Third Conference on the Works of Karl Marx and the challenges of the 21st century
The co-operative movement has always had uneasy relationship with Marxist philosophy and tradition that concentrated on state ownership. Yet co-operatives are socially owned and operated organizations that operate, theoretically at least, on a non-profit basis, driven by member needs and not capital. For instance, worker co-operatives would not accumulate the “surplus labour” in Marx’s labour theory of value, leaving them immune to accusations of exploitation and worker alienation. This paper critically examines the concept of alienation, particularly in light of a modern consumer society, and the capacity for co-operative enterprises to act as spaces of cultural resistance against global capitalism, and as agents of socialist transformation.