Whereas it is well known to me and painfully well known to my freinds that I have a grudge against REI practices
and whereas, REI is still fundamentally a democracy and therefore vulnerable to the will of it’s members
and whereas, I am not alone in my estrangement, the newsgroups show many examples of thoughtful rejection of REI corporate-monkey behaviour
and whereas, although they aren’t saying what this years numbers were (?!), in 1999 the vote return was 5% eligible
and whereas, this years “ballot” is 3 positions open for which there are 3 board nominated incumbents you can “vote” for
and whereas, MEC, with 1/6th the number of stores, has the same number of members and a relativley thriving democratic culture, which suggests that it can be done,
Be it resolved,
That there is the makings of a slow-growth movement here to make REI a truly cooperative coop, which would make it one of the largest in the world. What could contribute to this. First, perhaps, creating a crysallization catalyst kernel of some sort, get REI members who share opinions on this in touch with each other, start cataloguing thoughts regarding the purpose and product of co-ops generally, and REI specifically start librarying information about the voting history and executive structure of the cooperative, start soliciting planning ideas for how to grow into a voting bloc which could influence the direction of the coop. It’s not like that many people currently vote.
A moderated weblog? A forum? A mailing list? A theory archive? All tied together?