CSU Approves Referendum Question To Measure Support For Solidarity Economy

The question is set to go to ballot at the CSU by-elections in November. File Photo Shaun Michaud

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) passed a motion on Oct. 14 in support of a referendum question to assess student support for a “Solidarity Economy Incubator.”

The question is set to go to ballot at the CSU by-elections in November.

The initiative is meant to promote cooperation between local businesses rather than competition. The idea has been described on the Haverford University website.

“The concept of solidarity economy has diverse origins and varied meanings, all of which revolve around the effort to root economic activity in principles of solidarity, participation, cooperation and reciprocity as opposed to the competitive individualism characteristic of mainstream capitalist paradigms,” the description reads.

As of now, the details of the project are sparse. However, businesses such as The Hive Café would be a part of the project if it passes.

The aim of the referendum is to create dialogue on campus regarding the proposal. CSU resources might be used for the project in the future, but for now the goal is to measure student support for the initiative, according to Ben Prunty, CSU councillor and president of The Hive Café board.

“The [question] is intended to start the conversation so that we can see how students feel about it before committing further, both on our end and on the community’s end through future investment,” he explained in a written statement.

Approval by the student body will see a new two-year pilot project developed with the aim to support new businesses interested in the solidarity economy model. It is also meant to provide students with an alternative to the current individualist capitalist model, “which is centred around private profit and an unlimited growth economy,” Prunty said.

The “typical capitalist model” contributes to the “inequities, power imbalances, and to environmental degradation,” according to Prunty.