Last week, I discussed some of the roots of the effluoresence of social conscience in the world.
These included the work of Thomas Barnardo, General William Booth of the Salvation Army, the founders of the YMCA/YWCA, the Settlement House movement, particularly in the founding of Toynbee Hall and Hull House, and the Social Gospel.
I could have added the rise of the Owenite cooperatist movement and the founding of Rochdale in Britain, Fabian socialism, Populism, the Knights of Labor, and so many more root expressions of the growing global desire for social equality and for outlets for compassion.
However, we lightworkers are here building Nova Earth, to use Werner Erhard’s phrase, “a world that works for everyone.” And so I have to acknowledge that one idea, context or vision has sustained me from my earliest days, more than any other concept I know.
That’s the vision of the “Cooperative Commonwealth.” And it’s this vision which I’d like to discuss in a series of articles.
American scholar Bob Stone wrote that:
“Frank Lindenfeld’s conception of a ‘cooperative commonwealth’ has reverberated in my mind since I heard him lay it out in November of 1996. In this essay, honoring Frank’s work of keeping alive a human core in a less-than-human world, I explore the notion’s roots and its future potential.” (1)
Of course Frank Lindenfield was by no means the first to call for a cooperative commonwealth. Its roots go back a long ways. But the fact that Bob Stone says the vision reverberated in his mind since hearing it from Lindenfield is what in turn reverberates with me.
In my earliest years, I resonated to the message of a political party in Canada called the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (the CCF), the party which in its later incarnation as the New Democratic Party, was instrumental in the creation of the Canadian universal medicare system, which I’ve often called in these pages the jewel in the Canadian crown.
It’s the outstanding program that saved so many Canadians, mostly of more modest income, from being denied access to a doctor, the services of a hospital and many other extended-care programs that people in some countries simply cannot afford.
In the United States various presidents have tried to bring in a system of universal health care only to have it branded “socialism” by an elite that does not want to spend money on any but it’s own. And what is even more surprising is that so many people have fallen for the ruse and also do not support this wonderful program.
Moreover, when President Obama brought legislation in, everything possible was done to circumvent, stall or defeat it and those same people associated that failure with the President himself and not with his detractors, so successful has the media brainwashing been.
Branding anything as “socialism” in the United States seems to be the kiss of death. But really what rejecting universal medicare has resulted in is either the necessity of many people doing without health care in emergency situations altogether or else its use and the risk of losing one’s home or personal bankruptcy.
Contrast that with the Canadian – and British – experience where citizens need pay little attention to what health care may or may not cost because they’re covered by state medical plans, paid for out of public taxes.
Universal medicare was simply the most obvious and significant accomplishment of the CCF/NDP.
In fact a whole social safety net was created for Canadian citizens which was later torn apart when the cabal attempted its full-scale war on citizens after it staged 9/11, America’s “new Pearl Harbor.”
That shredding of the social security net brought a wholesale denial of social services to citizens. A veil of darkness settled over what had been up till then a light-filled march of progress towards the ameliorization of economic circumstances and treatment. The cabal’s admirers in Canada followed suit and also shredded the social safety here. No one was willing to pay the price for education, services and outreach to the downtrodden, assistance for single-mother families, the support of artists, etc.
But the vision of the Cooperative Commonwealth remains and is another cut at the new form of society which such phrases as “Nova Earth” and “a world that works for everyone” also point to.
Tomorrow I’ll review some of the sources of the vision of the Cooperative Commonwealth and, in the articles that follow, I’ll relate it to our drive for Nova Earth and a world that works for everyone.
(1) “Frank Lindenfeld’s “Cooperative Commonwealth: Building on History for a Cooperative Future” by Bob Stone, no date, Grassroots Economic Organizing, at http://geonewsletter.org/story/frank-lindenfelds-cooperative-commonwealth-building-history-cooperative-future.