Platform Cooperativism Resource Library

Summary

At critical moments throughout U.S. history, people have looked to cooperatives as a key strategy to solve major challenges — such as when farmers looked to cooperatives in the early 20th century to access markets and gain market power, when rural people looked to cooperatives a generation later to access electricity, and when millions of people looked to credit unions to gain control of their financial future. These solutions occurred only when policymakers created laws and regulations that supported the model. And these policymakers created this policy only when people in the cooperative community educated and persuaded policymakers on the power of the cooperative business model.

Today’s environment represents another “cooperative moment.” As policymakers seek answers to today’s greatest challenges, the cooperative business model poses proven solutions. And just as in the past, the most effective way for policymakers to grasp the cooperative potential is for the cooperative community to be active in educating and advocating for better cooperative policy.

Recently NCBA CLUSA wrote an open letter addressed to the 2020 presidential candidates from both major parties, urging them to consider how cooperatives can be a vital component of their policy platforms.1 The letter made the point that as candidates seek solutions to some of today’s most critical challenges, they should look to cooperatives as a strategy with a record of empowering people in their businesses and communities.

Added May 13, 2020