Mondragon Bookstore & Coffeehouse
|Headquarters||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
The Mondragon Bookstore & Coffeehouse was a political bookstore and vegan cafe located in The Old Market Autonomous Zone at 91 Albert Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The name comes from the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation and other organisations in the Basque town of Mondragón Spain that is known for its extensive network of worker's cooperatives.
Mondragon was organized as a workers' collective: there is no hierarchy and all workers receive the same wage rate. This is based on the economic structure, Parecon developed by Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert.
The firm closed on January 26, 2014, citing financial difficulties.
Mondragon Bookstore carries books related to anarchism, ecology, indigenous issues and resistance, Marxism, feminism, human and animal liberation, queer issues, sexuality, health, vegetarianism, economics, labour, media, activism and social change. Mondragon also carries zines, alternative children's books, political posters and t-shirts.
Mondragon also operates a vegan cafe, and catering company.
Mondragon also operates a full vegan grocery store entitled Sacco & Vanzetti's, after the two notable anarchists of the 1920s. It specializes in local and organic fare.
Non-Hierarchical Worker-Run Collective
Mondragon's internal structure, inspired by the participatory economic model, is part of a long tradition of workers' collectives. It aspires to complete non-hierarchy: there are no owners or managers other than the workers themselves. One of the co-founders of the workplace presented a paper at the World Social Forum in Brazil on the practical difficulties of applying parecon principles to a workplace in the midst of capitalism. This paper was later published in the anthology Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century (AK Press, 2008) under the title "Parecon and Workers' Self-Management: Reflections on Winnipeg's Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House Collective.". Some commentators have also noted that regardless of the egalitarian workplace structure, in the final analysis, retail work is still largely menial, and turn-over rates are comparable to more corporate counterparts.
Mondragon has also been a venue for social and political events since opening its doors in 1996. A partial list of activists and speakers who have given talks or participated on panels at Mondragon over the years includes:
- Randall Amster
- L. Susan Brown
- Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin
- Chris Hannah of Propagandhi
- Ann Hansen
- Norman Nawrocki of Rhythm Activism.
- Jaggi Singh
- Michael Albert
- Naomi Klein
- Ward Churchill
- various members of the Industrial Workers of the World
- members of the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement
- Zapatista Army of National Liberation and Palestinian solidarity activists
- members of OCAP
- Christian Parenti
- Alexander Cockburn
- Mondragon was co-founded by Winnipeg activists Paul Burrows and Sandra Drosdowech, and opened its doors on July 15, 1996 with an initial collective of ten members.
- Many of Mondragon's past collective members have gone on to help start other activist projects, or join existing ones, such as Winnipeg-based groups like Natural Cycle, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, Arbeiter Ring Publishing, Organic Planet Worker Co-op, Dada World Data (DWD), as well as AK Press and Seven Stories Press.
- Lindor Reynolds, "A most respectful exchange", Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 2011
- Mondragon closing doors for good this month, Winnipeg Free Press, 18 January 2014
- Paul Burrows, "ParEcon in Theory and Practice: Work After Capitalism Panel Discussion"
- Paul Burrows, “Parecon & Workers' Self-Management: Reflections on Winnipeg's Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House Collective,” in Chris Spannos (ed.), Real Utopia (AK Press, 2008)
- David Leibel, “Café Resistance,” This Magazine (July-August 2002)
- ParEcon collective celebrates anniversary, The Manitoban, 12 September 2001 Archived May 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse
- ParEcon in Theory and Practice “Work After Capitalism” Panel Discussion - Paul Burrows outlining how ParEcon was implemented at the Mondragon Bookstore & Coffeehouse