Open accesscreativecommonsPeer reviewed/Research article
Published: December 2022

The new cooperativism, the commons, and the post-capitalist imaginary 

Marcelo VietaORCID and Doug Lionais

Vol 55 No 3, pp. 9-24

How to cite this article: Vieta, M. & Lionais, D. (2022). The new cooperativism, the commons, and the post-capitalist imaginary. Journal of Co-operative Studies. 55(3), 9-24.


This article explores the intersection of the commons and co-operatives resonating with the concept and practices of today’s new cooperativism. We argue that the commons, understood as a transformative vision for the social stewardship of vital dimensions of social and economic life, is a key animator of the co-operative difference and that the new cooperativism re-establishes co-operatives within their radical commons heritage. We begin the article with a brief review of the history of co-operatives and their relationship to capitalism and crises. We then explore the issue of the commons as a unifying force of post-capitalistic thought and practice and connect it to the new cooperativism. To illustrate the possibilities inherent to the co-operative form for a more radical, post-capitalist vision, we then turn our attention to an illustrative case of new cooperativism today — Argentina’s worker-recuperated enterprises. This case demonstrates the potential vibrancy of commons-based co-operatives for a post-capitalist alternative, offering tantalising details of the new cooperativism in practice. The final section provides a discussion of new cooperativism’s possibilities for organising the commons and catalysing post-capitalist imaginaries.



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