A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them

A Cooperative Idea

Thinking about the Democrats currently in congress, I am reminded of an episode of Start Trek: The Next Generation entitled Tapestry.

On a diplomatic mission, Picard and the away team are attacked by a  group of radicals. Picard is slightly injured, but the energy blast damages his artificial heart. Picard finds himself in the afterlife, but to his dismay it appears to be the domain of his nemesis Q, who bluntly says “Welcome to the afterlife, Jean-Luc. You’re dead.”

To prove that Picard is dead, Q introduces him to people that Picard is aware have died, including Picard’s father, and the voices of people for whose deaths Picard is responsible. When Picard accuses Q of causing his death, Q reveals that Picard’s artificial heart is the cause of his demise.

Picard lost his own heart in a bar brawl with Nausicaans – members of a quick-tempered, bullish race, which resulted in Picard being impaled from the back through his heart. Picard realizes his regret for his “wild youth” and that it has finally caught up with him. It is revealed that the basis of his current disciplined personality and need for privacy in his personal life is rooted in his regret over his earlier life and a wish to keep it secret.

Learning of Picard’s regrets, Q offers to let him go back in time to prevent the injury that resulted in him obtaining an artificial heart. Picard is assured by Q that any changes he makes will not affect anyone other than himself. He is whisked back to two days before the injury, meeting with his friends and academy classmates Corey Zweller and Marta Batanides. To his friends and acquaintances, his “newly changed” personality comes as somewhat of an unpleasant surprise, and he alienates his friends – the person they knew as fun loving and quick to
anger is now staid, slow to anger, and often unintentionally insulting.

Events proceed as they did with Zweller becoming enraged with a group of Nausicaans who cheat him at dom-jot. Picard short-circuits Zweller’s plan to rig the dom-jot table, enraging
his best friend in the process. After an intimate encounter with Batanides that was not part of the original timeline, the Nausicaans appear and insult Picard and his friends. Instead of taking on the Nausicaans, Picard throws Zweller out of the way of the fight. The Nausicaans call the ensigns cowards and leave – as do Zweller and Batanides. Picard has destroyed his friendship with them by refusing to stand up for Zweller. Q tells Picard that he has saved his heart, and returns him to the present.

Although Q’s promise not to otherwise change the timeline has been kept, Picard finds himself on the Enterprise as a Lieutenant junior grade in the astrophysics department, with Worf as his immediate superior. After meeting with Riker and Troi, he discovers that his careeris a list of routine postings and that he has accomplished little of consequence. He is described as competent by his superiors, but he fails to show initiative and is not willing to take the necessary risks in order to have a successful, well-rounded career in Starfleet.

Unwilling or incapable of taking any risks.  Mainly technocrats and bureaucrats and pragmatists.  I do not see this changing any time soon. It seems to go with the background of those drawn into politics these days and supported primarily by Wall Street.

So I propose a possible solution for those of us who have neither the clout nor the finances to influence those inside the beltway.

To set up a cooperative or union of sorts to provide those services and goods that the clowns in DC refuse to provide. Maybe taking our spiritual direction from the 12 Traditions of AA or OA or some other 12 Step group. Something also like The Free Clinics around the country but also providing food, transportation, clothing, housing and other necessities at a more reasonable cost. Being funded by dues and/or donations.

Starting small at first. Most likely in the North East and building from there. I do think it can be done but will admit that it would take some work. But with the
employment and economic situation being what it is, I am sure there are those with the time to put into it.

Just a thought.

Comments on: "A Cooperative Idea" (6)

  1. Interesting concept, interesting post, C. I love the Free Clinic link. I had no idea such a place existed. If I lived in Ohio I’d be happy to sit in one of their five dental chairs.

    I like the idea of a co-op program but in the same breath, I think the Salvation Army and others like it are already doing that, no?

    • Well not exactly. Salvation Army is geared toward those on the street or down on their luck some other way. Very big on the disaster relief thing.

      I was thinking more along the lines of a Not For Profit situation not unlike Credit Unions but more general. Like the consumer’s cooperatives that started in the UK.

      Offering food and other things to members. Geared pretty much toward those in the lower income brackets.

      Or a Housing cooperative but more along the lines of what they have in Sweden and Finland.

      • Ah, I get it now. Well, why don’t you start one? “Make it so, Number One.” Hee.

        • Actually there are already a number of Free Clinics in NYC. One at least offers free dental services. St. Anthony Free Clinic run by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

          There is also the New York City Free Clinic for all other services. And others as well.

          There are also food coops as well but these are mostly Natural Foods and Health Food stores. So they cater to those who are fairly well off.

          Nit quite what I had in mind.

  2. One thing I do need to say is that anything that is started has to be non-political. And there for little if any government involvement. The biggest problems with government programs is one – they are nearly always used for some political advantage. Where one side makes them look more grandiose than they really are and at the same time the other side is doing everything it can to sabotage and monkey wrench them. Then you have the bureaucracy and rules where there is little or no expected responsibility either on the part of management or clients. Public Housing and HUD are perfect examples where the tenets were forbidden to make any alterations or improvements and management had so many rules and paperwork and justifications that nothing ever got done. And corruption followed.

    My main idea is the keep the damn greed heads out.

  3. Yes yes yes . . .

    Plant a seed, nurture it and watch it grow.

    Here in Southern California I have been active in various non-governmental co-op organizations and coalitions since the late 60s. Mainly dealing with feeding the hungry and bringing health services to those in need.

    On the food front here locally:

    The Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles is one organization that I’ve been indirectly active with. They publish and operate http://www.farmernet.com/“>Farmer Net and is a private non-profit community development corporation that operates certified farmers’ markets.

    It’s been a slow haul, but it has grown and grown over the past few years.

    And here is a real handy link for sustainable organic growers and associations throughout North America and some offshore organizations.

    Organic Consumers Association – Campaigning for Health, Justice, Sustainability, Peace, and Democracy.

    Thanks for bringing this subject to the community here.


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