Upon reading the Genossenschaftsgesetz (i.e., GenG; German cooperative law) I have come to understand this legal form is not fit for the Liberate Science project. It provides a good framework for writing statutes, but the moral of the law is too different from the aim of a worker cooperative I’d like to build. 1/10 would recommend spending time reading it
The German coop law seems to be focused on consumer cooperatives, from which it seems to me two main problematic points arise:
- Membership needes to be open to everyone under a predetermined membership fee (GenG §7)
- Membership is inheritable (GenG §77)
The GenG does not allow for deviations from these in spirit (GenG §18) and oppose the worker cooperative spirit.
(1) is problematic because becoming a member of a worker cooperative entails it to be a job, including a wage. It would make sustainability a clear issue if people can become members and drain the balance through wages.
(2) is problematic because inheritance is a property-based idea, and membership of the coop is not something that is property. I don’t think inheriting jobs is a good idea.
Nonetheless, there are good things in the GenG that can be used for drafting the statutes. I include some references to articles that I noted down that may be of interest at a later stage.
||Rough translation of contents
||Voting rules (a reference only)
||Investing members (this is a good example of a bad thing)
||Changing the statutes
||Loans to members
||Liability of members
||Open member list
||Calling a General Assembly in case of negative balance
||General Assembly; voting rights
Now I will explore the GmbH as a better framework for a worker cooperative (see also here for a similar outcome in reasoning). IT-Kollektiv says to be a worker coop in a GmbH form, so I contacted them a few weeks ago asking for a copy of their statutes, but have not heard back. I will invite a lawyer onto the forum quite soon who specialized in GmbH so finding out the GenG is not really a good framework might be a good thing in the long run? We’ll see.