Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 6, 2009

The Myth of Mondragon

Filed under: economics,workers — louisproyect @ 8:24 pm

On October 27th, the United Steelworkers and Mondragon Internacional, the worldwide network of cooperatives based in Basque territory, announced a new alliance:

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada.  The USW and MONDRAGON will work to establish manufacturing cooperatives that adapt collective bargaining principles to the MONDRAGON worker ownership model of “one worker, one vote.”

“We see today’s agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.  “Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants.  We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities.”

Josu Ugarte, President of MONDGRAGON Internacional added: “What we are announcing today represents a historic first – combining the world’s largest industrial worker cooperative with one of the world’s most progressive and forward-thinking manufacturing unions to work together so that our combined know-how and complimentary visions can transform manufacturing practices in North America.”

This has led some sectors of the left in the U.S. to view this as a major step forward. Carl Davidson, an SDS leader in the 60s who has moved in a social democratic direction in recent years, wrote:

…the USW initiative, and the potential clout behind it, puts the Mondragon vision on wider terrain. An integrated chain of worker-owned enterprises that might promote a green restructuring of the U.S. economy, for instance, would not only be a powerful force in its own right. It would also have a ripple effect, likely to spur other government and private efforts to both supplement and compete with it.

In These Times, a leading social democratic periodical, was also hopeful:

The USW/Mondragon alliance might represent a third alternative. While Mondragon coops are for-profit enterprises, they are committed to principles beyond the bottom line.

They are accountable to their workers and the communities in which they operate, not just to the dictates of the market. Mondragon has a financing wing and, like many major U.S. unions, the USW has considerable capital reserves. To the extent that they can bankroll their own projects, they can free themselves from Wall Street and its total focus on profit.

The idea of worker-owned companies has come to the fore recently in other contexts. Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: a Love Story” featured two cooperatives in the U.S., a California bakery and a Wisconsin robotics manufacturer. And about a decade ago, there was attention paid to the “recovered” factories in Argentina that had become the focus of Naomi Klein’s documentary “The Take“. Since neither Moore nor Klein are Marxists, it does not come as a surprise that cooperatives are viewed as an alternative to the “failed” state socialisms of the past.

My first encounter with Mondragon occurred in the early 90s on the Progressive Economists Network mailing list (PEN-L) when a professor at a Catholic university harped on its role in the transition to socialism in countries like the U.S. Consistent with market socialism schemas that were popular at the time, Mondragon-style cooperatives were seen as liberated territory that would diffuse out into the rest of the economy until it had become totally transformed. Somehow I failed to see how the capitalist ruling class would allow such a process to unfold peacefully.

But a reading of Sharryn Kasmir’s “The Myth of Mondragon” persuaded me that this development would have never been seen as a threat to begin with. The Mondragon collectives are the 7th largest company in Spain and have never been the target of subversion. In fact, in 1965 the fascist regime in Spain awarded Father Arizmendi, the founder of Mondragon, with the Gold Medal for Merit in Work.

It turns out that worker-owned businesses have not exactly been anathema to fascist regimes. Indeed, Kasmir makes the case that if political parties and trade unions had been legal under Franco, “political energies never would have been channeled into so unlikely a project as cooperativism”.

And it was not just Spain. While the Italian fascists were initially hostile to co-ops, they got the green light from Mussolini after agreeing to purge Socialists and Communists. In 1927 there were 7,131 co-ops and by 1942 the number had swelled to 14,576. Somehow the fascist state did not fear that these “alternative” modes of production threatened the economic system.

Indeed, Mussolini pointed to the co-ops as examples of his corporatist ideals. Kasmir explains this anomaly in terms of how they “embodied worker participation, nonconflictual relations between labor and management, and the withering away of class identifications.”

For Carl Davidson, Father Arizmendi’s ideas on cooperatives flowed from a “deep study of Catholic social theory as well as the works of Karl Marx and the English cooperativist Robert Owen.” Now it should be acknowledged at the outset that Karl Marx did view the experiments of Robert Owens as praiseworthy. In the 1864 Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association, he referred to them as follows:

We speak of the co-operative movement, especially the co-operative factories raised by the unassisted efforts of a few bold “hands”. The value of these great social experiments cannot be overrated. By deed instead of by argument, they have shown that production on a large scale, and in accord with the behests of modern science, may be carried on without the existence of a class of masters employing a class of hands; that to bear fruit, the means of labor need not be monopolized as a means of dominion over, and of extortion against, the laboring man himself; and that, like slave labor, like serf labor, hired labor is but a transitory and inferior form, destined to disappear before associated labor plying its toil with a willing hand, a ready mind, and a joyous heart. In England, the seeds of the co-operative system were sown by Robert Owen; the workingmen’s experiments tried on the Continent were, in fact, the practical upshot of the theories, not invented, but loudly proclaimed, in 1848.

Accepting momentarily that Arizmendi was partially inspired by such an example, it is still necessary to assess the role of “Catholic social theory” alluded to by Davidson. It turns out that this was largely a product of the priest’s membership in Catholic Action. While Arizmedi was a staunch opponent of Franco during the Spanish Civil War, he was just as much of an opponent of class struggle. He saw the war as a tragedy and hoped to find a way to achieve class peace in his homeland, especially in the Basque country, a traditional bastion of worker and nationalist militancy.

Joxe Aruzmendi, Arizmendi’s biographer, characterized the priest’s views as follows:

At the root of the class struggle can be found the myth of revolution, faith in violence, etc., that in the opinion of Arizmendiaretta characterize the twentieth century, and that he summarily rejects. The question of the class struggle is phrased, for Arizmendiaretta, as the question of how to overcome it, urgently.

While the Mondragon cooperatives were taking shape, leftwing politics in Basque country proceeded on a separate track. The ETA (this was before the group evolved in a Narodnik direction) sought to combine socialist and national liberation struggles and the trade union movement conducted illegal strikes that challenged the corporatist status quo. All the while, the Mondragonites were focusing on the immediate objectives of selling their products, delivering social services to their members and generally avoiding the class struggle.

While the Mondragon cooperatives have been successful in terms of business objectives, they are not exactly harbingers of a classless society. Despite the fact that everybody is an “owner”, the blue-collar workers on the assembly line do not feel that they have that much of a stake in the company. Kasmir conducted  poll of workers at Mayc, a private company in Mondragon, and at Fagor Clima, a co-op of comparable size that turned out similar products.

In answer to the question “In your job, do you feel that you are working as if the firm is yours?”, manual workers at Mayc replied 75 percent in the negative as opposed to 78 percent at Fagor. When asked whether they felt “part of the firm”, 33 percent of the Mayc manual workers said no but Fagor workers were even more alienated. Fully half said they did not. Meanwhile, those in more skilled or management positions tended to be happier in both places.

The Basque Workers Council, a syndicate combining class and national demands, has been critical of Mondragon since it was formed. In their magazine, they charged the cooperatives with:

Becoming like any private firm, from the point of view of daily work, the cooperative member is exploited in his/her job in a capitalist firm by increased production, mobility, schedule changes, etc.

We don’t understand why the managers don’t present a proposal to lower the age of retirement in the cooperatives…Instead, they opted, just like owners of private firms, to achieve profitability by the same methods as capitalist firms: lay-offs, increasing productivity, temporary contracts, etc.

Not surprisingly, Mondragon has adapted to a “leaner and meaner” corporate culture that became the norm internationally under what has become known as neo-liberalism. In 1993, the Guardian reported that Mondragon, the “darling of Western universities’ sociology departments in the 1970s, has been radically restructured in preparation for the European Single Market.”

It stated that “increased salary differentials, advertising campaigns in Fortune and co-operate alliances with companies like Hotpoint have had many co-op workers wondering whether in the new Mondragon Cooperative Corporation some members are more equal than others.”

By 2001, many workers at Mondragon were not even on a par with the 50 percent of manual workers who told Sharryn Kasmir that they did not feel “part of the firm”. I am referring to the largely foreign contract workers who are not even part of the collective ownership.

The October 23, 2001 Guardian reported:

Under Mr Cancelo’s guidance the MCC [Mondragon Cooperative Corporation] members have learned to think like the shareholders of any other global business. In order to protect their own jobs from fluctuations in demand, 20% of the workforce are on part-time or short-term contracts and can easily be shed. Like all the co-op’s foreign employees and most Spanish workers outside the Basque country, the 148 staff at Maier UK – a Lichfield car parts company that MCC bought earlier this year – are not co-op members.

In conclusion, I must also take exception to Carl Davidson’s selective take on the United Steelworkers leadership:

The Mondragon initiative is not the first innovative project of the Steelworkers seeking wider allies. With the encouragement of International President Leo Gerard, following on the anti-WTO street battles in Seattle in the 1990s, the USW helped found the Blue-Green Alliance together with the Sierra Club and other environmentalists.  It has worked closely with Van Jones and ‘Green for All’s jobs initiatives and the union plays a major role in the ongoing annual ‘Good Jobs, Green Jobs’ conferences. Most recently, the USW was a major participant in the week-long series of events making the oppositional case at the G20 events in Pittsburgh.

While nobody would deny that Green initiatives are laudable, and even that something good might come out of an alliance with Mondragon in terms of job creation, it must be stated that the collapse of the American trade union movement is largely a function of the class collaborationist policies of people like the USW President Leo W. Gerard, even if he has learned the importance of attending G20 events or making appearances on MSNBC.

The central crisis facing American workers today is their reliance on the Democratic Party to defend their interests. The USW is just like every other powerful union. It raises money for and urges its members to vote for the lesser evil. The USW backed John Edwards in the 2008 primaries and then switched gears to back Obama. This of course was to be expected.

On September 16th Gerard informed Huffington Post readers:

The Obama administration fails to fawn over the affluent.

Instead, Obama talked of downtrodden workers in the former Jones & Laughlin Steel mill in Aliquippa. Bosses there fired a dozen workers shortly after the National Labor Relations Act passed in 1935. The workers, mostly union organizers, challenged the dismissals all the way the U.S. Supreme Court, securing a landmark win that not only got them their jobs back, but also affirmed the constitutionality of the labor law that led to the burgeoning of union organizing, and the growth of America’s large, stable middle class.

I don’t know about fawning over the affluent, whatever that is supposed to mean, but the general consensus is that Obama’s economic policies are a continuation pretty much of the administration that preceded his. Bailouts for Wall Street and foreclosures for everybody else.

Just about everybody has begun to wake up to this, from liberal bloggers like Jane Hamsher to the Congressional Black Congress. The fact that a “progressive” trade union president and his ex-radical admirer can state otherwise is a sign of the problems in the trade union movement and on the left that must be sorted out once and for all.

25 Comments »

  1. Not that I necessarily think it is applicable to Mondragon in general, but a lot of what you are talking about seems to echo some of the arguments around the time of the French autogestion movement in the 1970s, which the Unified Socialist Party was involved in, especially revolving around the LIP factory.

    Anyhow, I think you are making some real strawman arguments here. “Mondragon-style cooperatives were seen as liberated territory that would diffuse out into the rest of the economy until it had become totally transformed.” Please, how many people really think this, even between the two you mention, Michael Moore and Naomi Klein?

    It is good you put Marx’s words there and what Marx said is as true now as it is true then. Cooperatives are a living demonstration that “another world is possible”.

    As far as your words about cooperatives not directly increasing the class struggle, why would they? If the workers are, to whatever extent, in control of the means of production, why would there be class struggle? Of course it dissipates class struggle. If that diffusion you talked about magically happened until there was a total transformation, there would be no class struggle at all, anywhere.

    As far as unskilled workers at co-ops feelings and having to deal with the market economy – you seem to be expecting the same kind of miracle you allude to when you talked about the idea of the diffusion of coops over all of production. A division of labor exists, Mondragon does not have unlimited capital, and if you are manufacturing commodities for the existing capitalist economy, all kinds of constraints are placed on you. You seem to be taking the old demand of “socialism in one country” and changing it to “socialism in one factory”. It is quite obvious that all kinds of constraints are placed on these co-ops.

    If there are people out there like the ones you mentioned who don’t like existing co-ops, and think better ones can be made in the existing conditions – then go out there and make them! Show everyone how you can make a working co-op that is even more democratic, egalitarian, classless etc. then Mondragon etc. I just disregard these types of armchair complaints as soon as I hear them.

    Your thinking seems to reflect the idea of a monolithic, democratically centralist Marxist-Leninist vanguard party that will lead the proletariat to revolution. Anything other than the sharp shifts in the party line is a waste of time – if the central committee decides everything else should be dropped and cadre intellectuals should begin entering factories as workers to prepare for revolution, then everything but that is dropped. Of course, in the USA alone, we have dozens of such vanguards, each one thinking they will be the sole vanguard of revolution.

    Then there is the other line of thinking which exists today- the movement of movements. The movement of movements would see the co-op movement as a natural ally – people who are not theorizing, but actively demonstrating that workers can control the means of production, and thrive. Just as Marx said over a century ago.

    Comment by Rudolf Rocker — December 6, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  2. Your thinking seems to reflect the idea of a monolithic, democratically centralist Marxist-Leninist vanguard party that will lead the proletariat to revolution.

    Ha-ha-hah!!!!!

    Comment by louisproyect — December 6, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  3. You’re sorta wrong about Jane Hamsher: http://vastleft.blogspot.com/2009/12/single-payee.html

    Comment by Jenny — December 7, 2009 @ 6:54 am

  4. —-Instead, Obama talked of downtrodden workers in the former Jones & Laughlin Steel mill in Aliquippa. Bosses there fired a dozen workers shortly after the National Labor Relations Act passed in 1935. The workers, mostly union organizers, challenged the dismissals all the way the U.S. Supreme Court…—-

    Of course Obama would want to direct workers into legal challenges. After all, with persuasion – the system works, right?

    Comment by purple — December 7, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  5. Great article. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on some of the underlying theoretical issues brought up by the idea of co-ops as a transitional device toward market socialism: Are workers in Mondragon self-exploiting, is there exploitation of some workers by others, or are they exploited by international capital? In a mythical market-socialist society are workers self-exploited and if so is this a necessary evil or would it inevitably lead to the recreation of capitalist social relations? Is the growing stratification and use of non-member wage labor in Mondragon a result of the unequal division of labor, the market relations the co-op is enmeshed in, or just poor vision?

    Comment by kapitalism101 — December 7, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  6. I honestly haven’t given much thought to co-op’s in terms of V. 1 of Capital. The bakery in Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, a Love Story” is fairly innocuous but since Mondragon is the 7th largest corporation in Spain and is expanding across the globe using contract labor, I’d have to describe it as a capitalist firm even though it is obviously different than General Motors et al. My sense from reading Kasmir is that the problem is an unequal division of labor with managers and technical workers in a stratum above assembly line workers. Truthfully, even if there is a socialist revolution this kind of division will also exist. It is only with communism that it will not. For the time being I’d accept social divisions as a necessary evil in a post-capitalist society. That being the case, Mondragon has little to do with achieving that.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 7, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  7. Interesting article. I’ve often thought that co-ops could be a transitional method of teaching workers about enterprise, but as pointed out in the article there are inherent conflicts and contradictions. Socialism has to conceptualise, imho, how to overcome these. Sure, even Marx didn’t have a problem with international trade, and doesn’t this imply some sort of market transfer of commodities?

    The fundamental question is how do you democratise a business enterprise where you still need leadership, forward planners, technical classifications and competent operational structures to deliver useful and environmentally neutral commodities to society. The equitable distribution of the surplus through worker social shareholding is only the bare minimum requirement. Full reporting of all business activity and accounts is fundamentally required. Maybe lifelong training and cross over job activity might also empower workers; while allowing those satisfied with their tasks to just get on with their jobs. Modern co-ops should be the experimental laboratories where workers find out what functions and doesn’t function; where dialogue and total worker input prevails. Humans aren’t born with equal abilities nor with the same desires or inclinations. There is never going to be a utopia. Waiting for the great mass communist enlightened epiphany hasn’t happened, nor is it likely to. Do we remain idle in the meantime?

    Comment by tgmac — December 7, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  8. Thanks for writing this Louis, quite useful, though this subject I think will require a lot more material, because it seems like workers will seek the path of least resistance first – this seems to mean now buying their factories, setting up co-ops, etc. – viewing socialist transformation as pie-in-the-sky, etc. Lots of shorthand there, I hope you know what I mean.

    Comment by dannydamage — December 7, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

  9. There’s far too much shorthand in Marxist circles and not enough action. In fact, I have yet to find any coherent action beyond the usual polity centric tactics which Capitalism has firmly corraled and controls with consummate ease these days. As for a coherent plan, fuggedaboutit.

    Whilst Capitalists are only too aware of Marxist’s methods and tactics, and have become adept at countering these tactics, Marxists know little about the Capitalist mentality in full. The superficial understanding and willing inability to counter or confront Capitalist methods is stultifying, to say the least.

    Comment by tgmac — December 9, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  10. I think you’re right in the de demytification of Mondragon cooperative (MCC), and I agree that hardly one can see in cooperative corporations operating in the capitalist system as real alternatives to exploitation. I have some friends who worked on Eroski supermarkets (which is part of the MCC) and the labour conditions ar not better than other big corporations, that is: very low salaries, diferent workers categories (only a part are associated to the cooperative). Last decades Eroski group has bought other firms that are not part of the cooperative, and all the there workers are out of the associated system, with a great part of subcontracts, temporal jobs, etc. In 2008-2009 period, the group fired thousands of workers, mainly people with temporal and lower contracts, exactly the same politic than other ‘fully capitalist’ corporations. Tell them about the cooperativism!

    Also I have some qüestions on some aspects of your text:

    Which union is Basque Worker Council? Actual basque trade unions are ELA (created in 1911 by basque nationalist, historically linked to PNV, now has gone to left and is close to LAB), LAB (created in 1974, socialist left and basque nationalist, aligned with national liberation movement), UGT (created in 1888, historicaly linked to PSOE, now a very moderated trade union, pro-spanish, allied with CCOO against basque independence) and CCOO (created in the 1960s, historically linked to PCE, now far from any left, very moderated and apolitic trade union, pro-spanish and allied with UGT against basque independence). ELA, LAB and minor branch unions are the majority within basque workers, recently launched a general strike against neoliberal politics on crisis, strike that was boycotted by government, businessmen and spanish ‘unionist’ trade unions, calling it ‘political strike’ (of course it was political!! and that was very good!).

    You can see ETA as narodniks, (although this is a very poor simplification of the question), but they, like all the outlawed basque national liberation movement -which anyways mantain more than 15% of popular support-, still defend today their political project as the union of National Liberation (independence) and Socialism.

    (sorry for my bad english. Good blog, I will follow you!)

    Comment by reader — December 9, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  11. I was referring to LAB. By the way, the information in my post was entirely drawn from Sharryn Kasmir’s book “The Myth of Mondragon” that about 75 percent of which can be read here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=xTp3hf8X0AgC

    Comment by louisproyect — December 9, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  12. there is a recent interview with worker from the Zanon factory in Argentina, one of the reclaimed factories, here
    http://www.fifthinternational.org/content/interview-trade-union-militant-liberated-zanon-factory

    It was occupied years ago but the workers have only just received legal backing for their take over of it

    Comment by keefer — December 10, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  13. “All the while, the Mondragonites were focusing on the immediate objectives of selling their products, delivering social services to their members and generally avoiding the class struggle.”

    You are taking the piss here surely. A workers co-op delivering social services to its members, this is class struggle in action!

    Comment by Dean — December 10, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  14. The partial solution to this economistic cooperative movement (coop movements have always been so, anyways) is to partially rehabilitate Lassalle’s “producer coops with state aid” policy. It’s in place (albeit with some abuse) in Venezuela, and was the de facto factory occupation policy of the Paris Commune (“state aid” being compensation to capitalists in a de facto workers’ buyout of the factory).

    Comment by Jacob Richter — December 16, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  15. […] The myth of Mondragon – Louis Proyect debunks Spanish autogestion? […]

    Pingback by Tings and tings « Poumista — December 18, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  16. I thank you for the very interesting critique, which is a good segway into reading “The Myth of Mondragon”. I especially find the part that they employ so many part time workers to be interesting.
    I was talking to a friend about Mondragon yesterday, and there was an interesting moment where he had me realize that one has to be careful in semantics. You may have a “worker owned cooperative”, and then the workers hire people they call “contractors”, who they pay low wages.

    I do think that the logic you’re implying is simple and binary – “the friend of your enemy is your friend,” and you’re “either with us or against us.” Just because the fascists supported worker owned coops over socialists, and that coops did not participate in the socialist “class struggles” you speak of does not mean that they are with them. You even said that Arizmendi did not support Franco.
    While often broader struggles are required in organizing and also distributing resources like land, people are often free to sell their labor in the marketplace and negotiate their wages, and they can quietly employ themselves selling their products cooperatively.
    The ratio of the highest paid to the lowest paid member worker in Mondragon is 4 to 1, or I’ve seen as high as 7 to 1. The problem is that the “members” can exploit people who are “non-members/contractors”. They’ve even set up sweatshops in other countries.
    The answer is not to cast off Mondragon, but to build on it. Arizmendi built on the failures of Owen’s cooperatives, in making “capital subordinate to labor”. They need to expand the ethics to all the people they deal with.
    Furthermore, the non-members Mondragon employs can also organize, just as the members. My friend remarked that he did temp work pollinating corn. They found out that they could have contracted directly with the seed company, even underbidding their managers and earning more.
    It’s a matter of self-organization as a principle, and the expansion of ethics, “treating people as you wish to be treated”, so to speak, in the constitution of the governance of a collective.
    Lastly – I echo much of what “Rudolph Rocker” said… and your response of “Ha-ha-hah!!!!!” was not really a helpful in building a discussion, if you care to do that. What do you actually believe? Perhaps you should actually write in your biography how we are to achieve class equality or its abolition. I would love to understand your point of view so that I can learn more and see what else I may be missing.

    Comment by nitnit — June 4, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  17. Kasmir’s book is based on solid fieldwork, read it when it came out. I am amazed after her book came out that Mondragon continues to be uncritically praised on the left as a model for how to make socialism. Great post Lou!

    Comment by Steve Philion — June 26, 2012 @ 3:02 am

  18. And your alternatives to worker and community ownership are…? I’ve been waiting for 50 years to find an answer to this question that does NOT involve state corporatism and the perpetuation of power over working people. So – what is the alternative to building out an anti-capitalist form of ownership that is controlled by the people themselves. We have the Lip Watch factory to show we need a division of labor. We understand that equality is not absolute and that the issue is better understood as equity – respecting difference instead of stomping on it. But until I see something truly different from this RADICAL departure from capitalist ownership, I will put my reliance on what these people do as a model we can achieve to dislocate us all from the global capitalism that is strangling the world to death. BTW – Franco got coopted by Mondragon, not the other way around.

    Comment by Emily Scopes — August 16, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  19. Co-ops operate on a one-person, one-vote model with producers determining their own fate at the point of production AND system wide. The size of the firm does NOT make it capitalist – what sophomoric understanding! It is the benefits – and the workers ALL vote on wages, working conditions, production goals. The problem with holding out for state ownership is it is corporatism of exactly the disinterested and unknowledgable kind found in private corporatism. Stupid people making decisions for other people is NOT better than people making choices for themselves. Co-operatives are the closest you will ever come in the real world to an ideal state of autonomy and self sufficiency.

    Comment by churchlady320 — November 29, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  20. […] It’s been lauded by social activists and those of the left around the world. It’s the poster corp for them. Yet some of the harder left, the Marxists, are not happy with Mondragon: […]

    Pingback by Who produces “wealth”? [3] | Orphans of Liberty — April 11, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  21. The authoritarian ‘left’ and ‘right’ destroyed the only cooperatives and collectives that were truly ‘alternative’ during the Spanish Civil War. There are lots of examples included in Sam Dolgoff’s book, ‘Anarchist Collectives. He also describes communities that out of necessity, had lived this way for generations.

    Comment by red2black — October 2, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  22. Mr Proyect isn’t an “unrepentant Marxist.” He clearly isn’t a Marxist at all. While damning practical socialistic efforts, such as the Mondragon, for their short-comings, despite these efforts having inspired Marx himself, he again falls back on the same old lies and apologies for the centrally regulated supposedly “transitional” state capitalism of the Soviet Union, China, et al, which have practically nothing to do which Marxism except a bunch of superficial rhetoric and a promise of one day supposedly getting to a “workers’ state” that Marx advocated for–a promise on which clearly these state capitalist models (which his heroes like Lenin and Stalin recognized as the basis of their economies) never delivered.

    Comment by Steppenwolf — December 6, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  23. […] to on a number of occasions by people on the Left as justification for opposition to cooperatives, here for […]

    Pingback by Arguments against workers’ cooperatives: the Myth of Mondragon Part 1 | Sráid Marx — January 19, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

  24. […] may even address some, though probably not all, of the criticism from the sectarian left that cooperatives have to play on a market-capitalist field. In any case, it’s the key for a […]

    Pingback by Organized Labor, Public Banks, Grassroots: Key to a Worker-Owned Economy | limitless life — May 4, 2014 @ 7:11 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: