BASE: Baltimore Activating Solidarity Economies
A multi-racial, values-driven organization dedicated to practicing democracy; race, gender, and economic equity; and solidarity with communities most affected by the ravages of the current economic system.
We are connectors and co-builders committed to being on the ground in communities and in policy spaces with the goal of greater policy alignment with communities’ experiences.
We are dedicated to working in multi- and interdisciplinary ways, thinking creatively, learning from one another, and sharing our experiences.
Our Vision: Connecting Transformative Change to Practical Capacity
In Maryland generally and in Baltimore specifically, there are no central spaces where a broad solidarity framework for a new economy focused on racial/immigrant/gender equity are being generated democratically, posited, strategized, and consistently communicated in policy, political, and people-first terms. Deep and audacious thinking about what is possible (“Freedom Dreams” as Robin D.G. Kelley puts it) about poverty, wealth, racial justice, even democracy itself is necessary to move beyond a limiting incrementalist and “what’s politically feasible/expedient” approach. If we wish to fundamentally change Baltimore (and beyond), we have to start with thinking broader transformation is possible. Then, figure out how it could be realized, communicate this vision consistently and to the right people and communities, and work to develop the structural pieces necessary to make it concrete.
At the same time, there are very limited resources for training, facilitating, creating, funding, and otherwise supporting the actual implementation of new/solidarity economy strategies even if the visioning and policy work were to happen. For example, there is almost no infrastructure in the state of Maryland to support a sudden upswing or movement to create cooperative businesses, a network of independent community food resources, community land trusts, or the whole range of creative and integrative solutions that communities have come up with around the nation and around the world, or could come up with here in Maryland. Without infrastructure and space(s) to provide support, individuals, groups, and coalitions cannot build their capacity and cannot create more places that are sites for putting the values of the solidarity economy into practice and providing additional support to the next generation of projects and initiatives. This is the basis for the vision of the work that we will do together: we will create a space that can focus on both of these areas and also create systems, relationships, and spaces that can do the work as well.
This work will focus on the following four tasks:
- Accelerate the development of community based economic institutions, focusing on projects that create living wage jobs, democratize ownership, and build capacity, especially in low-income communities and communities of color.
- Educate the public at large and especially those communities most negatively affected by the current economic system about alternative possibilities grounded in the values of the solidarity economy.
- Advocate at the local and state level for policies that can help support the development of the solidarity economy.
- Initiate and incubate development projects in key strategic areas to advance the principles of community equity and the solidarity economy.