Edited and introduced by Maliha Safri, the twin origins of this exchange—Safri's activist and scholarly work on class analyses of worker cooperatives undertaken in conjunction with the U.S. Social Forum, and, concurrently, the conversations among various members of the Association for Economic and Social Analysis around the analysis done by J. K. Gibson-Graham on worker cooperatives—offer some insight into the stakes of this discussion. As Safri tells us, these exchanges began to take a more public form at last year's Left Forum and produced the collection of essays presented here.
The current political conjuncture is dominated by enduring struggles and new dilemmas for the Left trying to stop the bleeding. The enduring financial crisis has posed the matter starkly: is neoliberalism in terminal crisis and over, or are the ruling classes intensifying its distributive norms and its political form? The outcome of the May Federal election revealed some of the same patterns: an historical consolidation of the hard Right Conservative government of Stephen Harper, and an unprecedented electoral surge for the social democratic NDP (and however harsh one is on the nature of contemporary social democracy, it is the first time that any political party in North America who has its ideological roots in socialism has captured such a significant part of the electorate and emerged as the second party).