Participatory budgeting in Cleveland and the solidarity economy


28 May
28May

We're proud to be part of a coalition of awesome grassroots groups calling for participatory budgeting in Cleveland. Add your name to the list of residents and awesome orgs endorsing this campaign at this link: https://forms.gle/rMDADxDeUYVD3zEz7

Cleveland is getting $500 million in federal recovery funds (!!). And since residents know better than anyone how that money can make our city thrive, they must have real power to make real decisions about that money. That's why we're calling on Cleveland City Council to enable residents to make decisions about how to spend $30.8 million over two years through participatory budgeting. 

We're working on participatory budgeting (PB) because it's the public sector cousin of cooperatives. PB and cooperatives are both part of the solidarity economy, a post-capitalistic strategy for making decisions about how to steward our collective resources. 

"The solidarity economy rejects state-dominated authoritarian forms of socialism, instead affirming a core commitment to participatory democracy," write Emily Kawano and Julia Matthaei in a powerful article in Non Profit Quarterly. "Furthermore, it is explicitly feminist, anti-racist, and ecological, and advocates for economic transformation that transcends all of forms of oppression, not just class."

We see our new work with PB as a natural evoluation of our work with cooperatives (which continues, by the way) because participatory budgeting is what democracy looks like. Residents propose projects that would improve their lives, and then decide together how to use shared resources to meet those needs by voting for the projects they most want to see. In 2018 in New York City, 100,000 residents voted on PB projects! Dozens of cities of all sizes use PB every year. Let's add Cleveland to that list! 

PS - Here's a fun video about how PB works: https://vimeo.com/162743651

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