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Co-operative Democracy

holyoake2Extracts from—George Jacob Holyoake, Essentials of Co-operative Education, The labour Association, London, UK, 1898

The labour Association was established to promote co-operative production based on co-partnership of the workers.

George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906) was a pioneer of the UK co-operative movement. He was a founder of the Co-operative Union in 1877 and the headquarters of Co-operatives UK (formerly the Co-operative Union) is named after him—Holyoake House. He wrote The History of the Rochdale Pioneers (1857) , The History of Co-operation in England (1875) and The Co-operative Movement Today (1891)

Who is the servant? “The holder of office sometimes comes to think that the society is his servant—not he the servant of the society—and regards the members as an inferior class. It was what Shakespeare describes as ‘the insolence of office’ which made the Americans adopt the ‘spoil system’ which enables electors to secure civility by bestowing or withholding office.” ( p 3)

How directors jump? “So when anyone is to be elected to office, it is prudent to first find out how he jumps. And he will jump well if he has had real co-operative education.” ( p 3)

Duties and Reasons “It is surely part of co-operative education to instruct a member in the duties he will be called upon to discharge, and the reasons which should influence him.” ( p 10)

Co-operators and right action. “Since members may become leaders in their turn, and are always electors of leaders, the quality of every man and woman in a co-operative society is of paramount importance. The sort of person the elector looks for will depend upon what the elector is himself. Cobden said of Lord Palmerston that he was so impartial that he had no bias—not even towards the truth. But co-operators are the better for that kind of instruction which gives them a bias towards right action. “ ( p 8)

Pathetic Advocates. “Few things are more pathetic than to see advocates who have made great sacrifices for the cause, becoming despondent because those whom they have sought to serve seem to care nothing for the advantages offered to them. As I have said elsewhere, when was it otherwise? ( p 14)

Co-operation Good-Will “Before and since the time of the Pioneers, co-operation has meant good-will to others—in contradistinction to competition, which means good-will to itself. But good-will to others implies equity—for that would be a shabby sort of good-will which is unjust to anyone. Co-operation signifies, in its very nature, working together—and working together means friendliness; for unfriendly people never work together long.” ( p 4)

Beginning Co-operative Education. “It was written on the tombstone of one who died very young, ‘if I were so soon to be done for, I wonder what I was begun for,’ How many members have we whose co-operative education never was begun? Yet how can directors of a society calculate its growth and progress—the zeal of those members may dies an early death, and the directors not foresee it?” ( p 2)

Global News Hub

global news hub icaThe Global News Hub has been created by the Co-operative Press Ltd with the help of the Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS News). The web site hosts text, pictures and video content. You can also subscribe to a mailing list.. [ more detail ]

Co-operative College

collegelogoThe UK Co-operative College is dedicated to the promotion of co-operative values, ideas and principles. It was established in 1919. In the UK the Co-operative College is developing new models to run schools as co-operatives.  [ more detail ]

IYC Australia 2012

iyc-logo australia_hyphenVisit the Australian  International Year of Co-operatives 2012 web site - established by the Australian IYC 2012 National Steering Committee. Visit the site for Australian activities and resources for the International Year of Co-operatives in Australia.  [ more detail ]