a gleaming visionPosted: January 9, 2015
The Campaign has been working on fair trade for at least 20 years. To tell the truth, the fair trade movement could have said to have started in the Eighties, through selling coffee from Nicaragua. In the country, like many others, the connection between the fair trade and co-operative movement has been very strong. We saw the connections once again in 2013, when we met to discuss the co-operative economy in Nicaragua (see here).
The connections between fairness and co-operation have been obvious since the co-operative movement was established 170 years ago. Also, the relationship between consumers and workers has been at the heart of sharing the benefits of a fair economy.
In a new book, William Hazell’s Gleaming Vision, Alun Burge looks at the contribution of Hazell to the movement. Alun worked in Nicaragua for five years during the Eighties, and he describes the same attitude of ‘transformation’ in South Wales during the first half of the 20th century as he saw in Nicaragua. He writes:
“As the Ynysybwl Society owned shares in the co-operative businesses about which questions were being asked, there was a direct link between the consumers of Ynysybwl and the producers of North America, Asia and the Soviet Union. It was unavoidable to feel part of an international movement, as well as realising they were subject to the vagaries of international markets. These complimentary local, national and international activities were seen by Hazell as essential to the uilding of the Co-operative Commonwealth.”
This echoes the words of the late Porfirio Zepeda, during his visit to Wales in 2001 to promote fair trade coffee from Nicaragua. He said:
“We can change the relationship between consumers and producers, and the relationship between prices, so that it a relation that allows us to live.”
The Campaign hopes to launch our next delegation to Nicaragua before long, to study the co-operative economy there.