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title: On the importance of being a cooperative (for real)
valve worker cooperative
The [Guardian article attacking Valve's claims to no bosses and a flat hierarchy are false](https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/30/no-bosses-managers-flat-hierachy-workplace-tech-hollywood) is long-overdue pushback on headlines such as [Valve: How going boss-free empowered the games-maker](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24205497). Unforturnately, the pushback is from quite a reactionary direction.
The worker-cooperative movement has never claimed Valve corporation, but given that it was many people's first introduction to a company organizational model that claimed to get rif of bosses, we should have been much more vocal— especially since we could at least point to the much smaller but longer-lived [Motion Twin](https://store.steampowered.com/developer/MotionTwin): "an anarcho-syndical (seriously) workers cooperative that's been making games in France since 2001. No boss, equal pay, equal say. It’s an experiment and an experience!" Read this [article](https://kotaku.com/game-studio-with-no-bosses-pays-everyone-the-same-1827872972) for more on Motion Twin; they plan to keep their flat structure by staying small.
We should have been citing Jo Freeman's [Tyranny of Structurelessness](https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm) right away and talked about the ways cooperatives seek to institute democratic structuring, and how [approaches continue to evolve to handle greater scale](https://gitlab.com/mlncn/presentations/blob/master/scaling-community-decision-making/worker-cooperatives.md) grounded firmly in principles of collective control and one person, one vote.
If you search for "Valve" and "worker cooperative" you're as likely to find a 1980 book, the [History of Work Cooperation in America](http://www.red-coral.net/WorkCoops.html), talking about emigration to the United States being Britain's attempt at a safety valve against revolution, or [new food-growing worker-owned cooperatives being formed in Western Massachusetts](https://www.masslive.com/business-news/index.ssf/2017/06/wellspring_harvest_cuts_ribbon_for_food-.html) on the site of the former Chapman Valve company, which presumably made, you know, actual valves. (Or even the 51% government-owned "worker cooperative" [struggling in Venezuela](https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2520) back in 2007.)
Within days of the leak, [two commenters](https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/169063/From_the_editor_Valves_handbook_and_the_trust_phenomenon.php) talking about it from the perspective of [Distributism](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism) made the salient point that the workers in Valve's "flat hierarchy" are *just workers, not owners*: