Editorial

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    This document has been made available in electronic 
    format by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         June, 1995

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                        Editorial
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The aim of this issue of the ICA Review is to take topics
which are currently pre-occupying co-operative theorists,
but which have been debated and written about in past
Reviews, and to publish contemporary articles side by side
with those which were topical 20, 30, 40, or even 60 years
ago.

In this way, we thought it would be possible to compare how
these issues have been dealt with in different stages of
our development and whether we are progressing and meeting
the challenges of each era, or merely recovering old
ground.

This has been an interesting exercise and has shown that,
in one area at least, the rhetorical has not changed and
the problem remains such as it did in early days of the
international movement. This is obviously the question of
women's participation, or lack thereof, at decision-making
and representational levels of co-operative organisations.
The fact that this remains a problem today was no-where
more obvious than at the first Regional Assembly for
Europe, held in Prague, last October, where the women were
conspicuous by their absence. MariaElena Chavez and
Katarina Apelqvist address this issue, on pages 43 and 48
respectively, but as Ms. Chavez points out, Emmy
Freundlich's speech at the 11th ICA Ghent Congress in 1921
would not appear out of place if repeated at the 31st
Congress in Manchester later this year.

Lack of time and space forced the editorial team to abandon
the historical articles towards the end of this issue.
Researching in ICA's archives proved to be too time-
consuming, although entirely fascinating, and the abundance
of well-written, topical articles submitted for publication
quickly filled up the allocated space.

Two of the articles in this issue could be considered
somewhat controversial. Employee ownership and
participation rather than member ownership and
participation is addressed in a fascinating paper by a
dedicated co-operator, Benito Benati, whose conclusions are
thought-provoking and may be consider some what "against
the home side". We wish to encourage debate in this Review,
rather than use it as a vehicle for propaganda, therefore,
we consider it healthy to publish all valid points of view.

Another article which we hope will encourage debate is the
contribution of Hans Detlef Wuelker giving the German
perspective on the Social Economy and how it affects co-
operatives. We were very happy to have this article
submitted for publication as it discusses an issue which
needs to be addressed, especially in relation to the
current revision of ICA principles. Specifically, it raises
the questions - are co-operatives self-help organisations
whose "raise d'etre" is only to satisfy members' needs, or
do co-operatives have a wider role to play in society, or,
finally, should they be considered as instruments for the
implementation of Government social and economic policy?

The position of the German co-operatives is that by lumping
together co-operatives, which are institutions whose
economic services should be concentrated on and restricted
to membership, with mutual associations and foundations
having a wider social role (including enterprises
established by Government and public authorities to support
the public), the position of co-operatives is weakened and
a situation is created which poses a threat to co-operative
identity. They warn that co-operatives must guard against
being used as tools for development and the implementation
of tasks which are not in their members' interests. The
German perspective of the co-operative role is further
explored in Hans Muenkner's article on the revision of co-
operative principles.

We would welcome articles supporting this view or giving a
different perspective. This is an important issue for co-
operatives and one that needs to be debated and studied
seriously.

I have mentioned only a couple of issues brought to light
in what I have found to be an extremely interest issue to
work with. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we
enjoyed putting it together.

Mary Treacy
Director of Communications.