Angela Whitecross
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The wasted years?
The Co-operative Party during the 1930s
in Mainstreaming co-operation
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This chapter focuses on the development of Co-operative Party policy in 1930s Britain, investigating the extent to which it advocated co-operative forms of ownership. Although the Co-operative and Labour Parties had an electoral alliance from 1927, there remained organisational and ideological differences. The chapter explores the tensions between the more dominant Labour Party’s focus on nationalisation and the smaller Co-operative Party’s efforts to promote social ownership. It argues that internal struggles within the co-operative movement over its political identity and structural limitations on the Co-operative Party limited its ability to offer an alternative vision to Labour’s statist model, while the complex relationship between the two parties further inhibited the Co-operative Party’s potential to mainstream co-operative methods in Labour policies and in politics more generally.

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Mainstreaming co-operation

An alternative for the twenty-first century?

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