Sociocracy's Role in the Solidarity Economy

Sociocracy could be the governance approach for the Solidarity Economy. Not exclusively and not immediately everywhere but evolving as one of the imaginal cells that cluster together to grow the Solidarity Economy. Read this by Emily Kawano in the Summer 2021 edition of the NonProfit Quarterly: Imaginal Cells of the Solidarity Economy.

For me, sociocracy is grounded in the principle that every voice matters. That implies a solidarity economy -one that is focused on the general well-being of all and the planet, where extreme inequality has no place.

I have talked to Emily about doing a webinar on sociocracy and the solidarity economy. I’d love to bridge these two activist communities. Right now, I am posting this to start the discussion and to surface who is passionate about this topic.



I am!!!

One of my biggest challenges at YPC is figuring out how to steward financial resources in alignment with our principles of equal voice and solidarity so this conversation is very exciting to me!

I would caution the use of the word “the” here as that might be too definite or prescriptive, but sociocracy can be an important governing process to offer up in service of solidarity economy initiatives. I actually had a very interesting interview with Hafidha Acuay of PeoplesHub Monday evening which speaks to the relationship of radical hospitality, care, and inclusive facilitation with growing the solidarity economy movement in ways that do not replicate harm.

This image designed by Caroline Woolard speaks to the landscape of practices which are included in discussion of the solidarity economy, but I have always seen the design of decentralized governance as the unspoken glue at the center of this image. Sociocracy is an important part of that conversation, but their may be other governance practices and consideration that are a factor for discussion.

In fact, I used this slide from a sociocracy training recently in a email thread for an event we host called the Resist & Build Summit (Resist & Build/Oppose & Propose/Build & Fight are all the same framing). This image of Challenge & Construction is effectively synonymous language with the key phrase Resist & Build used within the presentation of solidarity economy.

On a side note, I have been wondering where to share this pivot made by Open Collective Foundation towards the solidarity economy, but this is the first time the phrase was mentioned in this forum. Part of this pivot will definitely involve supporting the training of mutual aid initiatives in practices like sociocracy, Art of Hosting, World Cafe, and other types of facilitation techniques that deepen participatory governance.

I would invite feedback from others on this strategy and how SFA can be a part of the direction. I am also glad to join the conversation with Emily as we speak and plan together often through the US Solidarity Economy Network board.

Solidarity As Our Guiding Principle