A co-operator from Boston, USA is asking co-ops to light a candle to mark the 168th anniversary of the opening of the Rochdale Pioneers shop on 21 December.
The idea started in 1994, when Great Bay Food Co-op decided to light a candle for the 150th anniversary of the Rochdale Pioneers and continued until they eventually closed.
Now co-operator Wayne Clark wants co-ops from around the world to light a candle in celebration of the anniversary of the Modern Co-op Movement.
“If every person and every organization that believes in building a co-operative future, lights a candle for co-operation, we can show the world and history how powerful co-operation can be – for once, on one little thing, we can all work together.”
He explained when the Rochdale Pioneers first opened their shop in 1844; “They had a plan; they had principles; they had a vision; but what they did not have was oil for the lamps. So, they had to make do with candles, which they sold in the store… These first co-op candles have become beacons to our future.”
He has encouraged people to “spread the word far and wide, on every electronic network” through any means they can from carrier pigeon to social media.
Wayne has over 40 years experience working in co-operatives. He explained that the International Year of Co-ops has meant a lot to him and Boston.
“Many co-ops in our area have done many things to promote the honor in 2012. For me personally, the IYC in 2012 has meant an opportunity to talk with lots of people about the benefits of co-operation.”
Would you like to light a beacon for co-operation on 21 December?