Catalonia’s struggle for independence

For centuries, Catalans have rebelled against Spain. In 1640, for example, after a 12-year protest, they lost the battle against the Spanish government. Within the next centuries, Catalonia largely retained its own laws. But gradually the monarchy started to adapt the local laws to the central authority. This led to several civil wars where Catalonia was on the losing side and lost more of its autonomy (Wikipedia, 2017).

In the second half of the 19th century Catalonia became a major industrial center. This fact contributed to the October Revolution of 1934, in which Catalonia declared independence but also this revolt was knocked down. In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out: in Catalonia, anarchists came to power and conducted an anti-capitalist revolution. Subsequently, ‘in 1939, the Nationalists won the victory, and the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco was a major blow to the region. All that was Catalan, or better all that, according to the dictator, was non-Spanish, was strictly prohibited during this period. Violations were heavily punished. After Franco’s death in 1975, Spain ended 36 years of dictatorship. Three years later, the region gained a stronger cultural character and a little more political autonomy’ (Wikpedia, 2017).

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Co-operatives: the shield of Greece

Greece was one of the European countries who faced the hardest consequences of the 2008 financial crises and thereafter had to realize hard reforms to be able to stay in the European Union. In the business sector a great number of small and medium-sized enterprises went bankrupt: hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed down since 2008.


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Revolutionary Business Management by Ricardo Semler

Semco’s huge growth spurt
Semco is a company made large by Ricardo Semler. Among the activities of the company are Industrial Machine Construction, Semco Ventures (High Tech and Internet Services) and SemcoHR (Human Resources). Annual sales rose by $ 4 million from Ricardo Semler in 1982 to $ 35 million in 1994, with an annual growth that is always over 25 percent and sometimes even 40 percent. The company had 3,000 employees in 2003, compared with 90 in 1982 ‘…’ As of 2003, Semco had annual sales of $ 212 million. In 2010, the company had more than 5000 employees. ” In addition, during the Brazilian hyperinflation, Ricardo Semler also prevented Semco’s bankruptcy in 1990.

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The succes of Mondragon: Spain’s giant co-operative


In 1956 graduates of a local technical college founded Mondragon in the town of Mondragoe. The northern Spanish town now has become a corporation of 100 smaller cooperatives which operates in four areas: finance, industry, retail, and knowledge. In 2013, the corporation posted a total revenue of over €12 billion and about 74.000 employed, making it Spain’s fourth-largest industrial and tenth-largest financial group.

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Social capital problems between the poorest in Mexico

The Recepac network becomes Reocone
This blog is based on my graduation thesis that compares the Mexican Reocone ‘network’ (co-operative) with it predecessor Recepac. Until 1997 Recepac was a national network which included four states in Mexico. The Chiapanecan part of the network (Chiapas ia a Mexican state), with 14 member organisations (coffeeproducers, women- and religious organizations) against four organizations in all of the other states, chose to become independent. The main reason for that was that the Chiapanecan part of the network proved to be the only state with an important contribution in size and impact compared to the four organizations in the other states. All of the 14 organizations of Recepac remained in the later Chipanecan Reocone network, with no change in their main goal to fight their poverty by helping eachother.

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Learning from co-operation: anti-poverty co-operatives in Holland

Peer’M: Social co-operatives Against Poverty.

On September 29th, the national manifestation ‘Peer’M! Out of poverty, on the road to social security! isorganized by the Platform Social Alliance; the Dutch national network of poverty alleviation. The affiliated social partnerships aim to: rise poverty above the poverty line. September 29th, a four-year review of basic initiatives and steps will be made by and about social co-operatives in the Netherlands. ‘The focus is on the new relationships between citizens and government in public tasks’. Twelve initiatives have already been described in detail on the website These are co-operatives of collaborative peer-to-peer experience experts who, each from their own expertise, try to get out of poverty through often completely new creative initiatives, thus creating life-security for themselves and others.

One of these the Free Exit initiative describes the core of a social co-operation: “We want to involve people in decision-making completely. We decide together about all things that involve a cooperative. We also have equal voting rights; there is no boss. We choose to be a co-operative because we really form it to the feeling of our being and how we-want-it-together. Especially that ‘together’ feeling is very important. ‘ The Durable Soesterkwartier association chooses a similar but other legal form: their second initiative they call ‘The Conscious Broke Residents Foundation’. The idea behind it is that there are no major financial contracts because it only gives a headache and determines the agenda.

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