The Working Centre
EXPERIMENT IN SOCIAL CHANGE
By Kenneth Westhues, with chapters by Jane Addams, Moses Coady, Dorothy Day, Dave Conzani, Joe Mancini, Stephanie Mancini, Arleen Macpherson, and Caroline Williamson Montgomery
Foreword by Gregory Baum
Kitchener, Ontario: The Working Centre, 58 Queen St. South; x + 127 pp., cover by Andy Macpherson, paperback, 1995.
Westhues' book is accessible, intelligible and inspiring. Laced with autobiographical reflection, professional insight and a sound historical perspective, it grounds the experiment that is The Working Centre in the larger context of movements for social change, never neglecting the particular features that mark it as a Kitchener creation.
Anyone concerned about the ineffectiveness of our government's response to unemployment should search out this little book. I especially recommend it to those who see the widespread acceptance of double-digit unemployment as a moral and spiritual crisis.
If the worst-case global scenario suggested by When Corporations Rule the World materializes, or if high levels of unemployment should prevail in North America, we will have much to learn from the Working Centre, where people are there for each other.
Before you leave this evening, I would recommend that you acquire a copy of this book entitled The Working Centre. ... Read the book. Some of the comments are provocative. Some will bring you joy. But above all, it will cause you to think.
What I admire—and where I see God's hand—is that the social movements at the base continue to be bearers of a utopian vision, the vision of a peaceful, cooperative society where all can eat and where all can be friends. My hope is that in the present culture of anti-solidarity, the efforts of these communities will not only help a growing number of people to live a life of dignity in difficult circumstances, but also promote a countercultural undercurrent in society spreading the ideas of cooperation and solidarity.