It was a nightmare when many years ago as a young family with little money we were looking for an apartment. What was available, we couldn’t afford and what we could afford, we didn’t get. Our requirements were as modest as our financial resources and, despite intensive searching, it seemed hopeless.
When our desperation was at its peak, a colleague appeared, who after his divorce wanted to move out of an old small cooperative apartment. We had the great good fortune that we could take over this apartment. That is how I came to know and like Effretikon.
First we had save up the cooperative capital in monthly payments. That took several years. I find the cooperative idea great. I feel as if I belong to it, although for many years I no longer live in the cooperative. I met wonderful people there. We had parties together, organised help, the Samichlaus evening, children’s birthdays. And somehow we were all very similar.
Although I no longer live there, I remained a member, including the financial contribution, which others now benefit from. Someone was there for me, when I most needed help, now it’s time to repay.
But recently by chance I met in three different locations three members of cooperatives, who live in Zürich. The three earn far more than the average. One moved in as a poor student and stayed there over the years. The second moved in with his girlfriend and the third took over the apartment from his brother, who had been injured in an accident. They all praised the quality of life, the central locations and the low rent, which cannot be found in the free market. All three saved hundreds or thousands of francs a year.
That gives me food for thought. I don’t want to support with my contribution (however small) someone, who has no need for it. I don’t want to provide support for the hobbies and travels of educated people, who live in prosperous circumstances. I want to continue to support my cooperative, but I think that I must undertake something against the profiteers from the system. They should remain, but they should contribute more financially or with their time, so that those who really need it are supported. Or, if they don’t like this, move into the free market.
To achieve this seems difficult, but I must try. Because withdrawal from the cooperative, which is close to my heart, is not an option for me!