Feminism and Social Solidarity Economy: a brief call to action
The closing event was filled with strong presentations, but we chose Marian’s for her overview of the scope and variety of the Social Solidarity Economy in Spain and, secondly, to highlight the need for intersectional complementarity between post-capitalist movements. This article is also closely linked to our translation of A Charter for the Social Solidarity Economy .
Weaving networks of Social Solidarity to transform the economy
REAS (Network of Solidarity and Alternative Economies) is a network of networks created in 1995. It currently groups 14 territorial and 4 sectoral networks in the Spanish state. Together, we are talking about 697 organizations and companies that directly employ more than 13,000 people and that have inspired more than 35,000 volunteers to work together to build this solidarity economy. To this must be added the thousands of people who work in cooperative projects around ethical finance (almost 8,000) and renewable energy (more than 85,000) or the consumption of local agriculture (there are countless CSA projects throughout Spain). Together we are a wide network of organizations that work to build an alternative and supportive economy capable of transforming our economic and social realities.
And we do it because we are committed to disseminating our solidarity economic practices in all the economic circuits necessary to live a dignified and satisfying life. We want to be a real alternative to capitalism. This is why our companies and organizations:
- They are present in the field of cooperative production in sectors such as agroecology; waste management, recovery and recycling; human care and assistance; social intervention services; communications and free culture, to give a few examples.
- Support the development of social markets, short-haul (local) trade circuits, fair trade and food sovereignty, while supporting non-monetary exchanges through time, barter or social currencies.
- Advocate and defend discerning, conscious and transforming consumption and self-sufficient and sustainable ethics that cover real needs, not those conceived and imposed by capitalist markets.
All REAS organizations and companies have committed to honor and develop the principles established in the Charter of the Social Solidarity Economy. These principles are the foundation of our identity, understanding and approach to the alternative economy. This commitment goes beyond mere formality: every year, all our organizations carry out a social balance exercise 1 to assess our commitment to these principles of solidarity. This exercise is made publicly available.
We want to co-create a fairer, more participatory, humane, sustainable, feminist and supportive development model. A model that includes values such as care and community work, commitment to people, self-management, mutual aid and collaboration. And we want to build this process hand in hand with other transforming economies and social movements of resistance, denunciation and criticism.
During the last few years, we have tried to assimilate the invaluable lessons learned from feminist and ecological economics as an integral part of our identity as a social solidarity economy, and as part of that other world that is possible. We are already connecting with other transformational economies and have started a process of aligning with their movements.
So far, this has led us to embrace the sustainability of life as a founding principle of both our discourse and our organizing practices. We must recognize that our lives are both ecodependent and interdependent, and that these two types of material dependencies, made tangible through ecofeminism, are the basis of all solidarity economies. This is the only way to move towards the construction of modes of production, distribution and consumption that place human and natural life at the center of our economic and social systems; an alternative economy at the service of people and the planet.
This has made us affirm that the solidarity economy must also be a feminist economy. This has led to the creation of strategies to make our organizations and companies feminist. How is that? Eliminating all gender inequalities present within our organizations, be it in their structures, workflows, decision-making processes, strategies or cultures.
We advocate the creation of a common agenda for the different transformative economy movements present here today and we believe that this agenda must be built at the local and global level. We also believe that there must be a long-term agenda to reclaim this other world that already exists, the world of transformative economies, and to ensure that it is a world that reflects more movements, territories and people.
We believe that we must continue weaving more networks to transform the economy and life!
*Written by Marian Díez
*Translated by Stacco Troncoso
*Translation edited by Ann Marie Utratel
*Originally presented as a speech at the convergence meeting of the World Social Forum for Transformative Economies .
* Main image by Mercè Moreno Tarrés (Guerrilla Media Collective) * All other images
come from Transformadora.org