This essay investigates the relationship between cooperation and politics, through a long-term analysis focused on the Trentino province, which is typically characterized by a strong cooperative tradition. The cooperative movement that flourished in this province is generally referred to the so called "white cooperation", meaning that it is embedded in the Catholic values and traditions. However, the author illustrates how this "label" is not comprehensive of the universe of the different cooperative initiatives that have emerged in this territory. Besides the first initiatives promoted by the liberals, and then suffocated by fascism, other minor experiences arose in different periods, which are grounded in the left-wing tradition and are referred to as "red cooperation". Furthermore, additional initiatives were designed at the local level, as in the case of the Peasant League. Recent research shows that most cooperatives, while having a strong Catholic background, were managed according to economic criteria that were free from political and/or religious constraints.
Keywords: Co-operation; Politics; White co-operation; Red co-operation; Trentino; Local development