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Rochdale Principles

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The Rochdale Principles 

The Rochdale Principles are a set of ideals established by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in 1844. The Rochdale Pioneers are considered founders of the cooperative movement because of their commitment to making organizational standards. While not the first group to bulk order food, they established by-laws and published an annual report. The Rochdale Principles are the basis for the cooperative principles used around the world to this day. The Rochdale Principles have been adopted by the International_Co-operative_Alliance_(ICA)

1. Voluntary and Open Membership : Cooperative Societies must have open and voluntary membership. The Rochdale Principles established important anti-discrimination policies and a system of motivations and rewards to expand membership.


2. Democratic Member Control : The Rochdale Principles mandate that cooperatives must have democratic member control. This gives members the right to participate in the decision making processes of their cooperative. One member = one vote.


3. Member Economic Participation : Members equitably contribute the capital of their cooperative. That capital is common property of the cooperative and members usually receive limited compensation. Surplus economy (i.e. profits) are managed by the members to develop the cooperative, support other organizations, or returned to the members.


4. Autonomy: The Rochdale Principles state that cooperatives must be autonomous and independent. If they enter into partnerships with other organization it must be on terms that ensure democratic control by their members. For instance, if a cooperative enters an economic partnership with another organization, that organization does not gain control over decision making, regardless of the sum they have contributed. Decisions are always made by members.


5. Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives must provide education and training to their members. Additionally, cooperatives provide information and education to the public about the nature of co-operation.


6. Cooperation among Cooperatives: Cooperatives are autonomous organizations, but they work together to facilitate communication across cooperatives and strengthen the cooperative movement.


7. Concern for the Community: Cooperatives must be responsible partners for their communities. Decisions must benefit the larger community.