Catalan Integral Cooperative

The Catalan Integral Cooperative (or CIC) is a political project seeking to unite consumer and labor initiatives.

The CIC’s objective is to generate a self-managed, post-capitalist society based on P2P principles and environmental and social realities. To achieve this, they decided to adapt the transition plan originally written for Ecuador’s FLOKSociety project in the Summer of 2014.

From the core work group of the CIC in this area we have suggested that they collaborate with us to tailor a plan of this type for the development of CIC in the following 5-10 years. The objective is not as a theoretical approximation, but to contribute towards identifying and developing key strategic projects that might enable the production of tangible and intangible commons to become one of the reference characteristics of the CIC’s approach to production.

The Catalan Integral Cooperative on their forthcoming implementation of the Commons Transition Plan.

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What’s the CIC?

(extracted from the CIC’s website)

An Integral Cooperative is a tool to create a grassroots counterpower departing  from self-management, self-organization and direct democracy, and one that would help overcome the actual state of dependency on the structures of the system, towards a scenario of liberty full awareness, free of authority, and in which everyone could flourish under equal conditions and opportunities.

It is a constructive proposal for disobedience and widespread self-managment to rebuild our society in a bottom-up maner (in every field and in an integral way) and recover the affective human relationships of proximity based on trust.
  • Cooperative, as a project practicing the economical and political self-management with the equal participation of all its members. Also, because it takes the same legal form.
  • Integral, to bring together all the basic elements of an economy such as production, consumption, funding and a local currency. And at the same time, because it wants to integrate all the activity sectors necessary to survive: food, housing, health, education, energy, transport…
  • Catalan because it is organized and works mainly in the territorial scope of  Catalonia.

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The legal frame of the Integral cooperatives. Protecting the self-managment from the effect of the bank and the State.

In Spain, there are two levels of legislation for the cooperative law: state laws and corresponding autonomous laws (one for almost every autonomous community).
Protected by this legislation, we build cooperatives, which is the most adaptable legal entity that exists and at the same time the most consistent with our objectives:
  • 13843276664_6463b23469_zAllows the  limitation of liability (individual debts of the associates cannot be claimed from the cooperatives and the debts of the cooperative cannot be claimed from the associates).
  • The rules and the internal regime help protect the horizontal way of working based on assemblies, from the state control.
  • Allows the existence of different kind of associates, according to individual and collective necessities, and depending on the periodicity and the payment of the fees, which are not necessarily monetary.
  • Generates social capital with the contribution of the associates, which can be refunded within a period of 5 years from the moment they are requested.
  • Helps protect the economical activity between associates.
  • Allows external economical activity development as it has a Taxpayer Identification Number (NIF) which can be used to issue bills for external agents outside the cooperative.
  • Serves for the legal registration of properties through rental, concession or purchase contracts, to promote self-managed collectives and community life projects, their protection from private property and promotion of collectivization.
  • Allows the coexistence of service, consumption, working associates and volunteers at the same time.
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We use cooperatives as a collective tool breaking off the model

…a project, a cooperative.

In general, we use the consumer (and user) and service cooperatives, that is to say, mixed cooperatives, in order to realize economic activity, administration of associates and of the general social capital of the integral cooperative. On the other hand, weuse the  consumer (and user) cooperatives to manage real estate. The different legislations in effect should be analyzed with attention since, for example, state laws and certain autonomous laws use the term “integral cooperative” besides (or instead of ) “mixed cooperative” (used in the Catalan law, for instance). This type of cooperatives, of multiple activity, serve the very purpose of different classes of cooperatives. One cannot avoid that the constitution and the  maintenance of a cooperative is a task that requires interaction with the bureucratic structure of the state, and for that it is quite out of the question to build a cooperative for each of the self-managed iniciatves that emerge. The key is to use the cooperatives as collective tools, minimazing the management and the time invested in all of the meandering  bureaucratic process.

To organize ourself under a cooperative can be used for living without banks and without worying about our former debts. Keep in mind, that the seizure of a person includes his/her shares in their companies, but there is one exception: the social contribution to a cooperative is not seizable as stated in the various laws of cooperatives.

This characteristic which passes through being a cooperative whose statutes prevent speculation and profit, is a characteristics that cedes capitalism and the state and becomes a common good.

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Commons Transition and the CIC

(extracted from the article “CIC and P2P Foundation strategic partners”)

It’s been a while now since some people in the CIC took the initiative to start collaborating with the P2P Foundation after certifying our common goals. Indeed, the Permanent Assembly of July 27 approved supporting this line of strategic partnership between CIC and P2P Foundation.

Captura de pantalla 2014-07-31 a les 11.49.21In fact, the P2P Foundation itself (a foundation for peer-to-peer alternatives), has already expressed the need to partner strategically. You can find more information about the purpose of the P2P Foundation on its website.

Amongst it’s priorities, the P2P Foundation includes the promotion of open cooperativism, as explained in this article. In this sense the CIC appears as one of the ongoing initiatives with most affinity to these principles of open cooperativism, and for both organizations it seems important to keep on developing it and make it known.

Another priority of the P2P Foundation, and one of the areas where they have developed more research, is to generate transitions towards open production processes related to knowledge and towards a social, common goods economy. In this sense, they have been collaborating with Flok Society, a project financed by the government of Ecuador, for which the following document was composed.

From the core work group of the CIC in this area we have suggested that they collaborate with us to tailor a plan of this type for the development of CIC in the following 5-10 years. The objective is not as a theoretical approximation, but to contribute towards identifying and developing key strategic projects that might enable the production of tangible and intangible commons to become one of the reference characteristics of the CIC’s approach to production.

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The P2P Foundation has responded enthusiastically to the proposal, amongst other reasons because they will bring their experience and knowledge to a grassroots initiative like ours. We are already beginning to form a joint working group so as to get started with our work. Michel Bauwens, the P2P foundation’s co-founder, expressed his intention to find funding for this project through several independent european foundations, especially The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind, who have collaborated with them on other occasions.

In addition to these initiatives, as strategic partners, new ways for collaboration will most certainly appear in the future.

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