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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 20, 1912, Image 12

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1912-01-20/ed-1/seq-12/

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- It -owned-five steamboat-fines,
32 elevators and 22 warehouses.
It maintained hundreds of co
operative stores
Yet the average man who reads
this has an idea tht co-operation
has never been tried in this coun
try on a large scale. That idea is
quite asfixed.as the other -idea
that goes-with it: That co-operation
couldn't succeed in this coun
try if it Were tried.
N But though co-operation has
been tried and has succeeded, in
measure enough to prove that the
principle can be applied in this
country with success, the history
of American co-operation, in gen
eral, is a long chronicle of failure.
American co-operative effort
dates "back before the beginning
of the Rochdale movement in
England. In 1831 the "New Eng
land Association of Farmers and.
Mechanics" was formed for co
operative ends.
This association did little, but
out of one of its local divisions
grew later "The New England
Protective Union," which estab
lished hundreds, of "dividing
stores." In 185a r it had 700 of
these stores and did business ag
gregating over half a million per
annum. (A "dividing store" is
merely a neighborhood pool for
wholesale buying.
These stores sold only to mem
bers. The joint stock idea grad
ually supplanted the original
pcheme and by the end of the civil
jwar they were all gone.
men came tne great move
1867, as a -rural reactjonfogainst,
the. extortions of the middlemen,
and a society based on the idea of
class co-operation. The move
ment spread rapidly. By 1875 it
had 763,000 members and had es
tablished purchasing agencies all
over the country. Through the
early seventies it did an enor
mous purchasing business, cut
tings prices to its members fully,
30 per cent.
But the grange enterprises
lacked co-ordination. Stores got
into ruinous fights with other re-
So much for the story of
our co-operative failures.
Tomorrow's article will tell
the story of the present day
co-operative successes that
give promise of a real era of
co-operative tor the tuture.
tailers. Many of those organized
on the Rochdale system departed
from the original scheme. Confi
dential discounts leaked out And
so the grange co-operative move
ment waned.
Today the grange remains a
great and influential organization
in a social and political way, but
its co-operative enterprises are
but incidental.
Then came "The Sovereigns of
Industry" and the "Knights of,v
Labor." These were class organ
izations too organizations of
workers in the cities. They didn't
last long. v
In 1886 came the "Farmers'
Alliance." 'The Alliance, like the
J.HV.U louh. mc gicctt wove- ri.uju.inc. j. ne .rviwdm-c, lus-c me
ment of the grangers. 'The Pat- grange, was a secret class organ
rons of Husbandry" organized in ization formed for the elimination

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