co-operation grew from workers groups to reach across the globe
Here are some facts about the current state of the co-operative movement:
"over 3 billion people secure their livelihoods through co-operatives"
"in the uk, the co-operative economy has grown by 21% to £35.6 billion since the start of the credit crunch in 2008"
"over 1 billion people worldwide are members of co-operatives"
timeline of the co-operative movement
The industrial revolution and the increase in mechanisation changes GB’s economy, threatening many people’s livelihoods. Social and labour movements spring up to respond to these problems.
robert owen becomes manager of new lanark
New Lanark was a cotton mill in Scotland. Owen was a social reformer who managed to improve the welfare of the mill’s employees as well as making the mills run more successfully as a business. Owen was a utopian activist who had a great influence on the whole co-operative movement.
the ROchdale pioneers
The Rochdale society of equitable pioneers formed. Importantly, they developed the Rochdale principles by which they ran the co-op. It is these principles that formed the blueprint for the future of the co-operative movement.
Over 300 hundred individual co-ops joined together to form the Co-operative Wholesale Society. The CWS enabled small co-ops to come together to buy things cheaply in bulk. Later, CWS also starting producing their own goods to sell.
co-ops go global
Co-ops spread through Europe and the world and are particularly successful in Denmark, USA, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina.
co-op political party formed (uk)
To start with, the party existed to represent the co-operative movement in the field of politics. Soon after the party expanded its goals to spread the co-op ethos across the whole political spectrum and aligned itself with the Labour party.
Industrial and Provident Society Act
In the 1965 act (UK) co-operative societies could be registered as Industrial Provident Societies and are therefore exempt from corporation and capital gains tax.. This law, as well as others, made it financially viable for normal people to come together to form housing co-ops. Radical Routes, a federation of independent co-operatives, work together to develop sustainable methods for individuals to raise the finances and begin their own co-operative.
resurgence of co-ops
A resurgence in small food co-ops, especially in the USA and UK, and the tides of consumerism switch back to valuing organic and local produce.
students for co-operation
Students for Co-operation forms in the UK to support students in creating all types of co-operatives. There are already bike fixing, food and recycling student co-operatives. Currently there are groups in Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Aberdeen all trying to make student co-operative housing a reality.
Fenwick Weavers Society
Fenwick Weavers Society forms, the first documented co-operative consumer society. In a consumer co-operative the consumer’s of a shop’s produce are the members, they collectively own and run the co-op shop for the mutual benefit of all. The local weavers in Fenwick started selling oatmeal at discounted prices to the co-op’s members.
Over a hundred co-ops formed
However, most of the co-ops up until now were not financially successful over a long period of time.
Credit unions were created in Germany whilst building societies and other forms of mutual savings accounts began to emerge in Britain. Credit unions normally have a strong emphasis on their local surroundings and run as not-for-profits, which means profits go towards paying for their services and to reward their members, instead of profit going to external shareholders.
co-op women's guild
1883 saw the first meeting of the co-operative Women's Guild. The guild was influential in fighting for women’s working conditions, health, women’s suffrage and pacifism. Alice Acland edited a column called 'Women's Corner' in the Co-operative News. Starting with its first meeting of 50 people in Edinburgh, over the next 30 years the guild grew to 32,000 members. The guild's objectives were to establish minimum wage and maternity rights. The guild introduced the White Poppy to promote pacifism and to raise awareness of the conditions that give rise to war.
student housing co-ops