About US Solidarity Economy Network

The U.S. Solidarity Economy Network (SEN) grew out of a series of meetings held at the 2007 U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta.

SEN is on the board of RIPESS (the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy) through which we are connected to the global solidarity economy movement.

Mission

Updated August 2011. Please note that this is a working document that is open for discussion, debate and change.

The mission of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network is to connect a diverse array of individuals, organizations, businesses and projects in the shared work of building and strengthening regional, national and international movements for a solidarity economy. Through publications, a website, mailing list, and face-to-face gatherings, the network will facilitate: ongoing communication and dialog relating to the development of solidarity economy ideas, values and practices; the sharing of experiences, models and skills; and the creation of collaborative, movement-building projects between network members.

Objectives

  • Global movement

    To join with and build the movement for transformative social and economic justice. To develop strong relationships and exchange between U.S. and global organizations, practitioners and solidarity economy networks such as RIPESS (Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Solidarity Economy) and RIPESS-N. America.

  • Common vision and framework

    To create a structure and vision that can promote a common identity and agenda among the currently fragmented elements of the U.S. solidarity economy. SEN will build a learning community on issues relevant to the solidarity economy, including discussing and debating strategies and practices, and helping each other to uphold the principles of the solidarity economy.

  • Collaboration

    To investigate and develop ways to build collaborative support systems for solidarity economy development. Examples might include: coordination between solidarity economy producers, suppliers and distributors; collaborative marketing, branding and\ distribution; group purchasing of insurance, energy, supplies; peer support & tech. assistance.

  • Visibility and public support

    To raise the visibility, legitimacy and public support for solidarity economy practices through public education and media coverage. Examples might include: development of accessible educational materials and workshops for different sectors; SEN speakers ‘bureau;’ the development/implementation of a media strategy to “mainstream” the solidarity economy into public consciousness; dissemination of research among social movements and opinion-makers.

  • Public policy and resources

    To promote public policies and leverage resources for the support of the solidarity economy. Examples might include: loan fund for solidarity economy enterprises; reduction of barriers faced by ‘alternative’ forms of enterprise in terms of access to capital, tech. assistance, workforce development, etc.; tax incentives; support for research and dissemination; support for educational programs to train solidarity economy practitioners.

  • Knowledge

    To facilitate research on the scope, scale, and impacts of the solidarity economy; best practices; opportunities for cooperation; and the development of training and technical support resources. To contribute to new theories of economic development informed by the dynamism and innovative practices within the solidarity economy. This knowledge base will be used to support objectives 3-5.

Sample of Past SE Workshops, Presentations and Events

SEN and our members have organized over 165 solidarity economy forums, workshops and presentations, reaching more than 4,200, including the first US Solidarity Economy Forum, a solidarity economy track of over 120 workshops, 2 week-long trainings, and 2 online SE courses.

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2008

May: “What’s the Economy For Anyway? The Case for a Solidarity Economy,” Springfield College, MA (30 people)
May 29-30, 2008: “What’s the Economy For, Anyway? The Case for a Solidarity Economy and Social Wealth” Highlander Center, TN (25 people)
June 2-July 10: Online Course –  “What’s the Economy For, Anyway? The Case for a Solidarity Economy and Social Wealth” (25 people)
June, Solidarity Economy workshop, Knoxville, TN(15 people)
June 20-22: “Solidarity Economy and Worker Cooperatives”, Democracy at Work Conference, New Orleans(100 people)
July, two workshops at CPE’s Summer Institute, Chicago (40 people)
August, workshop at the Unionfor Radical Political Economy, CT (12 people)
August, workshop at Holyoke High School, MA(20 students)
November, workshop at the Green-Rainbow Party State Convention, MA (20 people)
December, workshop for AFSC Economic Justice Strategy meeting, WV (30 people)
December, keynote at the Symposium on Fair Work: Solidarity Economy & Immigrant Cooperatives, Brooklyn, NY(200 people)

2009

February, workshop at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil(20 people)
February, workshop at Powershift, Wash.D.C. (100 people)
March, presentation at the New Strategies for the Obama Era, Boston(200 people)
March, U.S. Forum on the Solidarity Economy, Amherst (400 people)
April, presentation at the Lower Hudson Valley Social Forum, NY (100 people)
April, workshop at the United Association for Labor Educators, Wash. D.C. (12 people)
June-July, “The Economic Crisis and the Case for a Solidarity Economy,” CPEonline course (3 credits), 30 students
June, International Association for Feminist Economics, Annual Conference, Boston, Julie Matthaei “Beyond Economic Man:  Economic Crisis, Feminist Economics, and the Solidarity Economy”, 10 people
June, WILD (Women’s Institute for Leadership Development), two Intro to the Solidarity Economy workshops, 60 people
June, Knoxville Solidarity Economy Group, Tennessee, two intergenerational SE workshops. 40 people
June,  Federation of Community Development Credit Unions 35th Annual Conference –  led SE workshop track with youth and spoke at closing, Tempe, AZ,  20 and 100 people
July, Center for Popular Economics Summer Institute, “After the Economic Meltdown: Building a Solidarity Economy,” co-sponsored by NH AFSC and World Fellowship Center, NH – a week long residential program with a focus on the solidarity economy, 60 people
August, SpringfieldCollege, talk in Sarah Horsely’s Political Economy Class, 20 people
August, Kentucky Social Forum – a 2 hour workshop on the Solidarity Economy, in Berea, KY, 35 people
October, ILO Conference on the Social Economy– 15 minute presentation and 30 minute Q&A in Johannesburg, South Africa, 150 people
October, workshop at Responsible Endowments Coalition National Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 20 people
October, Massachusetts Relocalization Conference, Boston, Plenary Speaker, “Relocalization and the Solidarity Economy,” 400 people and workshop presenter; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-E2eDi5LOmA, 35 people
October,  Cambridge Time Trade Circle,15 people
October 7-9, 2 day workshop on the Crisis and the Solidarity Economy, Making Connections Louisville, KY, 30 people
November, Rethinking Marxism ’09, Amherst, Ma., presented paper, “Beyond Economic Man: Feminism and the Solidarity Economy,” 30 people, and Co-Chaired, “Roundtable Discussion on the Solidarity Economy,”  40 people
Nov. 16, Organizer and Panelist, “Capitalism, Crisis, and Transformation:  Critical Reflections on the Current Economic Conjuncture,” WellesleyCollege, 30 people
Nov. 21, Massachusetts Green Party Convention, Plenary Speaker, Worcester, MA, 100 people
November, NASCO (N. American Students of Cooperation) Conference, 50 people
November, workshop for AU Solidarity, American University, Washington, DC, 25 people
December 3, presentation, UMass in Prof. Julie Graham’s Diverse Economies seminar, 15 people

2010

January 22-29, Presentations on SE movement building in the US at the Solidarity Economy Social Forum and World Fair, Santa Maria and Porto Alegre, Brazil. 200 people.
March 6, “Another Economy is Possible:  Introduction to the Solidarity  Economy,” New England Organic Farmers Association (NOFA), Concord, New Hampshire, 40 people
March 26, Presenter atCenter for Popular Economics’ 30th Anniversary Conference and Celebration, 80 people
March 29, Southeast Economic Justice and Solidarity Economy PMA. This people’s movement assembly focused on Transforming Economic Infastructure in the South and Appalachia with groups from KY, KA, MS, NC, SC, TN and VA. The PMA supports the creation of action steps and plans that emerged from a THREADS economic jutice leadership school. 35 people
April 9, Invited speaker, New Leadership Networking Initiative, Civil Liberties and Public Policies, HampshireCollege, Amherst, MA,  60 people
April 20, Cambridge Sustainability Group, Greenport, MA, 15 people
April 22-23, “The Crisis and the Solidarity Economy,” St. Louis Justice & Peace Shares, 2 day workshop. 35 people
May 17-18, Invited speaker, “Class Crits” Conference on Law and Economics, Buffalo, NY, 50 people
May 30, Invited speaker, “National Summiton a People-Centered Economy,”Ottawa, Canada, Women’s meeting, 200 people
June 18, WILD (Women’s Institute for Leadership Development), Amherst, MA– keynote address, 200 people
June 22-26, US Social Forum, Detroit. Over 120 workshops in the solidarity economy track.
December 7, Introduction to the Solidarity Economy, UMass, Amherst, 30 people
2009-2010, ongoing workshops with Jersey Shore Neighborhood Cooperative to train community members to map solidarity economy practices and organize initiatives. This has sparked some projects to develop worker cooperatives. 10 people.

2011

Jan 29, Beyond Capitalism: New Economies for Maine, Augusta, ME.60 people.
March 18-20, Southern Grassroots Economies Project, HighlanderCenter, TN.30 activists from across the South and Appalachia.
March 20, Left Forum, NYC
1) Solidarity Economy: Towards a Pluralist, Socialist, Anti-capitalist, Post-capitalist Unity? 15 people
2)Solidarity Economy: Spain’s Mondragon Cooperatives: How They Work, How They Can Help Us Here? 30 people
3) Is Fair Trade a Viable Model of Solidarity Economics? 30 people
April 28, Introduction to the Solidarity Economy, Mt Holyoke College. 10 people
July 23, Green Solidarity Economy Conference, Worcester, MA. This regional gathering will build solidarity economy analysis, skills and strengthen networks through collective agenda setting. 150 people
July 29, Introduction to the Solidarity Economy, Northampton, MA. 12 people
July 30, Solidarity Economy Tour, Northampton, MA. 20 people
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