Talking about Solidarity

Marcos Arruda, “”Solidarity Economy and the Rebirth of a Matristic Human Society

It is economic activity organized for safe and sustainable individual and collective self-development, which implies the shared satisfaction of needs and wants and the co-management of the houses people share in common – the home, the community, the district, the county, the ecosystem, the country, the planet. It is an ethical, reciprocal and cooperative way of consuming, producing, financing, exchanging, communicating, educating, developing which fosters a new way of thinking and living.

Ethan Miller, Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO). “Solidarity Economics: Strategies for Building New Economies from the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out.”

Solidarity economics begins…with the realization that alternative economies already exist; that we as creative and skilled people have already created different kinds of economic relationships in the very belly of the capitalist system. We have our own forms of wealth and value that are not defined by money. Instead of prioritizing competition and profit-making, these economies place human needs and relationships at the center.

Solidarity is a powerful word that names the dynamic, collective process of taking active responsibility for our inter-relationships on both a local and global level. When we practice solidarity, we recognize that our fates are bound up with the fates of others, both human and non-human; that our interconnections – sometimes profoundly unequal and oppressive — demand conscious action and transformation. Through solidarity, we recognize the diversity, autonomy, power, and dignity of others. We come to understand that our struggles to be free and joyful are not as separate or distant from one another as we may have though. We begin to develop an ethical practice of shared struggle.

Carola Reintjes, Network for Alternative and Solidarity Economy Networks, Spain (REAS). “What is a solidarity economy?”

Solidarity economy is a strong tool of empowerment and social change that starts from the initiatives of responsible citizens that want to keep control of the way they are producing, consuming, saving, investing, exchanging. It is a model of community-based and locally-based people’s economy. We may call it grassroots economy. Solidarity economy constructs a sustainable development from civil society taking State policies and resources only as complementary to their own actions and resources. It makes economy accountable with ethical standards.

Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy. “The Management and Organization Experience of the Solidarity Economy Movement in Brazil.”

Solidarity economy is fruit of the organization of workers in the construction of new economical and social practices based on relations of solidarity partnership, and inspired on cultural values where men and women are protagonists and the purpose of the economic activity, and not the private accumulation of wealth in general and capital in particular.

Alma Cecilia Omana Reyes and Jorge Santiago Santiago. “Si Uno Come, Que Coman Totos, EconomĂ­a Solidaria.” Trans. Chris Treter.

In the Solidarity Economy market, the market is a space for the interchange of goods at a fair price with just relationships and constituting a means of creating development. Technology and the financial resources are instruments for work and production. Natural resources are raw materials for production, the basic means to contribute to the development. Within the model exists a consciousness of respect for nature and the knowledge that natural resources aren’t of an unlimited supply; therefore they require planning, preservation and sustainable use so they can be used by future generations.

Emily Kawano, Center for Popular Economics, US (CPE) “Social and Solidarity Economy”

A new form of organization of economic life, from local to global. It is an ethical, reciprocal and cooperative way of consuming, producing, financing, exchanging, communicating, educating, developing which fosters a new way of thinking and living.

COLACOT (Latin American Confederation of Cooperatives and Workers’ Associations). “Solidarity Economics: An alternative for development, equity, social justice and peace in Colombia.”

We understand the Solidarity Economy to be the socioeconomic system made up of the multiple associative forms of production and service, of solidaritous enterprises whose goal is not profit, based on universal principles and values of mutualism, cooperation, the workers’ movement.

Bob Stone and Betsty Bowman, GEO. “The Meek Want the Earth Now: the Solidarity Economies of Brazil & Mexico.”

Solidarity economies are those in which local production for local needs employs democratic and often non-market forms of manufacture, distribution, savings, and investment.

Solidarity economy names not just participatory budgeting but any economic activity – coops, fair trade, ethical consumption, credit unions, local currencies, micro-finance, socially conscious investment – that democratizes an economy, subordinating profit to human ends.

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