In this episode we explore a phenomenon that has existed throughout centuries both within and alongside Capitalism. Wherever relationships have been based on reciprocity, sustainability, and democratic governance you’ll find the Solidarity Economy. We learn of it’s origin and about how it is strengthened by countermovements and during times of crisis. We follow its presence throughout the history of a particular marginalized community in the U.S., celebrating the courage of African American cooperative thought and practice. We then paint a picture of a modern solidarity response to economic austerity. And finally, we dream about it’s potential in the face of ecological peril and plan for what it will take to grow the Solidarity Economy to serve as a movement of movements.
Michael Ventura – Co-author with James Hillman of We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy – And the World’s Getting Worse, columnist of Letters at 3AM with the Austin Chronicle
Caroline Woolard – Artist & organizer whose work explores intersections between art and the solidarity economy
Michael Lewis – Soildarity economy researcher; Co-author of The Resilience Imperative
Pat Conaty – Research associate Cooperatives UK, Co-author of The Resilience Imperative
Jessica Gordon Nembard – Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, author of Collective Courage: A history of African-American Cooperative Economic Thought & Practice
Biba Schoenmaker – Co-Founder of Broodfonds Makers
It’s hard to convey what the sharing movement is about without describing how it looks in practice. No matter how well you lay out its basic principles, you need concrete examples and visual imagery to help people reach that aha moment.
What is the solidarity economy? The Solidarity Economy St. Louis describes it as an economy based on meeting “human needs through economic activities — like the production and exchange of goods and services — that reinforce the values of social justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation, mutualism, democracy, and innovation.” The group says that “it is dynamic and diverse, including both monetized and non-monetized practices and means of exchange.” (…More)
Solidarity economy enterprises move beyond the “any job is a good job” logic sometimes found in efforts to address labor market exclusion. Instead, these more holistically supportive workspaces can help solidarity economy entrepreneurs move beyond “consumer citizenship” into a deeper participatory citizenship, becoming protagonists.
But what does citizenship mean in the context of untrustworthy political institutions and isolation from quality education and basic public services? While some scholars have referred to the condition of people living in peripheral urban areas of 21st century cities as “subcitizenship,” Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos argues that citizenship cannot be obtained via the concession of rights for people living in such conditions, but instead obtaining citizenship demands the transformation of global processes of socialization and models of development. In effect, rights may not be sitting there waiting to be accessed. Even with ascension in socio-economic status, for instance, they may instead require collective action.
Anthropologist James Holston writes of what he sees as a uniquely Brazilian “inclusively inegalitarian citizenship.” This combines two conflicting components: formal membership and principles of incorporation into nation-state (largely established in the 1988 Constitution as the country transitioned to democracy), together with “substantive distribution of rights, meanings, institutions, practices that membership entails to those deemed citizens.” Given that these two factors are so often at odds, Holston investigates what he calls “insurgent citizenship,” a form of confronting this gap in formal and substantive rights in an insurgent way in the peripheries, through the auto-construction of the periphery, through protest and petition, and through identities that challenge exclusionary norms of society and citizenship. (…More)
With a broader understanding of the solidarity economy in Brazil in mind, testimonials from participating entrepreneurs themselves show the real advantages of this kind of work, from circumventing market exclusion to creating new kinds of spaces where women are reimagining the divide between domestic and productive spheres.
There are upwards of 300 solidarity economic enterprises, or empreendimentos econômicos solidários (EESs), participating in the 14 fairs that make up Circuito Rio EcoSol, Rio’s solidarity economy circuit. Many of the participants are from favelas, and many EESs have joined together in networks.
“At the WMW, we work to empower women and increase their economic … We believe in the redistribution of wealth and the solidarity economy.“
Declaration of the World March of Women 10th International Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique from October 11 to 15, 2016
We, the women of the World March, fight the hetero-patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism and all forms of inequality and discrimination. We demand our right to take back control of our bodies, our land and our territories.
In this chaotic world, we believe that another world is possible. Together, we work to build our feminist alternatives that reinforce our movement. (read more)
Eric Dirnbach August 31, 2016, Waging Non-violence
Advocates for worker cooperatives celebrate outside City Hall in Oakland after the city council passed a resolution supporting the development of worker co-ops on Sept. 8, 2015 (Sustainable Economies Law Center)
Activists in Oakland have been campaigning for new city policies that would assist worker cooperative development. After successfully winning passage of a city resolution in support of cooperatives last fall, they are now pushing for a new law, the Oakland Worker Cooperative Incentives for Growth Ordinance. Supporters will speak in support at the upcoming hearing at City Hall on September 27, and the ordinance islikely to pass in October. It would grant a variety of benefits for registered worker cooperatives including procurement preferences, development funding, tax incentives, streamlined permitting and promotion of business conversion to cooperatives. The Sustainable Economies Law Center, one of the key promoters of the ordinance, says that it will be the first of its kind to offer this level of assistance for cooperatives.
This campaign is one part of a vibrant, growing movement advancing community-oriented, alternative ways of economic development. This includes cooperatives and credit unions, community land trusts, municipal participatory budgeting, local renewable energy and various community organizing initiatives to build local power, all within a grassroots, intersectional and anti-oppression political framework. This kind of work is often referred to as the “new economy” or “solidarity economy.” (more…)