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that it is brutalizing and demoral-
izing. The Government told the peo-
ple that going to war would make
our boys nobler. It has had the
opposite effect. Our prisons are
now filling up with the products of
the enobling influences of army life.
The only war that is worth prepar-
ing for is the war against this vicious
economic system.


President John H. Walker, of the
Central States Co-operative Whole-
sale Society, in his last annual re-
port, made an unusual recommenda-
tion, and one which should set co-
operators thinking. He advised that
an investigation be made into the
records of the society to discover the
former members who had blazed

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the way, made the early e*peri-
ments, incurred the risks, and then
finally had suffered losses. Many
poor people had put their little sav-
ings into the movement and lost
them. The names and sacrifices of
these pioneers, he recommended,
should be made a matter of record ;
and as the movement succeeds and
becomes prosperous it should re-
imburse them for their losses.

Here is a thought that should
send a thrill of satisfaction through
the whole movement of this coun-
try. It is not an idle dream but an
imminent possibility. Needy men
and women did sustain losses which
they could ill afford in making the
early experiments in Illinois. And
• now the Central States Society is
growing successful and prosperous.
It is conceivable that in the near
future it may bestow its bounty
upon those of the pioneers who need
it. Nothing in our movement could
be more indicative of its humani-
tarian character than this. This ad-
dress of President Walker will be
treasured as an historic document
in the days to come.

The capitalist says that Co-opera-
tion is impractical. Here is an evi-
dence of its high practicality. Con-
ceive of the president of a mer-
chants' association proposing to re-
imburse the merchants of his organ-
ization who had lost money in .their
early ventures ! Such a thing is in-
conceivable because they know it is
not a humanitarian enterprise and
therefore humanitarianism is out of
place in it. Business is business and
for the business man. But Co-
operation is for humanity.

These Illinois workers are for-
tunate; but what of the thousands
in other parts of the country, who,
with equally good faith, are putting
their money into utterly fatuous
schemes to be swallowed up and
lost? No one will ever come for-
ward to reimburse them; they will
be repaid only in the coin of bitter
regrets. J. P. W.


The last four numbers of CO-
OPERATION have contained the
information concerning the coming
convention at Cincinnati.

Every indication sho^s that this
convention will mark an epoch in
our Co-operative Movement*

Delegates are coming from New
Elngland and from the Pacific states,
from the North and the South.

The foreign countries will send
delegates or messages of greeting.

The plan of this convention u that
it shall deal with the concrete prob-
lems which the co-operative so-
cieties of the United States have to

The place of the convention is the
Labor Temple, 1314 Walnut Street,
Cincinnati, Ohio. The dates are
November 11, 12, 13 and 14.

The convention will be called to
order at 10 a.m. Three sessions will
be held daily — ^morning, afternoon,
and evening.

Delegates wilf find a Bureau of
Information at the Labor Temple,
where information concerning ho-
tels, etc., can be had.

Societies should send to the
League the names of their delegates.
Delegates should bring to the con-
vention credentials from the society
which sends them.

The convention u called by the
Co-operative League of America, ac-
cording to resolutions adopted at
the First Convention in 1918, and
held under its auspices; but dele-
gates from societies which are not
members of the League will be
recognized and seated the same as
delegates from societies which are
members of the League.

This convention will be a nota-
ble gathering of co-operators, ani-
mated by the spirit of conuradeship
in a great movement, at a period
when the peoples of all lands must
look to Co-operation for their salva-

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By J. P. Warbasse

In September I went up into the
Northern Peninsula of Michigan to
meet with the co-operators of that
little neck of land which lies be-
tween the great lakes — a lovely and
interesting region, exploited to the
limit by the lumber, iron and cop-
per barons. At Marquette a sturdy
co-operator showed me the prison
where he spent two months several
years ago for exposing in his paper
the robbery which these very barons
were perpetrating upon the Finnish
immigrants — ^now 40 per cent, of
the inmates of this same prison are
ex-service men, products of the
vicious influence of militarism and

A few societies in this little terri-
tory had wanted to get together for
purposes of better education and ul-
timately to organize for joint buy-
ing. With the co-operation of W.
H. Closser and J. W. Weston a con-
vention was organized. Fifteen so-
cieties sent delegates. Other so-
cities were informally represented.
For two days we discussed the local
problems. Everybody profited by
the convention ; and out of it grew a
movement which will result in an
educational league and a district

It is not altogether easy to get to-
gether a convention, but these so-
cieties did the best they could. They
were earnest men. The oldest so-
ciety represented was the Ishpem-
ing Consumers' Association, organ-
ized in 1890. It has paid back to
its members in interest and savings-
returns $320,000 during its thirty
years of existence. It sells gro-
ceries, meat, dry goods, general
merchandise, boots and shoes, hard-
ware, furniture, feed and most
ever3rthing else. Most of the mem-
bers are English miners. It has over
1,000 members and 22 employees.

It is doing a business of $325,000 a
year. The youngest society repre-
sented was the Railway Employees'
Co-operative Society of Marquette.
It has $15,000 paid up capital, 400
members, and is doing a business
of $11,000 a month.

I visited many of the stores of
these societies. There are thirty
of them in this district. They all
have their problems, and all seem to
be solving them. The two days I
spent at Sault Ste. Marie will al-
ways remain a pleasant memory.
Here is a society six years old; it
has 400 members and 30 employees ;
it conducts five stores, a meat mar-
ket and a bakery^, and is doing a
business of $35,000 a month. I sat
with a meeting of the board of di-*
rectors — every one of the eleven di-
rectors was present. The president
is a shoemaker, as fine a Scotchman
as one would want to meet.

He is for Co-operation to the
limit. He says :

"When the society gets ready to
open a shoe store I shall be glad to
have it put me out of business. I
welcome Co-operation. It is a more
important principle than any of our
little personal undertakings."

The tailor on the board talks the
same way.

The manager of this society is
capable of buying for all of the
other forty societies of the Penin-
sula; and some day soon that is
what they will come to. This so-
ciety is going right ahead encroach-
ing upon private business day by
day. Even the trades people respect
it, and the best of them quietly hope
it will ultimately win. There is
something in the air at the Soo that
makes one feel that a great destiny
is waiting just around the comer in
the corridors of time for this so-
ciety. If W. H. Closser remains
with it to hold aloft the light of
idealism, nothing can stop it.

Another going society is the Glad-
stone Union Co-operative Associa-

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tion — mostly organized by railroad peculiar business. It sells to its

men. When this society started last members $150,000 worth of goods

year they had done such good br- a year, and it sells for them $175,-

ganizati^ and educational work 000 worth of lumber. Its overhead

that every grocer in Gladstone of- expense is less than 10 per cent,

fered to sell out to them. Thej^o- The Crystal Falls Association is

cers knew what was commg. They t^n years old, and does a business

bought out one who was domg a ^f $250,000 a year. Its surplus-

busmess of $6,000 a month, and m guying in 1919 was $12,000. Most

SIX months they had doubled the ^f ^^ 400 members are Scandina-

busmess. The Business Men's As- ^ian. This is a thoroughly live so-

sociation notified the railroad that ^iety. It has just installed its own

they would stop shipping over it if electric refrigerating plant at a cost

it permitted its employees to run a ^f 54 qoo.

store. The railroad replied that it r'i-*-x^ -i^ i^-i.-
could not interfere. Of course, we Another strong society, which is
know that this was not due to the becoming aroused to the importance
high-mindedness of the railroad of- oi education, is the Escanaba Rail-
ficials, but to the long-headedness way Employees' Association. It has
of the railroaders in being 100 per 500 members, $15,000 paid in cap-
cent, organized. The by-laws of ital, and does a business of $15,000
this association require that 30 per a. month.

cent, of the surplus-saving must re- The Tamarack Co-operative As-
main in the business. sociation at Calumet is 80 years old.
The Rock Co-operative Associa- It has 1,700 members. It has never
tion is seven years old and does a missed paying interest on its capital

Northern Michigan's Independent Societies

Date Yearly No. of

Name of Society Opened Business Members

Skandia Co-op. Ass'n., Escanaba 1910 $288,000 155

Rock Co-op., Rock 1913 325,431 200

People's Co-op. Store Co., Negaunee 1918 60,000 240

Workers' Co-op. Society, Marquette 1917 60,000 131

Ishpeming Consumers' Co-op. Ass'n., Ishpeming. 1919 130,000 194

Ishpeming Consumers' Ass'n., Ishpeming 1890 300,000 1,100

Farmers' Co-op. Trading Co., Hancock 1915 180,000 500

Italian Co-op. Store, Laurium 1912 32,000 194

Tamarack Co-op. Ass'n., Calumet 1890 800,000 1,700

Mass. Co-op. Company, Mass 1913 130,000 750

Nisula Farmers' Store Co., Nisula 1919 30,000 51

Farmers' Co-op. Trad. Co., Pelkie 1918 37,800 109

Soo Co-op. Merc. Ass'n., Sault Sttf. Marie 1913 375,000' 400

Ry. Employees' Co-op. Ass'n., Marquette 1918 125,000 400

Ry. Employees' Co-op. Ass'n., Escanaba 1918 180,000 500

Farmers' Co-op. Ass'n, Herman 1919 35,000

Eben Farmers' Co-op. Store Co., Eben 1916 100,000 200

Gladstone Union Co-op. Ass'n., Gladstone 1919 125,000 278

Finnish Merc. Stock Co., Bessemer 1905 120,000

Amasa Co-op. Society, Am^sa 1917 50,000 100

Crystal Falls Co-op. Society, Crystal Falls 1911 222,927 400

Finnish-Swedish Merc. Ass'n., Crystal Falls. . . 1891 121,000 57

Iron Mt. Merc. Co., Ltd., Iron Mountain 1910 100,000 180

Trenary Farmers' Co-op. Store, Trenary 1919 72,000 130

Republic Farmers' Co-op., Republic 1919 45,000 125

Finnish Co-op. Trad. Co., Ironwood 1913 135,000

People's Co-op. Co., Wakefield 1910 265,000

Bruce's Crossing Co-op. Store Company, Bruces

Crossing 1916 168,000 460

Newberry Co-op. Soc, Newberry 1919 52,000 120

Rudyard Co-op. Ass'n., Rudyard 1913 200,000 200

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and savings-returns of from 8 to 13
per cent. During its 30 years it has
paid back to its members in savings-
returns and interest $1,595,185.94.
Its annual business is around $900,-

The societies of this district were
all organized as independent so-
ciety. Some of them have wisely
aflaiiated with the Co-operative Cen-
tral Exchange at Superior, Wis. All
those that have been solicited to af-
filiate with the National Co-opera-
tive Wholesale Association of Chi-
cago have wisely refused.

In order to throw a little more
light upon the prevalent false-
hood, circulated by promoters of
the "American Chain Store Plan,'*
to the effect that "independent
stores cannot succeed in the United
States," we publish the above list
of societies in this small area in
Northern Michigan.


The Co-operative Central Ex-
change at Superior, Wis., besides
carrying on a wholesale business,
conducts a school for the education
of co-operative executives. This is
the second year the training course
has been given. The Exchange is an
organization having a membership
made up of 49 distributive societies.
The first course was given in Au-
gust and September of 1919 with
forty-three students. Two courses
are given in each term: (1) A pre-
liminary course and (2) a main
course. The preliminary course con-
sists of bookkeeping, English or
Finnish language, and commercial

The faculty of the school is as fol-
lows: Severi Alanne, history and
principles of Co-operation, English
composition, and arithmetic; H. V.
Nurmi, bookkeeping; J. Nummivu-
ori, store management; Yrjo Ha-
lonen, principles of socialism ; Laura
J. Yeater, business correspondence;
and Ame Halonen, Finnish. Mr.
Alanne is the Educational Director.

He also visits the societies and gives
legal and technical advice and lec-

The classes take seven hours a
day, 9 to 12 and 1 to 5. The total
courses take two hundred and forty-
eight hours. Instruction is given
also in the use of bookkeeping ma-
chines, adding machines and cash
registers ; and visits are made to co-
operative stores. It is planned to
give two courses next year.

The students have their co-oper-
ative restaurant. Last year table
board cost $6 a week. Rooms cost
$8 a month. Examinations are held
at the end of each subject. A cer-
tificate is issued to the students.
The students have a fraternity and
make suggestions to the teachers.

Most of the students in the 1920
course are from Minnesota, Michi-
gan, and Wisconsin. One comes as
far as from New York. The ages
range from 15 to 48. There were
four women in the 1919 school, and
five in 1920. Less than half of the
students have had previous business
experience. Most of them have
come directly as graduates from
grammar school. Of last year's stu-
dents, 70 per cent, are now em-
ployed in co-operative stores.

Co-operation is much discussed in
the socialist political clubs which ex-
ist in all of the Finnish communities.
Also a paper devoted to "farm,
home and co-operation" is widely
circulated along with the Finnish
Socialist paper "Pelto Ya Koti,''
and other educational and propa-
ganda organs. Behind the school
stands the Central Exchange, sup-
ported by its 48 societies; and con-
nected with all of them is the strong
Finnish Labor Movement.

The significant fact is that here
is in operation a school which is
training co-operation executives. It
is meeting one of the greatest needs
in the Movement. Future co-oper-
ators will look back upon this in-
stitution as a pioneer in the new

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The Central States Co-operative
Wholesale Society, formerly the
Central States Co-operative Society,
held its second annual convention
at East St. Louis, 111., September 12
and 13, 1920. The convention was
attended by over 130 delegates, and
visitors brought the attendance up
to 200. The organization of the
society provides for delegates from
two different classes of societies.

There are, first, the thirty-two in-
dependent societies which are affili-
ated with and OT?(^n stock in the

Then there are, secondly, the
trade unions which have raised
funds to finance local stores to the
number of fifty-six. These latter
are not co-operative stores or co-
operative societies; they are trade
union stores. The delegates are
elected by the unions and the local
control rest with the unions. There
is no local co-operative society con-
nected with these stores outside of
the unions. These are called the
"American Rochdale Plan" stores.
They are supervised and directed by
the Wholesale. They send their
cash from sales and statement of
account each day to the Wholesale
office, which audits and pays all
bills for them.

The "American Rochdale" stores
sell goods on the cost plus basis.
Two per cent, of the gross sales is
retained by the local manager and
turned over to the local committee
to cover rental and other fixed
charges. Goods are sold for cash
to members of the unions and to
non-members at the same prices.
Since there are no savings-returns
the non-unionist enjoys the same ad-
vantages from the business point of
view as the best union man. There
are no local committees on educa-
tion or recreation ; educational work

is not carried on, and in every sense
these enterprises are cheap chain
stores rather than co-operative

But there is something unique
about these "American Rochdale"
stores. The centralized control and
administration guarantee a degree
of efficiency which is higher than
that hitherto found in most true
Rochdale stores in Illinois. If they
sell at cost to everybody alike, it
must be admitted that this is the
ultimate aim of co-operation.

The dividend and the discrimina-
tion against non-members ordinarily
practiced by co-operative stores is
really but a temporary expedient;
sooner or later all true co-operative
stores will be doing just what these
are doing now. But the most im-
portant thing in their favor is that
they are succeeding where many
true Rochdale stores in Illinois have
failed. Many of these chain stores
were once pure Rochdale, and as
such went down. The Wholesale
then came in, the union financed
them to start over, and now they
are succeeding. The people like
them because they do reduce the
cost of living. This wins loyalty to
the store and to the union. This
business is steadily growing; and
almost every union in Illinois wants
one started. In the absence of in-
tensive and thorough education the
members have not the understand-
ing of how to develop something dif-
ferent. The directors of the Whole-
sale are wisely going slowly; but
had they wished they could have es-
tablished three times as many of
these stores as they have. They
make it a rule not to open a store
where a co-operative society has a
store. They are wholly in sympathy
with Rochdale co-operation and re-
fused to compete or conflict with it
in any way.

Individuals also may hold stock
in the Wholesale and have one vote

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the same as a constituent society or

During the past year the Whole-
sale has paid interest at 4 per cent,
on all its share and loan capital
and a savings-return of 5 per cent,
to the affiliated Rochdale societies
that traded with it. It has written
off $4,935 depreciation on fixtures
and auto trucks, and created a re-
serve fund of $17,933. It has been
doing a business of $275,000 a
month. The business of the past
year amounts to $3,000,000. It has
raised $285,000 capital. Beginning
December 5, 1918, with $315, its
last audit showed $282,730 capital
which with the reserve amounts to
capital resources of over $300,000.

The society has recently pur-
chased its own building — ^a brick,
four floor warehouse with railroad
side tracks and vacant land for ex-

The farthest branch store is Dan-
ville, 140 miles away. Three-fourths
of the stores are within 70 miles.
Half of the stores are within 25
miles of the warehouse. At the con-
vention measures were taken to pro-
mote educational work among the
branches. It is to be hoped that
this work will result in making these
branches truly co-operative. This
should come about, after the people
have been converted into co-operat-
ors, by the unions issuing shares to
each of their members, after which
the share holding members should
constitute a co-operative society in-
dependent of the union.

It is quite possible that this meth-
od of approach to Co-operation may
be America's contribution to the
movement. It first guarantees the
economic benefit and then proceeds
to build from that foundation. This
method makes it possible to com-
pete with the big chain stores sys-
tems which the independent Roch-
dale store sometimes finds it hard
to cope with. Furthermore, a strong
central wholesale is being created.

All of this is being done by men
who are consecrated to the cause
of Co-operation and Labor. They
are pioneers and should receive the
loyal support of the Co-operative
Movement. Undertakings such as
this not only give the working peo-
ple immediate help, but in these
days of humbug and bubbles they
occupy the ground which, if unoc-
cupied, might be seized by some
spurious enterprise. The fakes of
Co-operation are everywhere in the
United States, but they are not get-
ting a foothold in the field of the
Central States Society. If this or-
ganization could extend into Chi-
cago, it is conceivable that some
of the spurious schemes in opera-
tion there would lose their strangle
hold on the Labor Movement of that
unhappy city.


George Thorpe went to work as a
pit boy in the English coal mines
at the age of eight years. He
worked in the mines until he was
thirteen. Then he went in a woolen
mill. He used his spare time to
study and read. He educated him-
self, and presently entered the Co-
operative Movement. As a working
man he soon saw the important re-
lation of Co-operation to the Labor
Movement. He not only was a mem-
ber of a society, but he was willing
to assume responsibilities and to pre-
pare himself to carry those respon-
sibilities. He was chosen by his fel-
low co-operators to occupy many po-
sitions of trust, and always proved
his ability to perform the service
that was expected of him.

Now this former mine boy ha^
been elected president of the British
Co-operative Wholesale Society,
which does a business of $500,000,-r
000 a year. The former pit boy is
the directing head of a business of
the workers which operates huge
factories, warehouses, plantations,
and coal mines.

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The Soviet Government of Russia
does not attack Co-operation with a
vindicative destructive purpose; it
kills it by kindness. But the Brit-
ish Government goes at it differ-
ently. Thai government during the
war found that the Co-operatives
protected the people from the prof-
iteers, and it did everjrthing it could
to injure the Co-operative Societies.
The latest expression of its besti-
ality is seen in the diabolic destruc-
tion of eighteen co-operative cream-
eries in Ireland. This work was
done by the armed soldiers of the
Crown with the assistance of the
police. Burning, looting and smash-
ing the property has been the
method. The total destruction of the
creamery of the Newport Dairy So-
ciety represents a loss in building,
plant, and stock to the amount of
20,000 pounds.

These creamery societies have no
political significance whatever. The
societies are all affiliated with the
Irish Agricultural Organization So-
ciety, which is absolutely non-sec-
tarian, and is composed of people
of every political and religious faith.
The creameries that have been
burned down by the police and sol-
diers produce over $3,000,000 worth
of food a year. Protests to the Gov-
ernment are met by the polite hy-
pocrisy of expressions of regret and
assurances that the matter will be
investigated, but nobody has been
accused, arrested or punished.

Of these outrages the Co-oper-
ative News says: "If the Government
is going to make war upon Co-oper-
ative establishments, co-operative
societies must accept the challenge
and declare war upon the Govern-

It is no wonder that the Co-oper-
ativeNews quotes TheNation as say-
ing: "If the body of consumers in
this country can be roused they will

sweep to perdition this Government
of burglars, tricksters, gamblers,
and profiteers.*'

The dying struggle of a tottering
economic system, in control of a
government, is a sad spectacle. The
extremities of ruthlessness and bru-
tality to which it will go defy the
imagination. The one comforting
fact is that the British masses are
getting their eyes opened as never
before, and are using some plain
language. Action will follow. That
is considerably more than can be
said of the supine masses on this side
of the water.


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