Economics, as typically taught in universities, tends to define the field in narrow, technical terms—with demand and supply determining price and production levels. Yet this common narrative ignores the vital role that ordinary people have played through social movements across time to reshape the economy in the direction of justice. For example, the five-day workweek would not exist, but for the labor movement. Nor would many other social benefits we take for granted. As European social theorist Karl Polanyi observed in the 1940s, it is social movements that limit the destructive effects of the market and create the gears of social change. Today, social movements are actively reshaping the economy in multiple ways, including developing new liberatory systemic models, such as the solidarity economy.
Explore this section to learn about the labor movement, community organizing, debt justice, democratic media, tenant organizing, the struggle for reparations, and more.
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