Friday, January 30, 2015

An Open Letter to an Unelected Board Member at the Honest Weight Corpop

I must say, I was disappointed and frankly annoyed during our recent discussion of happenings at the "Coop" when you voiced your admiration of Ned DePew after things I said. Why disappointed and annoyed? Because I am not Ned. I may share some things with Ned, I may express some similar ideas to Ned, but I am not Ned. So please don't patronise me.

I am me, myself, and I. Me, myself, and I are 60 years old. We have bachelors', masters', and doctoral degrees. We were a member of a Coop in Bloomington, Indiana in the 1970s when it, as is the case with "Honest Weight Coop" in Albany, was a real coop in more than name only. The moral of this tale: I know the actual history of coops and I know how "coops" have been corporatised over the years thanks to a variety of economic, political, demographic, and cultural/ideological forces. Shades of Max Weber.

As a student of human action I am very familiar with how power works. It is quite clear to anyone with empirical eyes that the LT is acquiring more and more power and using it to steer the Corp in their direction with the help of their allies (some might call them cronies), on the Board (not to mention the Membership Committee). Shades of Niccolo Machiavelli and Michel Foucault. One instance of this increasing control of the store by the LT is the sudden unwillingness of the LT to be evaluated by "staff". They did not, as far as I know, express this discontent several years ago when Ned was part of the evaluation team. Let me add that as far as I am concerned Ned knows more about the actual empirical real workings of the store than an ad hoc committee made up of members who are only briefly in the store on a weekly basis. By the way, compare the evaluation of the LT with that of staff who are evaluated by people who actually have seen us work quite extensively.

While I do not share Ned's point of view about everything one thing I do share with Ned is a revulsion that the Board Meeting to which Ned, a duly elected member of the Board (so much for the notion that HWCorp is membership run democracy), was excluded in an act of what looks very much like ideological apartheid. Shame. Fascinating here is that you, a member of the Board who was not elected, presumably attended this secret meeting. And did you express qualms about this action? Ethicists and moralists want to know.

It is long past time for the Corpop to decide what it wants to be: an institution that is member run as it says on our entrance wall or a corporation run by an elite hierarchy that calls secret meetings to do an end around member democracy. It is time to be honest. Either coop or corporation is fine with me. What isn't fine with me is the what we have now, coop/corporate hybrid Honest Weight that invariably breeds hypocrisy. And it is for this reason that I may be turning in my membership card.

In other displays of power news Indiana Republican lawmakers are vowing to strip the power of the democratically elected Democratic State Superintendent of Education. Apparently they prefer intellectual apartheid and political correctness, Republican and hence corporate political correctness. Ah, the old I'm OK, you are not OK, if you want to be OK, you need to think just like me, OK.

In other Corpop news, a new human resources bureaucratic has been hired by the Corpop. If the blushing release from the LT is exhaustive, the new human resources bureaucrat has no coop experience. According to the same document he does have a lot of corporate grocery store experience, however. It is always nice when tea leaves like these right are so easy to interpret.

No comments:

Post a Comment