Don't Sit on your Laurels, Says Marcus

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

         Don't Sit on Your Laurels, Says Marcus

Outgoing ICA President Lars Marcus has strongly advised co-operators not to
sit on their laurels but to strive for further advancement.

Mr Marcus, who has effectively led the ICA for over a decade, gave this
advice to the world co-operators in a special interview with the ICA
Congress News team.

Stressing the need for co-operators to adjust to the changing economic
order, he said the ICA has made a great impact in the development of
co-operative movements in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was
the dissatisfaction of the members with mediocre results that led
ultimately to success.

He has great hopes for the ICA and the movement as long as new initiatives
and formulae for economic development are embraced by co-operators for
survival. He mentioned that democracy is the key word.

Giving examples of the communist revolution of 1917 and the disastrous
effects of government control on co-operatives, Mr Marcus emphasised that
only democracy could save co-operatives from disintegrating. He cautioned
co-operative leaders not to turn a deaf ear to members as discontentment
could ruin the movement.

Mr Marcus was happy that the ICA had gained recognition from the United
Nations and said that the attendance of the then UN Secretary-General,
Javier Perez de Cuellar, at the 1988 Congress in Stockholm was a great

During his tenure in office, Mr Marcus spent his time convincing
governments on the importance of independent co-operatives and he firmly
believes that the ICA activities yielded positive results in Eastern

Mr Marcus joined the Co-operative Movement in Sweden in 1951 at the age of
20 and has since then worked his way through up to the ICA Presidency. He
remembers very well that at the time he took office, there was lack of
confidence from the membership. The change of office from London to Geneva
could have been a contributing factor.

His future plans are a guarded secret but he obviously would like to have
some fun as he reflects upon his past.

Geoffrey Chipolyonga
and P. Nair