Alberto Basevi

(Modena 1882 - Roma 1956)

He came from a Jewish family, was a pupil of Luigi Luzzati and manager of the National League of cooperatives. Basevi was secretary of the newly constructed National Credit Institute for cooperation that over the years will be transformed into National Labour Bank (an institution of which he was central manager).

During fascism he had to abandon his office due to his origins, but with the affirmation of the Republic he was once again the driving force behind the organisation of the cooperative world.

He contributed to the rebirth of the League of cooperatives and promoted the “Basevi law”, a tool in favour of the cooperative organisation in the country. As a scholar of the cooperative world, he approached it through some publications with European focus on the origin and history of this phenomena in different countries.

Basevi gives this speech to young people of ICA-International Co-operative Alliance:
it is a fact of wondering: so in short, what is it that keeps all this mass of opeope connected? A religious faith? No, because there are cooperative members of every creed, from Hindus to Jews. A political ideal? Not either because there are liberal cooperative members such as communists, socialists and Christian Democrats. It is instead a very simple thing that we can brutally sum up in one word: hunger. And a single conviction that, in order to tame it, nothing can be worth as the union of hungry people (...) The secret of cooperation is this: the union of small, tiny forces that, taken each for itself is worth nothing, when they are put together the larger their number is, the more they are worth”.

Some of his main cooperative publications:

Il Sindacato peschereccio adriatico, 1915
La legge sulla cooperazione e la sua applicazione (D.L.C.P.S. 14 dicembre 1947 n. 1577), 1951
Il Congresso di Copenhagen, 1951
Luigi Luzzatti cooperatore, 1952
Il movimento cooperativo francese, 1952
Studi cooperativi, 1953
Sintesi storica del movimento cooperativo italiano, 1953
Holyoake e i pionieri, 1953
Il Congresso di Parigi, 1954
Giorgio Fauquet. L’opera e l’uomo, 1953
La legge sulla cooperazione e la sua applicazione, 1954


Further readings:

• A. Benaglia, Commemorazione di A. Basevi, in "La Rivista della cooperazione", n. 10, 1956.
• Giulio Tamagnini, Profili cooperativi. Alberto Basevi, in "La Rivista della cooperazione", n. 5 - 6, 1963.