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New Economy Roundup: Our 2020 Solidarity Economy Highlights

Dec 17, 2020 | New Economy Roundup

2020 seemed to last a century. Despite being the year that the term “doom scrolling” was coined, we also saw an unparalleled number of stories about everyday people organizing for real solutions in their communities.

The root causes of our struggles became crystal clear, and the solidarity economy solutions our members have been building for decades — from cooperatives to participatory budgeting to land trusts and public banks — moved to the center of public debate.

For the last New Economy Roundup of the year, we wanted to take a moment to lift up some of our favorite stories from our members and broader movement from 2020.There are undoubtedly many, many more stories that should be included on this list — we encourage you to share them on social media with the hashtag #solidarityeconomy2020 so that we can all see them!

Wishing you all health, rest, and connection as we close out this year. Until 2021.


2020 Solidarity Economy Highlights

This Trans-Owned Co-op Builds Community and Economic Stability – Yes Magazine, Jan 29
Read about the Mirror Beauty Cooperative, a member of NEC member organization the NYC Network of Worker Co-ops, and how the co-op can be a model for equal pay and worker-ownership.

Moms 4 Housing: Redefining the Right to a Home in Oakland – New York Book Review, March 9
Read this profile about Dominique Walker and the group of unhoused Black moms who sparked a movement this year by occupying a vacant home, resisting eviction, and securing the sale of the home to a community land trust to become permanently affordable housing.

Pandemic Crash Shows Worker Co-ops Are More Resilient Than Traditional Business – In These Times, May 8
Brian Van Slyke of NEC member organization TESA Collective writes about why worker-owned businesses have fared better during COVID-19.

What Mutual Aid Can Do During a Pandemic – The New Yorker, May 11
Read how the radical practice of mutual aid — a core tenant of the solidarity economy — suddenly got mainstream attention during the COVID-19 crisis. For more, check out these 3 City Case Studies in Mutual Aid, featuring NEC member organization the Kola Nut Collaborative.

The Movement Behind LA’s Decision to Cut Its Police Budget – City Lab, June 4
From LA to Nashville to Grand Rapids, read how organizers are using participatory budgeting to create anti-racist “people’s budgets.”

A New World Is Possible: Defund Police And Fund Black Lives – Essence, June 12
Ash-lee Woodard Henderson, Executive Director of NEC member organization the Highlander Center, and Kayla Reed explain the movement to defund the police and reinvest in our communities.

Collective Ownership Gives Power Back to Poor Farmers – Harper’s Magazine, Jun 15
Read this deep-dive into the history and legacy of New Communities Inc — the very first community land trust in the US, founded as a haven for Black farmers in the Civil Rights movement. Written by 2018 New Economies Reporting Fellow Audra Lim.

Participatory Budgeting Unlocks Collective Radical Imagination – TED Talk, July 15
Shari Davis, Executive Director of NEC member organization the Participatory Budgeting Project, explains how participatory budgeting reimagines what U.S. democracy looks like.

Escape From the Nuclear Family: COVID-19 Should Provoke a Rethink of How We Live – The Intercept, Aug 5
Gopal Dayeneni of NEC member organization Movement Generation talks with Naomi Klein about the benefits of co-housing and intentional communities during the pandemic.

Four Case Studies of Land Back in Action – Briarpatch Magazine, Sept 10
From community land trusts to land taxes, read about models people are using to return land and sovereignty to Indigenous communities, including the Sogorea Te Land Trust.

A Solar-Paneled Roof Over Everyone’s Head? Totally Doable. – Grist, Sept 14
Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director of NEC member organization PUSH Buffalo, talks energy democracy and permanently affordable housing.

The Tenants Who Evicted Their Landlord – New York Times, Oct 13
Read about how tenants are resisting evictions and building democractic, cooperatively-owned housing, featuring NEC member organization People’s Action, and movement engagement partner Right to the City.

Public Banking: A Proposal for a Fairer, Greener Financial System – Vox, Oct 30
Read about the new Public Banking Act introduced by AOC and Rashida Tlaib this year, featuring NEC member organization Beneficial State Foundation.

Solidarity Beyond the Crisis: How to Truly Build Back Better – Dollars & Sense, Nov/Dec
Francisco Pérez of NEC member organization the Center for Popular Economics and Luis Feliz Leon explain why “building back better” in the wake of COVID-19 means building a solidarity economy and direct democracy across workplaces, housing, finance, and governance.


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