José María Arizmendiarietta (1915-1976), known by many simply as Arizmendi, was a Basque priest influenced by the social Catholicism of his time (in the “worker priest” and Catholic Action movements) as he mixed church social teachings and elements of the solidarity economy to build worker-owned industrial cooperatives in the small city known in Basque as Arrasate and in Spanish as Mondragón. Today’s Mondragon Corporation operates on five continents and employs over 80,000 people.
Mondragon has become a kind of icon of participatory, democratic economy, especially in its first decades. Arizmendiarietta’s single-minded focus on the workplace as a school of personal and community transformation has inspired thousands of cooperative enterprises worldwide. His role as one of the creators of today’s global movement for a solidarity economy has become clearer as his legacy has become better known.
Reflections, the little book of insights and practical wisdom compiled from his writings by Joxe Azurmendi, published originally in Spanish as Pensamientos, is presented here in a new translation for readers of English and an international cooperative movement borne forward in a new century.