Homing in on Principles

This document has been made available in electronic format
     by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA
                     February 1996

               Homing in on principles

At its plenary meeting in Manchester on September 17, the Housing Committee
of the ICA  discussed  assistance for Co-ops in Central and Eastern Europe,
especially in the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Slovakia.

While the problems of housing co-ops and their development in the Americas
and Asia were discussed, the committee laid more stress on principles.
Housing co-operatives pursue their aims and give expression to their values
by acting on the following principles: open and voluntary membership,
members' economic participation, commitment to service, autonomy and
independence, education, training and information, co-operation among
co-operatives and concern for the community and future generations.

Dr. Claus Hachmann from Germany stressed the importance of democratic
control by members. Ownership of a housing co-operative should rest with
those who use its services. Members should have equal voting rights and be
encouraged to participate in their co-operative.

Members should contribute fairly to the capital of their housing
co-operative and share fairly in the results of its operation. The
co-operative should allocate surpluses in such a way that no member gains
inappropriately at the expense of another.

The ICA has again taken the lead by reaffirming its commitment to community
development through a landmark step of including "concern for community and
future generations" as the new seventh principle of Co-operation.

Krzysztof Tomaszewski and
Sami Monier