The future of the British cooperative movement was to be found in a scout camp site in Staffordshire this weekend.
Well, I’m exaggerating. But nevertheless this year’s workers coop gathering which took place under canvas on the outskirts of Stone was a lively affair, primarily made up of people from the demographic that we’re supposed to call the ‘millennials generation’. Or in other words, people a lot younger than me.
Workers coops have historically tended to be at the cutting edge of cooperation, and certainly the weekend suggested that the radicalism is still there, in terms of both politics and ways of organising collectively.
My contribution was to lead a workshop on the very early history of workers coops (‘productive coops’) in Britain, based on my recent research. Lots of questions, lots of discussion and afterwards I was rewarded with a tasty meal of vegan rissole and salad (the ingredients kindly donated by workers coops in the food business).
Never write off cooperatives as yesterday’s news.