Father Arizmendi formulated ten guiding principles for his cooperative network. These still compose the cornerstone and starting point for all the other principles and values of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) that have been developed over the years. Values are key to any organization in fostering motivation, unity, and inspiration.
- At the core of the principles is education, which Mondragon considers essential to implementing all other principles.
- Also central—and a value we heard repeatedly emphasized—is the sovereignty of labor. Workers are the main force in transforming society and therefore are to control and benefit from all profits.
- The corollary to that principle is the subordination of capital. Capital is labor’s instrument, not its master.
- The fourth principle, democratic organization, speaks to how workers exercise their dominion over capital—through governing bodies that empower them.
- Open admission, a fifth principle, applies to non-discrimination on the basis of religion, politics, race, and gender. The only requirement to join the cooperative is respect for its constitution.
- Participation in management means that management is to be drawn from the worker-owners, (although not exclusively; sometimes it is contracted).
- A seventh principle is wage solidarity, which means fairness and equitability of remuneration.
- Inter-cooperation, an eighth principle, encourages solidarity and exchange with other cooperatives, locally as well as nationally and internationally.
- A ninth principle is social transformation, which refers to MCC’s relationship to the Basque region through creating jobs, promoting Basque culture and language, fostering social welfare, etc.
- Finally, the principle of universal nature, extends the cooperative vision to social justice and economic democracy throughout the world.
I find it impressive that MCC still promotes these principles originated by Father Arizmendi. How consistently and faithfully they do so will be addressed in future posts.