems do not stem so much from their being workers' cooperatives as from their inheritance of a business abandoned by transnationals as it was unprofitable, from the continuation of the colonial pattern of production of agricultural commodities for export, and from the halfhearted implementation of the ideal of workplace democracy. These cooperatives also illustrate limitations of top-down organizing. Many farms were converted to cooperatives before the membership was well-enough educated in cooperative principles and ideology. The cooperative idea was "sold" to workers on the basis of overoptimistic promises of profits and the prospect of a short-term windfall from the severance money and was not based on commitment of members to organization. The severance pay issue is indicative of the lack of planning, inadequate government help, and internal divisions that have plagued the organization from the start.


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