Call for the Co-operative Party to suspend Lib Peck, Peter Robbins and Steve Reed

by More Street Cleaning and less Social Cleansing, please

The coding has gone a bit haywire, italic and bold text is running amok. Will try and fix it later…

Anyhow, below is a formal complaint that was recently submitted to the Co-operative Party by a ‘Shortlife’ resident, who’s a member of said Co-operative Party.
Membership of the Co-operative Party is dependent on already being a member of an existing co-op. In this case, it’s based on living in a housing co-op.
Presumably, on eviction by Lambeth, membership of the housing co-op, therefore also membership of the Co-operative Party, ceases?
Lib Peck et al are effectively both evicting a co-op resident and throwing her out of the Co-operative party.
Hardly co-operative behaviour, is it?

For the attention of the General Secretary of the Co-operative Party.

I would like to register a formal complaint against the following members of the Co-operative Party:  Steve Reed, Lib Peck and Peter Robbins, and request their membership of the Co-operative Party be suspended.

All three members are closely associated with the recall, and subsequent sale of, ex-licensed ‘Shortlife’ Housing Co-operative properties in Lambeth,
Steve Reed was leader of the council until recently, Lib Peck is the current leader of the council and Peter Robbins is currently the Cabinet Member for Housing.

The end result of this wholesale destruction of co-operative communities is the displacement of hundreds of long-term co-operators and the disintegration of distinct Housing Co-ops that have evolved and developed in Lambeth since the mid 1970s. ‘Shortlife’ is a misnomer for Housing Co-ops that have existed since the 1970s.

Lambeth council has waged a campaign of misinformation that has laid the foundation for the recall of our homes.  A process devoid of compassion, co-operation, consultation or vision.
This process was begun when Lambeth was a Conservative/ Lib Dem led council, but it has been carried forward by the current Labour administration.  This immediately raises questions of ideology and motivation.

As a group, ‘Shortlife’ Housing Co-ops have been treated with contempt by Lambeth council for many years, so it is ironic that their most caustic behaviour has come about since they have called themselves ‘the cooperative council’.

I am a co-operator because I live in a Housing Co-op managed property. I have regularly served as an officer of my co-op and I believe that the Housing Co-ops we’ve developed over the past four decades, throughout Lambeth, should be recognised as templates for successful, self-help, co-operative community living in urban areas.

However, as soon as I am evicted, I am, by definition, no longer a co-operator. The actions of Lib Peck, Peter Robbins and Steve Reed are forcing me, and my fellow co-operators, out of the Co-operative movement.

How can the above named members of the Co-operative Party, supposedly my co-operative colleagues, reconcile their actions on behalf of Lambeth council with the Aims and Principles they signed up to when they became Co-operative Party members?

I would suggest that the actions that are demanded of Co-operative Party members who hold office in Lambeth Council are not consistent with the Constitution of The Co-operative Party, and Co-operative Party members should not be authorising or undertaking actions which are inherently destructive to other Co-operative groups..

The behaviour of the current administration at Lambeth council is bringing the term ‘co-operative’ (or ‘cooperative’, as they spell it) into disrepute. Furthermore, their intimidatory and bureaucratic behaviour, aligned as they are, individually, with the Co-operative Party, sullies the reputation of the Co-operative Party itself.

There has been a complete lack of consultation with co-op residents; Local Authority ownership of the co-op managed properties is being lost to the private sector; ‘Shortlife’ co-operators have been treated with disdain and contempt.

Steve Reed, Lib Peck and Peter Robbins have all actively pursued the eviction of co-op residents to progress the sale of Local Authority properties. This action is detrimental to all the ‘Shortlife’ housing co-ops in Lambeth and, in wider terms, to the tens of thousands of citizens in Lambeth who are in need of social housing.

………………………

I have highlighted below, the core values and principles that I believe are being contravened by the 3 people named.

Co-operative identity, values & principles


Definition

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Values

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Principles

The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. 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 co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

……………………………………..

And below, are the specific rules of the Co-operative Party that I believe are being contravened:

Rule 2.1

The purpose of the Party is to promote co-operative and mutual forms of economic, social and voluntary organisation, which are based on the principles of mutual ownership and democratic control, and to support political action in pursuance of the Values and Principles of the Co-operative Movement in the UK and internationally as defined from time to time by the International Co-operative Alliance.

Rule 3.1

The Party was created to serve the Co-operative Movement of the United Kingdom, and it is committed to working in support of the aims of that Movement – Lambeth council, originally under the leadership of Steve Reed, now under the leadership of Lib Peck, and with the assistance of Peter Robbins, has steadfastly refused to work with the long-established, and previously supported, Fully Mutual Housing Co-ops in the Borough of Lambeth.


Rule 3.3

The Party is committed to working in co-operation with bodies representing the co-operative and mutual sector in the United Kingdom, in other countries and internationally to achieve their common goals – Lambeth council has refused to negotiate or enter into equitable or meaningful discussions with us, although they repeatedly say, publicly, that they have done.

Rule 3.4

In conducting its affairs, the Party shall respect the rights of everyone it deals with, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – our communities are being destroyed, our health is being undermined by the actions of the council. The ‘recall’ process has been going on for almost 20 years! We have repeatedly been threatened with eviction, though, until recently, these threats were not actioned. The threats of eviction have constituted intimidatory behaviour for almost two decades.

Rule 4.1

The functions of the Party are to provide goods and services in pursuit of its purpose, including:

Rule 4.1.6

engaging, as principals or agents, in any other business, trade or activity which seems to the Party directly or indirectly in pursuit of its purpose – destroying long established co-ops is not part of the business of the Co-operative Party or it’s members.

Rule 5.1

The Party may do anything which appears to it to be necessary or desirable in connection with its functions.

Rule 5.2    5.2.1

acquire and dispose of property – our homes are being disposed of, this reduces the stock of available social housing, adds hundreds of people to an already overwhelming waiting-list and destroys Co-operative urban communities in Lambeth.

……………….

Something that may be of interest to you is the fact that one of the Housing Co-op members threatened with eviction is a woman active in many ways within the Co-operative Movement. She is a descendant of one of the Rochdale Pioneers and a member, for more than 20 years, of the Woodcraft Folk, the co-operative youth organisation.. Her co-operative beliefs guide what she does.
This, I feel, sums up the despicable and inherently un-cooperative nature of Lambeth council and the Party members who are willing to act in an appallingly un-cooperative manner. Their treatment of the long-established, and well-loved Housing Co-ops we’ve worked hard to build and maintain over decades, is contemptible.

A new Housing Co-operative, Lambeth United Housing Co-operative, is in the process of being registered as a Fully Mutual Housing Co-op, made up of Lambeth Co-op residents who are still living in their homes, and fighting against eviction by Lambeth council.  We are fighting to establish more Co-operative housing in the Borough, in the face of Lambeth’s determination to extinguish Co-operative housing communities altogether.

I would like the Co-operative Party to censure the named individuals for their actions against the Housing Co-ops in the Borough, and I would like the Co-operative Party to publicly support the formation of Lambeth United Housing Co-operative.

Upon request, I can forward specific examples of actions by Lambeth council that illustrate the ways in which I believe it is acting in a manner that clearly diverges from the stated principles and values of the Co-operative Movement, and shows the three named members of the Party are acting without regard to the Rules of the Co-operative Party.

Trace Newton

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