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Organizing the Solidarity Economy: A Story of Network Building amid COVID-19


DETAIL OF UNTITLED, FROM THE SERIES “CAPITALISM IS KILLING US/BLACK UTOPIAS” BY AISHA SHILLINGFORD/ WWW.INTELLIGENTMISCHIEF.COM Click here to download this article as it appears in the magazine, with accompanying artwork.

This article comes from the Summer 2021 edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly , “The World We Want: In Search of New Economic Paradigms .”

Early in 2020, the board of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network (USSEN) called on like-minded organizations that were engaged in economic justice and systems change work to gather at a Resist and Build summit at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. The center, founded in 1932, has played an outsized role as a movement-organizing space, known for helping to train labor organizers in the 1930s and civil rights organizers in the 1950s and 1960s. 1

The call to action in the event invitation read: “This is a critical moment in history. We face multiple crises: environmental, growing social, economic and political divides, and a slide toward fascism, economic instability and war. There is an urgency to both resist these trends, and to build an alternative system for a just and sustainable future.” 2

The goals of the gathering were three-fold:

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