Theme: Just Transitions: Reimagining Social Movement Solidarities Through and Beyond Crisis
Congress 2022 turns our attention to transitions, to the impact of a global pandemic that has taken so many lives and exposed and exacerbated inequities within and across nations—and the structural and systemic factors that produce and reproduce them. If the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted a world we thought we knew, it has also caused rethinking of values and priorities, posing challenging questions about what recovery will look like—and for whom. The pandemic has underlined intersecting forms of oppression and highlighted remarkable resilience and capacities among peoples determined to build back better, marching in solidarity and making sure that there will be “Nothing about us without us.” Social movements are leading the way to socio-economic, ecological, cultural, and racial justice promoting circular, caring, and solidarity economies. They should not be mistaken for, far less dismissed as, angry versions of populism. They are rather coalitions of creativity, caring, and concern.
Whether it is flooding, droughts, or wildfires, growing food insecurity, aggravated income gaps, growing gig economy, systemic racism and sexism, worsening housing precarity, social movement energies, creativity, and coalition have never been more needed. The co-operative movement has historically brought together diverse groups to meet their economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations, but we are also learning to be more vigilant in decentring whiteness. In the current crisis, this conference will discuss how the co-operative movement can engage in ethical alliances that do not elide difference but value diversity as collective empowerment to advance just transitions and a just recovery for all.