Solidarity economics or Solidarity Economy is a concept that emerged from social movements primarily in Latin America in the 1980s and ‘90s fighting against neoliberal capitalism. It describes a process of promoting cooperative economics that promote social solidarity, mutual aid, reciprocity, and generosity. It also describes the horizontal and autonomously driven networking of a range of cooperative institutions that support and promote that aforementioned values ranging from worker cooperatives to informal affinity-based neighborhood bartering networks.
Our conception of solidarity economy is inspired by the Mondragon Corporation, a federation of mostly worker cooperatives and consumer cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It also draws from the best practices and experiences of the solidarity economy and other alternative economic initiatives already in motion in Latin America and the US.
We are working to make these practices and experiences relevant in Jackson, Mississippi, and other MXGM chapters, and to facilitate greater links with existing cooperative institutions in the state and elsewhere that help broaden their reach and impact on the local and regional economy. The solidarity economy practices and institutions that MXGM is working to develop in Jackson include:
- Building a network of cooperative and mutually reinforcing enterprises and institutions, specifically worker, consumer and housing cooperatives, and community development credit unions as the foundation of our local solidarity economy
- Building sustainable, green (re) development and green economy networks and enterprises, starting with a green housing initiative
- Building a network of local urban farms, regional agricultural cooperatives, and farmers’ markets. Drawing heavily from recent experiences in Detroit, we hope to achieve food sovereignty and combat obesity and chronic health issues in the state that are associated with limited access to healthy and affordable foods and unhealthy food environments
- Developing local community and conservation land trusts as a primary means to begin the process of reconstructing the commons in the city and region by decommodifying land and housing.
- Organising to reconstruct and extend the public sector, particularly public finance of community development, to be pursued as a means of rebuilding the sector to ensure there is adequate infrastructure to provide quality health care, accessible mass transportation, decent, affordable public housing, etc.
- In building along these lines, we aim to transform the economy of Jackson and the region as a whole to generate the resources needed to advance this admittedly ambitious plan.