More Worker/Owners


Jan Baker Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:07:00 AM CDT  

This report about cooperative initiatives (largely or entirely in Argentina, it seems) makes a person wish they were thirty years younger and able to lend a hand. There is a Paypal deduction site. But of course I drew back. Here's why. Ever since I have begun to investigate cooperatives and/or initiatives that 'seem' distributist (like, say, the American Revolutionary Party and their social security/new capital ownership plan)I have in mind Pius XI's comment that to give a government power--and by extension, I am making the extension on my ignorant own, to give any group power of any kind--that group must be completely 'moral' is the word he uses. I have interpreted that to mean not necessarily Catholic but at the very least committed to the preservation of life, as in against abortion and euthanasia of the elderly.

That's not so easy in today's world. Now we have tricky people who know how to be 'for life' but conveniently enough, not against the rollback of Roe v. Wade. Even Obama fits in that category. This has caused me personally not to support the various initiatives I've run across.

Would someone like to comment on what qualifies as supportable, to a Catholic? The initiative linked here, for example. It goes without saying that one should investigate their finances--are they the real deal, are they actually giving loans to start-up cooperatives, and so forth. But what else should one ask? What has one an obligation to ask? What has one the right to ask?

I emailed AAWOC, the big 3 auto worker buy-out initiative, and asked --Michele Mauden? I think that's her name--if AAWOC had a position regarding abortion, or was tied to the democratic party. I felt kind of stupid asking it,it seems so far outside the parameters of the discussion, but I did. And she answered, rather as in, 'huh? What? Well, no, we're not affiliated with the democratic party,' etc.

But that's not enough. The devil's in the details, and he'll lie his behind off, anybody who's been in the political arena knows it. And I didn't know how to get anything more substantial. She sent me some 'work' to do to help anyway, and I didn't do it, but not because I didn't trust their position regarding protection of life, but because the material she asked me to send to twenty or thirty email addresses was so badly written and assembled that I couldn't make heads or tails of it, and wouldn't send it over my name, as she had asked. And before I could get clarification, both her email addresses had gone perfluey and my emails came back.

It's possible many people read these posts from an academic interest. That's not how to run the race so as to win, what St. Paul said to do. One must get involved, help. But what criteria does one use? I first rejected the American Revolutionary Party because one of their organizers shared a web site with a guy who completely dissed the traditional liturgy. And I don't consider that to be too picky! (I have a post on this on my little blog, I think it's called Holy Mass and the Stock Market or some such.)

But what do people here use to evaluate things? When they click on the link for this post, what criteria would they use to hit that Pay Pal button and forward the link to their friends?

Jan Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 7:56:00 AM CDT  

Won't someone please answer my question? What criteria should a Catholic use in evaluating initiatives such as this one, lending money in Argentina, or AAWOC, the auto worker buyout? This site seems to report on these initiatives but not address in detail the issue of whether we should support them.

Tom Laney Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 8:10:00 AM CDT  


the first criteria for me is whether people are honest or not.

I support Michele and AAWOC because I think its an honest and courageous (given her experience with the UAWs cruddy politics) attempt towards worker ownership. AAWOC is not Mondragon but might lend itself -with a bit of direct action - to something like Mondragon. Michele is not a writer, she's an autoworker and not many autoworkers write, or think, like many of the intellectuals here. Quite a few of them are not thinking at all right now because of this economic shock and panic. Many think we should simply trade jobs for "security" for those who are left in our plants.

Michele hooked up with Norm Kurland who seems to be a good guy but whose view of the UAW seems to be left in the 1950s. So AAWOC got nowhere with the politicians. And I suppose Michele is very discouraged.

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