The Symbiosis Research Collective (SRC) is a network of scholars engaged in a collaborative process of knowledge production embedded in Symbiosis’s struggles at the grassroots. We have come together to achieve the following goals:
- Meet the Research Needs of Symbiosis Chapters — Every effective campaign needs a research team to identify strategic openings and targets and to generate rigorous policy demands. Ecological restoration projects, development of cooperative institutions, and efficient mutual aid systems all have research needs. Ongoing investigative projects like power-mapping, pollution tracking, and analysis of eviction trends assist our community organizing work. We develop practical solutions to the problems of sustainability and equality in housing, education, transportation, energy, food systems, and beyond to inform Symbiosis work on the ground, and disseminate that knowledge to the wider public. Alongside Symbiosis’s growth as an organization will come our documentation and reflection on the evolving theory and practice of developing community chapters.
- Craft the Vision of Our Movement — We operate as a placeless think tank to develop the rigorous policy vision of transition to a truly democratic, egalitarian, ecological society. Our mission is to produce a body of compelling research answering the basic question: if another world is possible, what does it look like? And, more to the point, what are the social and political instruments to bring it into being? We aim to shift the political consensus and supply elected officials with policy blueprints for implementing efficient cooperative economies, participatory democratic processes, and more. A key element of this think tank role is to act as a space for debate on issues of contention within our movement.
- Facilitate Scholarly Collaboration and Mutual Learning — Through connecting researchers from different fields in this flexible framework, we produce stellar academic and investigative work in its own right. We facilitate interdisciplinary cross-pollination and a mutual learning process of training one another in different research tools and skills. This scholarly approach makes unique contributions to the realm of human knowledge. We also aim to build relationships with established universities to offer courses, research grants, and internships to broaden our reach.
- Democratize the Academy — In most other academic spaces, knowledge production remains the exclusive purview of an elite class of scholars, government officials, and journalists. We strive to develop the research skills of those outside the academy and other arenas of formal education and thereby broaden the forms of knowledge we can create. Our principles of scholarship commit us to the open involvement of community members in the research process on issues that matter to them. We arrange partnership and mentorship relationships between them and experienced researchers in a popular education framework, where research techniques are passed on and where expert knowledge from lived experience enhances all of our projects.
- Fuel a Grassroots Culture of Participatory Public Intellectualism — The closely related inverse of democratizing the academy is contributing to a higher level of political engagement in our communities. With teach-ins, reading groups, public lectures, public discussions, other popular education programming, and publishing, we aim to nurture a critical, systems-level analysis at the grassroots alongside Symbiosis organizing work. This keeps our sights set high as an organization, so as to keep Symbiosis’s local work aligned with a transformative egalitarian vision at the macro level. More fundamentally, our belief that all people are potentially capable participants in the growth of human knowledge is a pillar of our democratic project. The future of radical democracy rests on creating a culture of public debate and political consciousness.
- Prefigure the Universal University — The creation of knowledge is something that can be participatory, even democratic, and it can be a powerful way for people to help transform the circumstances of their own lives. We intend to prove that. The Symbiosis Research Collective exists to demonstrate that a cooperative research framework embedded in ongoing struggles for a better society and committed to the ideals of transparency and open-source freedom of information can be successful. Our mission is to trailblaze this vision of the universal university.
Interested in joining the Symbiosis Research Collective or learning more about it? Sign up here.