Solidarity Economy Movement Building Statement

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While the Berkeley Student Cooperative sees itself as an active participant in the cooperative movement as defined by the Cooperative Involvement Statement, there is a need to extend our political commitment to active participation in the solidarity economy movement.

As the BSC, we commit to a global movement for social transformation and liberation. By aligning ourselves materially and politically with other leaders fighting for racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice, we hope to build toward a world free from the exploitation, domination, and violence of anti-blackness, white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism.

Pulled directly the Solidarity Economy Principles Project, we commit to the following principles, organized around five core themes: 1. Collective Care, Relationships, and Accountability:

  • We value relationships over transactions and single outcomes.
  • We commit to reflecting on how we are collectively living up to our values and practicing accountability together.
  • We study and respect the traditions, ancestors, and legacies of cooperative, solidarity economy, and social movements.
  • We embrace conflict as generative and clarifying.

2. Democracy and Progress:

  • We practice democracy in all aspects of our work. Democracy is defined here as the whole body deciding how power is shared and where decisions or work can be delegated.
  • We make decisions and organize work at the most local level possible, by those directly impacted by the decisions.
  • We see our solidarity economy enterprises (both formal and informal) as autonomous, sovereign self-help organizations democratically controlled by their members.
  • We take into consideration the impact that our decisions have on the broader community, future generations, and the Earth.

3. Education and Leadership Development:

  • We commit to the ongoing education of ourselves and our members.
  • We value collective learning to examine, adapt, and improve in response to challenges, opposition and new ideas.
  • We democratize educational practices. Everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher.
  • We continually build new leadership within our organization with the goals of ensuring sustainable movement building and true democratic member control in perpetuity.

4. Liberation Culture:

  • We build movements, not projects. Even as we organize to build our co-ops, land trusts, and other enterprises, we do so not only for their own sake, but also connected to the larger goal of social transformation.
  • We build relationships on solidarity and cooperation, not competition, because despite our particularities we are all in this together.
  • We shift culture with our language, practices, expectations, and pedagogy.
  • We respect nature because we are nature. We organize as though our survival as humans is based on clean water, clean air, healthy soil, and respect for all living beings.
  • We make robust commitments to racial justice within and outside our organizations by moving beyond performance to actually shifting power and addressing legacies of harm while creating opportunities for repair.
  • We acknowledge the history of patriarchy and misogyny as a root of capitalist exploitation and we seek to address these behaviors as they appear in our organizations and ourselves.
  • We support workers’ rights and the liberation of poor and working people.
  • We incorporate disability justice principles into our organizations and incorporate access as a value, practice, and culture.
  • We move with reverence for life and intentionally make room for joy, pleasure, grief, and connection.

5. Shared Resources and Vision:

  • We create abundance by cooperating to access resources across all levels - internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally.
  • We share information with each other. Financial and data transparency are essential to our democratic practices and to learning as a movement.
  • We invest in Solidarity Economy and cooperative entities directly.

We will use the Solidarity Economy as a guiding framework for all our work. While we are making an important step by enumerating these written principles, we recognize that we will be imperfect in carrying out these commitments. We encourage intentional, brave experimentation in the execution of practices aligned with these principles, as social transformation is often not comfortable. We also commit to combating practices which undermine these principles which may appear in our cooperative and may be practiced by anyone. We commit to training and developing leaders who will be responsive to and fight for the needs of economically marginalized peoples across the world.

We will continue building across our organization, the continent, and the globe. Until liberation.

[Added as per board approval at Board #3 (12.1.2022)