Note: I will be out of town the rest of this week, visiting Earl Druther and his family in Amsterdam. I probably won’t be online at all.
From: “erik andersen”
Date: 16 September 2009 18:36:23 IST
Subject: Fw: continuing: Mondragon and more
Thanks for these notes, particularly the reference to the Mondragon example. I think this material will helps us here as a few folks have just started down the path to greater independence at the personal level.
I posed the notion that this type of grass roots development is a repudiation of established political units and everyone nodded. We are less and less confidant about the established political units looking after the public good rather than the pursuit of narrow self interests. There is a reason why NGOs have exploded in numbers globally, people are seriously dissatisfied with where the technocrats in and out of governments wish to take us all. Here on the west coast our most current example of this reality is the unwillingness of our Federal Government to use its legal authorities to protect our wild salmon stock from the negative influences of commercial fish pen operations.
The latest proposal by the French President on the implementation of other than GDP measures for societies is an interesting development. Politicians are not known for creative and proactive thinking so this example must mean that the broader society is turning its back on the “establishment” in a way that is no longer possible to ignore so he is doing what they all do; run quickly to get out in front of political developments.
Here’s some links to the microcredit initiatives that Vancity is involved in:
Regards from Erik
Thanks for the references. More encouraging initiatives.
‘Repudiating established political units’ is a radical step in thinking, and one which I think is unavoidable, based on how I understand the functioning of those units. But then if one takes that radical step, some serious thought needs to be given to how we can more from repudiation to dismantlement. But repudiation is the first step, a necessary step, before the serious consideration can begin.
NGOs are a mixed blessing. Certainly every individual helped by them appreciates their efforts. On the other hand, we have a situation where the ‘solution’ to world hunger has become ‘donating a few dollars to an NGO’, as daily ads on TV tell us. The dollars requested are so small, we imagine that if everyone watching did send in the donation, perhaps the problem would be solved. World hunger becomes ‘our’ problem, we aren’t donating enough.
The existence of the NGOs creates the myth that ‘something is being done’. In fact, the resources of NGOs are not nearly enough to slow down appreciably the number of people dying every year from hunger and malnutrition. NGOs aren’t ‘the solution’, even though some people are helped by their actions. And yet, NGOs suck up the energy of thousands of activists who really do want to ‘make a difference’, and be ‘part of the solution’. And NGOs relieve millions of donators from the need to think about the causes of world hunger.
Are NGOs part of the solution or part of the problem? We need to ask these kinds of questions of our ideas, as we consider how to move forward from repudiation.
The Mondragon concept, worker-owned co-ops, is about people improving their own circumstances by combining their resources and working together. Each co-op that is formed is an experience of self-created empowerment, on the part of the workers. And each co-op becomes a ‘commons’ for its workers, rather than an ’employer-owned space’. The whole Mondragon complex in Spain is a kind of commons for all the various co-op workers.
Reclaiming the commons and realizing our own collective empowerment – these are in my mind the core of a transformative agenda.
You say, “The latest proposal by the French President on the implementation of other than GDP measures for societies is an interesting development“.
Yes, it is interesting. One must keep in mind that Sarkozy was chosen by the Bilderbergers to be President of France, and he has been dutifully implementing their agenda ever since, rather than whatever he promised to deliver in his campaign. His proposals need to be interpreted in that light.
Here’s a relevant article:
Sarkozy Adds to Calls for GDP Alternative
Sarkozy ‘commissioned a report’ from Joseph Stiglitz:
The Stiglitz report recommends that economic indicators should stress well-being instead of production, and for non-market activities, such as domestic and charity work, to be taken into account. Indexes should integrate complex realities, such as crime, the environment and the efficiency of the health system, as well as income inequality. The report brings examples, such as traffic jams, to show that more production doesn’t necessarily correspond with greater well-being.
I’ve been saying for some time that the era of growth, as the driver of economics, is now over. The economics of the new world order is to be a managed economics. It has to be: the Earth can no longer support an increasing rate of resource extraction, and everyone knows it. But what are going to be the goals of the management? And who is going to do the managing?
The words of the Stiglitz report sound promising. And Stiglitz himself looks good. Wikipedia describes him as a crusader against the excesses of free markets and the actions of the IMF. His report is likely to be embraced by progressives everywhere. If a new measure of ‘national success’ is created, and it follows his guidelines faithfully, it would be much better than the pursuit of GDP maximization.
Let’s say that happens. Would it be a good thing? We need to remember that it is Sarkozy that is touting this report. While Stiglitz can perhaps be trusted, Sarkozy certainly cannot be. Here is what I would consider to be the ‘most likely scenario’ if the report moves forward…
A new ‘Stiglitz Index’ will be adopted, and it will be more or less ‘fair’ as to how national budgets are to be allocated. But, oh, those national budgets… where did they go? I’m sorry my children, but the cupboard is bare. Already in Ireland, where the budget is being slashed mercilessly by what they call Board Snip, the answer to every objection is, “The money simply isn’t there”.
Such a Stiglitz Index becomes a blanket to put over the bankruptcy-of-governments issue. The ‘public debate’ (ie, media propaganda) will be about the specifics of the new index, and whether it’s fair to this or that segment of the population. Proponents will be found for competing positions, so that we can have a ‘useful debate’ (ie, distraction and airtime filler) to ‘make things better’ (ie, cause divisiveness and accomplish nothing).
When it comes to economics, there’s only one issue worth talking about: Why did the governments give all their money to the banks, and why have they put the bankers in charge of the governments? Instead our ‘economics attention’ is taken up with ‘stimulus packages’, ‘Stiglitz reports’, and ‘recovering stock markets’. It’s like we’ve been thrown in prison, and the guards want us to forget that, to be distracted by choosing the color of our prison garb.
From: Sergio Lub
Date: 16 September 2009 21:27:51 IST
Subject: Re: continuing: Mondragon and more
Here is a link to pictures of our visit to Mondragon last year:
Thanks. I should have known you’d be ahead of me on this. If you know of other gems of similar value, please let me know. And the photos are very good. We can even make out the contents of some of the charts.
From: david moore
Date: 16 September 2009 21:32:21 IST
Subject: RE: continuing: Mondragon and more
actually, i was thinking that the medical groups i belonged to were
democratic control; tight salary spread;
everyone motivated to work hard; sharing in profits and in risks;
you own shares in the company, but have to sell them back when you leave;
good, equal benefits for everyone; administrators are also workers;
board elected from the workers; not too big; group focused on one “product”;
everyone equal in value, esteem; you have to (for most groups, at some point)
“buy in”, ie pay for your share of the “company”.
i guess you could say, “well, that’s not a good example, cuz the docs are such
a homogeneous group in so many ways”, but isn’t that exactly one of the reasons
that the mondragon venture was successful? that, and because:
they were in crisis;
had few options;
didn’t have anything outsiders wanted to come take from them;
had enough land; had enough natural resources (water, iron ore);
had enough labor;
had a good work ethic;….
Very good analysis. It’s important to have some understanding of where ‘fertile soil’ can be found for co-op initiatives.
From: “Sabine Kurjo McNeill”
Date: 16 September 2009 21:36:36 IST
Subject: RE: continuing: Mondragon and more
Have you seen the Obama Deception?
With best wishes for your continued zest,
Yes, I’ve got the DVD, and I mentioned it on the list. There seem to be two kinds of people: those who get a lot from Alex Jones, and those who consider him a right-wing lunatic. Those who consider him a lunatic seem to think that’s a reason to discount what he says. The fact is that what he presents in his documentaries is generally a pretty good summary of the way things are, and he’s getting better and better about the quality of evidence he presents, and he’s including less of his own annoying ranting.
From: Larry Victor
Date: 17 September 2009 00:05:36 IST
Subject: Re: continuing: Mondragon and more
Richard, I don’t know the details. Tom Greco (now on book tour and lectures in the USA, but online) said that Mondragon has permitted commercial banks to participate, which he views will be their demise. Larry
Could be, haven’t heard about that. Their whole structure seems pretty robust, however. I’d assume that if they access commercial funding, they’d be sensible about what they got themselves into. Let me know if you hear more.
From: “marc bombois”
Date: 17 September 2009 00:21:56 IST
Subject: Re: continuing: Mondragon and more
Andrew’s post got me thinking about my own activist arc, and it was specific info that got me really going, namely learning about the banking con. This was my eureka moment, and I still consider it to be the biggest step in my personal growth, more than any of that new age stuff I did. It galvanized me to the point that I held public meetings and then ran for parliament, twice. I thought if I share this info with as many as possible we’ll really change things. How naive. It seems too difficult to inform enough people about this insane situation, even with the net at our disposal. Merde! Losing battle indeed. Still, hope springs eternal…
As for the reponsibility issue, I’m clear that I’m not and neither are you. This system is being foisted on us, has been for centuries, it’s not our fault. Perhaps we can be responsible for being trusting fools, but that’s all. The intent of the elite is absolutely clear, they are preying upon us, and the blame lies squarely on their shoulders. Let’s not feel guilty, let’s just keep fighting.
Peace and Love,
“Let’s not feel guilty” – I’m so with you on that! There’s this meta myth, that “something’s wrong with us”. I guess it started back when the Garden of Eden story was written, back in Babylonian days or so. Banished from the Garden. Original sin. Tainted goods. Daniel Quinn debunks this myth better than anyone else I’ve seen.
The myth stays with us and assumes different forms. People reject religion and original sin, and then switch over to thinking we need to be ‘personally transformed’ in order for the world to work. Again, ‘something wrong with us’, and that’s the problem with the world – ‘human nature’ is deficient. Or it’s our personal carbon footprint, that’s what’s ‘wrong with us’. Or we go to a psychologist, to cure ‘our neuroses’, which are really signs of ‘nutritional deficiency of the soul’, due to an inhuman society. All of this is ‘blame the victim’ turned against ourselves.
Let’s “keep fighting” but we need to get smarter about it. It is not battles we want but victories. I believe that Lao Tse said somewhere in the I Ching that the superior general wins without fighting. In the psy-op world, they talk about waging ‘invisible war’, where the enemy doesn’t realize they’re at war.
Our real problem is not so much dismantling the old system, but creating the new one. It’s a full-time job, creating a new kind of society. There’s no particular reason why such a project needs to involve confrontation with the ‘evil system’. If we can be building the new system ‘quietly’, we will be capturing the territory without the need of battles.
The most essential quality of any ‘new system’ is that it have an inclusive decision-making process by which collective decisions can be made. That is, we need to learn how to govern ourselves on an inclusive democratic basis. We need to abandon factionalism, parties, and the dictatorship of the majority, or we’ll simply end up with another version of what civilization has always given us – tyranny by manipulative elites of one kind or another.
Now ‘inclusiveness’ is a property of a ‘place’, or a ‘territory’. It is within some ‘territory’ that we can ask whether everyone is ‘included’, or not, in the governance process. A community, a city, or a region, that has found a way to make collective decisions on an inclusive basis, can be called ‘liberated territory’.
Being ‘liberated’ does not mean we plant a rebel flag and invite intervention by the ‘evil system’. It simply means that we have the capacity to act as a cohesive unit if we choose to. Our ‘proper business’, as liberated territories, is to begin to manage our own local affairs by means of our inclusive decision-making process, and to begin transitioning, within the limits of the law, toward sustainability and social justice.
The metaphor of ‘capturing territory’ is central to such an ‘invisible warfare’ strategy. ‘Liberation’ is a property of ‘place’, of ‘territory’. The ‘invisible war’ is about the spread of the practice of self-governance throughout the society, one ‘place’ at a time. When the whole territory is ‘captured’, then ‘we can act as a cohesive unit if we choose to’ – as a whole society. That’s when confrontation becomes possible and advisable.
We then have tools, like 100% general strikes. It would be like in Eastern Europe, when absolutely everyone was on the street with candles, and the army backed down. If there are still elections, we can throw out the whole politician class and rewrite the Constitution to conform to our democratic process. The final victory is the easy part. It’s the invisible war we need to be working on.
And victory has no meaning if we haven’t learned how to govern ourselves, and if we haven’t been already been transitioning toward the kind of society we want. The last thing we want would be a collapse of the government, without us being ready to carry on with society. A period of chaos would be dangerous. Visions of rogue ex-military units and warlords come to mind. We’ve all seen sci-fi portrayals of such scenarios.
From: Andrew MacDonald
Date: 17 September 2009 03:52:23 IST
Subject: Re: continuing: Mondragon and more
Knowing your interest in community on the ground I thought you and readers might like this elegant and quite lovely summary of how community is created in small groups. It’s a “book-at-a-glance” summary of Peter Block’s book Community – the Structure of Belonging. You can link to the summary here (http://tinyurl.com/mj6led) and I’ll include an excerpt, in this case his “Operating Guidelines””
“Social fabric is created one room at a time, the one we are in at the moment.
It is formed out of the questions “Whom do we want in the room?” and “What is the new
conversation that we want to occur?”
The key to a new future is to focus on gifts, on associational life, and on the insight that all
transformation occurs through language.
Each step has to embody a quality of aliveness, and strategy evolves in an organic way.
The essence of creating an alternative future comes from citizen-to-citizen engagement that
constantly focuses on the well-being of the whole.
We have all the capacity, expertise, and financial resources that an alternative future
The small group is the unit of transformation and the container for the experience of
Wishing for each of us such associative connectedness in our lives,
Very good, thanks for that. I especially like “We have all the capacity” and “small group is the unit of transformation“. Those ideas capture the notion that ‘adoption of self-governing process’ is the essential thing in transformation, that small-group dialog is an essential part of a self-governing process, and that the content – the practical construction of new systems – is not something that will offer us insurmountable difficulties.
From: “Claudia Woodward-Rice”
Date: 18 September 2009 21:23:19 IST
Subject: RE: Flu experts warn of irrational vaccine worry
Can I repost your comments on our blog http:/coto2.workpress.com ? With full attribution of course!
Everything I publish here is intended to reach as many people as possible. I hope you and others repost things where they might be useful. I do like my email address included so people can contact me. Meet interesting people that way.
From: Mark Batten-Carew
Date: 18 September 2009 21:45:55 IST
Subject: Re: Flu experts warn of irrational vaccine worry
Richard, a very interesting point you omitted highlighting is the last paragraph of this report….
CDC’s weapons of choice — Facebook, Twitter, Internet RSS feeds, humorous “viral” videos posted on YouTube, iPhone apps such as the CDC News Reader. Children’s Hospital Boston has an app (short for application) called Outbreaks Near Me that allows people to track the pandemic locally.
In other words, official sources will be deliberately flooding the internet (in addition to mass media) channels with their information, attempting to drown out independent sources of facts.
Yes, that is interesting. The CDC is employing the tried-and-true methods of the ‘colored revolutions’, applying CIA psy-op techniques here at home. But then Obama was already using those techniques in his campaign, with his Internet Army. CDC is going full-spectrum with it. And it’s being used against us with those phony outbursts at Town Hall meetings. Manufactured popular mobilizations.
From: Thomas Schley
Date: 19 September 2009 01:00:21 IST
Subject: RE: David Korten: Who Really Crashed the Economy?
rkm: Korten then rambles into psycho-social babble. He speaks of Obama’s election as signaling a collapse of the ‘old hierarchy’, and he says, “It is sometimes difficult for progressives to understand just how inherently threatening our message can be to those whose sense of identity [the right] depends on clinging to their position in the collapsing hierarchy of power and privilege.“
What is difficult for progressives to understand is how Obama is succeeding in covering up the fact that the old hierarchy is being preserved and narrowed. Nor do they understand that the well-advertised exhibitions by ‘the right’ are but the right hand to Obama’s left, in an ongoing, two-pistol, psy-op attack.
Thanks for your comments. I agree that Korten got it wrong about testing the theory…you helped me see that there was no theory to test. That’s obvious now.
I’m not sure what you mean about the “old hierarchy…being…narrowed”. I see that now more wealth is being concentrated in fewer banks, and now the Fed. I have a sense you mean more than that though. Wiping out a good portion of the planet’s human population would enable the elite to stretch out their use of dwindling natural resources for a longer period. The question is, what happens to them when resources and energy really run out? Is it back to scattered tribal democracies vs. centralized feudal power centers? If it comes to this stage it is hard for me to see any sort of global government control being tenable, unless of course we come up with some new power source and other miracle technologies.
In the meantime my wife and I are experimenting with home vegetable canning and sauerkraut and cheese making. Anything you can do for yourself and neighbors helps keep the anxiety levels down to a manageable level. Besides it is fun and satisfying to regain these tried and true ways of doing things.
Korten is claiming that hierarchies are collapsing and a glorious new world vision is taking over. He thinks Obama supports that new vision and is being held back by a fearful right wing. My comment about ‘narrowing the hierarchy’ was about ‘wealth being further concentrated’, as you say, and Korten indulging in wishful thinking.
But yes, I agree that depopulation is another way they are ‘narrowing the hierarchy’. I find it strange that people scoff at the idea of depopulation being an elite agenda, when genocide is already happening on a scale larger than the Holocaust and at a faster rate. And when the causes of that genocide can be traced directly to the international bankers and their agencies, the IMF and World Bank.
9/11 should have been a message to all of us that the techniques of imperial domination were being imported across the Rubicon into Rome itself. The ‘response’ to the event, the Homeland Security State, was a clear signal that the charade of ‘liberal society within the walls of Rome’ was coming to an end. The next to be demolished was the economy – the tradition of ‘prosperity within the walls of Rome’ is being abandoned too.
There is every reason to expect that the other techniques of imperial domination will be brought across the Rubicon as well. Those include military occupation, the massive incarceration of ‘insurgents’, and the regular use of excess firepower. They also include, mostly in the third world at the moment, depopulation by whatever means are applicable. Nukes, starvation, vaccines, whatever, are all ‘ready for use’, with mostly starvation and AIDS being deployed at present. Billions are being spent every year on bio-weapons R&D, exotic crowd control weapons, and nuke development.
We are a long, long ways, from running out of energy from fossil fuels, if usage is significantly reduced. In an earlier discussion, above, we were talking about the Stiglitz Report, and a managed, non-growth-based economic regime. That, combined with biofuels and other sustainable sources, could keep society going on a familiar basis – provided population is significantly reduced.
The elite logic is straightforward: Population needs to be reduced drastically in the global South, so their land can be used for biofuels and food for us, so they won’t use up much food or energy themselves, and because we only need enough of them to serve as slaves in the new plantation-based South. Population needs to be reduced less in the global North – just enough so that the ongoing wasteful consumption of the survivors stays within sustainable limits.
Congratulations on taking steps to create inter-neighbor exchange, and for looking to your own resources and your own thinking for ‘answers’.
From: Andrew MacDonald
Date: 19 September 2009 15:03:45 IST
Subject: Re: newslog 18 Sep 2009, re: swine flu
Richard, just a note.
May I expect you to do a proper recanting if police-state implementation doesn’t come through?
I’ll try and remember to send you a quick, “you were right” if it does.
Make it a gentleman’s wager with a cybershake?
Newslog is not intended to be a collection of isolated journalistic reports, each standing on its own merit, as you might expect from a standard newspaper. Newslog is a collection of data that I think is useful in interpreting what’s going on in the world. Some of the data is strong and useful on its own, and some of the data only becomes significant because of the overall context of events.
I’ve published numerous strong, credible reports regarding the militarization of domestic security, the existence of incarceration centers, along with relevant Presidential Orders, about the dangers and non-necessity of vaccines, and about the general atmosphere of ‘full spectrum dominance’ and ‘shock doctrine’ that seems to be characterizing events – all the stops pulled out as elites pursue their global-domination agenda.
Vaccines as a means of population reduction, or of imposing martial law, within this overall context, are hypotheses that deserves serious consideration by ‘we the jury’. After all, the virus itself seems not to be a big deal. And the media hoopla has been a very big deal. And why so very urgent to get vaccines for everyone? Why the big disconnect between scale of problem and scale of solution? Something big is obviously going on.
If someone steps forward, claiming to be an eye witness re/ martial law preparations, and they sound at all credible, I think the jury should see that testimony. The jury can make their own mind up about the credibility of the alleged witness. And by the way, there were two video clips in that news item. I found the second one a bit stronger, from a credibility point of view. Perhaps you missed that one. Regardless of how things unfold, I shall not be recanting making those testimonies available.
When it comes to headlines, I exercise my editorial prerogative, like all news editors, to use the headline to underscore how I interpret events. For example, a recent NY Times article, has the headline, “Inquiry Finds Gaza War Crimes From Both Sides”. I consider this very biased as a headline, equating a full scale military assault against unarmed civilians with whatever futile resistance efforts might have been employed by the victims. And yet, for the NY Times, it’s an honest expression of their consistent editorial stance, and it gives the reader a fair impression of the kind of material he or she will get from that source.
You say, “I’ll try and remember to send you a quick, ‘you were right’ if it does.” I’d be happier if you sent me a quick, “I’ll be less skeptical of the value of your postings”, instead.
The goal of my work is not to ‘be right’, not to be recognized as some kind of well-informed, reliable ‘expert’ or ‘journalist’. I’m trying to help all of us understand the nature of our political reality, I’m sharing my thinking as this process unfolds, and I’m engaging in dialog with you as part of the process. More and more, in our dialogs, I see others adopting a similar attitude to cyberjournal. I think our recent threads in particular, since ‘mumford’ let’s say, have been very productive for many of us.
From: Bill Ellis
Date: 21 September 2009 12:42:47 IST
Subject: Re: forget the evil, create the good
rkm, in response to an earlier message, saying we are always pessimistic on cyberjournal> I don’t quite understand your message, because we have been talking quite a bit about solutions on cyberjournal recently. And you’re welcome to send in your ideas about solutions. Newslog you might call pessimistic, because it’s tracking what’s happening to us.
Yes, “tracking what is happening to us’ as the press does and as the “leaders” do is pessimistic. It is also futile. But some of us track a narrower and more optimistic of things that are happening and that seldom appear in Washington, as summits or in the press. Since that has been my occupation for ovr 30 years I admit that I have a biased and optimistic view of humanities and Gaia’s future. There are gobs of good people, good ideas, and good actions. I’d like to see details on more of them made public.
But most of the commentor’s on your thread seem to overlook your solution to comment on the evil that surounds us in the mainstream press.
Keep up your GOOD work. It may catch on.o;;
As I said above, I see the mission of my work on cyberjournal as trying to ‘understand our political reality’. That ‘reality’ includes both the nature of our ‘current circumstances’, and the nature of ‘what we have the capacity to accomplish’.
The two are obviously related. ‘What we can accomplish’, and ‘how we can accomplish it’, is constrained by our ‘circumstances’. A sound strategy of ‘accomplishing’ requires an understanding of ‘circumstances’ as well as of ‘goals’ and ‘capacities’.
It is not necessary for all activists to worry about a ‘sound strategy’, nor for them all to agree on one. I see the universe of activists as being part of our ‘circumstances’. The fact that a Transition Town movement is growing is a ‘favorable circumstance’. The fact that the science of permaculture is well-developed and well-documented is a ‘favorable circumstance’.
A ‘sound strategy’ involves taking advantage of favorable circumstances and overcoming unfavorable circumstances. It think it is clear that a sound strategy will be partly based on working with existing activist initiatives, and facilitating the emergence of harmonization among their efforts. In the meantime, those initiatives are creating the ‘capacities’ that we will need when we are ready to coherently ‘accomplish’.
It would be good for you to bring to our attention examples of those “good ideas” and “good actions“. Not to avoid pessimism, but so we can be aware of our favorable circumstances. Learning about Mondragon, for example, was very valuable, as a strategic model to consider.