As part of a vivid global movement towards social cohesion and sustainable economy, projects in the area of solidarity economy are gaining momentum. Our hope lies in strengthening and linking these initiatives and combining theory and practice. We want to allow discussions and provide space for self-reflexion upon solidarity economy projects. Subjects we will have to deal with are gender-relations, boundary-regimes, capitalism, effects on the natural environment, to name only a few.
What is solidarity economy?
An economy that is oriented towards fulfilling human needs.
We do not want to further narrow down the idea of solidarity economy, in order to provide space for various concepts and approaches and to allow controversial debates. So for us solidarity economy may comprise: selfmanaged rooms and companies, old and new cooperatives, alternative forms of habitation, appropriation of rooms and ressources, communes, companies with social targets, initiatives for right of residence, barter rings, regional currencies, spaces for women and feminist projects, freeshops, alternative institutions of financing, fair trade, solidarity and crosscultural gardens, peoples kitchens, community supported agriculture, ecovillages, OpenSource, alternative learning institutes, knowledge sharing, unconditional basic income, and many more.
Key principles of solidarity economy
Self-organisation is central, therefore a focus should be on cooperation instead of competition. Decisions are made as a group - participatory, democratic, egalitarian, and consensus- oriented. Is should be attempted to avoid hierarchies and representation by a speaker. Acting ecologically responsible is crucial.
Based on the principle of self-reflection it is crucial that concepts, topics and projects of solidarity economy can be discussed. It has to be possible to put everything into question, also the principles mentioned above. Because the world is overly complex, one explanation with a claim of truth can hardly be appropriate - thus diversity of solutions is important.
Solidarity economy stands for the willingness to exchange and create networks.