• The all-female farming co-operative in Benin

    These women from the village of #Todjedi in the south-east of Benin wanted to ensure that their traditional knowledge was passed on to the next generation. They also wanted their ancestral seed varieties to be handed to their daughters, to help them navigate the uncertain times to come. So they formed a farming co-operative.

    #femmes #non-mixité #Bénin #agriculture #connaissance #savoir #transmission_du_savoir #patrimoine (well... #matrimoine du coup!) #semences #graines #agriculture

    ping @odilon

  • Lorna Finlayson · #Corbyn Now · LRB 27 September 2018

    If the path Corbyn has started to follow is again closed off, there are two foreseeable consequences. The first is that anger and disaffection will find another outlet. While frequent reference to a racist and right-wing public opinion has been a convenient device for the protection of the status quo, there is no virtue in maintaining an opposite fiction of the British people as saints and socialists. The appetite for Corbyn’s vision of a more compassionate and co-operative society coexists with a counter-tendency that has been well nurtured in recent years: the tendency towards suspicion of strangers and neighbours, the scapegoating of the vulnerable, resentment and a desire to dominate others. This tendency was on full display during the Brexit referendum campaign, and was given a formidable boost by the result. (There is no need to choose between the interpretation of Brexit as a protest against a neoliberal political establishment or as expressive of an ill-informed, racist bigotry: it is both.) Islamophobic sentiment and related attacks are on the increase, legitimised by a media which has for years been normalising far-right rhetoric. British liberals like to believe that Americans are a different species but they didn’t think that even the Americans would elect Trump. Boris Johnson – limbering up with carefully pitched comments about women in burqas and suicide vests – is a threat not to be underestimated. And there are fates worse than Boris.

  • Home | Taxiapp UK


    As well as being safe, reliable and accessible, London taxis are great value for money too. All licensed taxis have a fully regulated taximeter, updated and controlled by Transport for London.

    Vehicle specifications require all licensed taxis to be wheelchair accessible, with integrated ramps and colour-coded handgrips to provide support required for ease of access as well as a hearing loop. All assistance dogs are welcome.

    The metered fare, as set and regulated by Transport for London, combined with your driver’s Knowledge ensures that you are driven the most direct route to your destination.

    For your safety and peace of mind, all Licensed Taxi Drivers have undergone extensive training and passed the world famous Knowledge of London examination. All Licensed Taxi Drivers are DBS checked.

    TAXIAPP UK Forum @taxiapp_london

    A work focussed app owned and run by Black Cab drivers on a non profit making basis. Drivers: http://onelink.to/thmr62 Passengers: http://onelink.to/thmr62

    Taxiapp UK on the App Store

    Amazing taxi booking app
    Taxiapp ltd

    Taxiapp: London’s black cab co-op alternative to Uber - Co-operative News

    ’TFL’s decision not to renew Uber London’s operating license suggests the current trajectory of app-based taxi services needs to change’

    TFL announced today (22 September) it will not be renewing Uber’s licence with the ride-hailing app ‘not fit and proper’ to operate in London. The decision has raised questions over the future of the city’s transport options, however Taxiapp London offers a new, sustainable model run solely by a group of taxi drivers.

    Sean Paul Day, Taxiapp London founding member, said: “Today’s decision proves that our laws have to be respected and that London’s private hire industry should not dominated by multinational companies. This a crucial time for tech starts-up like Taxiapp, who continue to prove more self-sufficient, having been able to survey the horizon and grow in a more sustainable way that puts both drivers and passengers at the forefront.”
    The Taxiapp London team

    Taxiapp is completely owned by London black cab drivers. It allows passengers to book and pay like they would through Uber, but rather than a fixed price that can be subject to huge surges, the fare is always decided by the meter. Unlike Uber, it is built on transparency and promotes fair economic growth and will be relaunched in October with a new feature to protect the ritual of hailing a cab.

    Ed Mayo, Secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “TFL’s decision not to renew Uber London’s operating license suggests the current trajectory of app-based taxi services needs to change. Platform businesses are not going anywhere but they are going to evolve. We need a new wave of successful platforms with the same great user experience, but built on trust, transparency and economic fairness. It looks like TFL agrees. Ethical alternatives like driver-led Taxiapp are springing up – through the co-operation of the drivers themselves. A better platform economy is already on its way.”

    Taxiapp London utilises a fully licenced and officially metered service endorsed by Transport for London, which means no surge pricing for passengers. Every one of the licenced drivers has passed the world famous ‘Knowledge of London’ test, which has proven to result in shorter journey times and a more efficient service.

    The app is non-for-profit owned directly by the drivers themselves developed with the aim of offering an honest, trustworthy service that puts customer and driver welfare at the forefront. By utilising tried and tested technology this small group from one of London’s oldest surviving professions are leading the way in bringing transparency to the London transport. Taxiapp is currently in the process of applying for support through the Hive, the business support programme powered by The Co-operative Bank and delivered by Co-operatives UK.

    #Taxi #London #Uber #platform_cooperativism

  • 23 Companies Sign Manifesto to Halt Destruction of Brazilian Cerrado | Sustainable Brands

    Soy and beef production have played significant roles in the exploitation of the Amazonian rainforest, but the rollout of regulations to protect these precious natural resources have had unexpected consequences, driving these activities into regions that have largely been left untouched, such as Brazil’s Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of 2 million square kilometers.

    The pressing situation was a major topic of discussion at an event hosted by The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit and Unilever on Wednesday morning in London, during which the Prince of Wales called for greater actions to be undertaken to protect the Cerrado and other threatened areas around the globe. “An increasing concern is the extent to which success in reducing agricultural expansion into forests comes at the expense of the destruction of other wonderful ecosystems such as the Cerrado, the Chaco and the world’s remaining savannahs,” he said. “All of [these landscapes] are so vital for the services they provide and the biodiversity they sustain.”


    Signatories include Carrefour, Colgate-Palmolive, Co-operative Group Ltd, IKEA Food Services AB, Sainsbury’s, Kellogg Company, Lidl UK GmbH, L’Oréal SA, Mars Inc., McDonald’s Corporation, Marks and Spencer Group Plc, Nestlé S.A., Tesco Stores Plc., Unilever, Waitrose Ltd and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.


    Support for Cerrado Manifesto Triples, Momentum Builds for Cargill and Bunge to Agree to End Deforestation for Soy, Meat

    61 leading meat, dairy and soy companies and retailers announced today their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a pledge to eliminate clearance of native vegetation in the Brazilian Cerrado for large-scale agriculture. This number represents a tripling of support for the Manifesto since its release in October 2017. We appreciate the leadership of companies like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Unilever, and Carrefour on this initiative.

    Cargill and Bunge, two of the world’s largest agribusinesses that are operating in the areas of Latin America with the highest levels of deforestation, are facing significantly increased pressure from their customers to expand their own success in eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to the Brazilian Cerrado, and other priority landscapes in Latin America.

    #Cerrado #Brésil #engagement #agroindustrie #soja #viande

  • #Robert_Neuwirth: The power of the informal economy

    Robert Neuwirth spent four years among the chaotic stalls of street markets, talking to pushcart hawkers and gray marketers, to study the remarkable “System D,” the world’s unlicensed economic network. Responsible for some 1.8 billion jobs, it’s an economy of underappreciated power and scope.


    #économie_informelle #système_D #économie

    • Capitalism hits the fan

      With breathtaking clarity, renowned University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Richard Wolff breaks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic failures within the structures of American-style capitalism itself. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s, when wages began to stagnate and American workers were forced into a dysfunctional spiral of borrowing and debt that ultimately exploded in the mortgage meltdown. By placing the crisis within this larger historical and systemic frame, Wolff argues convincingly that the proposed government “bailouts,” stimulus packages, and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis - in the end suggesting that far more fundamental change will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes. Richly illustrated with motion graphics and charts, this is a superb introduction designed to help ordinary citizens understand, and react to, the unraveling economic crisis.


    • The Story of Solutions

      The Story of Solutions, released in October 2013, explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal. In the current ‘Game of More’, we’re told to cheer a growing economy – #more roads, more malls, more Stuff! – even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn’t more, but better – better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn’t that be what winning means?


    • #Happy

      From the filmmakers who brought you Long Night’s Journey Into Day, Beyond the Call, and the Oscar nominated Genghis Blues, comes a global journey across countries and continents in a search for humanity’s most elusive emotion.

      HAPPY seeks to share the wisdom of traditional cultures and the cutting edge science that is now, for the first time, exploring human happiness. Through powerful interviews, we explore what makes people happy across the world.


    • #Off_the_Map

      Somewhere in the back of nowhere, in an adobe house with no lights or running water, a family lives in what could be called freedom or could be called poverty. We’re not sure if they got there because they were 1960s hippies making a lifestyle experiment or were simply deposited there by indifference to conventional life. They grow vegetables and plunder the city dump and get $320 a month in veterans’ benefits, but they are not in need and are apparently content with their lot.

      Now there is a problem. “That was the summer of my father’s depression” the narrator tells us. She is Bo Groden, played in the movie by Valentina de Angelis at about age 12, and heard on the sound track as an adult (Amy Brenneman). “I’m a damn crying machine,” says her dad, Charley (Sam Elliott). He sits at the kitchen table, staring at nothing, and his wife and daughter have learned to live their lives around him.


    • #The_take

      In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - The Take - has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. In the wake of Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America’s most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The #Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They’re part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system. But Freddy, the president of the new worker’s co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory. The story of the workers’ struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former owners, are circling: if he wins, they’ll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale. With The Take, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. But what shines through in the film is the simple drama of workers’ lives and their struggle: the demand for dignity and the searing injustice of dignity denied.


      #auto-gestion #Argentine

    • #Shift_change

      With the long decline in US manufacturing and today’s economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. The usual economic solutions are not working, so some citizens and public officials are ready to think outside of the box, to reinvent our failing economy in order to restore long term community stability and a more egalitarian way of life.

      There is growing interest in firms that are owned and managed by their workers. Such firms tend to be more profitable and innovative, and more committed to the communities where they are based. Yet the public has little knowledge of their success, and the promise they offer for a better life.


    • Bon, j’avoue ne pas avoir le temps de tout recensé les films qui semblent bien intéressants sur la liste, je continuerai peut-être plus tard dans l’année...

  • Platform Cooperativism: Taking back the internet - Co-operative News

    Le mouvement des plateformes assoiciatives a été lancé il y deux ans. Depuis l’appel pour créer des alternatives aux plateformes de la mort les death-star platforms est entendu et discuté dans le monde entier.

    Platform Cooperativism is a rising and ambitious movement, but based on a simple co-operative principle: to put power back in the hands of the people.

    ‘Ownership of the internet’ may sound like a lofty aim, but taking control of the online tools we use is really just a 21st century equivalent of owning the shop we run, or the pub we go to. Can the internet be owned and governed differently? And if so, how?

    In November, over a thousand people convened for an event at the New School in New York to discuss how this could be achieved. Billed as a ‘coming-out party for the co-operative internet’, it attracted academics, co-operators, business leaders and those just curious about what was happening.

    Writer and reporter Nathan Schneider co-organised the conference, and is at the heart of the movement. “[The phrase] ‘Platform Cooperativism’ is a call-to-action coined by my colleague Trebor Scholz,” he said, “just long and mysterious enough, I think, to arouse curiosity and to give a name to what, actually, a lot of people have been longing for and even working on.”

    Platform Cooperativism : Nov 13-14, NYC

    Platform cooperativism is a way to put power back in the hands of the workers."
    – Kristy Milland (worker at Amazon Mechnical Turk) 


    The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance. Ordinary users retain little control over their personal data, and the digital workplace is creeping into every corner of workers’ lives. Online platforms often exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities in society, even while promising to be the great equalizers. Could the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers could set up their own platform, or if cities could control their own version of Airbnb? Can Silicon Alley do things more democratically than Silicon Valley? What are the prospects for platform cooperativism?

    Taxi drivers need to take control back of Uber, says economist - Co-operative News

    A global economist has called for taxi drivers to unite against Uber and form a workers’ collective.

    Ann Pettifor, analyst of the global financial system and director of Prime Economics, said that workers should be in control of platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, especially since they own the working capital of the business.

    “This is an ideal opportunity for us to be arguing for more worker co-operatives,” said Ms Pettifor at the Co-operative Congress in Wakefield. “The really fascinating thing about Uber, about Airbnb and about these other sectors is that actually the capital of those businesses is owned by the workers.

    Why should Uber operate in this way? Why do taxi drivers not come together and form a collective?

    “So the drivers of the cars own the car, they have bought the car, they have invested in it, they maintain it, they invest in its maintenance, they insure it.”

    Ms Pettifor added: “They pay for all of that and then they pay something for the app. They are then allowed by Uber in California, in Silicon Valley, to retain some of their allowance but why on earth should Uber be such a company? Why should it operate in this way? Why do taxi drivers not come together and form a collective?”

    Congress 2016: Developing a national co-operative development strategy

    Death Star Platforms | Grassroots Economic Organizing

    Fighting Fire with Fire? Matthew Slater

    How Platform Coops Can Beat Death Stars Like Uber to Create a Real Sharing Economy - Shareable


  • Martin Wolf: The long and painful journey to world disorder

    We are, in short, at the end of both an economic period — that of western-led globalisation — and a geopolitical one — the post-cold war “unipolar moment” of a US-led global order.

    The question is whether what follows will be an unravelling of the post-second world war era into deglobalisation and conflict, as happened in the first half of the 20th century, or a new period in which non-western powers, especially China and India, play a bigger role in sustaining a co-operative global order.


  • ’We had no investors. We did it alone, believing in our power and abilities’ | Media | The Guardian

    At the Journalists’ Newspaper in Athens, everyone is paid the same, from the receptionist to the senior reporters, except the editor-in-chief. He works for free and lives off his pension. They don’t argue about salaries because they are also the owners of the paper, which is run as a co-operative, so everyone knows how tight finances are. In return, they get to thrash out front page stories, editorial positions and headlines without even the shadow of interference by a media baron chasing political or financial interest.

  •  CIAM 4. The Functional City — ETH Zurich


    The research and publication project entitled «CIAM 4. The Functional City» is a co-operative venture of the gta Archives in Zurich and the EFL Foundation in The Hague. It is to evaluate this fourth meeting of the Congrès internationaux d‘architecture moderne (CIAM), held in the summer of 1933, for the first time in terms of systematic historiography. Astonishingly, although this congress became a legendary point of reference in subsequent decades – for both supporters and critics of functionalist urban planning – such a study has never been done before and is highly desirable.

    The congress was conceived by a team led by Sigfried Giedion, Le Corbusier and Cornelis van Eesteren. Except for a few events in Athens, the conference was held mainly on the cruise liner Patris II on the way from Marseille to Athens and back. After the previous two congresses on «The Minimum Dwelling» (Frankfurt/Main, 1929) and «Rational Land Development» (Brussels, 1930), «The Functional City» represented an ambitious project to apply modern methods of architectural analysis and planning to the city as a whole. In subsequent decades, the subjects discussed during this congress became the canonical point of reference par excellence for both modernist urban planners and critics of modernist planning. The central tenets set up by the fourth CIAM conference, e.g. the paradigm of strict functional division and its guiding statements published by Le Corbusier in the Athens Charter in 1943, have been either appreciated or rejected to this day. The congress also became legendary for the unique atmosphere in which the discussions took place on board the liner, and for the visits to ancient Greek monuments and vernacular buildings.

    En lien avec :

    Otto Neurath et « l’orchestration » de la politique urbaine - Visionscarto


    Otto Neurath et « l’orchestration » de la politique urbaine

    #architecture #urbanisme #neurath #le_corbusier #eth_zurich

  • Paul Flowers’ escort Ciaron Dodd reveals drug-fuelled sex in rooms paid for by the Co-op | Mail Online

    The rent boy and trysts in rooms paid for by the Co-op: Escort reveals Flowers sent him emails to organise drug-fuelled sex from his work account

    Ciaron Dodd said they met in plush hotel rooms paid for by struggling bank
    The £650-a-night escort revealed messages sent by Reverend Flowers
    Methodist minister used work account to arrange ’drug-fuelled threesomes’
    Mr Dodd says relationship ended when Flowers refused to pay £2,000
    Flowers allegedly met him through the escort website ‘Manchester Lads’

    By Nazia Parveen, Eleanor Harding and Sam Greenhill

    PUBLISHED: 23:15 GMT, 19 November 2013 | UPDATED: 08:20 GMT, 20 November 2013



    Ciaron Dodd said Paul Flowers was debauched and ’showered him with gifts’

    Ciaron Dodd said Paul Flowers was debauched and ’showered him with gifts’

    The humiliation of Paul Flowers worsened yesterday when a rent boy claimed the ousted Co-op chief hired him for sex.

    Ciaron Dodd, 21, said they met in plush hotel rooms paid for by the struggling bank.

    The Methodist minister, who was forced to quit his £130,000 role in June, showered him with gifts and took him for nights out to the theatre, said Mr Dodd.

    The explosive allegations came as the Labour Party faced further damaging questions about its links with Flowers.

    Pictures have emerged of a lavish reception hosted by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls at 10 Downing Street for Flowers and fellow Co-op grandees while Labour was in power.

    It also emerged that Labour knew two years ago that Flowers had been forced to resign as one of the party’s city councillors after gay porn was found on his computer.

    But it appears the Co-op was not told – allowing him to continue until June as its banking chairman, a position from which he helped to approve massive donations to Labour and Mr Balls.

    Dodd, a £650-a-night escort, has backed up his claim by producing damning messages sent by Flowers, 63, from his work email - in which he organises drug-fuelled threesomes.

    Dodd said: ‘I knew what he did for a living and couldn’t believe how debauched he was.

    ‘Every time he saw me he knew he was risking everything – but he just didn’t seem to care.

    ‘He took me to the theatre and gave me presents like chocolate and wine. I was old enough to be his grandson but he didn’t seem to think we looked like the odd couple.’

    In emails from Flowers’ work account – paul.flowers@co-operative.coop – he wrote unguardedly about sex and drugs.

    One email to the rent boy states: ‘Been waiting for you to come and have some coke (cocaine) and k (Ketamin) with me. P x.’


    Co-op Group boss dramatically quits in growing row over ex-banking chief caught buying crystal meth and cocaine
    Let’s hear it for the Crystal Methodist: Why, by tonight, Flowers will be portrayed as a hapless ’victim’ of an evil newspaper

    In another exchange, Mr Dodd asks if he can bring his friend Lucas. Flowers replies: ‘I like him a lot – but I can’t afford 2 of you this time! PXx’.

    Mr Dodd claimed the relationship ended when Flowers refused to pay £2,000 he owed.

    Another 31-year-old escort, who asked not to be named, said the bank boss often talked about his work.

    He told the Sun newspaper: ‘He said there was going to be a public announcement about how a deal with Lloyds TSB had fallen through. A few days later I heard it on the news.’

    Part-time model Mr Dodd said Flowers contacted him through the escort website ¿Manchester Lads¿ in 2011.

    Part-time model Mr Dodd said Flowers contacted him through the escort website ¿Manchester Lads¿ in 2011.

    Risking everything: Paul Flowers was forced to quit his £130,000 role in June

    Risking everything: Paul Flowers was forced to quit his £130,000 role in June

    Part-time model Mr Dodd said Flowers contacted him through the escort website ‘Manchester Lads’ in 2011.

    For their first meeting, Flowers took him to see a play, You Can’t Take It With You, at Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre before taking him to a hotel.

    Flowers then paid £650 to hire Mr Dodd for the night and take a cocktail of drugs including amyl nitrate (poppers), cocaine, ketamine and party drug GHB, he claimed.

    The pair were soon seeing each other once a week and Flowers would regularly take his new male companion to high-class restaurants and top up his bank account with extra cash, Mr Dodd said.

    On top of his standard ‘fee’, he received almost £500 over a 28-day period and he was paid an extra £150 if he brought another rent boy along to the sex sessions.

    Mr Dodd said: ‘I would meet Paul at the Renaissance Hotel in Manchester – which was paid for by the bank – while he was in town on business.

    ‘I would also go to his house where he would hold parties with other escorts and friends. It wasn’t long after our first meeting that Paul tested the water with me in terms of drugs.

    ‘He asked me if I dabbled and before long drugs were always involved when I met with him.

    ’Paul enjoyed my company too, though. He’d like to spend hours drinking, talking and taking drugs. He would raise his glass and say, “To good health darling” before we had a drink.’

    Mr Dodd, from Manchester, said Flowers would often go to work after less than an hour of sleep.

    It has also emerged Reverend Flowers was convicted of gross indecency in a public toilet with a man believed to be a trucker in 1981.

    He admitted the offence at Fareham Magistrates’ Court in Hampshire, and was fined £75 with £35 legal costs.

    Flowers told justices he was ‘shamed and embarrassed’ about the incident but maintained he was involved ‘at the other man’s instigation’.

    Yet he was allowed to continue as a Methodist minister.

    Even then, Flowers had friends in high places. He produced a character reference from a Labour peer, Lord Soper of Kingsway, who told the court his friend had suffered a traumatic experience.

    Yesterday, Flowers stepped down from Terrence Higgins Trust’s board of trustees.

    The Tories last night urged Mr Miliband and Mr Balls to ‘come clean’ about their links with Flowers, who has been suspended from the party.

    Both men have been scrambling to distance themselves from the disgraced Methodist minister since the Mail on Sunday captured him on film buying hard drugs, including crack cocaine and crystal meth.
    Hospitality: Paul Flowers (centre) at Downing Street for the launch of a Co-op venture in 2010

    Hospitality: Paul Flowers (centre) at Downing Street for the launch of a Co-op venture in 2010

    Labour support: Ed Miliband at the same function with Co-op chairman Len Wardle (left)

    Labour support: Ed Miliband at the same function with Co-op chairman Len Wardle (left)

    But damaging details have emerged about the extraordinary position Flowers had held at the heart of Labour. At the Downing Street dinner in February 2010, he can be seen drinking wine and mingling with guests, who included a string of Labour ministers.

    Mr Miliband is pictured laughing and joking with Len Wardle, another senior Co-op figure who has quit as the group’s chairman because of ‘serious questions’ over his decision to appoint Flowers to the bank’s board.

    Mr Balls, one of 32 Labour MPs who receive financial sponsorship from the Co-op, was also pictured networking at the event, which was held to launch the ‘Friends of the Co-operative ideal’.
    BY NUMBERS.jpg

    A report of the event, in Co-operative News, reveals that Mr Miliband was ‘in demand’ from senior Co-op figures because he was in charge of Labour’s manifesto for the election that May.

    A few months later, Flowers, who describes Mr Balls as a ‘political friend’ was appointed to the Co-op’s ‘political strategy working group’.

    Along with Mr Wardle, he approved millions of pounds in donations to the Labour and Co-operative parties, including a £50,000 donation to Mr Balls.

    Despite the economic crisis – and the Co-op’s dire finances – the group has increased its political donations from £664,000 in 2008 to £880,000 last year.

    Flowers boasted to MPs earlier this month that he had helped oversee an increase in the maximum annual donations to £1.15million before stepping down.

    Following the Number 10 dinner, Mr Miliband appointed Flowers to his exclusive business advisory board.

    The Labour leader went on to hold dinners with Flowers and other business figures at Westminster restaurants in July and November of 2011.

    This March, he invited Flowers for private talks at his Commons office. The following month the Co-op Bank threw Labour a financial lifeline with a £1.2million loan.

    In a letter to the Labour leader, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps demanded answers to nine critical questions, including what the Labour leadership knew about Flowers’ resignation from Bradford council and what personal dealings Mr Miliband had with him while the Co-op was doling out cash to Labour.

    Mr Shapps wrote: ‘The latest revelations about the conduct and behaviour of Paul Flowers have shocked and appalled the public.

    ’They have also raised serious questions about the Labour Party to which you have not yet adequately responded.’

    Tory MP Brooks Newmark, a member of the Commons Treasury committee, which is investigating the near-collapse of the Co-op during Flowers’ time as chairman, said there were also questions about whether Labour had been involved in his extraordinary rise.

    Mr Newmark said: ‘Labour need to come clean about exactly what place Paul Flowers held in the Labour hierarchy.

    ’We know that the Reverend Flowers’ judgment was deeply flawed, no doubt not helped by whatever drugs he was taking.

    ‘But the question does arise whether, in spraying shareholders’ money around to the Labour Party, including an extraordinary gift of £50,000 to Ed Balls, was he engaged in some sort of payback for being given this £132,000 bank job for which he was manifestly ill-suited?

    ’We know there is a special relationship between Labour and the Co-op – did the Reverend Flowers receive support from Labour in getting the job?’

    Flowers was a senior Labour councillor before rising to prominence in the Co-op movement.

    The inappropriate material that cost him his council seat was found when he gave his laptop to the Bradford authority’s IT department for a routine servicing.

    Shocked council officials confronted him with the images, and he resigned immediately. But in public, he pretended he was leaving for family reasons and because of his high-pressure role at the Co-op Bank.

    Yesterday, a spokesman for Bradford Council said: ‘Inappropriate but not illegal adult content was found on a council computer handed in by Councillor Flowers for servicing. This was put to him and he resigned immediately.’

    Bradford Council confirmed last night that it did not inform the Co-op of the reason for Mr Flowers’s resignation because, although he had breached the council’s rules, he had not broken the law.

    At the time, the then leader of the council, Councillor Ian Greenwood, paid tribute to his work and called him ‘a highly gifted individual who has made an enormous contribution as a member of the executive’.

    Mr Miliband and Mr Balls both deny having close links with Flowers.

    Labour refused to comment in detail on the fresh allegations yesterday.

    A spokesman said: ‘Ed Miliband and the Labour leadership have been as shocked as anyone at the recent revelations regarding Paul Flowers. That is why we have taken immediate action and suspended him from the Labour Party.’

    Mr Balls was under further pressure last night to hand back a £50,000 donation from the Co-op. Mr Newmark said: ‘Mr Balls should ask himself whether it is right to accept that money and consider giving it back.’

    A spokesman for Mr Balls insisted there was no reason to return the money as it had been properly donated by the Co-op Group.

    Former Co-op bank chief caught on camera in ’crystal meth deal’
    Co-op Group boss quits in growing row over ex-banking chief caught buying drugs

    The Co-op was plunged into fresh chaos yesterday as its chairman fell on his sword for appointing crack addict Reverend Paul Flowers to head the group’s bank.

    Len Wardle’s resignation came as anger is growing among ordinary investors whose retirement incomes are being raided to prop up the disaster-prone bank.

    He admitted ‘serious questions’ were raised by the drugs scandal over former banking chairman Paul Flowers.

    Mr Flowers, a former Labour councillor and Methodist minister who was chairman of the Co-operative Bank when it ran into trouble, faces an investigation by the police after being covertly filmed counting off £20 notes to buy hard drugs.

    He was covertly filmed buying crystal meth and crack cocaine.


    Co-op Group boss dramatically quits in growing row over ex-banking chief caught buying crystal meth and cocaine
    Let’s hear it for the Crystal Methodist: Why, by tonight, Flowers will be portrayed as a hapless ’victim’ of an evil newspaper

    Resigned: Co-operative Group chairman Len Wardle has quit his job with immediate effect
    Ursula Lidbetter replaces Mr Wardle in running the troubled Co-op Group

    Resigned: Co-operative Group chairman Len Wardle, left, has quit his job with immediate effect. Ursula Lidbetter, right, replaces Mr Wardle in running the troubled Co-op Group

    The Co-operative Group yesterday launched a fact-finding investigation into ’any inappropriate behaviour’ at the group or the Co-operative Bank and a ’root-and-branch review’ of the structure of the organisation.

    There is growing incredulity that a man with no banking experience and a penchant for crystal meth and cocaine had been made chairman of a bank.

    But today Mr Wardle announced he will quit the £145,000 position he has held since 2007.

    He was due to leave next May but he said it was now right for him to go straight away, having led the board that appointed Mr Flowers.

    Mr Wardle said: ‘The recent revelations about the behaviour of Paul Flowers, the former chair of the Co-operative Bank, have raised a number of serious questions for both the bank and the group.

    ‘The recent revelations about the behaviour of Paul Flowers, the former chair of the Co-operative Bank, have raised a number of serious questions for both the bank and the group. I led the board that appointed Paul Flowers to lead the bank board, and under those circumstances I feel that it is right that I step down now, ahead of my planned retirement in May next year’

    – Len Wardle

    ‘I led the board that appointed Paul Flowers to lead the bank board and under those circumstances I feel that it is right that I step down now, ahead of my planned retirement in May next year.

    ‘I have already made it clear that I believe the time is right for real change in our operations and our governance and the board recently started a detailed review of our democracy.

    ‘I hope that the group now takes the chance to put in place a new democratic structure so we can modernise in the interests of all our members.’

    Critics have questioned how he could have been appointed given his apparent lack of experience, and Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said that, even before the weekend’s revelations, it was clear he was ‘manifestly unsuitable’.

    The Co-operative Bank is facing a rescue plan which will see majority control turned over to investors including US hedge funds, after it was left with a £1.5 billion gap in its finances following the takeover of the Britannia Building Society in 2009.

    Mr Wardle’s departure will see him replaced by his deputy, Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative.

    The Co-operative Group said: ‘It is intended that Ursula will chair the group through the current governance review, which will include consideration of how the board is constituted and chaired.’

    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is under pressure over a £50,000 donation from the Co-op

    Ed Balls has come under pressure to return a £50,000 donation backed by the former Co-operative Bank chairman hit by claims of hard drug use.

    Labour’s leadership has attempted to distance itself from Paul Flowers, a former councillor, after it emerged he attended a private meeting with Ed Miliband and both men were also present at two dinners in Westminster.

    Sources insisted he was ’neither influential nor important’.

    Yesterday the 63-year-old was suspended from the party for bringing it into disrepute following footage that appears to show him buying drugs days after being grilled by the Treasury Select Committee over the bank’s disastrous performance.

    A Labour source: ’It’s true that there was a private meeting with Ed in March of this year. There were two informal dinners - three meetings that we can find records of in the space of three years.

    Earlier this month Mr Flowers told the Commons Treasury committee said: ’My recollection is that we paid for a particular researcher to assist the shadow chancellor in the work that he needed to do, and that we believed to be a legitimate and proper use of resources.’

    Tory MP Brooks Newmark told the Daily Telegraph: ’The Rev Flowers’ judgment was clearly impaired if he was prepared to give Ed Balls £50,000.

    ’Mr Balls should now ask himself whether it is right to accept that money, and consider giving it back.’

    MPs have castigated financial watchdogs for rubber-stamping the appointment of Rev Paul Flowers, which they denounced as a farcical ‘box-ticking exercise’.

    Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, said it was obvious when Flowers appeared before them earlier this month that he was ‘manifestly unsuitable’ to be a bank chairman.

    He called for the regulation of senior bankers to be tightened to include continuing and ‘intrusive’ supervision.

    ‘It’s been a complete disaster. Nothing less than saying that will do,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.

    He attacked the ‘approved persons regime’, whereby a City panel supposedly checked the competence of Rev Flowers, as ‘nothing more than a massive bureaucratic, back-covering, box-ticking exercise that satisfied regulators but did little or nothing to protect shareholders or customers of banks’.

    In fact Flowers was only checked by the regulator when he became a member of the Co-op board and was not re-interviewed at all when he was promoted to chairman in April 2010.

    Flowers quit his post in June this year as his ‘ethical’ bank was driven to the brink of collapse, threatening the retirement incomes of thousands of pensioners.

    Yesterday he was also suspended by the Labour Party amid embarrassment over a £50,000 donation to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

    He faces a police inquiry into his use of hard drugs, and the Co-op announced a ‘root and branch review’ into ‘any inappropriate behaviour’ during the tenure of its former boss.

    Mr Wardle will be replaced by his deputy, Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative.

    She told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: ’The stories (about Mr Flowers) are shocking but it’s not something that I can comment on today. There are investigations going on, it is in the hands of police.

    ’Len had already told the membership that he was going to stand down next May and in light of the review of governance, which Len started, he felt that making a fresh start with a new chairman would be the best way forward.

    ’We have to devise a governance for the Co-operative Group which is fit for the future, for the scale and complexity of the organisation. It’s an amalgamation of many, many organisations over its 150-year history, and we realise that it needs to change, it needs to be simpler, and that will mean changing many things.

    The one thing we do want to make sure is that members still have a voice at the heart of the Co-operative Group. There are seven million members and we think their voice should be heard loud and clear, but we are open-minded about how we achieve that.

    ’The review will look at absolutely everything - it will look at what went wrong, it will look at the opportunities and we will devise a governance structure that is fit for the future, involves our members and makes sure we are very efficient and highly effective in the future.’

  • AFAC Announces 36 New Grantees in #Cinema, Music and RTR | Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

    J’aimerai bien voir le short film « The Wanted 18 » qui parle de Tsahal à la recherche de 18 vaches menaçant la sécurité nationale d’#Israël...

    Project brief: This is the story of the most powerful army in the Middle East chasing 18 cows. In 1987, a group of Palestinian activists started a co-operative dairy farm in Beit Sahour with 18 cows. The people in the Bethlehem area came to depend completely on the co-op’s milk, which they called the ’intifada milk’. However, once the co-op became successful, the Israeli army ordered its closure, claiming the cows to be a threat to Israeli national security. Defying the army, the activists went undercover, hiding the 18 cows in people’s houses and continuing to produce milk.

    *Et aussi « 3000 Layal » :

    Project brief: A newlywed Palestinian schoolteacher is arrested after an Israeli military patrol gravely injures one of her students, provoking a clash between the students and the soldiers. ‘Layal’ is detained in a high-security Israeli prison where, to her shock, she discovers that she is pregnant. Though she delivers her baby boy while chained to a bed, the child transforms her life and gives her hope. When the women of the prison protest by going on hunger strike, the prison director threatens to take Layal’s child away. With the help of the women, Layal learns to stand up for herself and fight for her child.

  • Je reviens d’Ecosse ou j’ai vu ce réseau de grandes surfaces alimentaires : co-operative. C’est, si j’ai bien compris, géré comme une mutuelle. Ce n’est ni capitaliste ni complétement alternatif.

    Un compromis quoi !


    Our businesses

    everything from ethical banking and travel to great value local food and online shopping

    The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by almost six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating both The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation.

    As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.

    The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000 people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn.


  • Alienation, human nature and mutual aid | Anarchist Writers

    On voit rarement Kropotkine et Wilkinson cités ensemble

    As my Kropotkin article indicated, the book The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett proves that inequality (both in terms of power and wealth) is bad for us – we are evolved from co-operative, egalitarian apes and when we live in hierarchy, unequal and competitive societies we do not flourish.

    #santé #inégalités #anarchisme #socialisme #communisme #théorie