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UniverSSE2017
Video
OPEN CALL OF TRANSFORMATIVE CITIES 2019
November 14, 2018
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The Transformative Cities initiative is launched by a group of regional and international organizations (in alphabetical order): European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability (Ecolise), Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), the Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C) and the Transnational Institute (TNI).

The video

THE AWARD

In giving the Transformative cities award, we aim to highlight political practices and solutions that can serve as inspiration for others. We aspire to create a new model of awards, one which is participatory, inspirational, and rooted in exchange and learning. We envisage a process of knowledge co-creation and practice exchange that leads to an atlas of political practices, whose inspiring stories speed up a process of systemic transformation towards a more democratic, equal, peaceful and resilient world.

This award does not seek to judge social movements, civil society organizations, citizens platforms or other groups. It is a platform where those acting to transform the world may systematize their successful practices, exchange with and learn from others, and receive increased exposure and outreach. After the first edition, we are engaged in an ongoing learning process, looking at how to systematize local political practices, so we can identify what is working, to help accelerate the process of transformation.

WHAT IS A TRANSFORMATIVE CITY?

We do not have definite answers, and we expect to solve these questions collectively. We see cities broadly as the location for place-based struggles for basic rights. “Transformative” recognizes that these struggles have succeeded in articulating an inclusive vision for a social majority to transform their city or defined environment. These practices will have measurable results, since they have been implemented successfully, and they will be practices that can be replicated in other regions and places. The evaluation criteria include: equity and participation, capacity to inspire collective action, sustainability and efficiency, solidarity and public ethos, impact, transferability and replicability, accountability and transparency, fairness of labour conditions and the recognition of the domestic and care work.

Finally, the award will pay special attention to those experiences whose results are particularly hard to reverse. Think about a caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly, this change cannot be changed back, these are the kinds of transformations we aim to collect, and magnify.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: TRANSFORMATIVE CITIES INITIATIVE

This initiative is open to collectives, not individuals. A collective can have the form of a social movement with recognizable structures and goals without a formal legal recognition, a legally existing civil society organization, a citizens’ platform seeking to gain institutional power at municipal and/or city level via a political candidacy, an established city council, or other forms of collective action that centre their practices in a specific location that is not generally recognized as a region, state or similar delimitation.

The second edition of the award (2018-19) will look at the three issues included in first edition: Energy, Water and Housing plus an additional one, Food Systems. We expect to keep adding issues based on our capacity, and aim to organize at least three annual awards.

If you are not sure about your eligibility, please do contact us.

Did you apply last year and not get the Award? We encourage you to apply again, probably your initiative has grown stronger and you have more inspiration to share.

To apply please follow this questionnaire.

We look forward to receiving your inspiring stories of transformation. Another world is not only possible, it is already happening, and we hope to work with you to make it as strong and visible as possible.

For more information go to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

GSEF2018: RIPESS and REAS Euskadi present the Declaration for a Transformative SSE
Declaration Transformative SSE Bilbao

Within the framework of the GSEF2018 (Global Social Economy Forum) in Bilbao on the 2nd of October 2018, RIPESS and REAS Euskadi have launched the Declaration for a Transformative Social and Solidarity Economy. The statement comes when it is the thenth anniversary since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the trigger that ignited the biggest financial crisis even known.

The outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008 placed capitalism at the centre of all citizen’s criticism. However, in these ten years the much-awaited and necessary changes have not occurred. Quite the contrary: the processes of financialization of the economy have increased, its speculative character has strengthened and, above all, the poverty and inequality rates on the planet have grown significantly.

Therefore, the statement wants to “raise the voice to denounce capitalism that commodifies and threatens our lives and our planet. It is a hetero-patriarcal capitalism that promotes discrimination against women and excludes diversity “.

In this way, the people, organizations and networks of SEE present at GSEF 2018 commit themselves through this declaration to “working together with other social movements for the transformation of the economy through alternative and social initiatives in the areas of finance, production, marketing and consumption. By transforming the economy, we transform territories and communities and thus promote a new cultural, social and political model”.

With this initiative, a commitment is made to a transforming social and solidarity-based economy at the service of a New World that is more just, respectful, democratic and sustainable. It is now a question of joining forces, and all existing practices, to build and impose an Inclusive Global Agenda from the Local to the International, and show that we have answers and proposals to overcome today’s huge global challenges.

In the act of launching the declaration, the World Social Forum of the Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020 has also been presented to the people attending the GSEF 2018.

You can consult the Declaration for a transforming Social and Solidarity Economy here.

Post-growth: The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth

Article of The Guardian, September 16, 2018

238 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP

This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.

For the past seven decades, GDP growth has stood as the primary economic objective of European nations. But as our economies have grown, so has our negative impact on the environment. We are now exceeding the safe operating space for humanity on this planet, and there is no sign that economic activity is being decoupled from resource use or pollution at anything like the scale required. Today, solving social problems within European nations does not require more growth. It requires a fairer distribution of the income and wealth that we already have.

Growth is also becoming harder to achieve due to declining productivity gains, market saturation, and ecological degradation. If current trends continue, there may be no growth at all in Europe within a decade. Right now the response is to try to fuel growth by issuing more debt, shredding environmental regulations, extending working hours, and cutting social protections. This aggressive pursuit of growth at all costs divides society, creates economic instability, and undermines democracy.

Those in power have not been willing to engage with these issues, at least not until now. The European commission’s Beyond GDP project became GDP and Beyond. The official mantra remains growth — redressed as “sustainable”, “green”, or “inclusive” – but first and foremost, growth. Even the new UN sustainable development goals include the pursuit of economic growth as a policy goal for all countries, despite the fundamental contradiction between growth and sustainability.

The good news is that within civil society and academia, a post-growth movement has been emerging. It goes by different names in different places: décroissance, Postwachstum, steady-state or doughnut economics, prosperity without growth, to name a few. Since 2008, regular degrowth conferences have gathered thousands of participants. A new global initiative, the Wellbeing Economies Alliance (or WE-All), is making connections between these movements, while a European research network has been developing new “ecological macroeconomic models”. Such work suggests that it’s possible to improve quality of life, restore the living world, reduce inequality, and provide meaningful jobs – all without the need for economic growth, provided we enact policies to overcome our current growth dependence.

Some of the changes that have been proposed include limits on resource use, progressive taxation to stem the tide of rising inequality, and a gradual reduction in working time. Resource use could be curbed by introducing a carbon tax, and the revenue could be returned as a dividend for everyone or used to finance social programmes. Introducing both a basic and a maximum income would reduce inequality further, while helping to redistribute care work and reducing the power imbalances that undermine democracy. New technologies could be used to reduce working time and improve quality of life, instead of being used to lay off masses of workers and increase the profits of the privileged few.

Given the risks at stake, it would be irresponsible for politicians and policymakers not to explore possibilities for a post-growth future. The conference happening in Brussels is a promising start, but much stronger commitments are needed. As a group of concerned social and natural scientists representing all Europe, we call on the European Union, its institutions, and member states to:

1. Constitute a special commission on post-growth futures in the EU parliament. This commission should actively debate the future of growth, devise policy alternatives for post-growth futures, and reconsider the pursuit of growth as an overarching policy goal.

2. Incorporate alternative indicators into the macroeconomic framework of the EU and its member states. Economic policies should be evaluated in terms of their impact on human wellbeing, resource use, inequality, and the provision of decent work. These indicators should be given higher priority than GDP in decision-making.

3. Turn the stability and growth pact (SGP) into a stability and wellbeing pact. The SGP is a set of rules aimed at limiting government deficits and national debt. It should be revised to ensure member states meet the basic needs of their citizens, while reducing resource use and waste emissions to a sustainable level.

4. Establish a ministry for economic transition in each member state. A new economy that focuses directly on human and ecological wellbeing could offer a much better future than one that is structurally dependent on economic growth.

The International Fair Trade Charter
September 14, 2018
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Rising inequality, entrenched poverty and a deepening ecological crisis have mobilised the global community to seek new models of business and trade that drive fair and sustainable economies. Over many decades, the Fair Trade movement has developed and implemented a range of models that serve as an experiment in transforming the broader global economy.

The new International Fair Trade Charter enshrines the common vision and fundamental values of the Fair Trade movement to put us on the path to realising the Sustainable Development Goals.

With diverse actors playing actively in the global Fair Trade movement, the Charter serves as the single international reference point for Fair Trade.

Get a copy of the International Fair Trade Charter and support Fair Trade here . The Charter is available here.

[RIPESS International is supporting the new Charter]

 

September 10, Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements – Call to Mobilise!

WTO and a host of multi-lateral and bilateral Free Trade Agreements have created criminal levels of inequality: La Via Campesina


Global bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) that are directly and indirectly promoting a host of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have created a criminal level of inequality in this world, wherein according to reports, 82% of the world’s wealth is now controlled by merely 1% of the people. Global Hunger is again on the rise, with peoples’ food sovereignty under severe threat.

This comes on the back of a seven-decade long persistent push for neo-liberal policies, which called for ‘free market trade’ regimes around the world. Privatisation and de-regulation that came about as the consequences of such a push has evidently made the rich richer, while poverty and world hunger continue to remain at staggeringly high levels.

It is an unpardonable offence that brings into question the purpose of existence of these institutions and the Free Trade Agreements they promote. All that these agreements have ensured is the freedom for Multinational Corporations to dump cheap food into economically weaker countries, after having received heavy subsidies from their rich governments.

Such dumping and a push for an industrial agricultural system has ended up treating food grains as a commodity for trade, as a commodity to be speculated upon – with peasants and family farmers unable to meet even the cost of cultivation. It has destroyed rural peasant communities, fishers and our peasant markets. Increased privatisation of services have increased the cost of living, while income levels of peasant households have plunged. The resulting debt has pushed millions of peasants households into deep debt.

This industrial system of agriculture promoted by the criminal trio of WTO, World Bank and IMF, has led to consolidation and control of the global food chain into the hands of a few agribusiness corporations, while creating devastating impact for the planet, its people and all the living species.

———EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANISE!———–

It was to highlight this extreme violation of the rural side, that on 10 September 2003, Lee Kyung Hae – a rice farmer from South Korea and a leader of our peasant movement – took his own life outside the Ministerial meeting of WTO in Cancun, Mexico. While sacrificing his life to expose the crimes of WTO and Free Trade Agreements, Lee was holding a placard that read “WTO Kills Farmers”.

Since that day, we have come to mark 10 September as the Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements, mobilising our peasant members against the assault of global capital and free market regimes. We have denounced WTO at all the ministerial meetings held ever since through direct actions.

This year too, we will continue the resistance. Several multi-lateral and bilateral agreements such as RCEP, CPTPP, EU-Mercosur, CETA and more are being frantically negotiated by countries and global bodies behind closed doors, with no respect to democracy and national sovereignty.

In the run up to September 10, we call upon all our members, allies, supporters in the cities and the country sides and all friends to organise marches, public meetings and rural actions that will continue to denounce the existence of WTO, World Bank, IMF as well as expose the details of these agreements that threaten to take away people’s food sovereignty and allow expansion of markets for multinational agribusinesses.

Let us all, in our own decentralised and diverse ways of struggle, echo the call Lee Kyung Hae gave us –“WTO and Free Trade Agreements Kills Peasants”.

La Via Campesina will also soon be announcing a massive mobilisation effort against criminal trio of World Bank, IMF and WTO. We urge every member to stay together and show the power of people’s resistance.

Onward, now!

WTO KILLS PEASANTS!
TAKE AGRICULTURE OUT OF ALL FREE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS!
WE WANT FOOD SOVEREIGNTY, NOT FREE TRADE!

 

More information at: Via Campesina

ZAD (Zone to defend), dismantling of public services and the “other possible world”
April 20, 2018
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In France, as the government prepares to complete the dismantling of public services, from rail to university, mobilisations and resistance are organized. This editorial calls to take into account, in addition to these mobilizations, the different forms of revolt but also initiatives carrying another “possible world”. The current social movement rekindles the sense of resistance to the laws of the market and financial speculation, reenact the revolts of the past and rediscovers the very essence of real democracy. The experience of the ZAD is eloquent in this respect, the state exercises the “monopoly of legitimate violence” against a collective management of commons, whose very idea is unacceptable by the current existing order. At the SNCF, in the hospital environment, in multiple companies, the idea is moving to reclaim production tools, to master its work, its skills and its efforts to act on their social utility. A variety of initiatives, rooted in the solidarity economy, contribute to the opening of new ways of social transformation.

Read the whole article – appeal here (in French – Liberation).

(Co-signed by: Michèle Riot-Sarcey, historian ; Francis Sitel, codirector of the magazine Contretemps ; Jean-Louis Laville, socio-économist of the Critique collective and member of the RIPESS Europe advisory council ; Lionel Maurel, author of the blog S.I.Lex ; Jean Claude Boual, Collectif des associations citoyennes ; Patricia Coler, Mouvement pour l’économie solidaire ; Claude Sicard, activist ; Laura Aufrère, member of the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee).

Manifesto for Transformative Social Innovation
February 20, 2018
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The Manifesto for Transformative Social Innovation Version 0.1 has been written by people involved in a number of networks, initiatives and research groups that focus on initiating, facilitating and/or understanding transformative change and social innovation towards more sustainable, just and resilient societies. After a process of 4 years, led by 25 researchers and the TRANSIT’s final conference ‘Learning for Change’ in September 2017 in Rotterdam, the idea of a manifesto was used as an entry point to share, compare and debate thoughts and experiences on the delights and challenges of transformative social innovation.

It is written by and for activists, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, citizens, critical intellectuals and other engaged individuals who are interested in understanding and contributing to social change to face the challenges of our times and to imagine alternative futures.

The aim of this document is to unite those people, to identify complementarities, differences, common insights and challenges. The purpose of doing so is to formulate a common call for action to create focus and momentum for collaboration. To this end, this manifesto also deliberates what we mean by ‘transformative’ and ‘social’ innovation, what it has to offer and what sets it apart from other types of change or innovation.

The process in ongoing with 20 Translocal Networks working on social change under study, among them RIPESS Europe.The Manifesto has been endorsed already by RIPESS Europe, many other nerworks and individuals.

You will find the text of the Manifesto here.

 

Greece : New “Fruits of Solidarity” campaign is about to set up
December 11, 2017
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‘Fruits of Solidarity” is an exports campaign project of Greek coop products (mostly olive oil & oils), supported by Dock – Social Solidarity Economy Zone* aiming at the creation of a new node in the existing network of production, distribution, exportation and consumption of coop products, based on the principles and values of social solidarity economy.

Read more

The UNIVERSSE il calling you! Add a star and make it brighter!

Last days to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign to support the participation in the Solidarity Economy Congress in Athens (see the campaign here: https://en.goteo.org/project/universse2017congress

When the planet is coughing and people are suffocated under the capitalist sphere, it’s time to reach for the sky.  We must continue to draw the constellations between the Social Solidarity Economy initiatives, ranging from cooperatives to mutual associations, exchange networks, alternative currencies, time banks, eco-communities and grassroots initiatives which form the European SSE galaxy. First of all to create essential connections for the emergence of collective intelligence, but also to work together in a common direction, using the same map.

Our mission is to Democratize Economy, Emancipate Society and Empower Change!  By highlighting SSE and its impact, we hope to motivate more people to adopt its philosophy and add their stars in the UniverSSE.  We aim to show that SSE can create new work opportunities, true relationships among people, real democracy and greater care for the environment. 

UniverSSE is a story of a huge galaxy that shines around Europe and tries to help us raise our sight to other solutions.

From the 9th to the 11th of June, we will hold a congress at The Agricultural  University of Athens: the 4th European Social and Solidarity Economy Congress – UniverSSE 2017 (See the program here: https://universse2017.org/en/program/ )

For this 3 day congress, SSE organizations, groups and individuals from all over Europe will meet, and have the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, experiences, expertise and common strategies around SSE. We are also happy to announce that the 6th General Assembly of Ripess EU  will be held in Athens, as part of the Congress. 

This is where YOU come in. So that no one is eclipsed,  it’s important to be able to cover all travel and accommodation expenses for members of Social and Solidarity Economy groups that are coming to participate in the congress, especially those who can not afford to come. We need also to finance the administrative costs of the event.  We have started a crowdfunding campaign to collect 5000€ to support the project. Comet or an asteroid, everyone must be able to take part in this collective journey and express their voice. We no longer content ourselves with watching the world of tomorrow through a telescope, let us be the explorers! Can you afford to give 10, 20, €50 or more to help create the UniverSSE? Please donate, promote this important meeting, and spread the crowdfunding campaign far and wide! Let’s not leave anyone behind!

Crowdfunding: Everybody has a place in UniverSSE 2017!

LINK IS HERE 

UniverSSE 2017 is the 4th European Congress for Social Solidarity Economy that will take place in Athens from the 9th till the 11th of June. Cooperatives, grassroot initiatives, SSE organizations, groups and people that work to promote and advance SSE from all over Europe will meet for the event.

GENERAL INFORMATION

During the 3day Congress, we are going to have the  opportunity  to  discuss  and  exchange  ideas,  experiences,  expertise and common strategies around SSE. We consider SSE to be a dynamic space that spreads all over Europe, in which people organize their social and economic activity in many different ways. This event is a great opportunity to enhance SSE’s visibility in Greece and to build strong connections amongst people, groups and coops on a European level. We are also happy to announce that the 6th General Assembly of Ripess EU will be held in Athens as well, as part of the Congress.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

Our motivation is to include in the Congress as many key players in the field of SSE as possible.    Spread around Europe there are many different groups linked to SSE that are working on a local or a national level. In order to build a stronger network in between these groups we want to create a space of cooperation. So this summer in Athens the UniverSSE2017 congress will take place. It will be the meeting point for people, collective ventures, SSE organizations and groups all around Europe, who work to promote and enhance SSE. Based on the 7 thematic spaces of the Congress, we will discuss and exchange experiences, ideas, expertise and conclusions around SSE and decide on the next steps to implement strong cooperation on a European level.

These are the reasons that we want to organize the UniverSSE 2017 congress. The participation of everybody is crucial in order to achieve the goals described above. We want initiatives from all countries to be able to participate and share their experiences,  especially groups from countries that face the bigger financial and social problems. Everybody has a place in the SSE universe, regardless of the financial conditions, lets not forget that Solidarity is a building block of this economy.

GOALS OF THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

Our main goal is not to leave anyone behind. Through this campaign, we would like to cover the travel and accommodation expenses of members of SSE groups that will share with us valuable practical experiences by participating in the Congress. As those groups don’t have the means to cover those expenses neither the connection to other projects, the campaign will help them to join, cooperate and plan with us the future of UniverSSE. Furthermore, a smaller amount will be used to cover administration costs, such as printing material (posters and brochures) that will be used during the Congress and also the cost of production and printing of a booklet with the results of the Congress. This booklet will be distributed on a European level and it will be a useful reference guide that will help in spreading the information and inspiring more people to join the SSE universe.  Solidarity for us is not just a word, is an everyday practise in all the aspects of our lives.  So we invite you all to help us make this possible!

HELP US BUILD A COMMON SOCIAL AND SOLIDARITY ECONOMY UNIVERSE IN EUROPE!

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