The very act of co-operation is political.
For over 150 years, working people have been setting up co-operatives to defend themselves against the excesses of the market and working together to improve their lives. While some of the challenges we face today are different, the movement’s cause remains the same.
Whether it’s a question of taking on the vested interests of the energy companies, the train operators, or even the payday lenders, co-operative and mutuals are providing a means through which people can help change corporate behaviour for the better.
Since it was founded in 1917, the Co-operative Party has been a voice for a fundamental change in the way our country works.
The Co-operative Group is Britain’s largest co-operative
...making up about 85% of the co-operative retail sector - and one of the largest co-operatives in the world. Anyone can join the Co-operative and, as a co-operative, it is owned by its members rather than shareholders. The Group has around eight million members who have a right to vote to elect members of the National Membership Council and the Board and who earn a share of the profits of the business – known as the dividend or ‘divi’. The Co-operative Group aims to be the most socially responsible business in the UK, offering members and customers not only value, but values.
The Co-operative Party was founded in 1917 to represent and defend the co-op movement, though our roots go back all the way to 1844 and the Rochdale Pioneers, the founders of the modern day Co-operative Movement. The Party has had an electoral agreement with the Labour Party since 1927, which enables us to stand joint candidates in elections. While there is an ideological connection, this relationship is also a strategic decision made by the co-operative movement to maximise our ability to influence policy and legislation that is rooted in co-operative values.
Each year the Co-operative Group, along with other co-operative, pays a subscription (its membership fee) to support the Party’s work. In the run up to the May’s Annual General Meeting, the Group will ask its members whether to authorise the subscription and continue the nearly 100 year partnership with the Co-operative Party.
We believe the partnership with the Co-operative Party is vital if the Group wants to be at the heart of a co-operative resurgence. We provide strategic political leadership and support, driving forward policy solutions, opening up new areas for the movement to expand into.
The Co-operative Party is the guardian of the co-operative movement’s powerful values and inspiring vision, and a vital tool in achieving its profoundly political objectives. Our aim is to deepen and enhance the link so the Group and its Members benefit, as well as society and our communities. We can create a stronger, more sustainable future together.
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Click here to find out how you can support the Keep it Co-op Campaign