Symbiosis is a network of community organizations across North America, building a democratic and ecological society from the ground up. We are fighting for a better world by creating institutions of participatory democracy and the solidarity economy through community organizing, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.
Our political strategy is to build dual power through these institutions of grassroots democracy. “Dual power” is an approach to revolutionary politics in which ordinary people organize themselves to govern society in parallel and in opposition to the governing institutions of capitalist society.
This dual power strategy can help sustain our communities under capitalism, channel our collective action to fight back more effectively, and eventually supplant the institutions of capitalism to become the governing structures of the liberated society. As an organization, we aim to develop neighborhood councils in our communities and network them into a confederation that can transform the structures of municipal governance, remaking our cities as true democracies. Through the creation of local cooperative economies and mutual aid systems, we can meet people’s basic needs and allow them to become more fully engaged in political struggle, all the while developing community and pushing back against our social atomization.
Elements of this approach to community organizing are present across many movements in North America: tenant organizing, municipalism, the solidarity economy, and much more. The primary goal of Symbiosis is to help gather these diverse forces into a movement capable of transforming society. We, along with many partner organizations who share our core values and strategic aims, are hosting a congress in the summer of 2019, at which we hope to launch a confederation of local movement organizations building dual power across North America.
We are also working to grow this movement through seeding new initiatives of radical democracy, by connecting Symbiosis members to one another locally and assisting them through the process of organizing their community. Our Research Collective is actively developing new resources for organizers and educators who are pursuing popular education projects and reading groups. We are in the process of authoring a comprehensive, accessible introduction to this approach to politics: part theoretical text, part history textbook, part organizing manual, for readers of all levels. Abridged sections of this Symbiosis primer handbook have been published as columns in The Ecologist. You can become a member and check out some of our educational materials on our Resources page.
We welcome everyone—organizers and neighbors, small community projects and municipal coalitions, experienced activists and unaffiliated novices—to join us in these efforts. Our mission as Symbiosis is not only to organize such initiatives ourselves, but also to network with existing groups whose work can be the foundation of this broader political strategy. We hope to assist in the shared creation of a powerful movement capable of affecting the entire political landscape, as trickles gathering into a flood.
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