Building a Culture of Cooperation in Chicago: Incorporating Solidarity Economy Principles into Our Organizations and Ourselves

What’s wrong with Chicago?

  • Violence
  • Autocratic power
  • Economy is premised in self-interest often to the detriment of others and co-operation.
  • Aldermanic system
    • Feudelistic; cuts across neighborhoods
    • Hierarchical and centralized
    • Difficult to navigate means of reform
    • Not receptive to community feedback, more receptive to Chamber of Commerce/business
  • Receiving support (for organizations) & channels of distribution is linked to power historically in Chicago

How do we get past the culture of gatekeeping? How do we change the larger culture of the city?

  • Solidarity economy – economy that works for all
    • Solidarity: Connecting to needs of all, linking self to position of others
    • Sustainability: Institutions & programming that are self-sustaining and sustain the planet
    • Pluralism: No one right way to do things, the importance of context
    • Participatory democracy: Everyone has a role, should be able to participate; how to make orgs more horizontal, less hierarchical, maximize agency
    • Equity in all dimensions: race/gender/sex orientation/childcare needs/translation needs, e.g. whitewashed co-operative movement in Chicago
    • Inclusion, how to operationalize these principles? intra- and inter-institutions: sometimes can not be “efficient” because takes longer, and not linear, etc.
    • Small groups. Prompts: how can you use these principles in your present-day lives? To counteract the feudalistic structure of Chicago & its resources.
    • Solidarity: principled action, take a principled action, stepping up, stepping back.
    • Participation: challenges of efficiency