A group of American community and business leaders is posting from Mondragón, Spain, home to a 100,000 employee-strong worker-owned cooperative, from July 17th to 23rd.
“El Alma” of the “Old Town” in Mondragón is one that emanates independence — an isolated and peaceful independence, but even more importantly a collective independence.
This is what I saw as I walked: Everything stood out on its own. No building was exactly like the one next to it. Each one stood erect, claiming its individuality through color combinations and architectural styles. Each road had its own personality. Some were straightforward and went straight to business. There you saw the “Caja Laboral”, the pension fund offices, and the Union General de Trabajadores Euskadi. Other roads were creative and curvy. That’s were you saw the bars, the revolutionary signs and murals, and the stores. There were also open and transparent roads. That’s where the restaurants, the parks, and the festivals were. The music playlists were pretty broad too. I heard everything from jazz, to Jimmy Hendrix, to alternative rock.
But even though each individual aspect of this town has so much meaning, the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts. It is only day one, and I’m far from saying that I’ve experienced the “sum” of Mondragón, but already I can feel the synergy between all the unique knobs and cogs working together. I understand that the entire Mondragón Network (Cooperative and traditional structures) are what produces this “Alma.”
Truthfully there are no words to describe the feeling. It’s something that cannot be described with words. Something that is long OVERDUE in my hometown, the Bronx.
Post by Yorman Nunez of The Bronx.