To The Editor,
I attended a forum advertised as a collaboration between the Olympia Food Coop and the Olympia Library on July 29th. “Co-op Principles in Action” written in bold. The flyer read: “One way Cooperatives are unique from other business structures is that they adhere to a set of International Cooperative Principles that have to do with member participation, concern for community….”
Interestingly, this event fell so close to the 3rd anniversary of the OFC’s boycott of Israel.
At the forum, a senior co-op staffer claimed that OFC was member owned and very committed to membership involvement. He repeated those “facts” numerous times.
OFC is not a “co-op”. It is a non-profit Corporation that is member supported. It is precisely why the “co-op” prevailed in the boycott lawsuit. They declared that important fact and therefore, legally, could ignore the membership and override the stated boycott bylaw policy.
Involve the membership? Concern for Community? The “co-op” poked a finger in the eye of the Jewish community (and MANY others) and didn’t care. Since that time there has been no effort to address or rectify their mistake. And they claim to be a co-op?
The editorial’s heading in the October 2010 Olympia Power & Light read: “What went wrong with the co-op boycott of Israel”. You highlighted: “In the two years since proponents first proposed the boycott, there was no concerted effort – by anyone, including boycott organizers or the Co-op Board – to engage in a broader community dialogue,” and also wrote: “So the Board screwed up in several ways. They made up the rules as they went along… and they did the process precisely backwards”.
The recent event was hypocritical, misleading and disingenuous because none of the “co-op” principles were put into action. All the “co-op” accomplished was fracturing our community.
(22yr. former member, volunteer, and two term Board member)