We were the ones who went through the trash and now we’re taking the city back. Our action now is necessary,” she says, “No pity.”
The streets of our cities show the remnants of those stories of women and men working and working without pay, the spoils of neoliberalism. Productive, reproductive, and societal functions are part of those (for the majority) self-managing economies of regions to reproduce life.
Pity has been promoting work cooperative La Victoria for years, which sorts and recycles cardboard, plastic and other waste that it collects while walking through Cordoba. But it’s not just because the co-op is something else: Part of the fellows support, maintain, and alter La Favela’s common spaces, the place where its members live, and the community dining room. The co-op restores city and neighborhood life.
“Cooperative” is usually the term used to name that place or place, that daily and collective experience, that productive activity, in which self-managed workers are organized every day and who collectively begin some activity such as recycling, textiles, construction, logistics or Care. Together they mobilize capabilities to run the economy, which is more than recycling, sewing and mixing; It relates to another business model, income distribution, politics, life reproduction solution. This means another mode of social reproduction. With this, new patterns of self and work are also created in the division of product, reproductive and society.
In the academy, with claims of demarcation and expert knowledge, there are questions about what a cooperative is and what field deals with its study. Some thoughts are offered to us as a warning, not as answers, about the implications of this debate. The first is to meet the challenge of a society’s analytic approach to these experiences, which, by explaining complex social phenomena, supersedes both theoretical and political frontiers. It is a debate that points in conceptual depth to the ability to escape the burden of traits on an economic community—social and solidarity—which tends to treat these experiences as rare or remarkable. It is a dispute over the meaning of “exception and margin” which wants to be imprinted in popular economies. The expansion and consolidation of the popular economy in terms of job creation and regional social organization comes, again, mainly to highlight the anachronism of economic and social separation.
Another caveat is not to fall into the trap of semantics, academic concepts in empty debate, which only contributes to the generation of new “magic words,” in the words of Silvia Rivera Koczykaniki. The challenge is to enhance the possible meanings of words from the creative power of experiences, social and political practices, and the construction of identities; This task is possible through a more active dialogue (or rebuilding of an alliance) between academia and social organizations.
In short, the ultimate challenge for the social sciences is to build another knowledge and another university at the height of the transformation horizon, in discovery/finding Enter social and popular economics; Reclaiming elements, both theoretical and historical, to build deeper perspectives, escaping conceptual divisions and idealistic readings.
* Members of the Cooperative Economics, Labor and Practice Extension Program (FCS-UNC) and Head of Social Economics (FCE-UNC).
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