We all know and hate the mainstream extractive economy… So, how many of us are ready for a new economy?
The extractive economy tells us we’re supposed to continuously compete for a share of ever-decreasing already-scarce resources. But what if I told you there’s a strong network of people imagining and creating an alternative economy, based on solidarity economies and cooperative economics?
Well there is and it’s called the New Economy Coalition (NEC).
NEC is a network of over 200 organizations around North America building cooperative, ethical, and community-rooted enterprises, reclaiming the commons, and democratizing and reorienting finance. Together, these organizations create deep changes in our economy by placing power in the hands of people and uprooting legacies of harm.
My first experience with this inspiring network of organizations was this September at the NEC membership retreat in Asheville, NC. At this year’s gathering, we created space for collaboration and relationship-building between members; practiced collective decision-making as a coalition; learned about some of Western North Carolina’s local economies; and created opportunities for cross-learning between NEC members who came from other states.
While at the retreat, members received ample opportunities to connect with one another and learn about the local economy. I was able to do both on a Hood Huggers tour of Asheville’s historically African-American neighborhoods. It was so powerful to connect with local Black people and Black history of Asheville, and learn about the organizing happening to make Asheville a more equitable city. Like many cities, Asheville is actively fighting against developers tearing down affordable housing to make way for luxury homes that are drastically unaffordable for longtime residents.
The Western North Carolina residents who shared their stories were among friends with the attendees present. Organizations like PUSH Buffalo, Boston Ujima Project, Southern Reparations Loan Fund, and North American Students of Cooperation are fighting for housing affordability and cooperative funding around the nation. They attended the member meeting and presented about their work and recent victories.
I am so encouraged to continue this fight for the financial sustainability of all people. Especially for my rural Black people in the South, where I grew up. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can join, check out the NEC membership policies.
We invite you to join us in this journey to build a new economy—one that respects and preserves our planet, and truly works for all people.
Quinn is the Program Manager for Beneficial State Foundation’s Systems Change team.
This blog post reflects the author’s personal views and opinions. It does not represent the views and opinions of Beneficial State Bank and/or Beneficial State Foundation.