- Solidarity Economy
- Issues & Projects
- About SEN
Solidarity Economy at the Left Forum - Occupy the System!
Submitted by emilykawano on Thu, 04/12/2012 - 4:00pm
Solidarity Economy at the Left Forum, March 16-18, Pace University, NYC
SEN members organized or are participated in a number of workshops that relate to different aspects of the solidarity economy. You will find below a list of these workshops along with a brief description and a link for further details.
Sponsored by: US Solidarity Economy Network and URPE
Participants: Fred Rose -- Wellspring Initiative, Djar Horn -- Jersey Shore Neighborhood Cooperative, Al Campbell -- Union for Radical Political Economy
When times get hard, people often are forced to create their own livelihoods. The current economic crisis has seen an upsurge, especially in poor and marginalized communities, of efforts to create worker cooperatives. This workshop will explore the potential of cooperatives to not only create jobs, but also to consciously contribute to community revitalization and inform alternative strategies of community economic development. This workshop will look at examples of cooperative development in low income communities from the Jersey Shore, NYC and Springfield, MA. We'll discuss lessons about replicating these models along with the economic and community impact of this work.
Sponsored by: US Solidarity Economy Network and URPE
Participants: Emily Kawano -- Center for Popular Economics and US Solidarity Economy Network, Craig Borowiak -- Haverford College, Al Campbell -- Union for Radical Political
Economy & University of Utah, Ana Margarida Esteves -- Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies,
Occupy the economy! The time is now to push for an economy that serves the 99% instead of the wealthy and powerful elites. This workshop will provide an introduction to the solidarity economy - a growing global movement to build an economy that puts people and planet front and center. It is grounded in principles of solidarity, equity in all dimensions (race, class, gender, etc.), sustainability, participatory democracy and pluralism (ie. not a one-size fits all approach). The solidarity economy builds on many existing practices and policies - both mainstream and alternative - and seeks to strengthen and connect these stepping stones to a just and sustainable economic system. The solidarity economy believes that it is critical to both build and resist – that is, build and strengthen solidarity economy practices such as worker cooperatives, community land trusts, or social currencies and also resist the oppression of corporate-dominated capitalism. This workshop will provide an introduction to the conceptual framework, the global movement including the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, and concrete examples of the solidarity economy.
Sponsored by US Solidarity Economy Network
Participants: Craig Borowiak -- Haverford College, Ana Margarida Esteves -- Tulane University, Maliha Safri -- Drew University
Recent years have seen the rise of a global movement supporting what has been termed the solidarity economy. This movement, which consists of a networked set of diverse initiatives ranging from consumer and worker cooperatives to time banks and CSAs, seeks not simply to compel greater charity from the rich or to channel profit-making towards social ends. Rather, it seeks to forge alternative economies around principles of social solidarity, cooperation, and community-based development. Many of its proponents see the movement as providing alternatives to mainstream capitalist economies and as representing a counterhegemonic form of globalization to challenge the neoliberal globalization. In 2009, a global mapping initiative was launched in order to build awareness about the solidarity economy, to facilitate networking among solidarity economy organizations, and to help build solidarity economy supply chains. In this panel we will introduce and analyze the different forms this mapping initiative has taken and the different functions such maps serve in the U.S. and abroad. U.S. examples will be drawn from New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Western Massachusetts. International examples will be drawn from Italy, Brazil, and Quebec, among countries/regions. The panel will also analyze cosmopolitan efforts to generate a world solidarity economy map that seeks to integrate local mapping initiatives within a single platform while preserving decentralized content.
Sponsored by: Dialogue & Initiative
Participants: Al Campbell -- Solidarity Economy Network, University of Utah, Carl Davidson -- Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, To Be Announced -- Solidarity Economy Network
A multimedia presentation--film clips, powerpoint and discussion--that goes deeply into the history and structure of the Mondragon cooperatives centered in Spain's Basque country and now spreading elsewhere. The implications of cooperatives of this type for present and future socialist projects, such as Cuba, will also be stressed. Carl Davidson of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism will be the presenter, with Al Campbell of the University of Utah and the Solidarity Economy Network as chair and respondent.
Sponsored by: Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society and www.workercontrol.net
Participants: Ken Estey -- Brooklyn College / CUNY, Vanessa Bransburg -- Center for Family Life of Sunset Park, Jessica Gordon Nembhard -- John Jay College / CUNY and Solidarity Economy Network, USA, Cheyenna Weber -- SolidarityNYC, Chris Michael
The panel examines the growth of worker cooperatives in the US and the world as an alternative to corporate and employer dominated businesses. In recent years, the cooperative movement has expanded dramatically and becoming a viable alternative to workers who are seeking a workplace grounded in equality and democratic control. Worker cooperatives are also interacting with unions to build a solidarity economy throughout the world. Also, worker cooperatives are beginning to challenge the dominant capitalist paradigm that defends workplace and community over corporate efforts to expand profits even at the expense of closing down firms. This panelists discuss the opportunities and challenges ahead ahead for workers cooperatives in the US and beyond.
Sponsored by: Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Rethinking Marxism, and GEO
Participants: Ethan Earle -- La Base / The Working World, Peter Ranis -- York College / CUNY Graduate Center, Chris Michael -- Workers Development, New York City, Carl Davidson -- Solidariaty Economy Network, Jessica Gordon Nembhard -- John Jay College / CUNY and Solidarity Economy Network
As the capitalist economy is in a state of rapid decline, the panel examines the historic and contemporary relevance of workers cooperatives as an alternative to capitalist and private ownership of property and enterprises. The panel explores the trajectory of worker control in the comparative national contexts and its challenge to capitalist domination.
Sponsored by: Platypus Review
Participants: Edward Remus -- Platypus Affiliated Society, George Caffentzis -- University of Southern Maine, Midnight Notes Collective, Fred Block -- UC Davis, Carl Davidson -- Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism; Solidarity Economy Network, Chaia Heller -- Institute for Social Ecology; Mount Holyoke College, Walda Katz-Fishman -- Howard University; League of Revolutionaries for a New America
Science and technology are intertwined with the transformation of society. For at least two centuries, reformers and revolutionaries have grappled with the question of how technology-- first machinery, later cybernetics and robotics-- might lead to the end of compulsory work. The end of compulsory work figured prominently in the voluntary communal experiments of the Occupy encampments, yet the Left’s historical attempts to grapple with this question are often forgotten by today's activists. The possibility that technology may free us from labour finds expression in a range of figures: 19th century utopian socialism, Marx and the revolutionary Marxists, postwar sociologists such as Daniel Bell, New Left thinkers such as Andre Gorz, futurists such as Jeremy Rifkin, neo-Marxists such as Moishe Postone, and anarchists such as Bob Black-- to name just a few. When the New Communist Movement tried to organize the remnants of the U.S. industrial proletariat in the clutch of outsourcing and-- more significantly-- automation of jobs, it confronted this problem head-on; and today we, too, occupy this post-Fordist reality of chronic unemployment. This panel will explore how contemporary figures on the Left understand technology’s promise and why it remains unfulfilled-- why the vast majority of our species remains forced to experience unemployment as scarcity and misery rather than as abundance and freedom.
Sponsored by: URPE
Participants: Tamara Stenn -- Keene State College, Dean Cycon -- Dean Beans, Kerstin Lindgren -- Domestic Fair Trade, Renee Bowers -- Fair Trade Federation
Fair Trade is loosely defined, made up of different individuals and institutions each with their own guidelines. It is a multi-billion dollar model of cooperation between producers, traders and consumers to create meaningful products that benefit all. It is environmentalism (supporting sustainable farming), human rights (fair wages, decent working conditions) and empowerment - "respect and dignity for all." Tamara Stenn will give an intro to Fair Trade and talk about her 15 years working in Fair Trade with women of the Andes Mountains and her ongoing academic studies on the effect of Fair Trade on indigenous women. Dean Cycon will speak of his model of direct trade – and how he develops long term, meaningful relationships with producers, without engaging a Fair Trade institution, and ensures higher than Fair Trade prices being paid for premium products. Kerstin Lindgren will speak about domestic fair trade (DFTA), the challenges to US farmers and farmworkers, and the DFTA model for uniting farmers, workers, businesses and NGOs under a common vision of a more just agriculture system. Renee Bowers will speak about the Fair Trade Federation, the largest institution of Fair Trade craft producers in the US, and the important work being done to improve conditions and lives for Fair trade producers. She will address the ways in which Fair Trade goes beyond labor rights to address issues of economic justice. Time will be allocated for audience questions and participation.
Sponsored by: http://spectregroup.org
Participants: Chris Lindstrom -- Slow Money , Julieta Aranda -- E-Flux Time/Bank, Tianna Kennedy -- Catskills Time, Mike Krauss -- The Public Banking Institute, Kristen Ragusin -- The Public Banking Institute, Elizabeth Friedrich -- Federation for Community Development Credit Unions, Anton Vidokle -- E-Flux Time/Bank
There are many reasons to start your own bank. We ask this conversation remain practical, explaining what mutual banks, co-operative banks, public banks, land banks, time banks, peer-to-peer banks and all these other banking models are, why you may want to join one, or start your own. Moderated by Chris Lindstrom with farmer Tianna Kennedy (of Catskills Time), artist Julieta Aranda (of E-Flux Time/Bank), Mike Krauss and Kristen Ragusin (of the Public Banking Institute), and Elizabeth Friedrich (of the OWS Alt Banking Group). --- "The only true method of organizing the alternative world of Mutuality is thru voluntary non-state free institutions such as co-ops, mutual banking & insurance ... sustainable economic ventures (i.e. non-capitalist businesses) like independent farms and craft ateliers willing to federate with the commons..." - Peter Lamborn Wilson, "Occupy Wall Street, Act Two" --- "The ideal [Occupy] bank would be democratically owned and controlled by its customers and employees. Like many credit unions, all depositors would get an equal say, regardless of the size of their accounts. It would be non-profit, building in a competitive advantage over the for-profit banks ... Any small-scale bank we establish say in New York would have be to be replicable by others elsewhere." - Carne Ross (Occupy Bank)
Sponsored by: Capitalism Nature Socialism
Participants: Joel Kovel -- Capitalism Nature Socialism, Anitra Nelson -- Associate Professor, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University (Austral, Ariel Salleh -- University of Sydney, Australia, Frans Timmerman -- Australian Labor Party, Caroline Woolard -- Solidarity Economy NYC, Mary Mellor -- Department of Social Science, University of Northumbria, UK
This roundtable discussion explores why we must, and how we can, free ourselves from monetary values and monetary relations in order to achieve the key left agenda of social justice and environmental sustainability. The panel engages with the conference theme by arguing that human and environmental values are constrained by market systems. To permanently occupy our world we need to create and expand non-market structures for living, producing and exchanging. The speakers include practitioners and theoreticians of non-market socialism. Half of the panel has contributed to a new Pluto Press publication: Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies, which argues that the urgent environmental and economic crises that we face cannot be overcome without dispensing with money. Resuscitating the Left’s humanist critique of twentieth century communism and drawing on utopian, anarchist and Marxist literature, the book explores work refusal, self-management, gift economies, a collective labour-credit system and the non-monetary ecological economics of urban and rural squatters. The chair will introduce the topic and the speakers, canvassing a range of questions drawing on each speaker’s ideas and experiences, and summarising key commonalities and distinctions before opening the discussion to the audience.
Sponsored by: The Democracy Collaborative
Participants: Gar Alperovitz -- University of Maryland, Richard Wolff -- New School , David Schweickart -- Loyola University Chicago, Keane Bhatt -- Democracy Collaborative - University of Maryland
Economists Gar Alperovitz and Richard Wolff, and philosopher David Schweickart discuss institutional frameworks that aim to transcend capitalism, and delve into questions such as workplace democracy, community ownership, environmental sustainability, democratic planning, combating economic expansionism, fostering participatory culture, and expanding free time.
Participants: Rashad Barber -- Occupy Wall St NY,NY, Dustin Fedako -- http://foodisfreeproject.org/,
Quisia Gonzales -- http://www.henrygeorgeschool.org/, Nada Kader – WESPAC
Join as these panelists go over their roles in the food & hydraulic fracturing movements as well as explore opportunities for creating a more just and sustainable future. This exciting panel will hold an interactive discussion that will challenge different perspectives for bringing social change to the local and regional level, as the panelists presented showcase their work in grassroots movements and in policy changing.
The Worker Cooperative Movement and Grassroots Approaches to Ending PovertyParticipants: Alex Jackimovicz -- Proutist Universal, Nada Khader -- WESPAC Foundation, Jalal Sabur -- Freedom Food Alliance, Vanessa Bransburg -- Center for Family Life, Community Voices Heard -- Community Voices Heard
This panel will involve a discussion among four grassroots organizers who will explore current successes with the worker cooperative movement as well as challenges. Jalal Sabur (confirmed) is a young African American organizer in the food justice/food sovereignty movement and will speak about his recent experience moving to a cooperative farm in upstate New York and his work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Vanessa Bransburg (Center for Family Life) will speak about her experience with immigrants and women in building worker cooperatives locally. Alex Jackimovicz is a student of the Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) from Maine and will speak about the role of cooperatives in Prout's post-capitalist vision for a fair and balanced economy. A member of Community Voices Heard will also participate on the panel and share CVH's approach to ending poverty. The panel will be moderated by WESPAC's Executive Director, Nada Khader.
Participants: Heather Mitchell -- Co-Director Ecology Action of Texas, Susannah Cummins -- Co-Director Ecology Action of Texas, Scott Crow -- Anarchist organizer, author, worker, insurgent, and dreamer
This workshop's aim is to engage participants in showing the common sense of horizontally organized worker cooperatives in the US as a viable economic, political and ecological alternative to the current dominant business models.
Sponsored by: PM Press
Participants: Scott Crow -- Co-founder Common Ground Collective, author 'Black Flags and Windmills', Malik Rahim -- Co-founder Common Ground Collective, former member Black Panther Party, Kerul Dyer -- Co-founder Common Ground Collective , Organizer Rainforest Action Network
This presentation will show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds when governments fail. This workshop draws from experiences of an organization called the Common Ground Collective which formed after hurricane Katrina in response to the disaster. It was an organization based on the ideas and practices of the Black Panther Party, the Zapatistas and anarchism which sought to build/rebuild infrastructure to address the immediate problems (creating medical clinics, free schools, women's centers, and eviction defense to worker coops and other service programs)as well as offering long term support to marginalized communities to build their own community based power.
These are panels that SEN is not directly involved in, but that seem to fit well within the solidarity economy framework.
Sponsored by: OWS Sustainability Working Group
Participants: Andrew Faust -- Center For Bioregional Living , Lisa DePiano -- Mobile Design Lab, Maggie Cheney -- Bushwick Campus Farms, Eco Station NY, Winnie Wong -- OWS Sustainability Working Group, Dr. Susan Rubin -- Better School Food, Post Carbon Institute, Matt Anderson -- Director: Fall & Winter, Guy McPherson -- University Of Arizona
OWS Sustainability will present and moderate a panel discussion / Q&A titled: Creating A Sustainable Culture: Food, Farming, Energy and Our Future. This panel of educators, activists, community organizers, and green innovators will focus their talks in the areas of Urban Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Green Design, Social Activism, and Permaculture. Together we hope to inspire, engage, and empower participants of this panel to become more informed of the many actions we can start taking in order to live more sustainable lives on the planet. Matt Anderson and Winnie Wong will screen an extended trailer of Fall Winter Movie.
Sponsored by: WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society and Workerscontrol.net
Participants: Dario Azzellini -- Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Elaine Bernard -- Harvard University Law School, Richard Wolff -- New School for Social Research, Michael Goldfield -- Wayne State University, Élise Thorburn -- University of Western Ontario, Michael Hirsch -- New Politics
The take-over of their work places by workers has happened throughout the last 100 years during political, economic or social crisis’. In most take over’s workers have not only demonstrated that they are able to run factories, services and institutions, they also acted far beyond the need to maintain their jobs and experimented and created new ways of how to work and new relations among themselves, with other workers and with communities. During the last years we have seen again hundreds if not thousands occupations of work places, especially in Latin America, but also a few one in the North of the world. Facing a financial and systemic crisis these occupations are likely to grow in the near future as a mechanism of defense against the destructive force of capitalism. In this panel we want to have a look at the history and the actuality of workers control, discussing success and problems of workers control.
Sponsored by: Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society / Industrial Worker
Participants: Immanuel Ness, Dario Azzellini -- Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Daniel Gross -- Brandworkers & IWW, Godfrey Vincent -- Tuskegee University, Élise Thorburn -- University of Western Ontario, Steven Manicastri -- Rutgers University
The global decline in trade union power over the last 30 years of ascendant neoliberal economic policy, has led to the configuration of new forms of worker organization that reject traditional collective bargaining and corporatist models in favor of direct action, and autonomous organization. Facing the growing incapacity of traditional unionism to fight back massive deterioration of work conditions and wages and to stop massive lay offs, nany workers are pursuing to advance their own interests through self-organization, as the heirs of the earlier generations of socialist and anarchist labor formations. The new forms of worker organization that we are concerned with are typically rooted in the class solidarity that emerges in the workplace and community, seek to counter this growth of precarious labor and reformist labor relations by cultivating democratic structures at the point of production. In this panel we want to critically examine the rise of contemporary forms of syndicalist, neo-syndicalist and autonomous worker representation with examples drawn from different parts of the world.
Sponsored by: Toward Freedom and Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine
Participants: Scott Harris -- Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine, Michael Fox -- NACLA, Arun Gupta -- Haymarket Books, Esneider Arevalo -- Friends of the MST
While the Occupy Movement has taken the world by storm, a long history of different types of social movement occupations have marked Latin America for decades. This panel draws connections between the Occupy Movement in the US and its historical and contemporary counterparts in Latin America. Participants will discuss Brazil's landless farmer movement, the occupation of factories and businesses in Argentina following the country's 2001 economic crisis, the occupation of land by farmers and urban activists in Paraguay and today's powerful student movement in Chile, which has occupied the streets and schools of the nation. This panel will look at the distant and recent history of occupying as a short and long term tactic of the some of the most powerful social movements in the hemisphere, and tie it to today's struggles emerging out of the global Occupy Movement. Proposed Panelists will include: Moderator: Scott Harris of Between The Lines Radio; Michael Fox editor of NACLA Report on the Americas (confirmed) and a member of Friends of Brazil's Landless Movement (Friends of the MST)
Participants: Eliot Tarver -- Organization for a Free Society, Yotam Marom -- Organization for a Free Society, Ileia Burgos -- Organization for a Free Society, Amanda Vodola -- Organization for a Free Society, Michael Strom -- Organization for a Free Society, Eliot Tarver -- Organization for a Free Society
Occupy Wall Street ignited a progressive movement that quickly swept the country, changing the political dialogue and inspiring many to take to the streets and begin organizing for social change. Amidst this moment of political awakening, it is important to take the space to deepen our analysis of how oppression operates in our lives, to envision the world we want to see, and to develop a strategy that will bring us there. On this panel, members of the Organization for a Free Society will articulate a theoretical framework that looks at the interconnectedness of race, community, the economy, gender, sex, sexuality, age, ability, and authority, without elevating any but instead recognizing the intrinsic importance of each in liberating social relations. We will point towards a vision guided by values such as equity, solidarity, diversity, self-management, and ecological balance. We will look at the importance of mass movements and grassroots organizing in fighting back against systems of oppression and building alternative institutions in the place of current ones dominated by greed, hierarchy, and isolation.
Participants: Ame Johnson -- Prout Movement USA, Tapan Mallik, Leonard Herbert Burg -- Pace University, Jon Rynn -- Manufacturing Green Prosperity
This Panel will attempt to discuss the pros and cons of a centralized economy versus the opposite- decentralized economy. Centralized economy is traditionally used as the paradigm for most countries of the world. Centralized economy in this case means economic decisions vested in the hands of a few members of the society, be it the privileged 1% of the population, the ruling class or the governing party bureaucrats. Decentralized economy would be the total opposite. Economic decisions will be vested amongst members of the local community with participation of specialists and experts of different fields within the community and with the local government . We will attempt to brainstorm the best scenario for the present day crisis in the USA and the Global community. The challenges of centralized economies versus a decentralized one, an in-depth analysis.