Rural Electric Cooperatives and the Promise of Democracy


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Mon, 04/18/2022 - 9:00am to 10:00am


A map of rural electric cooperatives in the US, from the Rural Electric Cooperative Toolkit.

Bill Resnick talks to R. K. Upadhya about worker cooperatives, which could provide the left with a way to demonstrate the democratic ideals on which the economy should be run. Bill and R.K. explore this country’s over 900 Rural Electric Cooperatives, which were built to be democratic in that the members voted on the REC’s officers and major expenditures, but were organized and structured to replicate corporate hierarchy. Recently some of these corporate RECs were challenged by member committees seeking to have the REC more involved in climate action. Bill and R. K. discuss how to stimulate worker participation in genuine cooperatives. R. K. Upadhya is an electrical engineer in the energy and resources sector, currently working for an electric utility in Texas. He wrote, “Parliaments of the Earth: The building blocks of the zero-carbon commonwealth are hiding in plain sight,” published in May of 2021 in the online journal, Logic.

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