ArtZone Co-Op


Coops - Coalition

At the beginning of summer the Co-operative movement held a two weeks long 'flag ship' event to promote co-operatives based in the UK. "Co-operatives Fortnight" was organised to draw attention to what Co-operatives are and what they do. With an Obama styled yes we can slogan "There is an alternative" - a variety of co-ops nationwide held or took part in local events. Bigger gatherings - conferences and fairs - which attracted plenty of visitors and interest took place in London and Plymouth. Co-operatives Fortnight finished on International Co-op Day (4 July).

During the fortnight, on 22 June, an "Early Day Motion (290)" concerning co-operatives was put to Parliament by Luciana Berger MP. Londoner Luciana (28), was vice-chair of the Co-operative party's national youth committee (and once romantically linked with Euan Blair), until her recent election as the Co-op & Labour MP in the safe seat of Wavertree Liverpool. Her "EDM: 290"* notes the establishment of Co-operatives Fortnight and the economic value and benefits generated by Co-operatives. It asks the Government for 'equal treatment' of Co-ops with other types of business and more policies that encourage "mutual solutions". With a decidedly 'capitalist' driven government - it will be intriguing to see what comes of this "EDM" by a partnership between parties whose policy positions do not sit well with socialist constructs of wealth creation, its 'equitable distribution' or popular ownership of the means of production. We will be watching. We will also be watching the responses of the 'new' Labour 'opposition'.

Co-ops must be vigilant and not be lured into a politic that erodes the socialist principal whereby the state (the people) provides for the people. With the current tory PM shifting the "3rd sector" into 'first sector' position and looking at co-op models for social housing and co-operative styled local authorities (such as the Lambeth model) co-operatives are at great risk of being used by the present unmistakeably 'right wing' government to progress its capitalist ideological policy of privatising the state and its public services. Unfortunately the political confusion that emerged from the co-op movement during the 14 years of a capitalist prone "new Labour" government in aligning itself with 'Social Enterprise' cannot resist allying itself with the corrupting new order.... Well - selling co-ops down the river, especially if the profit margin is attractive, makes business sense to this coalition government and more worryingly such thinking is permeating the Co-operative movement.

  • EDM 290

    Berger, Luciana

    That this House welcomes the first ever Co-operatives Fortnight from 19 June to 3 July 2010; notes the resurgence in the UK co-operative movement, which now contributes £30 billion a year to the country's economy and employs over 200,000 people; recognises the benefits of applying co-operative values and principles; and calls on Government to ensure that it treats co-operatives equally with other types of business and continues to work closely with the co-operative movement so that co-operative and mutual solutions play a significant and growing part in an innovative, sustainable and competitive UK economy.