The Cooperativa Integral Catalana (CIC), begun its journey in May 2010, gathering a set of principles which had been developing amongst a varied group of social activists, within the scope of projects dedicated to self organization and management and the defense of the local territory, principally linked with the movement for Downshifting. In fact, the first time we publicly shared the idea of an integrated cooperative, was with the publication of “ Podemos!” (“We can!”) in 2009. Three years later, when we had already been going for 2 years, we formulated this idea again, in a more exhaustive way, in “Rebelaos!” (Rebel!).
Within this context the impulse took shape to create an initiative of transition which, through self determination, would generate the right conditions for a movement capable of transcending the limits of the current capitalist system, based on the hegemony of the State, the banks and the market. The CIC defines itself as a “grassroots initiative for the transition towards social transformation through self determination, self organization and networking.”
During these years we have been practicing the strategies we had proposed at the beginning to protect our movement from the controlling forces of the entities above mentioned. In this way, we have already implemented the use of legal knowledge as a means to safeguard many local projects of a productive and social nature. We have promulgated the collective ownership of proprieties, as well as the financing of new projects which will continue to feed the network of social initiatives, in order to reduce substantially the economic control which the State can exercise upon them.
On the other hand, the expansion and sharing of information and knowledge through Internet has allowed us to create key tools that support a real autonomy from the current economic system. One of these tools is Coopfunding, which allows, in a very flexible way, individuals contributions in support of many projects, thus strengthening our options for self financing.
With the development of these networks, we can already witness the emergence of numerous initiatives on a bio regional level, like the “eco nets”, and the self management hubs which operate in a more localised context, with a growing use of local currencies and other systems of economic relationship based on trust.
Likewise, we have started to establish the foundations of those systems which promote common good through cooperation and mutual aid, beyond the paradigm of competition and abuse which are the trade mark of the state-market partnership. These systems emerge as proposals within the Cooperative Public System, something other than the “Welfare State”, and include all the areas of social life such as education, health, housing, transport and even justice. We have working groups which are beginning to develop strategies for self organization in these areas in an organized and coordinated way, bearing in mind that community awareness and individual responsibility are key factors in this work.
In the same way, it is a primary objective to give support to those initiatives that have a self managed production focus, whilst giving attention to human relations, conflict resolution and the development of channels which can give visibility to this work beyond the scope of the Cooperative itself.
Inspired by the experience of the CIC and other similar initiatives, there have been several cooperative projects taking shape in other parts of the territory, principally in the Catalan countries, in the peninsula Iberica and Occitany. Examples of this are the Integrated Cooperatives of: Valencia , Aragon , Asturias , Toulouse , Galicia , Euskal Herria (Basque country); the eco-networks of Mallorca , Salamanca , Nantes and groups with simlar goals like: Redes Autogestionadas de Málaga , la Red Horizontal de Autogestión, Red de Colectivos Autogestionados (Madrid), Auzolan in Euskal Herria, etc.
It’s on the basis of this shared experience which we access through networking, that we begin to create a path towards an integral revolution . In as much as our expressions of popular power will grow, they will become more and more solid and powerful in their respective local contexts. This would then become the fundamental backdrop from which can be articulated the practice of popular sovereignty, in a future self organized society where the areas of economic, political and social life can be readdressed. All this without forgetting the necessity to promote a global shift towards emancipation.
If you want to get involved and participate in this worthwhile process, you can do it with donations towards the community budget, so that the CIC’s assembleary council can decide, out of a sense of collective responsibility, how to allocate these resources in the most coherent way.
You can make your donation through this Coopfunding campaign and also through the CIC’s own web page , where you can also follow how we evolve thanks to all the efforts that people like you are making to create this reality.
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