Sheffield Co-operative Culture
This section of the site, on the history of The Co-operative Movement in Sheffield is being developed by Steve Thompson who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Careful reflection on the Statement of Values and Principles will give a clear insight into the nature of the Movement.
Co-operatives are born out of necessity. When the conditions of unbridled capitalism or the free market force people into a desperate situation, those people have little appetite to trust in future legislation to help their condition. Collective self help has also provided an answer to those taking action on environmental issues e.g. renewable energy and organic food growing.
Self help is the only option. But that must be collective, organised self help. In deprived communities, people working alone have no power. People power lies in solidarity. Platitudes handed down from governments have usually been shown to be worthless (The Conservatives’ “Big Society” is a case in point).
Circumstances change, but the general principles remain the same. There are a few people with wealth and power and they become addicted to increasing their wealth and power. And that is always at the expense of the wellbeing of the rest of us. Collective self help is the answer, and that has been called socialism, (a word invented by Robert Owen) co-operation, collectivism etc. This is a threat to the capitalist. It is therefore unsurprising that there is little or no mention of it in the establishment media (except when poking fun at it).
The principles and application of co-operation are timeless.
I think that there is value in taking a look at the path taken by the co-operators who came before us and putting that in the context of the co-operative movement in Sheffield in the present day.
For that reason I hope that you will join me in a journey of exploration into the history of co-operation in Sheffield and the surrounding area.
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