We Cultivate Counterhegemonies

Our Publications

Building the Future: Worker-Owned Cooperatives and Radical Municipalism

Author: Rob Persons

Date: May 2024

In this paper, Rob examines worker co-ops from a radical municipalist perspective. Worker-owned cooperatives, as part of a solidarity economy framework, offer a way to meet people’s immediate material needs while marshaling the productive forces toward a values-oriented democratic reconfiguration. However, since worker co-ops are structured around capitalist markets with the demand for efficiency and profitability, they can struggle to succeed in both their social and material goals. That is why advocates of worker co-ops who seek economic transformation argue that worker ownership must be linked to a community-building strategy as well as “political struggle to wrest power from the ruling class” if they are to achieve their potential. Radical municipalism offers the method for this political struggle which can help worker-owned cooperatives overcome their limitations by embedding them in a radical movement seeking to democratize all aspects of life, in the workplace and beyond.

An abridged version of this paper appeared in Nonprofit Quarterly.



Futures Game: What is the Conjuncture?

Author: Yvonne Yen Liu

Date: October 2023

The Futures Game is a tool for Gramscian conjunctural analysis. The game uses future climate scenarios created by the Monitor Institute at Deloitte. Each group receives a future scenario, which they construct a timeline around. Their task is to think through the task of the social movement at particular historical moment, based on the future scenario. Each player acts out a role within the historical moment, which is a playful icebreaker and exercise in inhabiting another’s subjectivity.

The game can be adapted for different social movements. You can create alternate future scenarios to use, based on climate, ecological, or political crises. The question in step four can be changed to fit the particular social movement conducting the analysis.

The Futures Game was created by Yvonne Yen Liu for a US Solidarity Economy Network board retreat in October 2023. It is an adaptation of political strategy games created by Keir Milburn of Red Plenty Games.



Municipalism: A Critical Review

Authors: Linda Quiquivix, Haley Roeser, Dani Knoll, and Eleanor Finley

Date: April 2023

In recent years, a growing number of popular movements demanding the “right to the city” have come to describe themselves as municipalist or democratic confederalist, lineages that are closely related to 20th century philosopher Murray Bookchin’s ideas of libertarian municipalism or communalism. Municipalists, as their name suggests, organize at the unit of the municipality. That is to say, they organize “locally,” but with the additional goal of bringing about governance by popular assembly and by confederating with other assemblies. Although there is a diversity of positions within municipalism, we can generally say that it seeks to intensify decentralization over centralization; the networked over the isolated; the diverse over the monolithic. This critical review focuses on movements and organizations that today call themselves municipalist, or have been referred to as such in the literature on municipalism. We describe some of its important thinkers, movements, themes, and concepts. We reflect on some of the movement’s trends and patterns to see where it might be headed. We then share some of their debates and contradictions, gaps, and weaknesses.



Land Reform in the Navajo Nation

Author: Diné Policy Institute

Date: February 2018

This is one of a series of forthcoming reports by Diné Policy Institute that will focus on the question of land reform and renewal in the Navajo Nation. In this report, the focus is mainly on survey results from a longitudinal survey in the community of Shonto. This community was chosen in order to demonstrate the nature of social change in the Navajo Nation. Although most of the data is from Shonto, it is supplemented with subsequent focus groups in Tonalea, Kayenta, and Tsaile. The report also looked at the work of the Little Colorado River Watershed Chapter Association to identify new innovative approaches toward grassroots organizing and governance. Theirs is an approach to distribute resources and organizing along natural boundaries like watersheds, instead of artificial BIA divisions of space.



Research Justice Training at Diné Policy Institute

Authors: Ashley Claw and Ricki Draper, Diné Policy Institute

Date: June 2017

Yvonne Yen Liu and Diana Benitez with the Solidarity Research Center (SRC) led a participatory training for Diné Policy Institute staff and interns. The three-day training covered material on research justice, solidarity economies, GIS, and statistical analysis. The training focused on Diné Policy Institute’s ongoing land reform project and included discussion about pressing social and economic issues within the Navajo Nation.



No Piece of the Pie: US Food Workers in 2016

Authors: Food Chain Workers Alliance and Solidarity Research Cooperative

Date: November 2016

The 21.5 million workers in the food system make up the largest employment sector in the United States, with 14% or over one out of every seven workers in the U.S. working along the food chain. In the five key sectors of the food chain — production, processing, distribution, retail, and service — poor working conditions, below average wages, and discriminatory and abusive practices are all commonplace. While overall employment in the food system recovered relatively quickly from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, workers themselves have not seen positive changes. Since the Food Chain Workers Alliance’s 2012 report The Hands That Feed Us, wages overall remain stagnant, food workers are accessing food stamps at higher levels, health and safety problems have increased, and membership in unions has declined.



An Analysis of New Economy Metanarrative

Partners: New Economy Coalition, Center for Story-based Strategy, Solidarity Research Cooperative

Date: November 2016

The New Economy Coalition interviewed its member groups and allied organizations to learn more about how they were communicating the “new economy” in their work. The goal was to explore the need and appetite for long-term collaboration on new economy messaging and narrative strategy. The interview process was designed in partnership with the Center for Story-based Strategy. Solidarity Research Cooperative analyzed the data and co-created the report.




Prison Strike's Financial Impact in California

Authors: Solidarity Research Center and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Date: October 2016

September 9, 2016 was the start of the largest prison strike in U.S. history. Over 72,000 incarcerated workers in 22 states refused to provide their labor to profit the prison industrial complex. California forces 5,588 incarcerated workers to labor in exchange for little or no compensation. The financial losses to the California prison system are as much as $636,068 in revenue or $156,736 in profit for every day of the prison strike.



The Feminist Next System

Partners: Solidarity Research Cooperative and The Next System

Date: June 2016

Solidarity Research Cooperative, in partnership with the Next System Project, conducted a literature review of feminist theorists, activists, and experiments tied to next system design. It was not exhaustive; but, instead, focused on a few key areas. We looked, in particular, for feminists, feminist experiments, and theories that propose (or model) comprehensive system designs for a political economy radically different from contemporary capitalism. We broadened our search to include specific concepts or experiments that could potentially form one component of a new system design. All in all, we found few comprehensive system designs from feminist perspectives, especially in recent literature.



SUNY and Sweatshops

Authors: Solidarity Committee of the Capital District and Solidarity Research Center

Date: May 2016

The Solidarity Committee of the Capital District and Solidarity Research Center have released the report SUNY and Sweatshops: How is SUNY Enforcing its Apparel Anti-Sweatshop Policy?  It describes an investigation into how well the State University of New York (SUNY) is enforcing its five year old anti-sweatshop policy which is meant to deal with working conditions in the supply chain of its licensed apparel. The report concludes that the SUNY schools appear to be falling far short of a credible effort to deal with the sweatshop issue.



The Crisis in Our Schools: A Report on Working and Learning Conditions in NYC Public Schools

Authors: Movement of Rank and File Educators in collaboration with Solidarity Research Center

Date: May 2016

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) recently conducted a survey of United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members to find out more about their working conditions and students’ learning conditions. The findings of this survey indicate that the decay of the New York City schools has reached crisis levels under the leadership of the Unity Caucus, the incumbents in the current elections for leadership of the UFT. Change is urgently needed.



System change and community organizing: A conversation on the long arc of history with “Mother” Mamie Moore

Authors: Solidarity Research Center with “Mother” Mamie Moore

Date: December 2015

We believe that any vision of a next system that doesn’t ultimately resonate with those working on the ground for economic and racial justice in the communities most marginalized, exploited, and oppressed by the current one is not really getting at what really needs to be next. A big part of this is listening and learning, with humility and respect, to the voices of the people who have been fighting on the frontlines—here, we asked Kate Diedrick of Solidarity Research Center to talk with Atlanta-based community organizer “Mother” Mamie Moore about her trajectory as an activist and advocate for system change starting at the neighborhood level.

By The Numbers: Challenges and Opportunities for Black-Asian Solidarity

Authors: ChangeLab and Solidarity Research Center

Date: November 2014

We have collected this set of economic data to help frame a conversation about racial justice strategy, to identify questions for further inquiry, and to address the potential of Black-Asian coalitional work that is grounded in real conditions.



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