Second Letter from Mondragon: Cooperativism in the United States (The Right to Dream)

It has been more than 60 years since Don Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, priest and the soul of the Mondragon Cooperative Experience, arrived in Mondragon. Today, three generations have benefited from his education and work. Arizmendiarrieta was the man that brought the idea of cooperativism to life in working communities out of his eagerness to address issues of human dignity in communities. He saw the person as the foundation and purpose—“first people, then cooperativistas” —as the reason to create cooperatives, saying that:  

“Never has there been so much talk of freedom as there has been so far this century, and we have brought forth systems and theories that deny every freedom; never have human value and dignity been spoken of as much as in these recent times and yet, never has there been so little respect or esteem than today for man, who is sacrificed with the greatest ease, whose life is looked down on as the vilest thing; never has there been so much talk as in these last few years about humanity, about the common good, about class interests, about the good of humanity—so much absurdity has been justified with these pompous names—and we have reached a social situation in which whim and ambition, pride and arrogance, selfishness and cruelty of the strong has never been more the order of the day, to the detriment of the true interests of the masses, of men, of humanity. That is what we have come to.”  

AZURMENDI, Joxe. El Hombre Cooperativo: Pensamiento de Arizmendiarrieta. Mondragón, Caja Laboral Popular, 1984. P. 162

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