Thanks to Steve Dubb and NPQ for adapting this essay for their readership. This article is, with publisher permission, adapted from a more extensive journal article, “Fight and Build: Solidarity economy as ontological politics,” published this year by Sustainability Science, volume 17, pp. 1207-1221.
About 6,000 financial cooperatives, called credit unions, with more than 103 million members manage over $1 trillion in collective assets in the United States but are largely invisible and seen as inferior to private banks. In contrast to banks that generate profit for outside investors and do not give voice to customers, these not-for-profit institutions have a democratic governance structure and a mission to provide good services to their members.
In this essay I reflect on and theorize efforts to teach, learn, and advance solidarity economy, a movement and design project to create the conditions for community determination and collective well-being. I draw from five years of ethnographic work and two years of teaching efforts to reassemble the resources at hand into a pedagogical intervention along the lines of what Jon Law (2004) describes as a “methods assemblage,” a set of practices, techniques, and relations that work to organize and condense particular realities.
In this essay, I envision the university, not simply as a discreet institution with formal boundaries to attend to and defend from neoliberal and conservative assaults, but as a location of possibility from which to locate and advance projects that connect students and others to the possibility of other economic worlds.
In debates over post-capitalist politics, growing attention has been paid to the solidarity economy (SE), a framework that draws together diverse practices ranging from co-ops to community gardens. Despite proponents’ commitment to inclusion, racial and class divides suffuse the SE movement. Using qualitative fieldwork and an original SE dataset, this article examines the geospatial composition of the SE within the segregated geography of Philadelphia.
A review of The Solidarity Economy Alternative: Emerging Theory and Practice, edited by Vishwas Satgar (Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014).
Solidarity Economy is a movement that can build power within and across scales and win supportive policy and public resources. Using the development of SE in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, Massachusetts as examples, the article discusses the possibilities and challenges for SE projects to negotiate across differing values and politics, racial and class divides, and the challenge of accessing startup capital and building finance.
An overview of concepts and strategic organizing practices of the emerging solidarity economy movement.
Discussion of the history and concept of 'solidarity economy" and possible implementations in the U.S. context.
A pamphlet discussing the concept of "solidarity economy" as a tool for linking and strengthening emerging networks of cooperative economic projects. Written for use in community and popular education contexts.