The Cooperative Revolution: A Graphic Novel
or free to read online http://www.co-operative.coop/graphic-novel/play/
“Worthy” publications make me nervous. There are questions to ask; Does it tell you things you didn’t know? Does it genuinely inspire? Does it admit to complexity (beyond “we are good, THEY are bad”)? And does it succeed as a work of art?
Manchester-based cartoonist, writer and facebook-fiend Paul Fitzgerald has just published a glossy graphic novel about the Co-operative movement. And the answers are; yes, yes, yes and yes.
It’s an attractive three-part book. The longest and best section is the first – on the why and how of the formation of the Co-operative movement (Rochdale, 1844).. It was a response to a morally and economically bankrupt and exploitative system that rewarded the well-connected and left everyone else to rot or cut each other’s throats. Clearly there are no parallels whatsoever with the circumstances we find ourselves in now. The second section looks at the state of play for co-operatives around the world today (there are more than you’d think. It’s almost as if the (corporate and state-owned) mainstream media was shy of mentioning the alternatives to hierarchy and devil-take-the-hindmost competition. The final section, for this reviewer the least convincing (but still inspiring and thought-provoking) is set 30 years’ hence during a
manned staffed-mission to Mars. There’s an “informal booklaunch/pissup” for this book at the Sandbar, Grosvenor St on Saturday 13th October from 8pm.