The inspiration behind and founder of the Mondragon Cooperatives, Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, was born 100 years ago this month. As part of the celebration and remembrance, the magazine that he founded in 1960, TU Lankide, has produced a special issue exploring Arizmendiarrieta’s history, philosophy and action. Originally published in Spanish, the publishers have also provided an English translation of this special issue of TU Lankide. (This link will open a PDF or you can read the English version of the magazine on the TU Lankide website.)
From the editors:
…now with our sights set toward the future, it is not easy to guess what a visionary leader like José María would have done in times like these. However, with a brief look through his biography and studying his ideology, we could develop some hypotheses regarding the attitude to adopt in the face of these new challenges.
Firstly, his non-conformist approach to life, fighting and persevering in the face of difficulties. Quotes such as “No complaints, just action” or “There is always more to be done” reflect his rebelliousness and determination when presented with setbacks. Therefore, confronting adversities with obstinacy, imagination and generosity is a good recipe to revitalise our projects.
Secondly, Arizmendiarrieta had blind faith in partnership, in cooperation, in the need to act in solidarity and not solitary. “Cooperation is the lever which boosts our strength” he used to say. And MONDRAGON has been, is and will be a cooperative project. Even the Social-Business Policy indicated the need to cooperate more, to increase efforts of business cooperation which, through the strength of the group, allow us to acquire competitive advantages which would lead to individual advantages for the cooperatives and, ultimately, for the group as a whole.
Sights constantly set toward the future is another anchor point of Arizmendiarrieta’s way of thinking, because he knew that “a present, however splendid it may be, bears the imprint of its expiry to the extent that it becomes separated from the future”.
TU Lankide means “work and union of working fellows” and is another source of inspiration for www.1worker1vote.org and our approach to developing and launching worker owner hybrid models based on the Mondragon principles and starting with the USW-Mondragon-OEOC union co-op model.
We encourage everyone to read this issue (PDF) to learn more about the founding of the Mondragon Cooperatives and principals that drive much of the work we are doing here today.