Solidarity Economies of Greater Chicago email@example.com
This listserv is designed to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among community stakeholders for the purpose of discussion, networking, resource sharing, and ongoing capacity building of Solidarity Economy practices and initiatives in the Chicagoland area.
Our mission is to educate, advocate, and build a community of practice around a vision of a democratic economy in Chicago.
WHAT WE DO
In the spring of 2018, the Working Group hosted its first event, Solidarity Economy 101, during which we introduced approximately 40 members of the chapter to the concept of a solidarity economy. This gathering wove together presentations from Horizontal Stateline on community land trusts, the Kola Nut Collaborative on timebanking, and Dill Pickle Food Co-op on consumer cooperatives as a frame for understanding the solidarity economy as a more democratic method of provisioning social benefits and economic resources.
In the fall of 2018, the Working Group went a step further hosting Chicago's 1st Cooperative Economy Summit which drew approximately 200 attendees to location in the West Loop for a day long gathering of 7 panels and 6 breakout sessions where we were further able to unpack the specific elements of the solidarity economy already present in Chicago in order to build shared narrative and connect those initiatives to one another. Panels and breakouts covered housing, food, worker, and electric/utility cooperatives; cooperative crowdfunding; participatory budgeting; community land trusts; and sustainable circular economies.
In the winter of 2018, the Working Group co-hosted "Chaos or Community: Mutual Aid from Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria" which invited Luis Rodriguez Sanchez & Christine Nieves of Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo Mariana; Miguel Alvelo of Chicago Boricua Resistance; and Mike Strode of the Working Group to discuss how mutual aid is helping Puerto Rico recover from its combined economic and ecological crises. Mutual aid is one of the fundamental principles of the solidarity economy framework.
At present, the Working Group is resetting into a space where we can collectively engage in deeper study and learning around the cooperative principles before deciding the next set of initiatives we would like to pursue.
There are several opportunities for socialists who would like to plug in and lead new solidarity economy initiatives. We have begun revisiting a shelved zine and pamphlet project which is meant to introduce the solidarity economy and highlight specific examples present within the Chicago ecosystem. This project is seeking those interested in writing and research on the solidarity economy take on sections of the pamphlet.
An ongoing development from the Cooperative Economy Summit is our solidarity economy mapping initiative under development by a member of Chi Hack Night and the Data Commons Cooperative. Data science, coders, or those interested community asset mapping can help build a map of initiatives throughout to help people connect with the solidarity economy in their neighborhood.
We host general public meetings on the third Wednesday of every month from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and the most up to date meeting information is distributed via the calendar reminders sent out through the listserv.
In addition, the group has room to launch and support several other suggested initiatives such as those noted below.
• Public and Political Education
• Speaker/Panel Series
• Reading/Viewing/Discussion Series
• Campaign Building
• Cross Issue Organizing
• Study Tours
• Mapping Movement
• Monthly SE Mixer (Sunday Soup)
Our current structure is informal and the interim facilitator is Mike Strode.
New participants can acclimate themselves to the solidarity economy framework and aligned social movements by visiting the resources below. A socialist economy is possible and we can initiate behavioral shifts in the ways communities deal with social and economic provisioning in advance of a broader socialist transformation.
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