2nd International Co-operative Principle: Democratic Member Control

Introduction

The second international co-operative principle is democratic member control:

“Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.”*

Since the earliest days of the co-operative movement, democratic member control has been a defining characteristic of co-operatives. From the founding of the first co-operatives, democratic member control applied to all members of the co-operative, which was a very radical idea in the mid-nineteenth century. Even more impressive, this principle applied to women as well.

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