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Our Common Wealth

Our Common Wealth: Solidarity Economy Resources

Wave art by Sarah Jacqz!

Hello and welcome to Our Common Wealth, a newsletter by and for the solidarity economy in Massachusetts and beyond. Questions, comments or resources to share? 
Email us at ourcommonwealthnews@gmail.com 

Nuestra Riqueza Común: Un boletín por y para la economía solidaria de Massachusetts. Por favor contáctenos con preguntas, sugerencias, or recursos adicionales al ourcommonwealthnews@gmail.com


Dear friend,
How the world has changed. 

We were at a crossroads before this moment, but now, more starkly than ever, there is a road ahead towards increased privatization and a road towards deeper cooperation and democracy. We have been asking ourselves:  How can we fight for and build the world we need during and after this crisis?  What opportunities are shifting in our work to create a regenerative, solidarity economy?

We had planned to send our first newsletter next month about what’s been going on across Massachusetts in the solidarity economy and cooperative movements. But events have overtaken us, and we’re pivoting to meet this moment with a rapid response newsletter. Below, we have lifted up mutual aid networks, local grassroots and policy campaigns, and other incredible solidarity economy resources that are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic across our region.

This pandemic has upended everything— our communities, our work, our play, as well as the broader economy, politics and society. Nothing and no one is untouched. Now, more than ever, it is clear that the way through this crisis is solidarity economy in practice— mutual aid and democratic self-organizing, caring for each other, community production, and people fighting and mobilizing to demand stronger and more responsive local and state governments. Together, this is how we ensure that our people can meet our needs and build better futures for ourselves and our communities.

We will continue to update our list of statewide solidarity resources — if you have any additions, please email us at ourcommonwealthnews@gmail.com. We’ve also written a joint statement exploring the critical role of solidarity economy and economic democracy during this pandemic and after — you can read it at the bottom of this newsletter. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


In loving solidarity,
Addison, Amethyst, Boone, Emily, Hendrix and Libbie


 Our Common Wealth is a collaborative newsletter brought to you by:
The Center for Economic Democracy (CED)
Massachusetts Solidarity Economy Network (MassSEN)
and the Massachusetts Employee Ownership Coalition


Local and State Covid-19 Resources

Un boletín por y para la economía solidaria de Massachusetts

La mayoría de los siguientes recursos son disponibles en inglés, pero hemos recopilado todos los recursos en idioma español en una sección.

We’ve compiled local and state resources from across Massachusetts in one place, and organized them by region. We’ll continue to update the document, which reflects the incredible solidarity responses to the pandemic across the state, from mutual aid efforts, organizing demands, to funds and more.

Click the image to view our resource document pulling together Massachusetts solidarity economy responses to Covid-19. We’ll be updating frequently so check back for more!

Please reach out with questions, comments or additional resources to:
Por favor contáctenos con preguntas, sugerencias, or recursos adicionales al:
ourcommonwealthnews@gmail.com
 

A Change of Pace 
(& Some Comedic Relief)

In this fast-moving time, our days are full with tending to our family’s well-being, supporting our neighbors, and fighting like hell to defend our communities and our people. Yet in the midst of so much uncertainty, this moment also calls for us to attend to the spirit and make space for reflection. As we watch and experience this global rupture, we are asking: what is shifting in our society and in our consciousness? How is this moment changing us?

It’s with this spirit that we share this little joyful comic from Sarah Jacqz on the pandemic from the eyes of our feathered and deep sea friends…

Check out WANDA: a comic strip on the pandemic from the eyes of our feathered and deep sea friends. By Sarah Jacqz

Solidarity Economy
During Crisis and Beyond 


The pandemic and economic crisis are exposing the limits of our economic system every day, and they are also revealing a way out of it.  As this crisis has highlighted, capitalism has infected our lives and our politics with false and dangerous “common sense” ideas, like the idea that we are best understood as individuals, that our desires to consume are endless, and that we should compete to own and control others rather than cooperating to meet our needs. 

But it’s in moments of crisis like this one that the solidarity economy emerges with love and power for all to see. The explosion of coordinated mutual aid efforts–community members caring for one another across MA and beyond–has shown that we can organize ourselves around the fundamental principle of interdependence: from each according to their ability to each according to their needs. Local mutual aid networks are delivering food and groceries, helping with childcare, offering medical support, preventing evictions, producing basic medical supplies for under-supplied facilities, supporting local businesses, demanding decarceration, and much more!

Though this type of collective care and support often blossoms in moments of crisis, especially when the government is unable or unwilling to care for people, mutual aid and cooperative efforts of all kinds are present in all of our lives and have a long history especially in low-income communities of color and underserved communities. Mutual aid is care work, and the critical role of domestic labor and care—often devalued and disproportionately done by women and communities of color— is more central than ever in this time of quarantine and sheltering-in-place. Grocery workers and food providers, farm workers, teachers, child care providers, nurses and other health care workers are holding down the most essential work in our economy, in contrast to the work of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, and the political establishment.

The growing solidarity is also about building power and resisting the violence of the state and of large corporate interests, especially against frontline communities and communities of color. While new and exciting forms of digital organizing are blossoming online, we are also inspired by sanitation workers in Pittsburgh who are refusing to pick up trash until their demands about safety are met. In Georgia, workers walked out of a Perdue chicken processing plant over health concerns. In Portland, Oregon food service employees are organizing for safe conditions. Meanwhile, educators and organizers came together in NYC to demand the school campuses close and community needs be met in the face of the pandemic.

Another dimension of crises like this one is the shift in what is possible. Things we have fought for for years are suddenly on the table, and as different futures open up, we must shape them to create the just, sustainable economy our people and planet need. Make no mistake: the powerful are also seeking to transform our economy in this moment of possibility, but we know better than to settle for a return to normal or to a kinder, gentler capitalism of an imagined past. It’s on us to resist the bids to privatize and concentrate greater amounts of power and wealth in their hands. Capitalism itself must be confronted and rejected. To grow our solidarity economy, we must demand that all levels of government serve the common good, including compensating for past harm done.

This moment is a crossroads for our country and our communities — just like you, we are wondering: will we further privatize public goods, cut public programs and cement the power of the already incredibly wealthy? Or will we build on the explosion of mutual aid and emergency policy to build infrastructure for an economy that works for everyone? What roles will we play in ensuring the future we want and need?

We want to hear how you are answering these questions, and how solidarity economy is blooming around you in this time of great difficulty and great possibility. Share your stories, reflections or questions at ourcommonwealthnews@gmail.com 

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