Arizmendiarrieta at 100

TU Lankide

22 April 2015, was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga, the founder of the Mondragon co-operatives.

An important event to commemorate the birth of the man who inspired the Cooperative Experience which started in Arrasate-Mondragón. “Don José María”, as he was known by his fellow students, was a visionary priest (ideologist of projects such as Caja Laboral Popular, Ikerlan, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Alecop, Auzo Lagun…), a tireless worker and a creator of hope and shared community projects. In short, a unique person to whom the Basque co-op movement wish to pay a double tribute: firstly, in recognition of both his role and his contribution to business and social development; and secondly, to disseminate his ideals and delve deeper into the Arizmendian values.

In TU lankide, the magazine founded by Arizmendiarrieta himself, Mondragon wants to add its small part in this celebration by contributing a series of biographical notes, various interviews and opinion pieces which we have selected for thisquasi-monographic issue. Thus, throughout the year, both in paper format and on the www.tulankide.com website, they will be publishing news articles related to the centenary anniversary.

Read the full text:- TU-enero-febrero-2015-INGLÉS1

Can we do it ourselves?

Interesting new film from Sweden about how worker co-operatives can change the entire capitalist economy to economic democracy.

Why do we put up with authoritarianism at work on a scale that in the rest of society would be regarded as an advanced dictatorship?

Commemorating the ’84 Miners’ Strike

Two groups whose activities during the ’84 miners’ strike inspired the hit film Pride were reunited for the first time in three decades.

Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners’ Group (LGSM) members and the Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valley Miners’ Support Group held a 30th anniversary reunion on Sat 14th March 2015 at the Onllwyn Miners Welfare Hall in the Dulais Valley. The Hall is also known unofficially as the Palace of Culture, a sign of the strong communist influences here over time.

Onllwyn Hall

My partner Lynne and I were lucky enough to get tickets, and thanks to the kind assistance of Dai Donovan, were sat right at the front in the VIP seats with our friend Alison, and introduced to our neighbours. Still not sure why Dai took such good care of us, but thanks anyway. Continue reading

Time to update the Co-op Principles?

This article has now been published by Co-op News. Read the article on Co-operative News Website:-

http://www.thenews.coop/94300/news/general/time-to-extend-the-seven-co-operative-principles/

or read on……

The Seven Co-operative Principles were last updated and formally adopted by the International Co‑operative Alliance at Congress in Manchester in 1995 http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html

They are based on the eight original Rochdale Principles, and have been updated and amended periodically.

Why change is needed

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the world doesn’t stand still. Over the last few decades we have seen enormous changes in the world in which we, the co-operative movement, have to survive.

In the past in the UK, and still today in some parts of the world, the co-operative movement is a powerful, and sometimes dominant player in the economy. Where they are, they bring a long-term approach to economic development and stability in the marketplace. However, most of the movement exists as an island of sanity in a sea of rampant capitalism. We may not like it, but that’s how it is, and we need to both live with that and at the same time grow ourselves out of it. Continue reading

Remembering Terry Pratchett

In 1986 I was editor of a Cardiff based trades union newspaper, Union Eyes. I put together a piece about events at Hinkley Point A Power Station two years earlier, which although over the water in Somerset, has Cardiff in its direct line of fire if anything goes badly wrong.
This was a story that started with a leaked document, some pages from the Turbine Hall Basement logbook, which was sent anonymously to Paddy Ashdown’s office. I spoke to his researcher to find out more, but they had sent a copy to an engineering academic to look at and advise them of its significance, and were unwilling to send me one as well. As an ex Power Station Manager who had spent a short time at Hinkley I was confident that if I saw it, I could work out what had actually happened. Without a copy I was stymied, so I rang the CEGB Press Office in Bristol, where I spoke to an exceptionally helpful man.
“Did I have a copy of the leaked document?” “Well, no actually, I don’t.” “Would you like a copy….would a photo be helpful well?” He couldn’t have been more helpful, and bear in mind not only was this effectively stolen goods, but CEGB policy was not to release any more information than was in the public domain already. I thanked him and as an ex-employee myself, promised “not to be too unfair to the CEGB”.

Continue reading

Have we got common ownership right?

I know it goes against the commonly held mantra of how we build the commonweal but do we need to reconsider when and where common ownership of the capital is appropriate, particularly for worker co-operatives?

Common ownership allows for the growth of strong organisations which will outlive the founder members, whilst allowing them and other members to get their investment back at some point. For our predominantly retail consumer societies this makes good sense. Continue reading

Why we need to update the Co-operative Principles

The Seven Co-operative Principles were last updated and formally adopted by the International Co‑operative Alliance at Congress in Manchester in 1995 http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html
They are based on the eight original Rochdale Principles, and have been updated amended periodically.

Why change is needed
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the world doesn’t stand still. Over the last few decades we have seen enormous changes in the world in which we, the co-operative movement, have to survive.

In the past in the UK, and still today in some parts of the world, the co-operative movement is a powerful, and sometimes dominant player in the economy. Where they are, they bring a long-term approach to economic development and stability in the marketplace. However, most of the movement exists as an island of sanity in a sea of rampant capitalism. We may not like it, but that’s how it is, and we need to both live with that and at the same time grow ourselves out of it. Continue reading

WCVA Third Sector Awards

PreFab, the clothes recycling operation of the Cardiff YMCA Housing Association (of which I’m acting Chair) came second in the Third Sector Environmental Awards on 29th January 2015

Had a great evening at the Marriott Hotel in Cardiff at the awards dinner – meeting old friends and getting up to receive the award from Jason Mohammed.

IMG_2216

Seen here with Johnathan from Class Telecoms (Sponsor), Tony Mildon (Staff), Lisa Wells (Manager), Toni Kemp (Trustee) and Jason Mohammed (BBC Wales).

Continue reading

Ways Forward 3 – A New Era for Co-operative Development

I had the pleasure of speaking at this Conference, organised by Co-operative Business Consultants on Jan 23rd at the Central Hall in Manchester, which was attended by 88 people, including a number by video link from Italy, France, Argentina, USA and Quebec.

My presentations are as below:-

Co-operative Development

Social Care Co-operatives

See more presentations on the CBC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cooperativebusinessconsultants

Everyone’s Business

The Wales Co-operative Centre have started a new blog, looking at issues of poverty in Wales

The blog is now up and running on http://www.everyonesbusiness.coop/en/

My contribution is as below:-

Co-operating for self-employment

Nothing overcomes poverty better than well-paid work. It not only provides income, but it helps to develop people’s sense of self worth. A job provides our sense of identity. Even when unemployed we desire to be an unemployed something, not just a non-entity.

The fastest growing sector of our economy is the self-employed. Once derided by business development specialists as “lifestyle businesses” self employment is rapidly becoming a very large part of our economy. Continue reading