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Page 12 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 17 no. 2 Summer, 1941

Part of Mountain Life and Work

Page 12 MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK Summer, 1941 THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT MOVES SOUTH EDWARD Readers of Mountain Life and Work are familiar with the principles involved in the Co­operative Movement. They have followed the growth of the Adult Education Cooperative Pro­ject of the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers, and have seen the people of the Cumber­land forming study groups, analyzing their prob­lems, and setting up cooperatives to solve them democratically. Because the cooperative enter­prises of the Cumberland Plateau embody many of the essential characteristics which distinguish a group of scattered cooperatives from a Cooper­ative Movement, the project has the distinction of being one of the important spear-heads of the Cooperative Movement in the South. There is a great difference between a collection of iso­lated cooperatives and a Co­operative Movement. The South has had cooperatives for years but its Cooperative Movement is relatively new. The difference lies principally in the amount and kind of education which is carried on along with the organization for business. As long as groups organize exclusively to save money and overlook the social values represented in the Roch­dale principles, or fail to recog­nize the problems they have in THE ROCHDALE PRINCIPLES One member, one vote Limited interest on capital Open membership Cash business Patronage dividends Political, racial, religious neutrality Constant education Cooperation with other co-ops common with other groups, there is no Cooperative Movement. How­ever, when groups study the background of the cooperative idea, when they understand the reason­ing of the Rochdale pioneers, when they see what has been done in Scandinavia and Novia Scotia by people like themselves studying and organizing, when they are aware of the extent of the move­ment in this country and feel themselves joined to a social force which has moved steadily around the earth, democratic to the core, fostering peace and abundance wherever it has gone, and when they encourage other groups to do the same thing and later unite with them for greater strength-then a Cooperative Movement has developed. YEOMANS, JR. The principles which unite the majority of people are greater than the practices which sep­ arate them. Whether we farm, work in the mills and mines, teach school, or preach sermons, most of us in this country believe in the Christian tra­ dition of the brotherhood of man, in the dem­ ocratic tradition of freedom, and in the western traditions of education and economic security. In economic terms, whether we are consumers in the towns or producers on the farms, we know that the greater the abundance the more we all benefit. In a country as rich as ours is in natural and technical resources, we wonder why there should be so much scarcity on one hand and privilege on the other. We see that it is because we have al­ lowed relatively small groups, well organized, to take over most of the machinery of pro­ duction and distribution, while we, the unorganized majority, pay tribute in profits for per­ mission to use it. We see the tremendous growth of monop­ olies and chains, the increased centralization of economic power, and we find our polit­ ical rights becoming less able to protect us from economic abuses. The Cooperative Move­ment is a means by which the people are winning back a share in the ownership of the wealth they create. By peaceful education and organization, they are proving that the service motive will succeed where the profit motive has failed, and that production and dis- tibution can be handled more efficiently by an ri I I I organization of patrons than by one of capital. Cooperators have translated Christian ethics and democratic ideals into the industrial "vernac­ular" of our age, where we, the people, may under­stand and use them. The South has been slow to recognize the great contributions which the Cooperative Movement could make towards solving its economic and so­cial problems. There are many reasons for this,

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