Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learning About Bridges to 21st Century Socialism

Mondragon Diaries: Day One: Why Humanity Comes First at Work

By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin' On

“This is not paradise and we are not angels.”
--Mikal Lezamiz, Director of Cooperative Dissemination, MCC

After a short bus ride through the stone cobbled streets of Arrasate-Mondragon and up the winding roads of this humanly-scaled industrial town of Spain's Basque country in a sunny fall morning, taking in the birch and pine covered mountains, and the higher ones with magnificent stony peaks, I raised an eyebrow at the first part of Mikel's statement. The area was breath-takingly beautiful, and if it wasn't paradise, it came close enough.

I'm with a group of 25 social activists on a study tour organized by the Praxis Project. Our focus the the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a 50-year-old network of nearly 120 factories and agencies, involving nearly 100,000 workers in one way or another, and centered in the the Basque Country but now spanning the global. We here to study the history of these unique worker-owned factories, how they work, why they have been successful, and how they might be expanded in various ways as instruments of social change. Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Project is our cheerful and helpful tour leader, but Mikel is in charge of teaching us what he knows.

Follow Carl Davison on his review of the Mondragon experience HERE.

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