Organizing in the solidarity economy often feels like steering a boat in a storm whose wind and currents continually shift us off course. While structural conditions make course correction difficult, it’s something we must do in our daily practice if we are to stay focused on our goals and the horizon we’re aiming for.
But the question of how to stay oriented toward the right horizon is hard to answer when nearly every funder, technical assistance organization, umbrella group, and national advocacy organization is so focused on securing funding, making sure accounting practices are sound, and supporting legislation to make the work happen at all.
Don’t get me wrong: financial resources, technical expertise, and legislative support are important, for we need these resources to do our work well. But when we’re so focused on the money, it becomes easy to forget the deeper principles that brought us to this movement in the first place. When we adopt the language and values of our funders and policymakers, focusing on metrics like “individuals served” and “products created,” we can lose sight of the reasons for what we do. The very bones of the movement can fall apart—and we can reproduce systems of oppression—when we focus on simply being technically correct, efficient, productive entities.