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What is an anarchist critique of a non-profit food co-op?

0 votes
What would be a better solution to food access under capitalism?

Thanks for the responses, after reading through them I wanted to add another perspective... that of the 'bourgeoisification' (for lack of a better word) and consequently increasing prices of basic sustenance foods, as it's happened with quinoa, greens, cheap meat cuts, etc. I think this process of making cheap stuff cool and desirable happens in many different ways but grocery stores have important choices to make about prices, selection, and marketing.
asked Mar 7, 2013 by formyinformation (2,440 points)
edited Mar 8, 2013 by formyinformation
In asking for a better solution under capitalism, you are asking a question that many here will reject outright- there is no "better" under capitalism any more than there were more comfortable deck chairs on the titanic as it went down. All of the choices are bad, and especially if you are engaging in a capitalist exchange for the food you ask about.

Expropriation, gleaning, or just straight mooching are all agreat ways to get food. Working and then shopping at a co-op is fine, but it is not better somehow than not paying for food. And everyone shopping at co-ops means that we have mass produced vegetables and fair-traded items picked and manufactured by people who still have to do so to live, and sold to us by people doing the same.

It also means we feel good about our purchases and equate them with having done the right thing. Which can be where we start to relate that sense of having done right with black and white morals and binary ideas of what are or aren't good ways of dealing, when it is really all dependent on many things.

Instead, I would posit that we should be looking for ways to avoid shopping altogether, and recognize that sometimes we choose to shop at co-ops to lessen our impact in a game withno good outcomes, and that sometimes we shop at Safeway or Kroger, or Walmart because it is what we have to do, can afford to do, or is just the easiest way to have a limited engagement with capitalism. Neither is good, and in some cases what is worse isn't as clear as it might seem.

2 Answers

+2 votes
Better solution? Mass expropriation. Ahem.

Farms and small-scale horticulture (both urban and rural) could be another option, but tend to have complicated issues re: space, labor, finances, and so on.

I don't really have any "criticisms" of the concept of a non-profit food co-op other than that people shouldn't pretend that it's somehow revolutionary, but I don't know whether that's what's being implied here.
answered Mar 7, 2013 by Rice Boy (8,730 points)
How would mass expropriation be a sustainable solution? Unless it was used to usher in some alternative?

Of course we don't need a 'sustainable' solution, but I mean just sustainable at least while we're still under capitalism.
Theoretically, mass expropriation would be just as sustainable as a food co-op, since both rely on capitalist chains of production and transport. Unless you mean food co-op as in a co-op that grows food.

Long-term/sustainable solution is, obviously, growing food. Maybe especially taking land to grow food on.
–2 votes
i think that a critique of a non-profit food co-op would be under some variable criteria such as

is the food free, at cost, or other?
are the workers paid or are they donating their time? if they donate their time, are they compensated in other ways?
what is the quality of the food?
what is the quality of the food's livelihood during growth?

any co-op should self assess as per the general values of the group and outside assessment should probably count too. maybe more in some situations.
answered Mar 8, 2013 by anonymous
.. and is the food grown with respect for the land?