Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Worst Case Scenario

Around 200 people attend General Meetings each month. 200 out of 16,000. How many people read the Gazette every time it’s published? How many people support BDS? How many people oppose it? How many people don’t know enough to make an informed opinion? How many people are aware there are coop members who want the coop to join it? How many people have never heard of it?

I don’t know. But let’s imagine a possible scenario, keeping in mind that the numbers of people mentioned are total guesses.

It begins with BDS supporters submitting a BDS proposal to the agenda committee. The item is scheduled for a General Meeting. Although the BDS group knows they have submitted the proposal, and they will know at the beginning of the month their item is on the agenda, the rest of the coop will be informed 5 days before the General Meeting, when the agenda is published in the Linewaiters Gazette.

While the BDS supporters will have months to prepare their presentation and bring out their people, those opposed to BDS will have a mere few days to prepare. Will we know how to respond? Will we be  prepared for the lies and distortions?

At the General Meeting, BDS will make their presentation. Discussion will ensue. People will be “outraged,” “highly offended,” and “righteously indignant.” There will be very little clarity. The question will be called and a vote taken. How will the vote go? Maybe there will be 125 abstentions, 40 in favor and 35 against. By a margin of 5 votes BDS passes. Who knows?

The meeting results are posted on the internet and spread like wildfire. 1000 coop members resign, requesting the return of their $100 member investment. The coop has to come up with $100,000. Weekly sales drop by $50,000, which is about $10,000 in mark-up. 5 coop staffers are laid off.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Through education we can strengthen our supporters. Through organization we can be prepared. We can prevent BDS at our coop.

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