A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Memorial Maxx

The Best Beloved Kitty Of The InnerTubes attempts to chastise his carrot:

For beautiful Maxx pixx, check out 4LegsGood, who now has Princess Madeleine and Ripley Chainsaw to soothe the pain of losing The Beloved Maxx.

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At 9:59 PM, Blogger Friend of TPC said...

If it weren't for kitties ...

Oh my, what a boring and drab world it would be!

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Sandy-LA 90034 said...

PoliticalCat - Further to your response - below - to my question about your job situation. Having worked in Corporate Headquarters America for 35+ years, seeing layoffs come and go, acquisitions creating layoffs, political contributions going to both parties equally, etc. made me yearn for something better.

I was in a couple of study groups for about 10 years - most of the 90's - during a time I was out of work due to layoffs, etc. One of the most interesting ideas I came across was the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Region of Spain. For awhile I participated in a Systems Theory group that met at the Rand Corporation (using one of their conference rooms after hours). I was so excited about the concept of Mondragon that I even gave a presentation about this miraculous concept to the members.

It's hard to give a capsule version of The Mondragon Cooperatives. Essentially their structure was put together with the advice of a priest to help them start a company in 1957, which grew to a complex of interconnecting companies under the Mondragon umbrella of more than 200 companies by the late 1990's.

Their slogan was "We Build the Road as We Travel." In other words, when things went wrong, they tried to use an organic approach to finding solutions to problems that arose along the way.

The cooperatives found a way to create their own banking structure - the 3rd largest in Spain. They had their own healthcare system outside the Spanish system, their own retirement programs, housing, and during the 1980's, when there was 25% unemployment, they just tightened their belts, took less salaries,etc. and never had to lay off workers. They had a Research and Development Arm that created new companies and an educational system to train employees.

Their ratio of salary between management and regular workers was something like 10 to 1. It may be slightly different now that they've joined the Common Market (certain changes were necessitated that compromised some of their original aims).

The main difference for me was the concept that the workers hired in management. Most often from within the current work force. Employees were trained and socialized to the cooperative concept and because it was a structure that benefited them they supported it wholeheartedly.

It's been a long time since I've written about this interesting group of companies and some of the above may be slightly wrong because my memory is off. But the idea was to create jobs in a way that could sustain the local population's need for jobs, medical care, retirement, education, housing, etc.

They created structures within the companies to resolve conflicts among workers. They wanted everyone to feel like an owner -- they welcomed feedback about business practices that didn't work. They looked for the dissenting voices to give them information about where changes needed to be made.

I don't know if it could be transplanted to the U.S. If we can't get the government to create the medical care and retirement structures we need, we may need to do an end-run around corporate America and create these kinds of cooperative ventures.

Anyway, your current situation may cause you to be curious about other method that do work on behalf of employees.


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