About Workplace Anarchy

The blog of Guile co-maintainer, Andy Wingo, has a series of blog posts detailing how the Igalia workers’ co-operative works:

This is a very interesting subject as there are few workers’ co-operatives in existence…or maybe there are a lot of them but the problem is they don’t advertise how they do business and they don’t always discuss how they do consensus-based decision making and the inner workings which could help others start their own workers’ co-operative. It’s very easy to find a million books on how to start a capitalist, non-egalitarian workplace, it’s next to impossible to find one on a co-operative.

Here are some good quotes from each of the articles…

From no master,

[…] a world without hierarchy would be a world whose people would be more self-actualized and self-aware, as they would have more responsibility over the situations that affect their lives and those around them.

From but that would be anarchy,

[…] The assembly is the ultimate decision-making body, with power over all things: bank accounts, salary levels, budgets, strategies, team assignments, etc. All company information is open to all assembly members, which currently comprises all of the people in Igalia.

[…] on a day-to-day level, unless a thread is really active on the assembly mailing list, folks just do their jobs.

[…] Since we’re a consulting shop, most people write code all day, but there are also people that primarily focus on other things: sales, team coordination (who’s available for what work when?), administrative work, finance and cash-flow monitoring, etc. This broader team allocation is also a result of consensus. [emphasis mine]

From time for money,

Salary […] is a kind of damping function between the uncertainties of income and most people’s desire for regularity and certainty. It also serves as a way for an owner to hide income from workers.

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