What is the meaning of the term “solidarity economy”? Because my graduate research is focused on the US solidarity economy movement, I often find myself answering this question in conversation with people from various walks of life.
I usually respond by emphasizing that the solidarity economy is a framework to network and expand existing alternatives to capitalism. To make the idea more concrete, I share examples of these practices, such as worker-owned cooperatives, community land trusts, community-supported agriculture, and mutual aid networks. I explain that these practices share a set of values, including solidarity and cooperation, equity, participatory democracy, sustainability, and pluralism.
While this brief explanation seems to get people’s minds whirring with new connections, I have undertaken a longer journey to reach my own understanding of the solidarity economy.