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After Virus cooperative

Capitalism

The morning started well. I woke up! That’s always a positive sign. One day that may not be the case.I switched on my aged Apple, put in the password, hit (such an aggressive action) Return – nothing happened. I rebooted. Same problem. Slowly I realised that the Return key was not working. That’s why this is one long paragraph, unless I can recall the html!

There’s been a delay – then I remembered that I had a spare keyboard. Having dug that out, I found that it works. All that needs to happen now if me to remember what I was going to write about!

cooperation

A picture is worth a thousand words. Capitalism was the subject. Let’s start with the Bible: Revelations 13. I urge you to read your Bible, as this is not a detailed exposition. Suffice it for me to say there were two beasts; one from the sea; one from the land; both were enemies of God.

My interpretation is that they represent the way we have structured our society. In brief, they are capitalism. This exploitative state allows our leaders, whoever they may purport to represent, to exploit. That exploitation extends to everything. They exert rape and pillage upon the whole earth. They do so for their own ends.

That’s enough for today – tell me what you think.

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cooperative

Real Danger

The United Kingdom is at a crossroads. As events unfold history will reveal which way it jumped. These are the death throes of Empire. Those oppressed or hard done by the pounding boot of domination are now able to voice their discontent.

This is not to complain. We have become an identifiable tyrant, and probably deserve to be castigated.

There is one element that is too often ignored. The English peasant was not responsible for all this pain. Like the German thugs who emerged during Nazism, or the untrained police officer in the USA, or soldiers everywhere – we just did as we were told by our lords and masters. Look around Britain at the stately homes, now largely controlled by the National Trust, a charity that allows the peasantry on to these estates for a mere £72 a year, so they can admire the splendour.

How these people acquired such wealth is rarely mentioned. Peasants were grateful for jobs below stairs, as servants paid a pittance plus the scraps from their master’s table.

The First World War changed the structure of society. Servants we nt easy to find, and they made outrageous demands, of proper pay, time off, reasonable living conditions. All too much. At least money still flowed in from the colonies, most now peopled by ex-slaves.

Within a short space of time Britain’s elite found an excuse. The Second World War changed the income stream. Now business emerged, especially the arms industry, and the populace could be made to pay by an efficient tax collection system. Pay as You Earn ensures the coffers remained full.

Work became the watchword. You all need a job, is still a watchword. With a job we can all be kept reasonably content. A wide range of taxes would hardly be noticed. Income tax was paid, with National Insurance (ostensibly to pay for the NHS, pensions and social services), then VAT on everything that is bought, Council Tax for local services, Capital Gains tax, North Sea Oil production, taxing the banks, and many more taxes, such as business rates, fuel and vehicle taxes. In every case it is the peasant who pays. They are bottom the pile. The only trickle down we are likely to see is the paying of taxes.

Now we have Crvid-19. That’s got ’em worried. Some are making fortunes, gambling on the falling rate of Sterling, or linking to foreign owners and a plethora f tax avoidance schemes. Amazon pays a paltry £14-14 million in tax for an income of over £3 BILLION. The peasantry have discovered that it is easier to work from home! We have the technology! They may be working for anonymous bosses now bt how any will stay tied to these conglomerates, many of which are foreign owned?

They may choose tocreate worker-cooperatives, such as Mondragon in Spain, https://www.mondragon-corporation.com/en/about-us/ which has grown exponentially as the workers share control and profits.

This is not the time for predictions, but this country has the money, expertise and resources. It’s just in the wrong hands. As automation assists then work may not be so necessary. A Universal Basic Income could reduce fear. Cooperation could bring rewards.

We will see.

Categories
cooperative Lockwood

Cooperative

Cooperation

Most of the world assumes it works in a democracy. The word has been much used, and abused, over the years. It was never intended to be for ‘all the people’, even the Greeks only allowed Citizens, about 10% of the people, the right to vote.

Today we are being subsumed by a new power. No longer are nation states in charge of their own destinies (if they ever were). Large business corporations dominate, and control how we will all live – and work. That last word needs explanation. With capitalism the worker is engaged to make a profit for the owner. There is no other relevant reason. The owner has obligations, to suppliers, workers and pays taxes to governments. The taxes are vital to keep the political power elite able to exercise control.

This essay could easily become a critique of capitalism, but that’s to be avoided. The assumption must be that this system no longer serves the population properly. One man started a company in 2004, he now is worth billions, perhaps even trillions, and shows no sign modifying his behaviour.

There are other ways, and I’ll start with my favourite – which is a cooperative (often the network insists on using co-operative) organisation started in 1956 in the Basque region of Spain. One of the attributes of this lovely region is that historically there were three distinct groups of people: Varduli, Caristii and Autrigones.

These groups may have some DNA linkages with the Celts of Scotland and Ireland, but that’s an aside that lacks substantive proof. They are likely to be the oldest Europeans

‘On 14th April 1956, whilst many people of Mondragón were discreetly and rather warily celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Second Republic, Father José María Arizmendiarrieta was blessing the foundation stone of Ulgor, a company with a name which drew together the identity of the founders: Luis Usatorre, Jesús Larrañaga, Alfonso Gorroñogoitia, José María Ormaechea and Javier Ortubay.

They had to wait almost three years until May 1959, as Jesús Larrañaga recalls in the introduction, for the first bylaws of Talleres Ulgor to be approved.

Father Arizmendiarrieta and Ormaechea went on foot from the old building of the Escuela Profesional, today Mondragon Eskola Politeknikoa, to the piece of land known as Laxarte, where they had already bought a plot for 27 euro cents (45 pesetas) per square metre. Ormaechea was in charge of methodically measuring out the plot and a fortnight later building work started on the MONDRAGON Experience’s first production plant: a 750m2 two-storey concrete structure.’

Have a look at the Mondragon story – and get excited. Then we will continue.

https://www.mondragon-corporation.com