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The Cooperators Club

It started as joke.

A handful of friends sitting around in the Pink Floyd coffeeshop in Am*dam. The conversation had been lively for a while and the atmosphere was thick with haunting melodies, sweat smelling smoke and dangerous ideas.

"Oh Max, please tell us about irresistable ideas, again" one of the assembled pleaded mockingly.

"Shouldn't this assembled group of great minds be able to come up with a meme, a self reproducing theory which is powerful enuf to change the world" teased Sigrid.

Cooperators Manifesto

An agreement for Mutual Aid: If we are to change society, we must take responsibility for it ourselves. We need to break out of the existing anonomous social structures. We must recognize that there are voluntary associations which we can form with people who we do not necessarily know. This manifesto is designed to create a flexible structure which is a beginning in turning things around. Use it if it is useful, change it as needed.

An Agreement to be Identifiable: Since the desire to to communicate to people who we do not know, we need to visibly identify ourselves. The initial proposal is to wear a small button of pin which has the letters "CC" or the words "Cooperators Club". And to permit growth of the Club, carry copies of this agreement and a few buttons and distribute them as it makes sense.

An Agreement to Aid: To the best of our ability at the time of a request from another identified member of the Club, we will do what we can for each other. Especially, sharing things which can be easily shared and providing our efforts in varying forms on a voluntary basis.

An Agreement to Communicate Directly: We need to recognize that this change in the social structures can only work if we can trust people who we have little or no previous experience with. To do this we need to make an extraordinary effort to say how we feel, early and clearly. If people are taking advantage of our generosity or idealism, we need to express it.

An Agreement to avoid using Money: Money is a powerful tool. Regretably, it is far easier to abuse and cause damage that it is to be genuinely helpful. Part of creating a society of cooperators is figuring out how to work together minimizing and avoiding the use of money as much as possible.

Not long after the Manifesto was written the name was changed to the "Cooperators Contract", which had a somewhat better illiteration (in English anyway) and sounded less poliically threatening.

Describe how the movement grows, give success story examples

Give examples of failures and recovery, splintering and reforming (philosophical divisions), perhaps outlawed somewhere. Fundamentalists - CC in e-mail addresses and on business cards.

Finally, the formation of the first international Progress, an alternative to a Congress. No formal program, all informal discussions, working groups on topics and creation of mutual assistance networks.