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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Solidarity Economics as Transformative Politics

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May 12, 2017
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This Development Studies seminar titled "Transformative Politics and the Solidarity Economy" was given by Professor Michelle Williams and Dr Vishwas Satgar (School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) on 2 February 2016 at SOAS University of London.

The talk draws on a book manuscript that Satgar and Williams are currently working on based on six years of fieldwork with visits to 15 countries to study worker cooperatives, worker cooperative-led economic networks and a new theoretical approach to transformative politics.

Professor Michelle Williams' work relates to debates around social movements and alternative economic and political systems. Most notably, her analysis of the development of participatory democratic practice in South Africa and Kerala, India in her book The Roots of Participatory Democracy, provides a provocative comparison of the role of solidarity economies, labour and social movements connecting India and South Africa. She was a member of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa between 2007 and 2011, and is now the chairperson for the Global Labour University Programme (GLU) at the University of Witwaterstand, South Africa, where she is also a senior lecturer.

Vishwas Satgar is currently the executive director of the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC) and a senior lecturer at the University of Witwaterstand. His work as a grassroots activist in South Africa for the past three decades has ranged across issues including the improvement of township communities, food sovereignty campaigns, and campaigns around climate jobs and defending popular democracy in South Africa. Williams and Satgar are currently working on a book project on the solidarity economy through an analysis of the linkages between producer cooperatives and consumer markets.


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