Confirming cooperative values and principles

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Confirming cooperative values and principles

Mitxelena is a cooperative, and over the last few months we have been working to confirm the values and principles relating to this fact. We have organised two training sessions in collaboration with the GEZKI Gizarte Ekonomia eta Zuzenbide Kooperatiboko Institutua (GEZKI Institute of Social Economy and Cooperative Law).

In the first session, run by Aitor Bengoetxea, we tried to put Mitxelena into the context of the cooperatives. What is a cooperative? How did they come about? What needs were they addressing? At the end of the day, what the essence of all cooperatives is. The aim was to get the Mitxelena cooperative members to realise that they are not on an island in the Eziago Industrial Estate, but that they are members of the worldwide cooperative movement.

In the second session, Enekoitz Etxezarreta put the cooperatives into the context of the social economy and the solidarity economy, and situated us, too, on these two sides of the economy. According to the social economy, economic activity has to be channelled towards addressing people’s needs with people being the focus and objective. And the cooperatives agree with this philosophy.

We developed this training because we understand that it is necessary for cooperative members, because there is no other way we can make decisions, and because training is as important as information.

And it also served to provide a context; indeed, a few months ago we embarked on a process to revise our articles of incorporation and internal rules, which we are now making public. The Mitxelena articles of incorporation and internal rules were drawn up in 2000 when the cooperative was set up, and since then they have not been subjected to any discussion. So we believe that they need to be adapted to today’s reality.

Members of the FARAPI association are assisting us in that process: they are experts in social anthropology. Using participatory methods we have set up a space in which we can all reflect. We have already had three discussion phases and we anticipate completing the process by the autumn of 2022. The new articles of incorporation and internal rules will bring together the perspectives of 27 cooperative members out of a total of 30 workers.