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cooperative

Marathon

 

I remember going to the first London Marathon. We went to the East End, and were able to get through the tunnel under the Thames in time to see the runners going round the Cutty Sark.

It made the event exciting, and gave us all some exercise. Happy days.

Cutty Sark
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 13: Runners run past the Cutty Sark in Greenwich in the 2014 London Marathon on April 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

The London Marathon has stood the test of time. It has become much more comercial. This year the elite athletes are in St James Park, although you’d never really know as Mammon has insisted on advertising boards all round the route. At least London is putting it on, many others have been cancelled.

Ordinary runners (hmm) are running around their own areas. That could help build a sense of community, even worldwide.

I wish them all well.

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After Virus cooperative

Reflections

 

Sunday morning is a good time for thinking. I awoke  early. It was still dark. The BBC radio carried the news (as they saw it). Every item was about the USA. We hearing nothing about Europe these days, but plenty about the inadequate man in charge over there. He is a poor reflection of the talents to be found in that country of renegades and immigrants – they are all immigrants, but You’ll understand me.

I crawled out of bed, unable to take any more sycophancy. There’s a strong rumour that the USA is now in decline. If there is a God then that country seems to have upset her or him. They are suffering like biblical plagues. There’s Corvid-19 with about 200,000 already dead, and not much being done to stop the spread. Belief in a vaccine before Christmas is laughable, or would be if it wasn’t so serious.

At the same time Oregon and California are being ravaged by fire. Global warming hasn’t hit home enough, so thousands are leaving their smouldering homes and smoke clouds reach out to the East. They do so in gas guzzling vehicles, many of which could serve as luxury dwellings they are so huge.

Then the southern states are hit by tempests, making more people flee. As this is a free country we must hope they all have friends willing to help in their hours, days and weeks of need.

Corvid is now coming back, and this time it will hit the world economy, not just the USA. There are few contingency plans in place. Like the poor immigrants in the destroyed refugee camp in Greece there will be some unfortunates left to fend alone. Shades of the Great Depression of the 1920/30s.

Within this turmoil is unrest. The despicable treatment of the poor, in this land of the free, combined with the collapse of the economy, and increasing replacement of workers by automated machines will lead to unrest.

A major subject of discussion when I was at the London School of Economics many decades ago was overpopulation. The basic concepts have not gone away. Now they are starting to talk of part-time working to accommodate the excess.

Little in being said by the 2,000 or more billionaires about distribution of wealth. None of these people have made money by themselves. They have ALL exploited their fellow citizens of this world.

We have an excess of extremely rich folk, and that overpopulation must be addressed if people and the planet are to survive.

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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