How do people not only develop a vision of a democratic economy rooted in values of solidarity but come together to make that vision a collective reality?
That is the daring question contained in this issue of Nonprofit Quarterly Magazine. Building on last summer’s issue on ownership, NPQ economic justice editors Steve Dubb and Rithika Ramamurthy call on us to consider what they label movement economies.
The main claim is simple enough: ideas alone do not create change. Social transformation needs to be driven by groups of people acting together to develop collective strategy to achieve common goals. In other words, the “what” must be connected to the “who” and the “how.” This conversation is organized around three themes: first, critiques of existing economic practices; second, analyses of movement strategy; and lastly, articles that highlight emergent solutions from the field.
In our conversations with leaders in the field, we found a desire to explore these questions. As one said to us, many activists “don’t quite grasp how solidarity economy fits into their movement work,” but they know that it is needed, and that the failure to fully integrate a democratic economic vision into movement work has been costly. In the past half-century, economic inequality has gotten considerably worse. Activists today are increasingly connecting the dots between racial, economic, climate, and health justice—and gaining ground in doing so.
In that vein, there are echoes here with our most recent issue, on “The Space Beyond.” Visioning is hard—and it’s essential. Movement leaders have come to understand that the solutions to structural inequality and the many crises that we face lie far beyond the economy as it functions today. We exist these days in a liminal space, halfway between what is and what can be. As the writers of this collection remind us, if you look carefully, you can see a more just and equitable world emerging