The Solidarity Economy
What is the Solidarity Economy?
The solidarity economy is a global movement to build a just and sustainable economy where we prioritize people and the planet over endless profit and growth. Growing out of social movements in Latin America and the Global South, the solidarity economy provides real alternatives to capitalism, where communities govern themselves through participatory democracy, cooperative and public ownership, and a culture of solidarity and respect for the earth.
<Art by Amir Khadar
Education & Learning
Building Regional Solidarity Economies
In our vision, regional solidarity economy ecosystems are essential building blocks for global economic transformation. A solidarity economy ecosystem is an environment where all of the things a community needs are controlled and governed by everyday people: like housing, schools, farms and food production, local governance structures, art and culture, healthcare and healing, and transportation. The members in our network are primarily building community control in the following areas:
Land & Food
This capitalist economy was built on stolen land with stolen lives and labor. Without reparations for America’s original sin, there can be no justice. As we work to build community control and restore our relationship to land and agriculture, it’s critical we follow the leadership of Indigenous and Black communities to advance land return and food sovereignty.
Models we love: Community Land Trusts, Community Gardens, Food and Farm Co-ops, Community Fridges, Regenerative Agriculture, Agroecology, Food Sovereignty
Housing is safety. Housing is healthcare. Housing is a human right. By taking land and housing off of the speculative real estate market — one of the main drivers of gentrification and displacement — and putting it into the hands of the community through cooperative ownership and community land trusts, we can make sure our people have access to affordable housing, permanently.
Models we love: Community Land Trusts, Permanent Real Estate Cooperatives, Housing Cooperatives, Resident-Owned Communities, Cohousing and Intentional Communities
Work & Labor
Instead of serving to concentrate profits into the hands of executives and investors, we need systems of labor and production that are democratically run and build wealth among those who build a business’ value – the workers. Worker ownership of businesses, along with non-monetary forms of production and exchange can decommodify labor and repurpose it to meet local need.
Models we love: Worker Cooperatives, Time Banking, Barter Systems & Non-Monetary Exchange, Platform Cooperatives
Money & Finance
Transforming our financial systems is key to transforming our economy. In our current economy, finance is based on extracting value from land and people in order to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few — fueling economic, political and ecological crises globally. By divesting from private banks and Wall Street and reinvesting in public banking and community-controlled capital, we can create a financial system that fuels a regenerative economy and meets the needs of communities and the planet.
Models we love: Participatory Budgeting, Credit unions, Public Banking, Local currencies, Non-extractive lending, CDFIs, Postal banking
Energy & Utilities
Why should essential services like water, internet, and electricity be in the hands of a small number of unaccountable bureaucrats and private companies? City governments and cooperatives can provide these services in the interests of people instead of profit — providing more affordable, accessible services while building energy democracy.
Models we love: Rural Electric Co-ops, Community Solar, Community Broadband, (Re)municipalization and Public Ownership,
Art, Media & Technology
Creators shift the culture! We envision a world where culture workers are valued and paid justly for their labor, and where the media and technology works in service of the people — not tech giants and corporations.
Models we love: Platform cooperatives, Worker-owned media, Solutions Journalism, Open Source, Copyleft, Artists Co-ops
HOW TO DO IT
Our Action PLan
To achieve our long-term vision of building self-sustaining, interconnected solidarity economies, we ground our work in four strategies:
Tell the Story of Our Freedom
We make the solidarity economy movement irresistible by resourcing and investing in artists, culture workers, storytellers, and narrative infrastructure.
Train our People
We organize and provide communities with the political education, training, and leadership development they need to effectively build, grow, and sustain local solidarity economies.
We practice and advance liberatory self-governance at many scales across the network and in our communities.
Control the Capital
We grow the economic scale and power of the solidarity economy by raising, organizing, and redistributing resources.
Build People Power
We leverage policy, elections, and political parties to grow the solidarity economy; provide real alternatives to the extractive economy; and intervene in movement moments.
Art by Loisse Ledres