The following...is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Jackson Rising: the Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi...
Hall: ... From my childhood to now, I see the creativity of everyday working people and their organic practice of solidarity, especially women of color, immigrant women, single women, the women I grew up with, including my mother. So we have a responsibility to A) recognize and value that, and B) tap into the creativity and practices that already exist to strengthen and expand it. And connect it to a movement for transformative liberation.
I think a lot of people have a similar experience like I’m describing. So many of us have these roots that have been passed down in most ways informally. Black people would not have survived the brutality of chattel slavery and Jim Crow apartheid without practicing solidarity and cooperation in organized formal ways. So it is that sharing, caring and cooperation from the past with the ways we continue to do it now to survive that we want to very intentionally tap into and make it systematic with formal institutions like time banks, skill shares, bartering and have a dynamic solidarity economy.
Chimurenga: How do Black feminist politics and the struggle for Black women’s liberation connect with the work of Cooperation Jackson and the effort to build the solidarity economy?
Hall: So growing up in the ‘hood, Black, a child of an immigrant, in a diverse multi-national, working-class neighborhood, I formed a race and class analysis early on; my gender analysis did not get fully shaped until later.
For me, women have to be at the center of our efforts to build a solidarity economy. So when I talk about that organic solidarity I grew up with, the informal ways oppressed people around the world live and work cooperatively, even the so-called informal economy, women are at the center of that.
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