Campaign aims to reinvigorate co-operative movement

A group of co-operators are planning a positive response to what they call the crises in the co-operative movement. Co-operative Business Consultants (CBC) is consulting interested individuals about...

A group of co-operators are planning a positive response to what they call the crises in the co-operative movement.

Co-operative Business Consultants (CBC) is consulting interested individuals about creating a broad Britain and Ireland-based campaign for co-operation.

It aims to bring together co-operators and would-be co-operators to assist in developing the movement. This would include defending the co-operative identity, assisting co-operative business development, face-to-face and online networking and promoting a co-operative, democratic and solidarity economy.

The initiative has been christened Co-operative Ways Forward: Campaign for Democratic Co-operation. A survey has been put online to gauge support and collate ideas.

Phil Frampton of CBC said something had to be done following a damaging period. “The crises at the Co-operative Bank and the Co-operative Group have had impact on the whole co-operative movement,” he said. “They have shaken confidence in co-operatives and in the movement itself.”

Jo Bird of CBC said it – and other groups including Save Our Bank, Springboard, the Worker Co-op Solidarity Fund and Students for Co-operation – had organised responses to the crises that surrounded the Co-operative Group and Bank.

“CBC’s consultations, petition and three well-attended Co-operative Ways Forward national conferences have demonstrated a passion for building the co-operative movement an unmet thirst for open and democratic discussion about co-operation,” she said.

She added that there was a widespread desire for news of international co-operative best practice and the absence of a home for individual co-operators to be active supporters and advocates
for co-operation.

“Successful democratic co-operative movements need good communication and infrastructure,” she said.

“Co-operative Ways Forward would consider and prioritise providing ways of meeting these needs, such as those provided in the survey.”

Membership of Co-operative Ways Forward would only be open to individuals in the first phase, on a one-member one-vote basis.

“Co-operators interested in developing the proposal will be invited to add their views for further shaping before those supportive of the new body come together to debate and vote on its form and purpose at the founding conference.”

• Read the Campaign for Democratic Cooperation consultation paper and fill in the survey at http://www.cbc.coop/campaign-for-democratic-cooperationFor more information contact Jo Bird [email protected] or Phil Frampton [email protected]

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