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“A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical value of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”

There exist several types of co-operatives, such as: worker co-operatives (an enterprise owned and managed by its workers), housing co-operatives (housing facilities owned and managed by their inhabitants), consumer co-operatives (owned and managed by the people who use its services).

The seven principles that underlie co-operatives:
1) Voluntary and open membership
2) Democratic Member Control
3) Member Economic Participation
4) Autonomy and Independence
5) Education, Training and Information
6) Co-operation among Co-operatives
7) Concern for Community

To find out more about co-operatives, see for example:

Webb, Tom, and George Cheney. “Worker-Owned-and-Governed Co-Operatives and the Wider Co-Operative Movement: Challenges and Opportunities within and beyond the Global Economic Crisis.” In The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization, edited by Martin Parker, George Cheney, Valérie Fournier, and Chris Land, 64–88. Oxon: Routledge, 2014.

The Take by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein (2004)

The Rochdale Pioneers (trailer) by by Adam Lee Hamilton and John Montegrande (2012)

Shift Change by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin (2012)

Other films on co-operativers:
Civilizing the Economy by British Columbia Cooperative Association and directed by Tom Shandel (2011)