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Interview of ORNI - Organización Nahuatl Independiente, Nuevo Nexaca, Puebla, Mexico

The ORNI is a Social Solidarity Society gathering six Indigenous Villages of the region of Nuevo Nexaca, Puebla, Mexico. Promotion of work in the field of health and food according to the principles of self-management and fair trade. Importance to remember the history of the community, which implies the importance of the role of women.

Chilo Villareal, mars 2004

I - What is the main goal of your economic activity?

To practice a fair economy in community labor and to achieve a decent life by focusing on consciousness-raising and organization in alternative health and food practices.

II - Are you engaged in a DIFFERENT economy? How does it differ from the dominant economy?

Yes, we are. It differs from the dominant economy in that we seek the well-being of the community through the participation of the members of the organization and by working together with other organizations, training and sharing our experience with other communities.

III - What does ABUNDANCE mean to you? Is material abundance an aim or the means to achieve something else? What is that something else?

Abundance means the fulfillment of basic human needs (food, clothing, housing, education) and living in harmony with Mother Earth; it’s an aim but also a means to live a dignified life where we can develop integrally; we’re concerned about safeguarding life for future generations, to achieve a different world where the community being prevails over individualism, where forces join together and organize themselves.

IV - What VALUES do you and your fellow workers put into practice in your daily life and at work? Is it possible, in your opinion, for these values to become the predominant values of society as a whole? How can they be mainstreamed?

Truth, responsibility, open-handedness, honesty, serving the community, dialogue, effort, trust, respect for community life, unity and justice.

These values could be generalized starting from local spaces, and then from regional and national spaces, sharing the same ideals of the values we live by, first within each organization and then among the various organizations, taking into account their different needs, buying at fair prices, exchanging knowledge and products or giving consumers direct access to producers.

V - What innovations have you developed in terms of organization, management and appropriation of the fruits of labor?

Decisions are made by consensus in our organizations. Each member chooses the area he or she likes most and there is constant dialogue in order to correct mistakes and be able to pursue our objectives. The fruits of labor, however little they may be, are either equitably distributed or we decide what the benefits will be used for.

VI - Do you think working in solidarity networks or in solidarity production chains is important? What are these in your opinion?

Networking is important because it means we won’t be isolated anymore; we will join our forces in a more organized way; there will be more possibilities of human interaction, by meeting people and organizations that pursue the same objective.

Understanding the reality and needs of each place;

Setting fair prices for this network’s products;

Sharing and exchanging knowledge and products;

Producing high-quality goods;

Benefiting as a community from this network;

Training and updating.

VII - Does your activity influence the life of the community? How and in which spheres?

Yes, because women participate in group; they commit themselves, they train, they value themselves, they integrate and seek the well-being of the community. They do this by using products like peanuts, amaranth and soy that enhance their food, and by preparing alternative medicines.

VIII - What is work in your experience? What is its value and meaning in life?

Work means qualifying oneself, putting into practice what one has learnt, producing or recovering the knowledge and practices of our grandparents; getting involved in activities that I like, dignifying myself as a woman and giving sense to life in general and to my own life in particular. Its value is that I can contribute something to the process.

IX - What role do WOMEN play in a cooperation and solidarity-based economic initiative?

They stick to the work they do in the organization; they motivate and encourage other women to esteem themselves and to get qualified, by giving courses and group workshops. They make key decisions in their families and the community. They show initiative, they know how to manage the economy that is within their reach and they increase it.

X - How can public policies and the State contribute to the advancement of a Solidarity Socioeconomy?

Government programs should take into account the proposals presented by the organizations, and these proposals should be feasible.

XI - Do you believe that globalization of cooperation and solidarity is possible? How can it come true?

It is possible because our organization performs community services resorting to our own resources. This makes things slower but it is still possible. If we build networks with other people and organizations we will be able to achieve a different globalized world based on the ideal of cooperation and solidarity, sharing what we have in common in our realities while preserving diversity, with respect, honesty, mutual aid and allowing the organizations and people to grow, joining our strength and gaining local, regional and national spaces, from the People and for the People.

Sources :

Vision workshop of the WSSE

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