Co-ops: Taking the scenic route to a revolution: Will your fascist government cooperate with co-ops? Mine… most definitely will not!
Whats that you say? You live in a democracy… this sounds boring and cliche… you don’t have a fascist dictator ruling your country with an iron fist? Wait, ask yourself, how sure you are about that?
If you answered a) I live in a fascist state, then skip to < Ⓐ >
If you answered b) I live in a democracy… then continue reading here >
Democracy is supposed to mean the government is “by the people for the people”, and its sole function is to do only what the majority of citizens want, “The will of the majority”. Democracies function best when the electorate participates in the democracy, and when the votes are counted equally. The word democracy intuitively sparks a positive emotion in most people, we are conditioned to believe that it is the peak of a free and just society. It’s too bad the sad actuality is that somehow year after year we aren’t really better off. In my country the majority of people agree that the government is unaccountable, they should be more transparent, and have lost the moral authority to continue governing… yet nothing is done to impeach the leadership (likely because people feel the other candidate options are just more of the same, so why bother). As an example, if you really had a pure/direct democracy, wouldn’t your country do as Iceland did, hold a referendum, and let the voice of the people decide what to do about the blackmailing power of the banksters (the economic terrorists)? How does your ‘democracy’ represent you? Is your country truly prosperous, innovative, safe, clean, just, etc.? Did you have a voice in the decision to fund a war with your tax dollars? I’ve noticed the modern version of democracy is really good at doing one thing: taking gazillions of dollars out of the hands of hardworking laborers and putting it into the hands of the ruling elite. Leading me to believe the modern form of democracy has an open door for abuse and has ironically become a force for oppression. So… what was so great about a democracy again?
A fascist governmental system on the other hand, is led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry and commerce, merging the corporate and state power together, and emphasizing an aggressive, often racist nationalism. > Sound like any governments you know?
You might not be ready to accept the fact that you live under a fascist dictator, but at the very least you should be able to draw the conclusion that you live under a type of elected dictatorship. A system where there all candidates on the ballot are in the pocket of the corporate interests who funded their campaigns and where you vote every 4 or 5 years but the only thing that your vote accomplishes is a validation of the overall system that controls you. There are no obligations by law and little incentives for elected officials to base their decisions on the wishes on their electorate. Could it be that your politicians are just your all-powerful masters? Yes, yes it could be…. when it comes to the political arena, power corrupts and they have systematic ways of making sure they maintain complete power. If you have begrudgingly concluded that you do in fact live in an elected dictatorship, let me just say once, there is not much that can stop a fascist structure of power from taking over your government completely.
< Ⓐ >
Do you feel vaguely defeated, possibly nauseated by the very thought of what a daunting task it would be to put the decision making power into the hands of ‘the people’ so that once and for all humanity could prosper in a safe, clean, free world? Right now there is zero political will from the energy superpowers to stop our addiction to oil. The industrial age of mass production has enjoyed some good times but overall it has been such an incredibly destructive force upon the health of the planet and human rights that it has become an obvious dead end. What are the odds the industrial giants that control us all will just die peacefully in the night? … not bloody likely. So its worth asking, why do people put up with it, and how do our rulers hold on to their power? The formula for controlling someone has always been then same, and its very simple. The master beats the slave down physically and mentally. In 2012 this is done physically through tyranny: police state tactics, the militarization of police, the growing surveillance state, and also through poisoning people: the chemical soup we are exposed to daily not only makes you physically ill but has the added bonus of lobotomizing you… Yeeeaa lobotomies for everyone! *I just referred to you as the slave in that relationship. Then there is the mental beat down: the ‘propaganda machine’ it’s pushed on you by the corporate media and focuses on serving a small handful of interests, the economic terrorism you are subjected to is achieved through a capitalist society: by regulating, licensing, taxing, as well as the selling of national sovereignty to the banking cartel, (who use their own magic tools of inflation and debt to enslave). Wait there is more…. it’s like there is almost a type of priesthood protecting accepted myths of capitalism. Challenging the morality or practicality of the status quo is met with contempt. Fifty percent of the world lives in urban centers, it’s quite possibly those people don’t want to admit they have been dooped into sacrificing most of their lives to the rat race. Also there are a ton of people who are actually working for and/ or people who are currently dependent on the government in one way or another, those people will definitely be the last ones to question the system. I’m seriously starting to ramble… what is my point.. Oh yes, this ol’ pickle of a situation can seem rather daunting! Well, don’t fret, we still have some options available to us. We’ve got ways to fight back and challenge the governments overall shortsighted, oppressive agenda. I take inspiration from the old saying, “the stone age didn’t end because the world ran out of stones”. Translation,‘we the people’ will have to choose to move forward in a new direction and just make the old system obsolete. Your fascist government recognizes that a shift of that type holds the key to their vulnerability. They can not allow large numbers of people to opt out… think of the loss of revenue, and thus loss of power? Is it strange that to be successful in that the dirty game of politics a candidate must be motivated by greed and have an addiction to power? Is it too skeptical to believe that is the case? Is this what our ‘democracies” have been reduced to? The results are in, politicians don’t just lie a little or believe they speak the truth and then get stuck in a corner, they full blown blatantly speak lies whenever they feel it will serve their interests. I am speaking about national politics mostly. I would hate to dis on the few wide eyed, selfless, intelligent individuals who for the greater good of society carry the public trust close to heart and are intent on upholding justice and creating a better world for the next generation… there are a few people like this around working at the local or regional levels. But to think that these people reflect who the majority of politicians are would just be naive.
Any example of a successful economic, social, and political model, that actually gives
people control of their lives and at the same time gives them a better quality of life would be at odds with the current system. It would magnify the fallacy of the biggest orchestrated myth going today… could it be that we don’t need the government to provide services to us and that if they didn’t do it, someone still would. Yes, they would like you to believe that the system is near perfect, that there is a complicated and delicate balance at work and that the only people who can understand and manage the complexities of the current system are our ‘honorable’ politicians. The cherry on top of this propaganda is when they say that not only do we somehow NOT have the capacity to provide for ourselves but also that we neeeeed to constantly consume and not create. Of course none of that is true, gone are these old ideas. The education system is outdated, the environment and all plant and animal life is heading toward a catastrophic collapse, we produce more than enough necessities for everyone on the planet but we don’t share (because of capitalism), our human rights are somehow being systematically squandered away, our governments rule us ~ not represent us, economies are run on death, destruction and war, too often science and technology are hijacked by big business and government and used against the betterment of society, censorship is rampant, the list goes on and on… surly we can do better. Criticism is not only valid but desperately needed, ‘the people’ are tired of not being heard!! Currently, our governments have little public support yet they yield immense power over our lives. This is precisely why your fascist government is actually hostile towards co-operatives. They will do anything in order keep their strangle hold on power, including tightened their grip on your liberty. Co-ops serve as reminders of how a real democracy works, and function as micro political communities, and whoa… actually serve the commons! Co-ops can revolutionize the world by empowering people to creatively collaborate with each other in order to control their futures and they offer up options that your government won’t because there is no way to profit from it. Eight-y percent of the population on the planet live on less than 10 dollars a day. Co-operatives can remove the chains of poverty which in turn will offer: stability, peace of mind of, and free time for people to explore their individual creative potential. Our greatest human qualities are our creativity, curiosity, and compassion they are pretty much the only reason we have survived this long as a species: allowing us to produce innovative solutions and push humanity forward. We need to continuously change with the times. The revolution is always now, it has never stopped.
The basic model is this: A group of people come together driven by economic and/or social concerns about the needs and the quality of life in their communities. They collaborate and share a vision of the co-op model they would like to see developed. Co-ops are owned by the members who use the services and/or are employed there. The overall goal is to meet the common needs of their members (whereas the primary purpose of most investor-owned businesses is to maximize profit for shareholders). They vote on the decisions that need to be made for the business, it’s always a one-member/ one-vote system (not the one-vote-per-share system used by most businesses). Surplus profits are returned to the members and, therefore, remain within the community! Unlike the private, public, or voluntary sectors, all co-operatives around the world are guided by the same seven principles:
1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation
4. Autonomy and independence
5. Education, training, and information
6. Co-operation among co-operatives
7. Concern for community
I am yet to see a scenario where the co-op model isn’t a workable solution to any given frustration or problem at the local, national, or international level. The co-op model’s potential for transforming society is only limited by imagination. Co-ops are more than just a grass-roots economic transformation, they are also very much a political and social transformation as well. Educating and empowering the poor and middle class to find economic freedom will cause ripples effecting all aspects of life directly and indirectly. The potential of such a massive shift, and how it might resonate through a global revolution could prove to be the catalyst that will finally establish world peace.
Ultimately, the politics behind co-operatives are at odds with the driving force behind our current style of government. People who believe in co-ops also believe in a social system where you enjoy total freedom, and at the end of the day you have the right to own what you have produced.
Capitalism, on the other hand is more based on workers not having control of what they make, how they make it, or the final product. It tends to leaves the door wide open for exploitation and oppression.
For example, Canada’s fascist government has taken the first swing in an undeclared war on co-ops, yes that is true. The real question is why? …calculating, it could be that co-ops are starting to threaten their agenda. By agenda, please do assume I mean the classic overall fascist agenda aka the corporate agenda. Canada, or Harperland as it is affectionately known, has a solid track record of condemning science. I really can’t stress that enough, our appointed Minster of Science and Technology… is a born again Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution… ahhem* yes you read that right. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a flying fuck what religion someone wants to practice (until they start getting preachy that is) but surely the skeptic alarm should be ringing…. was he the best candidate for the job… or is he a puppet? Oh wait now, what a coincidence, Harperlands new approach toward science is to: muzzle government scientist (they aren’t allowed to speak to the press), cut research funding to anyone who finds results that may contradict ANYTHING that the government has proclaimed to be right direction forward, or anything they would rather ignore and sweep under the rug, wait… there is more patheticness, once upon a time the National Research Council WAS funded for pure science research and development… now it’s been “refocused” and transformed into a “concierge” for business solutions. The hounds have been released. Couple that information with the fact that Harper also chronically makes careless and shortsighted decisions when it comes to the environment. He has changed laws to allow his minions to go after “environmental terrorists”. In Harperland that means internationally respected, charitable environmental groups. They have restrict the amount of environmental review allowed for mining and drilling projects down to a shadow of what it once was. This is done in the name of the economy, the reason that fear tactic is still actually working is only proof that this revolution is just getting started… the sleeping giant will one day awake and be very angry that it has been fooled into believing the government deserved to be trusted (but that is not a story for today). I could go on for days about the crimes of this fascist government, but I will bite my tongue (soo much tongue biting happening right now). The point of this little rant is to tell you what exactly has been happening here. Part of Harper’s masochistic seduction of big oil and gas is to offer up every inch of land and sea to exploitation, and that includes drilling for oil in the gulf of St. Lawrence. There was some public outcry, loud even for a bit there, the government’s position was to ignore it (of course). So a group of scientist quietly got together and decided that even if they could not stop this madness, at least they could start documenting it…. ya know, rolling with the punches, making an attempt to at least let history be the judge of these events. They started a research co-operative to monitor and document their findings. They are one awesome little co-op and I would swear on… on.. my keyboard that they caught Harper’s attention! When someone gives Harper a double take or questions him in any way he bites back, a classic Harper move is to alienate or completely eliminate any thing he perceives as a threat. The events that have unfold since then are not so much directly related to the actions of that specific co-op… but instead paint an image of why the fascists have decided to start attacking the co-ops here. They challenge the status quo on many levels and are very empowering. This research co-op got a small amount funding for some start up costs through a government funded programmed called Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI). Two weeks after their approval the CDI was eliminated! The CDI had operated for ten years with an annual budget of 4 million/y ($= a small coin in Canada’s pocket) and its role was to support new and emerging co-operatives. It was very successful. In its life time it supported the creation of more than 300 new community-based co-operatives, provided advice and assistance to more than 1,600 groups interested in developing co-ops, and aided the development of 700 existing co-operatives. The attack continues, next the fascist cut 90% of the budget to the Rural and Cooperatives Secretariat, they have been around since 1987. Bringing their annual budget down to less than 400,000 and and eliminating 77 of the 92 staff positions. Its role had been to represent the 9000 co-ops in Canada, to collect statistics on co-ops, to improve the relationship between Canadian cooperatives and the 17 federal departments and agencies with which they currently interact by advising them on policy, and also to raise awareness of the role that co-operatives can play in both social and economic development in rural and urban Canada. They will no longer be able to fulfill many of the roles they once did, some people have speculated that the carcass that has been left behind will actually only oversee the final dismantlement of the Secretariat. The attack continues still, The Canadian Wheat Board was a monopsony (a single buyer and marketer/ opposite of a monopoly) of wheat and barley set up in 1935. The marketing board was made up of 10 people elected by the member farmers. It was run by farmers to fight corporate grain interests. In 2007 they started marketing organic wheat and barley. The Wheat Board was one of Canada’s biggest exporters of wheat and barley; selling grain to more than 70 countries and returning ALL profits, minus the cost of marketing to Prairie farmers. This August the Wheat Board was also eliminated, against the wished of the farmers (in fact they sued to try to keep it, and won but… since in Harperland Harper just does what he wants, the court ruling is of no consequence). Due to legislation passed in 2011, Harper was able to removed the farmers ability to elected their own board and instead appointed 5 people to the desk, and from there begin dismantling it… it only took a year. Citing “market freedom” and that the wheat board gave an unfair market advantage to the farmers. Meanwhile, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 per cent of the entire global grain trade is controlled by just four corporations: the “ABCD group,” composed of ADM, Bunge, Cargill, and (Louis) Dreyfus. These transnational giants use their oligopolistic control of markets to pay producers as little as possible and charge consumers as much as possible, pocketing the margin as private profit…. and yes they played a heavy roll in the lobby to destroy the Wheat Board.
So anyhow, that’s my story… forgive me if it was a little long winded there for a bit. I just want you to grasp just how fascist Harperland has become and just how much anti-co-opism goes hand in hand with their fascist actions. All this leads me to believe that yes, we might fear just how much worse life could get for us under our developing fascist governments… but it turns out our governments might fear just how much worse things could get for them under our developing co-op modeled revolution. We should celebrate really, they’ve shown their cards… their weakness lies in your strength! Power to the People!
<> In the coming weeks I’ll be: shedding some light on the different directions the co-op model can be taken in, digging deep into more of the specifics surrounding getting started with a co-op, highlighting what some of the cooler co-ops out there have already managed to accomplish, I’ll share my own musings about the trials of journeying toward starting a co-op, and most importantly I hope to inspire some of you lovely people who are out there in the ether to consider starting your own co-op! Of course, food is a great place to start but there are ohhh so many cool things happening with co-ops, I can’t wait to tell ya some more stories!
stay tuned to the Resistance Transmissions….