An empty lot with the word "economy" etched into the concrete.
Photo by Michael Goodin, used under Creative Commons.

So, when I created the initial text on the Elysium Studios home page, I mentioned the solidarity economy. But what is the solidarity economy, exactly? Well, according to the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, the solidarity economy is:

An alternative framework for economic development grounded in practice and the following principles: solidarity and cooperation, equity in all dimensions (race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.), social and economic democracy, sustainability, pluralism (not a one-size-fits-all approach), and putting people and planet first.

I think that Elysium Studios is uniquely positioned and set up to bring about real social change for transgender and gender non-conforming people in Colorado and across the United States.

In this series of articles, I will walk you through the steps of how Elysium Studios navigates the demands of these six principles. We start with talking about solidarity and cooperation. We then build on each topic, culminating to a discussion on putting people and planet first. To top it off, we will then talk about the intersection of these goals at Elysium Studios.

… But why?

Today, perhaps as never before, more people are becoming aware that capitalism has turned our lives and our planet into a commodity. A system that is environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust, and that it is not able to guarantee the happiness and dignified life conditions of all persons in any place on the planet.

Carlos Askunze, REAS Spanish network of solidarity economy.

The why is crucial: it’s because capitalism has sold us all a false bill of goods. Granted, this has been a problem since the inception of capitalism but now, we have an opportunity to make serious change.

In the last few days, a Twitch streamer going by HBomberguy has raised $350,000 for Mermaids UK. Mermaids UK is a charity that has provided transition-related assistance for trans youth. This was necessary because a certain washed up British celebrity coordinated a campaign to deny them funding. This funding came from the UK’s Big Lottery Fund.

I’m not going to deny that this drive is going to help provide Mermaids UK a bit of stability. I also won’t deny the positive impact HBomberguy has had with his charity stream. However, the solidarity economy is necessary in order to provide some stability to charities like Mermaids UK. We must also create economic stability for the trans community.

Colorado: the Delaware of Cooperatives

Colorado has a lot of laws that make it easier to open and run a cooperative. Not just one type of cooperative but all kinds of cooperatives. From worker cooperatives to consumer cooperatives, you can create a wide variety of cooperatives thanks to the flexibility of Colorado’s cooperative laws. This truly makes Colorado “the Delaware of Cooperatives”, as cooperative attorney Jason Wiener put it.

Additionally, you can form a cooperative as a public benefit corporation. This legal structure allows your cooperative to pursue certification as a B Corp. Your social mission will also have a legal mandate as a result. In other words, the social and solidarity economy has no better base than the State of Colorado.

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