Friday, June 24, 2016

There's a meme a'comin' - get on board!

There's a meme a'comin' - get on board!

 And it is:

Co-operative Socialism* - by Tuesday!

To the tune of:

Pls share if you agree!

* See a plan for Co-operatieve socialism at

A Proposal for the Evolution of Co-operative Socialism in Europe

A Proposal for the Evolution of Co-operative Socialism in Europe:
a European Co-operative Commonweal,
as a European contribution to the creation of a Global Commonweal of Local, National and Regional Commonweaths.

A Fair World Project – >> For equality and ecology, peace, justice and co-operation >>

The immensely important book, 'The Spirit Level' (and associated web-site for The Equality Trust, gives the evidence that greater income equality is good for everybody and everything.

As a vision for a better Europe, I'm outlining, here, a plan – Co-operative Socialism – to help bring about greater income equality - and economic equity as well: not only among humans, but as regards humans and the rest of Gaia, too.


Accordingly, I am suggesting that the time has come to help create a 'European Co-operative Commonweal': as a contribution to the creation of a Global Commonweal of Local Commonweals.

Through this, I propose that Europe - and wider world – be based on the evolving Co-operative, Values and Principles and Definition as outlined in the Statement on the Co-operative Identity from The International Co-operative Alliance (the ICA Statement - as attached – which is an evolving document, periodically updated by co-operators, world-wide).

Now, in terms of 'where Co-operative Socialism is' – a values and political mapping, suggests that this not-imposed, creative-maximising, nonhierarchical, experiential and progressive option is found on the following map (* see footnote):

* It is possible to map your own personal/social/political positions at the following web-sites: Link to ‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘3SC Social Values’ and Note: the horizontal ‘left/right’ axis is reversed in the Political Compass map as compared the map above

Now, in order to help create, nonviolently, the greater income equality and greater income and economic equity that 'The Spirit Level' evidence illuminates – and that Co-operative Socialism is designed to help achieve - the concept of 'Co-operative Commonweal' (ie, of collective, co-operative wellness) is key.

This idea requires that, democratically, we act co-operatively – to convert our economy into appropriate co-operative enterprises and work-places – a mixture of co-operative social enterprises and co-operative solidarity entities - so that every person, and every organisation, has respectful, time-limited 'co-operative care-ship' of appropriate land and knowledge resources.

So that, as a result, true equality and equity is socially-, sustainably- and transparently-created.

To do this, it is clear that we have to transform the economic system in which we live, so that:

o Each population, co-operatively together, is in control of their economic life,
And that,
o All work is for the long-lived benefit of all: caring for the long-lived benefit of the whole global ecology - and all its inhabitants – rather than for short-term, selfish gain.

This requires changes to the central features of present-day economics:

o The ownership of land and natural resources, workplaces and knowledge used for profit;
o The practices of money- and credit-creation for profit and of money-lending as interest-bearing, debt-for-profit;
o The consequential inequity of income (in terms of the division for working-age adults as incomes earned by some through paid work and unearned by others through privately-taken rent, interest and profits);
o The consequential inequality, insecurity and (often) immorality of individual incomes and;
o The consequently-created culture of rampant crime, fear, debt, ill-health and insecurity: all as a result of increasing income equality (for which, see the evidence in 'the book, 'The Spirit Level').

Thus, the Co-operative Socialist vision is that each community, locally and nationally, be in full, open, co-operative control of its economic resources, ensuring that they are used for the benefit of the whole of humanity, and for the benefit of the whole global ecology, so that:

o Everyone has the security of a fair, guaranteed income, and that,
o All collective human activities are consistent with the Co-operative Values and Principles, and that,
o Friendship, care and co-operative care-ship/co-operative stewardship of and with the planet is our central task.

Accordingly, in terms of the evolution of a social and co-operative Europe, this 'Co-operative Socialism' becomes a model and beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
In detail, this suggests a Seven Point Action Plan for Co-operative Socialism, to help create 'A European Co-operative Commonweal', as a Co-operative Association of National Co-operative Commonwealths

  1. Co-operatives and peace, not corporations and coercion
Convert (at present) competitive, market-based activities into creative workplace/worker/producer co-operatives and remodel monopoly activities as community and/or consumer co-operatives: each co-op demonstrably operating according to the Co-operative Values and Principles of the International Co-operative Alliance (see below), and with each co-op having respectful time-limited co-operative careship**/co-operative co-stewardship from the national commonwealth of appropriate land and knowledge resources;
(See points two and five for the funding mechanism to achieve this.);
(** 'Co-operative careship' as the opportunity to care.)

  1. Not-for-profit banking and financial structures as appropriate co-operatives
Distribute the added-value from the created wealth produced in these workplace co-operatives through nationally collected, co-operative corporate taxation, distributed into local, democratically-controlled, Community Banks and, so, make money and credit available for ecologically- and socially-responsible wealth creation, community development and global care: the economic conversions referred to above;

  1. Abolition of for-profit money - An end to usury/riba, and of banking as global warfare
Abolish money-lending and credit-creation for profit, and, so, operate banking as a community-controlled co-operative public service;
(See point two above);

  1. Step-wise abolition of money as access to needs – 'co-operative communities' for needs and care, not private resources for profit
Maximise necessary service provision (health, education, libraries, transport, and so on) on a co-operative, free-at-the-point-of-use basis: retaining money only as a mechanism for access to discretionary purchases;

  1. Fair, Guaranteed Incomes – Greater Equality of income for all– 'Predistribution, not Redistribution'
Introduce a guaranteed, as of right, fair income for all – with, a non-withdrawable, Citizen's Income - a 'Living Income for Everybody, a LIFE' – as the base-line to a set of socially-determined upper and lower limits and, so, do away with the need for direct and indirect personal taxation (VAT, income tax, user fees and so on;

  1. Co-operative regulated inter-national relations: a) An end to global exploitation through financial speculation
Reintroduce international exchange controls, a Tobin Tax, etc, as necessary
  1. Co-operative regulated inter-national relations: b)An ethic that 'All our sisters our brothers, and all our brothers our sisters – One in all, one for all, all as one, all in one – we exist to give not get'
Make capital grants (not loans!) to developing countries, upon their request.
The International Co-operative Alliance
Statement on the Co-operative Identity
(Manchester, UK 1995)

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5th Principle: Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7th Principle: Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

International Co-operative Alliance
15, route des Morillons, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: (+41) 022 929 88 88 Fax: (+41) 022 798 41 22
E-mail: Web:
-----------------------------------Version 2 - 2nd August 2013

The Fair World Project
Campaign contact:
John Courtneidge
10 Coleridge House, 79 Bromley Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 5PA
0795 099 6418

A Fair World, Co-operative Socialist Vision

Co-operative Economic Strategies for Sustainable, Respectful, Responsible Development:
Prosperity, fairly spread, within, and between, Generations
A Fair World, Co-operative Socialist Vision

John Courtneidge, The Fair World Project


Sustainable development requires not only raising the wealth, the equality of wealth sharing, and the well-being of a community, but has also to ensure that well-being processes sustain over time.

Accordingly, the five mechanisms that cause inequality (and which cause the consequential erosion of well-being) are discussed, and sustainable solutions for their eradication are outlined


There are five ways in which wealth leaks away from a community and cause inequality to grow, poverty to increase, and ecological damage to deepen.

Those five adverse mechanisms are:

  • Theft (of and from the Commonweal),
  • Rent, Interest, and Dividends (distributed Company Profits), and,
  • Unequal pay for work (including no pay for work).

If we are to help avoid such illness mechanisms, we need to have strategies that reverse all of these five mechanisms: each adverse mechanism needs a sustainable-wealth strategy to create a self-sustaining whole: one alone is insufficient, all together create an emergent, co-operative synergy.

Strategies for the minimisation of inequality, and maximisation therefore, of human, social, and ecological well-being

1) Abolishing theft from, and of, the Commonweal.
The most blatant way in which people, communities and environment are impoverished is by theft of shared community assets (‘the Commonweal’).

Theft of and from the Commonweal (the creation of ‘ownership’) is the precursor of the other mechanisms: on grand scales, the theft of Africa’s resources, the theft of England by William ‘the Conqueror’, and of North America, (and much of the rest of the planet) by his inheritors, are notable examples. However, the theft of the Trustee Savings Bank (the ‘TSB’ or ‘Penny Bank’) during Margaret Thatcher’s many piratisations (‘privatisations’), and imposed ‘Structure Adjustment Programs’ by the World Bank (sic) and IMF are some more recent examples.

The strategy for dealing with this probably includes the concept of ‘active co-operative stewardship by the community’, rather than delegated ‘representative’ ownership by state organisations (directly or by Quangos).

2) (Consequential) Land Issues (Rents and so on).
Local people are impoverished when local land-based resources are in the hands of external (and indigenous) owners. Such land resources are, both, within the local area (external landlords charging rents for local residential and business accommodation), and, also, external to the locality (external landlords selling food, energy and raw materials into the locality). These factors clearly need multiple strategies if wealth is not to be leached away from the area.

Of the many such strategies for avoiding such pit-falls, one action is the gradual transfer of local land-ownership into the local stewardship of local land trusts, probably constituted as Community Co-operatives: each of which would then lease local land resources, on a limited-term, needs-justified basis, to local co-operative businesses.

In their turn, these local co-operatives would then pay local corporate (co-operatives') taxation (and rent, perhaps), to the local community trusts and/or Co-operative Community Banks, to make local community development possible, and, also, to make grants to more those in need elsewhere (including, perhaps, Citizens’ Incomes: see below).
Local food growing, sustainable public transport, and materials’ re-use are also worthy of local action. Recent developments in 'urban agriculture' merit investigation, as do local recycling schemes for materials' and energy recovery, and rail-based, solar-electrically-powered transport.

Likewise, local co-operative housing and co-operative co-housing strategies retain local housing rents, along with the benefits of local stewardship of the local environment.

3) Interest and for-profit banking and financial systems: 'The For-profit Money-Lender Issue'.
The Jubilee 2000 activities (and so on) have shown the pernicious effect of the debt-plus-interest spiral. These wealth-sapping mechanisms act both upon, and within, communities, creating inequalities in both wealth-creation and in individual-, social- and ecological-wellbeing.

Local interest-free credit creation, through local, public service Community Banks (probably operated as Community Co-operatives – see below) are clearly called for.

At the individual level, interest-free credit unions are inclusive structures (interest-based variants are not available to certain ethical and religious groups and, moreover, charging interest on lent money and created credit is socially iniquitous and ecologically destructive: see, for example, links and ‘Papers’ section at ), while not-for-profit, commercial credit for co-operative businesses (and local public services – perhaps run as community co-operatives) can be delivered through the not-for-profit, Co-operative Community Banks referred to above.

4) Dividends (Distributed Company Profits): The ‘For-profit Employer’ Issue.
Local employment by both local and non-local employers is a prime route to local impoverishment (through global and local inequality). Moreover, external investment and local development only lasts as long as local profits are possible, and when these evaporate, jobs and wellness go.

This suggests that local investment by the community, for the whole community's benefit, but within a global, co-operative consciousness, is the antidote.

Local worker- and whole-community co-operatives are clearly the answer (for work in the market-sector and the monopoly-sector respectively). If these co-operatives carry out Annual Co-operative Audits (to show their fidelity to the Seven Co-operative Principles of the International Co-operative Alliance) community well being (through response to the Seventh ICA Principle) will be ensured.

5) Unequal pay (and no pay sometimes) for work: ‘The Fat Cattery Issue’.
If local (and external) workers come into an area demanding higher than average wages, salaries and perks from the work in that area, then immediate resentment and long-term impoverishment follows.

One strategy for dealing with this is to measure the spread of local incomes, and, so, make sure that non-resident workers receive local wages (perhaps supplemented by their travel costs to and from work).

At a deeper level, inequalities of income are socially-divisive, ecologically-damaging and the source of innumerable consequential ills (recorded, for example, in Richard Wilkinson’s books: see below).

Accordingly, individual incomes need to be set (and guaranteed) within a fairly narrow range: with an impassable lower level and an equally impassable upper level (this is the place for open, democratic decision-making: a true politics, perhaps).

This latter point probably requires a host of new thinking as regards income: with mechanisation, and so on, the link between work and income becomes increasingly absurd. Ideas such as Guaranteed Basic Income, ‘free at the point of use’ social services (an extension of the Public Library idea), etc, become necessary.

Future generations might even conclude that a greater part of the economy could just as well be run on a no-money basis: the economics of love and friendship replacing the present economics of ownership and exploitation, perhaps?


a) Theft from the Commonweal, the payments of Rents, Dividends and Interest, and Income inequality, generally, are all corrosive of individual, community, ecological and global well-being.

(This is because they all lead to financial and functional inequalities that are of benefit to no one: rich, poor and middle income humans, non-human species and global sustainability, alike.

Richard Wilkinson's books, for example, contain relevant epidemiological, sociological and psychological evidence for such analysis. See, inter alia, 'Unhealthy Societies', Routledge, London 1997; ‘Mind the Gap’, Weidenfield and Nicholson, London 2000; and ‘The Impact of Inequality: How to make sick societies healthier’, The Free Press, New York and London, 2005.)

b) Inclusive, co-operative structures – explicitly and demonstrably operating according to the Statement on The Co-operative Identity (The International Co-operative Alliance, Manchester 1995) - maximise local wealth creation, and ensure that prosperity is not only sustainably created, but is evenly spread: within and between generations.

c) By working on each of the five mechanisms that create inequality, the present ‘economics’ of ownership and exploitation might (will?) one day be replaced by a true economics (‘oikonimos’: ‘the care of the household’), based on the values and practices of love, care, co-operation, equality, and friendship.

Accordingly it is clear that, without strategies to ensure 'prosperity, fairly spread', individual, social and environmental poverty, illness and degradation will always be with us.

But, with work to 'build-in' income equality, created by long-lived wealth-creation and retention structures, sustainable development becomes truly sustainable:

- A world, in other words, of locally created, locally determined, internationally-related, globally-responsible practical co-operation: the economics of truth, peace, love and friendship.

John Courtneidge
For The Fair World Project
Formerly: 903-65 Halsey Avenue Toronto Ontario Canada M4B 1A7
Now: Flat 10 Coleridge House, 79 Bromley Road, Beckenham, Kent UK BR3 5PA
January 2001 (Revised May 2007)

Monday, June 13, 2016

The EU Referendum - I'm voting Out

The EU Referendum - I'm voting Out

And for a Global Co-operative Commonweal instead
John Courtneidge

Monday 13 June 2016

Like the democratic socialists who opposed the imposition of UK entry into the European anti-democratic super state in 1974, I'm still voting Out.

As a democratic socialist, co-operator, pacifist and Quaker, I'm fully committed, and active for, the Co-operative Commonwealth.

That means a world of equality - including a far-greater, socially-determined equality in the level of incomes.

Which, as the plan for Co-operative Socialism shows, includes a sustainable 'Living Income for Everyone' - a LIFE for all - see that plan and You-tube explanatory videos at

For those who wish to consider the evidence in the anti-peace nature of the European Imposition, consider the evidence in The Spirit Level:

     - since 1979 income inequality in the UK, across Europe and the world generally has ballooned.

And that's the reason for escalating violence and distress world-wide.

And that's why I'm voting Out.

The coerced 'entry' into the EU by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath in 1974 was the precondition to the implementation of the Ridley Plan (See Wikipedia and Margaret Thatcher's own web-site copy of the Ridley Report ) from 1979 onward.

[Oh, and the lack of 'hot wars' (as opposed to economic war) across main-land Europe may have as much to do with the potential hot-war battlefield being peppered from 1950 onward by nuclear power stations (not that I'm a fan of nuclear power).]

So, regardless of the UK Referendum on 23rd June, I shall continue for a UK, a Europe and a world of Co-operative Commonwealths:

   - each organised on a national scale, each fully consistent with the Statement on the Co-operative Identity from the International Co-operative Alliance (see in the papers at and at the ICA's own webs-site

    - together making a global, sustainable, peaceful Co-operative Commonweal.

I hope this helps!

Ps - a probably better-written, fuller account of the democratic socialist position on the EU Referendum can be found here: