Read the Rochdale Pioneers’ graphic novel online

A graphic novel retelling the story of the Rochdale Pioneers is now available to read online.

A graphic novel retelling the story of the Rochdale Pioneers is now available to read online.

The co-operative revolution – a Graphic Novel is inspired by the Rochdale origins of the co-operative movement and was published as a paperback in 2012, marking the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives.

Leaving from historical events such as the 1819 Peterloo Masacre in Manchester, the novel embarks on a co-operative journey into future, where co-operators are the first humans to land on Mars. The story ends with a glimpse of a sustainable future set in 2044, the bi-centenary of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers.

The novel, commissioned by the Co-operative Group, was created by political cartoonist Paul Fitzgerald, also known as Polyp.

According to Polyp, the book was itself a co-operative effort, with many people working together to check scientific evidence, statistics and investigative rumors. He said the novel took around a year to complete: “By discovering how rich this history is, it has encouraged me and reinforced my belief in co-operation. That’s what we want it to do for other people."

Michael Fairclough, the Group’s Head of Community and Co-operative Investment, said the Pioneer’s story is as relevant today as it was in 1844. Explained Mr Fairclough: “In the 19th Century the Rochdale Pioneers took action for themselves. Today, we are again witnessing a resurgence in community-led regeneration as communities the world-over turn to co-operative solutions to tackle everything from feeding a growing global population to generating clean renewable energy.

“The Graphic Novel, and now the e-book edition, show how co-operative values and principles are still changing the world almost 170 years later and make this inspirational story accessible for a new generation of pioneers.”

As the novel is being launched in a Kindle edition, Rochdale is hosting a giant open air Street Gallery of photographs exploring the history of co-operation worldwide.

• To read the graphic novel, visit:

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