The Levica party (The Left) defends the over-regulation of the labour market, and therefore, according to their own criteria, their MP Miha Kordiš is actually promoting precarious work, undeclared work, as well as tax evasion, and he does not adhere to provisions of the labour laws, as this is precarious employment without any rights – that is how Tomaž Štih responded to the news of Kordiš’s “cooperative work.” Namely, the media outlet Svet14 published an article discussing the business model of Kordiš’s institute, which was designed with the ambition to someday become a cooperative. However, the sole founder of the institute is, at least for now, after five years of operating, still just Kordiš. “This is how the Levica party imagines entrepreneurship. They own everything, you can come work in their field, and you are paid for your work with a lettuce head, and Kordiš gets everything else. But this is not the exploitation of people by people; this is a social cooperative, focused on new jobs,” a Twitter user commented on Kordiš’s business model.
“Miha Kordiš, a member of the National Assembly, spends part of his free time in a field where he grows vegetables,” the Svet24 web portal wrote, explaining that a social enterprise type A has been established for this purpose: NDP TOZD, an institute for the sustainable social economy. They also wrote down Kordiš’s promise that the institute considers job creation, fair pay and social security to be its key goals. However, as it turns out, Kordiš is clearly not very dedicated to fulfilling the promises he made when the institute was established. After five years of operation, there is still not a single person employed there. The business balance sheets show that there has not been a single euro of cost for the work he has done – as most of the work is done by volunteers – they can grow vegetables for free, without the cost of rent, as they create surpluses which are then sold.
The Levica party is fighting against precarious work and exploitative working conditions, and they also want to stop privatisation and ensure public ownership in key industries. According to them, workers should unite in work collectives, demand that their rights be taken into account, demand higher wages and have more of a say in the companies where they work. Capitalism is not only a system of class exploitation and neglect but also of exploitation and neglect based on gender, ethnicity, nationality and other personal circumstances, they believe. The Levica party is therefore markedly anti-capitalist and also has a markedly negative attitude towards the (free) market. They also wrote in their political programme that they will include income from capital in the common personal income tax base and tax it fairly, at an increasing tax rate. The profits of companies will again be taxed at the rate of 25 percent; they will tax the income of the religious communities, which they obtain by marketing the services for which (semi) official price lists exist. They will introduce a mark-up on all transactions in tax havens, which will represent the revenue for the Republic of Slovenia. They also announce the end of tax “dumping,” the abolition of tax havens and the establishment of international supervisions over financial transactions, which will prevent tax evasion. But it seems that it is actually one of their own, MP Kordiš, who is skilfully evading taxes.
Kordiš in favour of the free market, Levica against it – or is it just a matter of double standards?
It is pretty obvious that the Levica party does not understand what it is doing – and if they do understand, but are consciously acting contrary to their own principles, which they want to impose on everyone else in any way possible – well, on everyone but themselves, clearly – then the whole thing is even worse. “Kordiš’s kolkhoz without pay, with 615 hours of work and without pay. Kordiš is a communist who operates in a capitalistic manner but does not pay his workers, nor does he pay insurance or taxes. So he is only a communist when it comes to screwing over the workers and the country,” a Twitter user commented on the matter, and another user then responded to him, writing: “The Kordiš-farming model is exceptional. Since he pays his slaves their wages in social vegetables, it goes without saying that their excrement is the property of the Kordiš state, and they have to bring it back to his field every day. We can say that he is literally enjoying the fruits of his labour.” Tomaž Štih pointed out on social media that Kordiš had apparently forgotten that his people are fighting against at least three things he is doing: the Levica party is very much opposed to undeclared work, precarious work without rights, as well as tax evasion.
“A cooperative is a special form of socio-economic integration of persons – it is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise,” reads the internationally accepted definition of a cooperative. So, a cooperative is not only a form of economic organisation but also a way of community life and democratic organisation and co-management of common affairs. In Kordiš’s cooperative model, volunteers manage their work themselves, but he has the legal-formal last word – as he has retained 100 percent ownership or founding.
Volunteers dedicated 615 hours of work to Kordiš last year. In his field, they create a surplus, which is then sold, and thus, expenses are covered, which allows the participants to grow vegetables for free, without the cost of rent, tools, seeds, seedlings and everything else that comes with owning a garden, Kordiš explained. he contributes only four hours of work a week to the work fund.
Svet24 then asked Kordiš why he retained the 100 percent ownership rights, and the latter answered that he is not the owner of the institute but the founder. It is clear that he wanted to avoid answering the question, as the institute was supposed to be a non-profit. However, the founder can change the founding act at any time and thus overthrow the previously established democratic bodies, the web portal explained. Unfortunately, Kordiš did not answer the question of whether he would allow the other members of the cooperative to become co-owners. But until every member who participates in the cooperative gets a share of the co-ownership, we cannot even talk about a true cooperative. But we can talk about the many contradictions. “We will transfer the ownership of companies into the hands of the state and local communities and establish workers’, farmers’ and consumer cooperatives. That is how we will change the holders of the capital and socialise profits,” the Levica party wrote in its programme, and judging by the example of Kordiš, we can only imagine what their theory would look like in practice.