I have been spending the holiday period in the nineteenth century. Not literally of course, although the festive decorations in my home town do seem a little Dickensian. No, I’ve been immersed in the eight hundred pages of the book Co-operative Production, written by Benjamin Jones and published in 1894, as part of some research I’m undertaking into early producer cooperatives in the UK.
Around page 600 – more precisely, on September 2nd 1871 – we reach an account of the launch of Co-operative News, which announced itself in its first issue (a modest eight pages) as the commencement of “a new era in co-operation, an era of journalism”.
In the years since then, Co-operative News has had highs and lows but it’s hard to deny that it’s been an absolutely invaluable resource for the cooperative movement. The magazine has just relaunched itself ready for 2014 in a new format and with the promise of lots of new features, and although I should probably declare an interest since I sometimes contribute to it, I do think the Co-operative News’ new initiative is an important step forward and one deserving of support.