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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

GEO Online: Building a Toolbox for the Solidarity Economy

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January 2, 2008
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For more than twenty years, the Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter (called "Changing Work" from 1984-1991) has published news and analysis of global efforts to build a democratic and cooperative economy. In 2007, we decided to move from a printed format (with a supplemental website) to a fully-online web publication. Welcome to the new GEO Online!

Along with this shift of format, we are also transforming our vision and strategy for the collective. While GEO has always promoted a vision of diverse and complementary ("inter-cooperating") democratic economic forms, we have particularly emphasized the importance of workplace democracy (worker cooperatives and other directly-democratic structures of work and employment) as a social change strategy and goal. In our new online form, we will place a stronger and more intentional emphasis on a diversity of democratic economic, social and political alternatives.

We are inspired by the concept of the "solidarity economy," a term that names and connects a broad spectrum of existing and emerging democratic non-capitalist economic, social and political initiatives. Alone and isolated, these small projects might remain as isolated "experiments." Linked together in networks of shared identity and mutual support, they have the potential to contend as a powerful source of just, sustainable and democratic livelihood for a significant portion of the world's population.

Without compromising our support for workplace democracy efforts (a crucial dimesion of the solidarity economy) the GEO Collective plans to put our energies and resources toward creating an accessible, practical and systematic body of knowledge about diverse, global strategies and approaches to building an economy and society of solidarity.

We invite you to join in this effort!

Our Vision

The GEO website will become a systematically-organized, accessible yet in-depth, clearinghouse for information about diverse efforts to build a solidarity economy and culture in the U.S. and around the world.

Our Strategy

Unlike past issues of GEO (called "Volume I") which often contained a wide array of articles on different topics, new issues of GEO ("Volume II") will be built around themes. Our selection of themes--and the creation of content for them--will allow us to be more strategic and systematic about the kinds of information that we generate and share.

"What information is needed to grow and support both local solidarity initiatives and the scope and impact of the solidarity socioeconomy as a whole?" "What kinds of concrete challenges are people facing in their work?" These are the kinds of questions that will guide our theme selections.

In this process of developing a theme, we will be fleshing out the substance of a "taxonomy" of the solidarity economy: a broad list of the many dimensions that solidarity economy organizing embodies. This taxonomy is, in fact, central to the organization of this website: themes are organized under seven broad categories:

  • Sectors (Healthcare, Food Systems, Childcare, Manufacturing, Housework, Land & Housing, Spirituality, etc.)

  • Practices & Tools (Sliding-Scale Pricing, Community Financing, Barter, Gifting, Democratic Dialog & Deliberation, etc.)

  • Insitutional Structures & Models (Worker Co-ops, Collectively-Run Nonprofits, Housing Co-ops, Community Currency organizations, etc.)

  • Movements & Struggles (Environmental Justice, Labor, Immigration, Racial Justice, Peace Building, etc.)

  • Visions (Structural Models, Proposals, etc.)

  • Public Policy & Governance (Participatory Budgeting, Solidarity Governance models, etc.)

Within each theme-based issue, we will work to create a balanced array of material: overviews of the theme in its wider social and economic context; concrete examples and case studies; commentaries on both challenges and possibilities around the theme; international perspectives; and links to further reading and resources.

Each theme will become an anchor point for an ongoing process of collecting and sharing information, knowledge and tools. Once a particular theme has been adequately developed, we plan to publish printed "Solidarity Economy Toolkit" booklets on that theme for wide distribution.

GEO Needs You!

Building a systematic base of knowledge about the solidarity economy is a collective effort, and we need your help! We invite you to join us in this ambitious and exciting project. Please see our "Get Involved" page for more information.

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