Taking Back Our Economy! Intro To The Solidarity Economy

This is the precis to one of the courses being taught at the Free School Univeristy at OccupyBoston.


By Julie Matthaei in Occupy Boston: Free School University ·


Julie Matthaei, U.S. Solidarity Economy Network (www.ussen.org, www.ripess.org) and Professor of Economics at Wellesley College

Saturday, October 15, 2:30-3:30 pm

Meet at 2:30 at the Free School sign or join us afterwards in the park in front of the Federal Reserve Building directly across Atlantic Avenue

Economic practices and institutions based on the values of the Occupy Wall Street movement — cooperation, sustainability, equity in all dimensions, political and economic democracy, community, diversity, solidarity, and nonviolence – exist all over the world. They are growing rapidly now in response to the failings of the dominant, self-interest and profit-only motivated economy. Beginning the in 1990s, academics and activists from every continent have begun to use the term “the solidarity economy” (SE) to capture the commonality among this diverse universe of alternative practices and institutions, and the core differences between them and dominant economic practices and institutions.

SE practices and institutions have the potential to lead us towards the more just, democratic, fulfilling, and sustainable economy which the Occupy Wall Street movement is seeking. In other words, economic practices and institutions already exist and thrive around the world which constitute the basis for an emerging peoples’ economy — an economy that serves the interests of the 99%.

Some of the building blocks of the solidarity economy – such as fair trade, socially responsible consumption and investment, whistle blowing, and cooperatives — are already familiar to most in the US.  Others are less well known. In this workshop, we will discuss key practices and institutions of the solidarity economy, focusing on the U.S., but with a few examples from Brazil and Canada. We will look at ways in which we can participate in the solidarity economy in every aspect of our economic lives — from consumption and work to savings, investment, entrepreneurship, and exchange.  Hand-outs with information,resources, and links will be provided.

Contrary to some characterizations I have seen of the people of OccupyBoston, this does not look like something that “a bunch of idiots who know nothing” would have on their agenda.


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