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Cooperatives in New OrleansCollective Action and Urban Development$
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Anne Gessler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496827616

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496827616.001.0001

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The Consumers’ Co-operative Union: Embedding Integrated Popular Front and War on Poverty Social Programs in the South

The Consumers’ Co-operative Union: Embedding Integrated Popular Front and War on Poverty Social Programs in the South

Chapter:
(p.83) Chapter Three The Consumers’ Co-operative Union: Embedding Integrated Popular Front and War on Poverty Social Programs in the South
Source:
Cooperatives in New Orleans
Author(s):

Anne Gessler

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496827616.003.0004

Chapter three analyzes radical Great Depression- and World War II-era consumer cooperatives in working-class Freret neighborhood as their anti-racist, socialist calls for a complete overhaul of the capitalist system careened into their constituents desire for economic expediency. Opening an integrated grocery store called Consumers’ Co-operative Union, along with host of affiliated cooperatives, German, black, and Latin American organizers muted their Popular Front sympathies to lower the cost of living for racially mixed Freret residents and implement New Deal economic reforms in the South. Although critics charged that Rochdale cooperatives were too apolitical, and while radicals’ principles were co-opted to serve a capitalist agenda, chapter three illuminates how the city’s mid-twentieth-century credit union movement embedded Popular Front ideals into Great Society social policies. Credit unions operated as political channel for marginalized communities, situating New Orleans urban growth within the context of the long civil rights movement.

Keywords:   Consumers Co-operative Union, Popular Front, War on Poverty, Great Depression, World War II

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