The credit unions, because of its double role of enterprises and social movements, have two memories. One -the official one- corresponds to the group of administrative information that the laws and rules oblige to register and keep. The other one corresponds to the life of that social movement, the reasons and circumstances of those enterprises to exist.
This memory, like most of the social organizations, has only been partially and non-systematically preserved. The causes are found in the economic and political vicissitudes gone through by these institutions, the urgency of daily life and the absence of a tradition that gives value to the job done.
On the other hand, the activity of the social movements, when not confronted to the public institutions, has motivated that except for limited exceptions, the official Archives and newspaper library haven’t dealt with their history. We must also take into account that this happens in an Argentinian society that doesn’t give importance to its past in any of its expressions.
The absence of collective memory in the social organizations acquires a special significance if we take into account that:
- The conservation, study and reading of the experiences produced around the life of the social institutions are an essential part in the growth and development of the democratic participation of its members.
- The recovery of the institutional memory makes it possible to count the past collectively and individually, recognize oneself with the history, understand the long term history and give value to the present, as a way of considering values, proposals, unfinished projects and sense of belonging.
In this way the reaffirmation of the identity is reinforced at the same time that it helps to contextualize and not to idealize the memories and traditions.
These considerations put in evidence the necessity of making a systematic search of all the oral testimonies and testimonies found in newspapers and in different documents that can be recovered for the investigation and the cultural heritage of the co-operative movement.