Part III -- Recommendations and Conclusions (1966)

     This document has been made available in electronic
     format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)  
     ---------------------------------------------------------- 
     (Source: Report of the 23rd Congress of ICA at Vienna,
         5-8 September, 1966, pp. 181 to 183)
          
                         September, 1986
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          Part III -  Recommendations and Conclusions
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     Summing up the Commission's examination in Part II of this
report of the seven Principles enumerated in the Report of 1937,
it may be said that the following should continue to be
considered as essential to genuine and effective co-operative
practice both at the present time and in the future as far as
that can be foreseen:

1.   Membership of a co-operative society should be voluntary
     and available without artificial restriction or any social,
     political or religious discrimination, to all persons who
     can make use of its services and are willing to accept the
     responsibilities of membership.

2.   Co-operative societies are democratic organisations. Their
     affairs should be administered by persons elected or
     appointed in a manner agreed by the members and accountable
     to them. Members of primary societies should enjoy equal
     rights of voting (one member, one vote) and participation
     in decisions  affecting their societies. In other than
     primary societies the administration should be conducted on
     a democratic basis in a suitable form.

3.   Share capital should only receive a strictly limited rate
     of interest, if any.

4.   Surplus or savings, if any, arising out of the operations
     of a society belong to the members of that society and
     should be distributed in such manner as would avoid one
     member gaining at the expense of others.

     This may be done by decision of the members as follows:

     a)   By provision for development of the business of the
          co-operative;
     b)   By provision of common services; or,
     c)   By distribution among the members in proportion to
          their transactions with the society.

5.   All co-operative societies should make provision for the
     education of their members, officers, and employees and of
     the general public, in the principles and techniques of Co-
     operation, both economic and democratic.

     To these we have though it important to add a principle of
     growth by mutual co-operation among co-operatives:-

6.   All co-operative organisations, in order to best serve the
     interests of their members and their communities, should
     actively co-operate in every practical way with other co-
     operatives at local, national and international levels.

    In submitting the above formulation, the Commission would add
certain remarks.  The first is that these principles are not
associated arbitrarily or by chance. They form a system and are
inseparable. They support and reinforce one another. They can and
should be observed in their entirety by all co-operatives,
whatever their objects and area of operations, if they claim to
belong to the Co-operative Movement. The second remark is that,
although the principles originated as rules governing the
relations of the individual members of co-operatives with one
another and with their societies, their application is not
confined to primary societies. They should be loyally observed
by institutions which represent the co-operation of co-operative
societies rather than of individual persons. The third remark is
that those principles, accepted in 1937 but not retained by the
Present Commission, are not lightly to be disregarded or thrown
aside. The fact that they are not universal application in our
time does not mean that they are no longer appropriate,
particularly for co-operative societies which, by reason of their
youth and experience, cannot afford to risk strains on either
their finances or the unity of their membership.

     Returning to the co-operation of co-operative societies in
associations variously termed as unions, federations, central
organisations or, more broadly, secondary organisations, serving
all kinds of economic, technical and educational purposes, the
Commission would point out that this co-operation of the second
degree is playing in the Co-operative Movement today, and is
destined to play in the future, a much more important role than
hitherto. It represents, of course, no more than a natural and
beneficial extension of the fundamental co-operative idea of
association for mutual benefit. It is often the method by which
Co-operation advances from one stage of the productive process
into the next, as for example, from retailing into wholesaling
and production, or from selling on a home market into
exportation. Secondary organisations, if they operate at first
on a district or regional basis eventually grow or coalesce into
national organisations. There is no reason why this form of co-
operation should halt at national frontiers. On the contrary,
there is every reason of principle and practical advantage why
the Co-operative Movement should break through the material and
mental barriers of conventional nationalism into a new era of
international co-operation. This implies, logically and
practically, co-operative organisations of the third degree, like
the Scandinavian Wholesale Society, the International Co-
operative Petroleum Association and the International Co-
operative Alliance itself.

     The idea of greater unity and cohesion within the Co-
operative Movement under various names - coordination,
consolidation, concentration, integration - is gaining ground
among Co-operators, for the most part as they come to realise
that their most redoubtable competitors today are large-scale
capitalistic concerns, vertically and horizontally integrated.
There are no grounds for thinking that this competition will
diminish in severity. Rather must we expect that, served by
modern technical devices, capitalist enterprise will tend to
continue its evolution towards oligopoly and monopoly, not in
national markets only, but on the international plane in new
multi-national economic units called free-trade areas or economic
communities. The competition which survives will be not the
competition of the greater against the smaller, but the
competition of the greater amongst themselves. The Co-operative
Movement is potentially among the greatest. It needs only to
concentrate its power in large units by applying consistently
without restriction, from the local to the international plane,
the principle of co-operation among co-operatives, to make its
greatness manifest and to act successfully against the
monopolies.

     In order that it shall do so, Co-operators must from time
to time re-examine their practices and their institutions in the
light of their ultimate aims and the principles which subserve
these aims. It will be necessary to discard glosses and one-sided
interpretations based on expediency in order to make clear the
common ground on which Co-operators can come together and work
together for the ideal of a better and more fully human society
than mankind int he mass has yet achieved. Such working together
implies not merely the loyal collaboration, within their unions
and federations, of co-operatives of any given type, but also
closer and more helpful relations between co-operatives of
different types on every level where this is practicable. The
idea of a co-operative sector in the economy is too often an
intellectual concept without a corresponding material reality,
simply because of the lack of unity and cohesion between the
different branches of the Movement.

     The Commission is fully aware that, in thus advocating more
intimate and comprehensive inter-co-operative relations, it is
echoing the thoughts and language of those who first brought
these questions into the foreground of discussion a generation
ago. What disturbs the Commission is the lapse of time between
the enunciation of sound co-operative ideas and their realisation
in action and it cannot forbear to point out that the failure of
many co-operative organisations to provide enough of the right
type of education  for their members and leaders contributes in
a large measure to this deficiency. But it would also point out
that accelerated rate of progress in contemporary economic
evolution has reduced, and is reducing still further, the time
allowed to the Co-operative Movement to demonstrate the value of
its principles and methods. The world will judge the success of
Co-operation by its contribution to raising the level of human
well-being as quickly as possible. Humanity at large is seeking,
however blindly, for a major transformation from a system
dominated by capital to one based on human dignity and equality.
The Co-operative Movement, when true to its principles and armed
with the courage of its convictions, can prove by practical
demonstration that a world society is possible in which man is
no longer the slave but the master of economic forces. Its
mission is to reach the common people by demonstrating how the
principles which express their neighbourly and brotherly
relations in their Co-operative can also inspire the mutual
relations of the nations.

     If the co-operative movement is to rise to its full stature,
either within each country, or internationally, the several co-
operative institutions must unreservedly support one another.
They must act as members of a common united effort to realise the
objectives and ideals of the movement as a whole. These are no
less than the attainment of a stage at which conflict, monopoly
and unearned profit cease to exist. The ideal of workers'
community such as the one envisaged by Rochdale Pioneers, or a
co-operative commonwealth desired by several other co-operators,
can hardly be realised in practice except by the unstinted and
united efforts of all co-operators and co-operative institutions,
large and small, national and international.

     Col-operators the world over should profoundly appreciate
that the most important aim of the co-operative movement is the
promotion of the social and economic rights of the people and
that the pursuit and achievement of this high aim requires active
and concerted efforts towards the realisation of world peace.

                          RESOLUTION

     The 23rd Congress of the ICA welcomes the report of the
Commission on Co-operative Principles as meeting the
specification required by resolution at the 22nd Congress.

     Congress accepts that, while there can be differences of
opinion as to emphasis or degree, the report is a significant
statement of co-operative principles in a modern setting. 

     Congress approves the Recommendations and Conclusions made
by the Principles Commission as follows:

1.   Membership of a co-operative society should be voluntary
     and available without artificial restriction or any social,
     political or religious discriminations, to all persons who
     can make use of its services and are willing to accept the
     responsibilities of membership.

2.   Co-operative societies are democratic organisations. Their
     affairs should be administered by persons elected or
     appointed in a manner agreed by the members and accountable
     to them. Members of primary societies should enjoy equal
     rights of  voting (one member, one vote) and participation
     in decisions affecting their societies. In other than
     primary societies the administration should be conducted on
     a democratic basis in a suitable form.

3.   Share capital should only receive a strictly limited rate
     of interest, if any.

4.   Surplus or savings, if any, arising out of the operations
     of a society belong to the members of that society and
     should be distributed in such manner as would avoid one
     member gaining at the expense of others.

     This may be done by decision of the members as follows:

     a.   By provision for development of the business of the
          Co-operative.

     b.   By provision of common services; or

     c.   By distribution among the members in proportion to
          their transactions with the society.

5.   All co-operative societies should make provision for the
     education of their members, officers, and employees and of
     the general public, in the principles and techniques of Co-
     operation, both economic and democratic.

6.   All co-operative organisations, in order to best serve the
     interests of their members and their communities should
     actively co-operate in every practical way  with other co-
     operatives at local, national and international levels.

     Congress authorises the Central Committee and its Executive
to take note of the decisions of the congress on the report of
the ICA Commission on Co-operative Principles at the 23rd
Congress in Vienna and arising there from to make such
recommendations for changes in the rules of the ICA as may be
considered necessary for the next Congress.

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                Amendment by KK and YOL, Finland
               ----------------------------------

     Delete entire Central Committee proposal and substitute:

     The 23rd Congress of the ICA,

     Considers that the Report of the Commission on Co-operative
     Principles gives a good survey of the practices in
     different countries and different economic systems, and
     offers a very good basis for discussions;

     Requests the Central Committee to empower the Executive to
     inquire into the opinion of the national member
     organisations of the ICA on the Report and Proposals of the
     Commission;

     Asks the Central Committee to consider the proposals of the
     national co-operative organisations and those of the
     Commission at a meeting preceding the 24th Congress and to
     submit its opinion to the Congress;

     Requests the Central Committee to include in the Agenda of
     the 24th Congress of the ICA consideration of principles
     for the activity of the Co-operative Movement.

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