COVID-19 Solidarity Response: "Our work now is to fight like hell for the transformative changes that our communities need"

Like many of you, we are reeling. In these uncertain times, our first priority has been to make sure our team is safe and cared for. We are adjusting internal policies and reassessing plans for the next few months. As we settle into this new reality and those plans become clearer, we look forward to sharing them with you.

COVID-19 is a public health crisis of a magnitude we have not experienced in our lifetimes. It is exposing the depravity of a system that is designed for the wealthy and powerful, at the expense of everyone else’s health and safety. This economy -- which has always failed working people and marginalized communities -- is fragile and buckling under the weight of people’s urgent needs in this moment.

We cannot ignore the crisis of the system for another day. In moments like this, things that had been considered impossible or “too expensive” can become common sense: the Great Depression birthed the original New Deal. But progress is by no means guaranteed: the Wall Street bailouts followed the 2008 recession. This is a fork in the road moment and those in power want nothing more than to return to “normal,” a status quo that was already failing millions. They will work tirelessly to prevent transformation that challenges their power over the system. We must stop them.

Our work now is to fight like hell for the transformative changes that our communities need. This is work NEC members are uniquely positioned to do, because we’ve already been doing it. The need has always been there. Now, even as we face the tragic losses of this moment, we have a chance to take a massive leap forward -- toward a new economy.

Let’s come together like our lives depend on it.

Stay tuned for more from us in the coming weeks as we move together to figure out what this work looks like. We will be listening deeply to what’s needed from NEC in this moment, and we want to hear from you. In the meantime, may we face the unknown of tomorrow, knowing that we’re all in this together. Be safe. In solidarity, always.

— The NEC staff team

Resources from the NEC Network​

• The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives is helping cooperative businesses   prepare for the difficult months ahead with a regularly updated landing page.

• Springboard for the Arts has created a landing page with resources for artists   affected in this time.

• The Center for Economic Democracy (CED) wrote an open letter  to the solidarity philanthropy community urging they materially support their grantees where possible.

• The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) shared this legal template  for those anxious about paying rent in the coming weeks and months.

The Icarus Project is offering a skillshare for activists to analyze and interpret COVID-19 data.

Foundation for Intentional Community is hosting an online conversation about how intentional communities can respond in the face of this pandemic.

Center for Popular Economics organized people’s economists to share information and demystify how economic institutions are responding via the hashtag #WTFed.

Common Good launched a mutual aid website for members to post and view offers and needs.

Post Growth Institute published this resource on how privileged communities can rebalance the world in the face of COVID19.


Emergency Funding Sources

To help support you in this difficult moment, NEC staff has pulled together a detailed roundup of COVID-19 Emergency Funding Sources. Also check out some of these opportunities from NEC members:

• Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) has set up a relief center for restaurant workers immediately impacted.

• The New England Grassroots Fund is making rapid response funds available to grassroots groups responding to local needs and building resilience in their community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remote Workplace Guidance

​We're working on compiling reflections from NEC staff about our expereiences as a remote team. In the meantime, check out the following resources:

• Folks from the world of platform cooperatives have crowdsourced a detailed tech handbook, with resources ranging from how to work remotely, to fighting misinformation about the pandemic.

• TESA Collective has compiled a how-to on turning your in-person trainings into virtual trainings.

Grassroots Responses & Organizing Demands

• Climate Justice Alliance has released a Call for a Just Recovery Response to COVID-19

• People's Action has put out a bold set of demands  to guarantee housing security in the wake of this crisis

• Democracy Collaborative has helped organized a national sign-on letter  calling for a moratorium on electricity and water shutoffs, which NEC signed and 500+ others signed.

• Transforming Spaces has compiled a list of demands from grassroots organizers concerning COVID-19

Organizing & Policy Wins

Many ideas that seemed radical to the mainstream even a week ago — health care for all, rent and debt freezes, guaranteed sick leave, mutual aid networks — are gaining traction as common-sense solutions to protect people during and after this public health crisis.

See a running list of COVID-19 organizing and policy wins that support the values and possibilities of the solidarity economy.