I remember very well when I joined my fist co-op. The year was 1965 when I started attending Portland State College (PSC), in the beautiful City of Roses in the Pacific Northwest. It would later on become Portland State University, and it was located across the very pleasant Park Blocks in the South West part of the city, in downtown Portland. It is still there today.
On beautiful and sunny-weather days many of the teachers would give their lectures on the lawn at the Park Blocks.
At the time I was working at I. Magnin and Company, across the street from the Hilton on S.W. Fifth avenue and Salmon street. About ten blocks west of that location was Lincoln High School, where I graduated on June, 1963. The school was at the time the best high school in the city. It was at the foot of the west hills, where all the wealthy families lived. The sport color of the school was red and the mascot was a Cardinal bird. Little did I know at that time that I would become a political “red” later on.
My work schedule was 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and after I left work I would walk to PSC. The college book store was a co-op. It was owned by the students attending PSC; it was not owned by capitalist “investors.”
After the college school year was over, the co-op would buy back your books, which it would then offer next year as used books to the incoming new class of students. In September it would issue a co-op rebate to all its members. You could get the rebate in cash or apply it to purchase new or used books on the new school year.
The co-op is an eminently socialist idea. It is people helping people, not people screwing people.
In the changes being instituted in Cuba by President Raul Castro, co-ops have now a very important place in society. Any gains or losses are shared by the members of the co-ops.
With co-ops a better world is possible.