Forging Bond Will Be Test for Co-ops and Occupy Movement – Inter Press Service

Canadian cooperatives may grow as the global Occupy movement raises the profile of their business model through boosting interest in credit unions over traditional banks, but uncertainty remains...

Canadian cooperatives may grow as the global Occupy movement raises the profile of their business model through boosting interest in credit unions over traditional banks, but uncertainty remains about the degree to which the two camps will join forces from here on.

While the cooperative sector understands that the international Occupy trend illustrates a “huge appetite” for an alternative to the economic and social status quo, it is unclear to what extent co-op groups will respond to this swell of emotion, John Restakis, executive director of the British Columbia Cooperative Association in Vancouver, told IPS.

Co-ops are vocal about representing a different and successful way of doing business but are more reluctant to declare their identification with the “quite radical” Occupy movement, Restakis said.

These businesses have thrived because they are risk-averse, conservative and inclusive – a culture running counter to Occupy sentiments, he noted. Large co-op groups are more established, have a more diverse membership and lack the solidarity to take positions on issues.

Their smaller, younger and more activist counterparts, however, would be interested in forging a connection with Occupy groups because some of their members are probably part of the international phenomenon, he added.

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