Cameron’s co-op movement conceals privatisation agenda

[Friday]

As if Brown’s bullshit wasn’t bad enough, Cameron has copied the PM’s political cross-dressing by coming out in favour of cooperatives:

David Cameron has outlined plans to help people establish co-operatives which could set up or run local public services such as schools in England.

The Conservative Co-operative Movement would seek to promote co-ops which, he said, provide “flexibility and dynamism that a central state agency lacks”.

Perhaps this is Cameron’s “heir to Blair” idea for public sector “reform” (ie: privatisation). The Tories are pitching themselves to the ruling class as a better option for flogging off schools and hospitals to big business by using some nice-sounding concepts.

What’s needed is democratic control within the framework of public provision, of course. Cameron’s scheme will not deliver local control, but corporate control.

As Greenman notes,

The fact remains that without powerful workplace and community commitment and structures designed to resist the encroachment of the privateers, then local mutual and co-operative ventures are vulnerable to be picked off one by one by the corporate vultures that now roam the planet in search of victims. All the signs from the major parties are that despite their localist and cooperativist rhetoric, when it comes to the crunch they support the vultures, who after all, are some of their major funders. Mutualism and Cooperatives could play a big role in the move to a fairer, more sustainable and more democratic society – but not whilst the corporations are unrestrained by either political or industrial opposition. Until that time the better ventures will be constantly under attack, or at risk of being co-opted into the neo-liberal project.

And finally, the write-up in the Morning Star:

Unions blast Tories for new school push
TEACHING unions and the Co-op Party ridiculed Tory leader David Cameron’s newfound commitment to education co-operatives on Thursday.

Mr Cameron launched his “Conservative Co-operative Movement” in Manchester, the birthplace of the British co-op.

He claimed that the new organisation would help people to form groups to take control of their local public services.

He pledged that a Tory government would give these groups the power to open and run schools.

Mr Cameron said: “In other countries, co-operative education is central to the system. Over 100 schools in Sweden are co-ops and over 600 in Spain.

“So, I want to explore how we can create a new generation of co-operative schools in Britain, funded by the taxpayer but owned by parents and the local community.”

National Union of Teachers general secretary Steve Sinnott responded: “David Cameron has neglected to mention that there is a major democratic deficit in the running of schools.

“Private companies can now take over schools.

“Under the Conservative leader’s proposals, groups of parents can do the same.

“The losers from both approaches are the local communities themselves.

“Leaving the creation of schools to a local market creates social segregation,” he warned.

“Co-operatives have a proud and noble tradition. I am glad he has recognised that, but they will not address the core problem facing the education service – the fragmentation of school provision.”

Teaching union NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates agreed. “Unfortunately, teachers are again experiencing politicians vying with each other to come up with ‘big ideas,’ most of them barking, on how to run schools,” she said.

“The majority of parents don’t want to run schools and don’t have the capacity to do so. They want a good local school and there are already plenty of these to go round.”

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2 Responses to “Cameron’s co-op movement conceals privatisation agenda”

  1. Renegade Eye Says:

    Cooperatives are contradictory.

    Some coops in Venezuela are so large, that they outsource actual labor. I talked to a labor representative of the Venezuelan embassy, who told me that the union movement, is interested in union drives at some coops.

    Coops are subject to the capitalist market. Not a substitute for expropriating the biiggest businesses, under workers control.

  2. charliemarks Says:

    Indeed. The traditional critique of co-ops from Marxists was that they were a form of workers’ capitalism – what you say about the larger Venezuelan co-ops in undoubtedly true.

    In England, branches of the Co-op supermarket chain will have higher prices in areas where there is less competition, behaving just like a capitalist enterprise in this and other respects.


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