Rochdale Geburtsstadt der Kooperative! | Rochdale birth city of the co-operative!

This German post is followed by an English introduction further down.

Der Artikel zu diesen Anmerkungen befindet auf Taz Online (Reisen)

www.taz.de/4/reise/artikelseite/1/besuch-im-kooperativen-herzen/

Druckversion: 4. May 2013

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Die Idee zu meinem Bericht entwickelte ich, als ich Monate zuvor an einer Radiosendung über  Lebensmittelkooperativen arbeitete.

Deutsche Urversion hier https://archive.org/details/RecheckMP3, englische lange und bessere Version hier https://dzx2.net/2012/06/30/a-better-way-what-can-food-co-operatives-offer-in-the-age-of-the-supermarket/.

Bei den Recherchen erfuhr ich, dass das Pioneers Museum in Rochdale, der  Ort wo die Rochdale Pioniere der kooperativen Idee einst mit einem klienen Laden begannen, gerade in Restaurierung läge, und im September 2012 neu eröffnet werden würde.  Bei der Taz war so ein Bercht gut aufgehoben.  Die Taz ist ja selber durch eine Kooperative Genossenschaft gehalten.

Tim Nuttal der Leiter für Tourismus in Rochdale, der in dem Artikel erwaehnt wird,  hat inzwischen leider seinen Arbeitsplatz verlassen.  Es hatte so hörte ich, etwas mit den Kürzungen der momentanen britischen Regierung und deren Auswirkungen auf das Stadtbudget zu tun.  Man versicherte mir aber, dass Besucher auch weiterhin auf Hilfe rechnen können.

Ein paar Passagen, meines Erachtens waren sie wichtig. wurden von den Redakteuren herausgenommen.  Sie beziehen sich auf Rochdale als “islamische Stadt.” Auch Tim Nuttal hatte die Stadt so nich nicht beschrieben gesehen, aber er musste mir recht geben.  Hier die gestrichenen Passagen:

Am Abend treffe ich mich mit Mitgliedern der Zentralmoschee. Es ist die größte mehrerer lokaler Moscheen, die Saint John the Baptist gegenüber dem Bahnhof nicht mitgezählt. Die Kirche mit dem weißen Kuppeldach gibt absichtlich einen Hagia Sophia Anschein. Auch das aufwendig gebaute Rathaus, ein Zeichen des ehemaligen Reichtums Rochdales, mit seiner Empfangshalle im Stile der Al-Hambra, hat nichts mit den 30,000 muslimischen Bewohnern der Stadt zu tun. Einst leisteten sie monotone Fabrikarbeit, meist die Nachtschicht. Heute sind die Hiergebliebenen Restaurantbesitzer, Taxifahrer oder führen Abholgroßmärkte, wie den Haji Cash & Carry, der sich gigantisch neben der Hagia Sophia erhebt. Die Muslime Rochdales hatten im vergangenen Jahr eine schwere Zeit erlebt, nachdem zwei Prostitutionsringe durch die Polizei gesprengt wurden. Minderjährige junge Frauen wurden misshandelt, alle britisch-europäischer Abstammung. Als es bekannt wurde, dass die Straftäter pakistanisch-muslimischer Abstammung waren, marschierten Neonazis aus ganz England durch die Stadt. Der Sekretär der Zentralmoschee Ahsan ul-Haq, 58, findet das unfair: „Wenn Muslime was falsch machen, sind wir alle gleich verrottetes Gesindel.“ Er und der Jugendarbeiter Akhtar Hussein, 48 führen mich durch die Moschee, ebenfalls ein Nachbau, eine Imitation der Jerusalemer Al-Aqsar Moschee. Hussein berichtet von seiner Tochter die Architektur studiert und seinem Sohn der Arzt ist. Außerdem spiele seine Tochter hervorragend Fußball. Er wehrte sich den Protesten einiger Glaubensgenossen, dass sie als muslimisches Mädchen nicht im normalen Outfit spielen solle. Der Abend endet in einem lokalen pakistanischen Restaurant. Wo es neben traditionell gegrillten Hallalfleisch, auch englisches Steak, Pasta und „extra Gravy“, einen regionaler Bratensaft gibt.

Ein Besuch in Rochdale:

ENGLISH

Online Version 5th of May 2013     www.taz.de/4/reise/artikelseite/1/besuch-im-kooperativen-herzen/

Print Edition 4th of May 213 Taz Am Wochenende (contains tow extra colour prints)

The idea of my article on Rochdale, the birth town of co-operatives, developed, when I worked on a radio feature on food co-operatives (see and hear  dzx2.net/category/food-co-ops/).  Whilst researching it I learned that the Pioneer’s Museum in Rochdale was being redeveloped and re-open in September.  As soon as the Olympics and Paralympics I worked on were out of the way, I proposed to Taz’s travel editor a feature on Rochdale. It was well received.   Rochdale not only had a co-operative heritage but had a dedicated Islamic legacy, initially based on the architectural admiration of some of its local architects for Islamic monuments such as the Hagia Sophia and the Al Hambra in Granada.  The industrial heritage of Rochdale however is like a living museum.  Inspite of th at, Rochdale has not yet succeeded to appropriately protect it, or work with it, nor are many of the former co-operative buildings protected, or its citizens immensely aware of what Rochdale’s co-operative inheritance means to many visitors from many corners of the world. For a city that is a typical town of the North, suffering investment, and its older glory faded, such an identity and protection would be crucial.  One can only hope that the future leadership of the town will be prepared to emphasise its legacy as much as is necessary and create new forms of co-operative arrangements.  This is why I called not the Pioneer’s museum, but the high rising tower blogs of Rochdale, the town’s most striking symbol of co-operation.  Well worth a visit to anyone interested in social and industrial history.   Taz is uniquely held by a co-operative of readers and supporters, rather than by sales, subscriptions and advertisements.  It’s co-operative structure makes it one of Germany’s most independent papers and hence the article fits in well with its ethos.  As I found out one the first female writers and editors of Great Britain Lily Howe came forward through the co-op, as did many women members with voting rights soon after the co-ops establishment.

You can read my article via the link at the start of the English paragraph. Use googletranslate to get a reasonable translation.  One paragraph, the one on my visit to a Rochdale mosque has been taken out.  It is quoted in full however above (in German).  Again googletranslate will give you a reasonable translation.

A Better Way? What can food co-operatives offer in the Age of the Supermarket?

“A Better Way?” wants to examine the case for food co-ops in conversation with people knowledgeable in the field.

Originally broadcasted on Londnon Resonance FM 104.4 Saturday 7th July 2012 12.00 – 13.00

Listen here:  Audio Archive:  Food Co-ops: A better Way?

Producers Comments:

This new piece for Resonance FM, London 104.4  is really a “re-cut,” using material from a documentary produced for a German audience and aired on  Querfunk. (listen here)  It was totally re-edited from the original material elaborated on and new material was also collected.

My main aim was to examine the case for food co-ops.  This was not going to be a feature about supermarkets and what they are about, although some of that was included, because it forms the basis of why many start up food co-ops.  Armin Valet of the Hamburg Consumer Council and Majorie Stein of Eden Farms make their  cases on this quite well.  Those who want to know more, may want to watch the 2011 BBC Panorama feature ‘Supermarkets: What Price Cheap Food ?’ which is available on you tube.

In the German original one of the key persons talking the listener through was Santa Meyer-Nandi of Finding Sustaina an UNESCO (Germany) award wining blog.  She was an interesting person both in terms of what she said to me over the mic,  as she walked me through the The People’s Supermarket (TPS).

But also because she  later left TPS  to join the work-force of a local fine foods store situated in the  same street as TPS called Kennard’s.  Meyer-Nandi felt that TPS had damaged this local store by selling some of the same goods and offering cooked meals.  Meyer-Nandi believed that a supermarket ought to also relate to other local stores and have” gentleman agreements” on what they sell and do not sell.  Kennard’s weren’t  willing to comment on this, and about five months ago they had closed down.  If it was really down to TPS or due to other reasons I can not say.  Probably a mixture of reasons.

Co2012 dzx2.net - All rights reserved.

Other things that were different with the new edition were the fact that I sought to speak with Waitrose and The Co-Operative Supermarket chains.  Both asked me lots of questions beforehand about the  content of my questions and my intentions. So much for corporate damage control.  Waitrose was also very keen to know who I spoke with at the Co-op.

After 14 days wait Waitrose  said they were unable to provide me with “the right person to speak to” as he or she, was now abroad, even though I had offered to call the person regardless of location.  Neither was Waitrose able to get somebody down to their new London  Stratford showcase supermarket and walk me around there.   They said it was because the local store manager could not do this, and the people who could were at their HQ miles away.  On the other hand, I have attended an evening on London Air Quality, where a John Lewis / Waitrose official outlined some quite remarkable policies on how they would reduce emissions in their fleet, including hybrid and electrical vehicles and using gas produced from waste to power some.  But the Local Government Authority felt that Waitrose was not yet one of their best performers.  In the end Waitrose provided me with a written statement which I used in the documentary.

The Co-operative Group was able to offer me with one of their busiest regional secretaries, he was very informative and gave me over 30 minutes of his time.  In the programme a tension came up between Kate Bull and Graham Hammond on the issue of getting a loan as a co-op.  Bull argued the Co-operative Bank was not forthcoming for loans, whilst Hammond argued they help new forming co-ops.  Originally I had another musical interlude in the feature.  I had  edited in the Co-Op’s 2011 Join the Revolution TV and Film advertisement and music,  openly available on youtube, to introduce Graham Hammond, but my contact from the  Co-Op Group media department argued, to my great surprise,  that the department could not approve the use, because of the artistic copyrights involved.  It sounded rather strange to me, and perhaps they were worried that their ad was going to be misused.

The Fair Shares Food- Co-op was quite a remarkable little place.  I quite liked it but it does have restricted opening hours.  I have never bought oat grains as cheaply as from them.  In the original German version I described Fair Shares as a “remarkable store in the chaos of an urban city centre.”  I noted, that ‘where elsewhere stores install CCTV circuit cameras and hire security guards and detectives, here is an example of a store that has none of these features, and even believes the customer’s own calculations of how much the product is she is buying.’  Kevin said they were only once ripped off and on that occasion the customers handed the goods back.  Still it was disappointing that they had opted for a blank boycott of Israeli goods, especially given the fact that with the co-operative Kibbutz Movement, and the associated co-operative Moshav Movement.  I know at least one Kibbutz, that has been known to be particularly outspoken on Palestinian – Israeli issues, Kibbutz  Givat Haviva (but it was only in 2008 that a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship became Israel’s first Kibbutz member).  A blank boycott may be also detrimental to all positive forces within Israel.  Gush Shalom,  the peace campaign founded by Uri Avneri’s  has for example said, that those who wish to boycott due to positions against the occupation of the West Bank, should be more specific and had issued a list to boycott specific produce from the settlements, which is now going through legal challenges in Israel.   Whether or not boycotts themselves are a productive force is a matter of much discussion. My personal opinion is that the situation is a far more complex one, and that if Israel is singled out for a boycott, those who support it must ask themselves why only Israel is chosen from a plate that is full of other countries that may be held to be politically unjust.  I had personally chosen to commit myself for many years to a Jewish Israeli – Palestinian peace village, Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom instead, with real people who live and work the future most of us wish for in the Middle East, and whose UK media liaison person I was (via British Friends).

The Battle Hymn of the Co-operations  played in my documentary is probably the first time you hear the track since the 1930s.  I found it mentioned on the web.  It was written by Elizabeth Mead and Carl Ferguson in 1932 and is thought to be a pre-curser of ‘Solidarity for Ever,’ both based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  The artist performing it in my documentary is called Tom Smith who is a London based  jazz drummer and music teacher.   The song was was specially performed and recorded for this feature.  You can listen to the full version of the song here:
https://archive.org/details/CorporationSong

Since the recording The People’s Super Market have decided to use extracts of the song as their current jingle tune mixed with statements by some of their members.

There is one piece I have not included in the feature.  It is Nelson Fernandez who is the Green Grocer of The People’s Supermarket
.

I thought his evidence being quite hard touching especially the bit about getting a job and falling in love with another shop assistant.

I had to think of Bruce Springsteen’s Queen of the Supermarket when he told me his story…

Resonance FM London is supported by the Art council and TheWire.co.uk amongst others, and broadcasts some outstanding challenging and experimental radio productions, as well as new and upcoming radio producers and special interest radio shows (such as Talking Africa)!  If you can make a small donation on their web-site to support this unique medium!
http://resonancefm.com/


“A Better Way?” was produced and presented by Daniel Zylbersztajn / dzx2.net

Voice Overs: Sophie Talbot

Radio-feature, 55 min.,  Production Date May 2012.

Thanks to James Gordon, and the Cooperative Singers of Ontario, and also to Tom Smith, for musical contributions!

Also listen here to full versions of  Supermarket and Farmers Blues

for distribution rights contact Daniel

Comments:

  1. Dan – very much enjoyed your piece on Resonance – congratulations.  Jamie
  2. Really enjoyed listening to the recording.  Although I am not a big fan of Co-operatives as they tend to serve a few – reminds me of gated communities in Zimbabwe or India (even there any one can join).  The arguments of co-operatives are valid and promoting this to others (particularly to the young ) is very worthy.  In this you are playing the most active part. I am sure most co-operative would aim to get their message to all kids at schools (not just their children who would usually tend to be from middle class families).  It would have been interesting to hear how they are going about doing this.  Change happens when the majority disapprove having made an informed choice.  I believe that it is possible to get the big supermarkets to change –  this would serve the majority ( not forgetting the jobs  they provide and sometimes housing to the local community).  The woman towards the end spoke about people’s choice and yet the need to be profitable is how I see it operate – yet holding on to ones principles.  On the other hand many farmers are provided subsidies and don’t even need to produce anything! The basis of these subsidies should be based on providing produce for school dinners and our hospitals at the least. Well done and keep up the good work.     Jerome