The Response: Resist & Build with Emily Kawano, Matthew Slaats and Edget Betru

The Response is a podcast produced by Shareable exploring how communities respond to disaster — from hurricanes to wildfires to reactionary politics and more. This episode features organizers stewarding the “Resist and Build” coalition and gatherings in the United States.


“This is a critical moment in history. We face multiple crises: environmental, growing social, economic, and political divides, and a slide toward fascism, economic instability, and war. There is an urgency to both resist these trends, and to build an alternative system for a just and sustainable future. Resistance without a clear vision of the alternative, risks merely reforming the current system, while building the alternative without roots in movements of resistance, with leadership from those on the forefront of struggle, risks both being exclusionary to these folks and their communities, and being co-opted by reactionary/status quo forces. While there is a growing overlap between the resist and the build movements, there is still too much distance between the two.”

That was the initial invitation shared by the US Solidarity Economy Network before the first Resist & Build Gathering in 2020.

Throughout this season of The Response podcast, we’ve been exploring various methodologies and ethos working to address the polycrisis’ of our times. From Anarchism to Decolonial Marxism, and from Agroecology to Organized Labor.

On this week’s show, we turned our focus towards the Solidarity Economy and what is meant by ‘Resist & Build’; the practice of resisting the systemic forces causing harm to people, planet, and place while simultaneously building alternatives that can eventually replace them.

Joining us for this conversation is Emily Kawano, Co-Director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation and Coordinator of the US Solidarity Economy Network, Matthew Slaats, co-director of the Solidarity Research Center and the founder of the Virginia Solidarity Economy Network, and Edget Betru, an attorney who is on the boards of Community Movement Builders and the Organization for Human Rights and Democracy in Atlanta, GA.

Together, we unpack what ‘Resist & Build’ looks like in practice, discuss the necessity of cross-movement dialogue and collaboration, and explore pathways for scaling up (and arguably, more importantly, scaling out) the solidarity economy.




Episode credits:

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Going Further:

About the Lead Author

Emily Kawano
Emily Kawano
Emily Kawano is Co-Director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, which is seeking to create an engine for new, community-based job creation in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wellspring’s goal is to use anchor institution purchases to create a network of worker-owned businesses located in the inner city that will provide job training and entry-level jobs to unemployed and underemployed residents through worker-owned cooperatives. Kawano also serves as Coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network. An economist by training, Kawano served as the Director of the Center for Popular Economics from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, Kawano taught economics at Smith College, worked as the National Economic Justice Representative for the American Friends Service Committee and, in Northern Ireland, founded a popular economics program with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

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