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Official Proclamation of International Day of Cooperatives

July 4, 2009

For Immediate Release [first published on July 4, 2009]

The League to Fight Neurelitism, a nonpartisan public sociology and advocacy journalism project, supports the consistent application of United Nations values concerning human rights and social justice to all members of the Autistic community.

Today, July 4, 2009, is the International Day of Cooperatives. Given our unwavering support for universal collectivization, and staunch opposition to corporate capitalism in all its forms, The League to Fight Neurelitism enthusiastically joins with the United Nations in proclaiming today, and each subsequent first Saturday of July, as the International Day of Cooperatives.

In the present climate of pandemic economic crisis, unparalleled since the Great Depression of the previous century, we fervently hope that this Day of commemoration will inspire a solemn reflection on the broad-based expansion of cooperatives. The advancement and multiplication of these entities would, in our view, constitute a significant and salutary step toward the eventual realization of world socialism.

Furthermore, owing to the ubiquitous disproportionality of poverty in the Autistic community, the League has maintained, and will continue to maintain, an acute interest in the issues surrounding cooperatives and collectivization. Indeed, Autists are among the more socially and economically dominated, or oppressed, citizens of many industrialized nations.

From the standpoint of the League, the collectivization of labor and the elimination of the corporatocracy – that is to say, the grave predicament of de facto governance by transnational corporations – would promote the peace and well-being of the Autistic community. However, a transition to universal socialism would also be advantageous to the larger Fourth World, or global poor, and, over the long term, conducive to a more irenic social polity for humanity in general.

The following examples of activities by cooperatives celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives have been provided by the United Nations:

  • The messages of the ICA [International Co-operative Alliance] and United Nations are translated into local languages and widely disseminated to co-operators, media, government officials at all level.
  • Co-operatives use newspapers and radio programmes to create awareness on their movements and contributions.
  • Co-operative Fairs, exhibits, contests, and campaigns are held.
  • Meetings with government officials, United Nations agencies and other partner organisations are held.
  • Co-operatives partner with community agencies to champion economic, environmental, social and health challenges (blood drives, tree planting, etc.)
  • Cultural events are sponsored – theatre, concerts, etc.

Finally, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message dated July 4, 2009, wrote:

The first cooperatives were born more than two hundred years ago when rural entrepreneurs and farmers decided to pool resources and help one another to overcome their limited access to commercial opportunities. Subsequently, retail cooperatives emerged to help poor households escape the debt trap and provide access to better quality goods and services. Cooperatives have since developed in many areas, from manufacturing to financial services, spurred by the desire for a more equitable way of working and doing business.

At a time of global economic distress, this history deserves to be more widely known. The theme of this year’s observance of the International Day of Cooperatives – “Driving Global Recovery Through Cooperatives” – highlights the value of cooperative enterprise. Cooperatives can strengthen the resilience of the vulnerable. They can help to establish more balanced markets for small farmers and give small entrepreneurs access to financial services. They can create job opportunities and improve working conditions.

The economic model of cooperatives is based not on charity but on self-help and reciprocity. In countries hit by the financial crisis, the cooperative bank and credit union sector expanded lending when other financial institutions had to cut back, easing the impact of the credit freeze on the most vulnerable. This highlights the importance of strong alternative business models and institutional diversity for the resilience of the financial system. Cooperatives deserve greater support. I urge Governments to adopt policies that support the establishment and development of cooperatives. Consumers, too, can help by buying food produced by small- holder cooperatives that is traded in fair markets.

In the face of the current economic crisis, communities around the world are rediscovering the critical necessity to work for the common good. On this International Day, I encourage Governments and civil society everywhere to recognize the effectiveness of cooperatives and to engage with them as vital partners for global recovery and achieving internationally agreed development goals.

Even in these formidable times, let us attempt to remain optimistic of better seasons ahead.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.
Founding Director,
The League to Fight Neurelitism

Originally published to: http://statements.neurelitism.com/dayofcooperatives.html

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