We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Marinaleda Model

Click here to access article by Lisa Roth from New Compass (Norway).

This is report of a visit to a little Spanish town that insists on another way of living illustrates that you cannot kill good ideas, that oppressive class rule cannot destroy the yearning for a life based on cooperative self-organizing and full participation of people to govern their own lives. 

I am referring to ideas for a better way to live that bloomed during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, only to be crushed by fascist forces of Nazi Germany and Italy while western capitalist countries stood idly pretending to be "neutral".  In reality the latter welcomed the destruction of an example of a better way of living because, if it spread, it threatened their class based system of capitalism. After the civil war this spirit survived 36 years under the oppressive dictatorship of Franco

It is a spirit lying deep in the soul of human beings, a spirit that has enabled humanity to survive through 98% of our 150,000 plus years of existence.
“We don’t have a police force – this makes us save a lot of money in benefit of the population. Everyone plays a part in the decision-making, and direct democracy exists in everyday life. We are self-sufficient and do not lack food even in times of crisis. We have a system of ‘cooperativism’ which include ten cooperatives. How many workers we have depend on the season of the vegetable. We also have a factory where we produce olive oil. It is not so profitable for us, but it is profitable for the Marinaleda community. What we gain, we invest in our town."