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Flowing through the RIPESS stream
GA2018 Vukovic Drazen Simlesa

By Drazen Simlesa (Good Economy Platform – ZMAG)

Very often local activists are reluctant to join international networks: they don’t see direct benefits for themselves, it is time consuming and they give up very soon because the network didn’t solve some of their daily issues or meet some expectation. But a network is not here because of that. It is here to allow people to meet, to inspire each other, to connect, to not feel alone, to be empowered and gain new strength, to make us more visible and accepted…

So yes, we network together also to help and mutually support each other, to create a better world, to push us beyond our territories, to explore our horizon. I can’t describe better what RIPESS means to me. Here in Croatia we are still flowing through theRIPESS stream that we got during the Good Economy Conference and our network General Assembly that took place in Zagreb last June. We are still riding that wave.

One short drop: during those days we had a meeting with representatives of Croatian cities and one of the RIPESS members, RTES – the French network of local authorities for Solidarity Economy. The main subject of the meeting was how to integrate solidarity economy within Croatian cities in partnership with administrations and other important actors in the local community.

Today, not even three months later with some of them we are applying for two open calls for project proposals, meeting and communicating on a daily basis, preparing the ground for real implementation of solidarity economy in our local environments, we are visible and accepted partner to them. It is a part of our overall work and openness, but without RIPESS and its members’ support, it would be much harder for us to be on that inspiring and new wave.

This newsletter is a good mirror of RIPESS Europe abundance from Bilbao GSEF2018 to Barcelona 2020, from education and training initiatives to the “Europe we want campaign”, from local currency in Switzerland to solidarity economy growing in Greece.
All drops in a bigger wave and many more to come…
From Portugal to Russia, SSE is the “Good economy”

The RIPESS Europe General Assembly took place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of June in Zagreb, Croatia. It was preceded by the event organised by the “Green Network of Activists Groups” and the “Good Economy” platform: “Konferencija o dobroj ekonomiji”

The “Good economy” conference is an annual event (5th edition) offering an opportunity for exchanges and information to the actors of social transformation who implement initiatives on a daily basis to make territories live in harmony with their natural environment and their populations. The programme was rich and has been an excellent “warm-up” for the General Assembly (see program here).

In May, RIPESS Europe was mandated by the British Council to draft a series of recommendations to better promote the Culture of social solidarity economy in Greece. In addition, the Erasmus IVET project devoted to the introduction of SSE training into initial vocational or professional training courses has come to an end and the final report will be available following its official presentation at the last transnational meeting planned in Porto (Portugal) on July 13th. These various requests attest to the need to link SSE organisations in Europe, all the more urgent as institutional solidarities are crumbling under the effect of the hardening of governance methods by both private enterprises and public authorities.

Socioeco.org has been working for several months on many maps, including two that link the Sustainable Development Goals and SSE. The site will soon publish the contributions issued during the last conference of the Réseau Interuniversitaire de l’ESS (RIUESS) which was held in Rennes in May (in French, see here). “To associate, to self-manage, to emancipate”, the theme of the conference is a useful form of incentive in the face of the consequences of the hardening political times mentioned above.

In the meantime, the work of convergence and alliances with major networks continues: in Brussels with the fair trade (WFTO and the FTAO), in Florence with the REVES, the European network of Regions and cities for the ESS.

To conclude, it should be stressed that interactions between RIPESS Europe and its members are intensifying and the countries of Eastern Europe are now better represented. The region of Northern Europe is also very active:  in April the NESEM (North Europe Solidarity Economy Meeting) took place in Helsinki, a promising meeting for the creation of a “Nordic” SSE platform, which will include Scandinavia, Baltic countries and… Russia!

By strengthening each other, we give each other strength!

On the way to the 7th General Assembly in Zagreb
April 16, 2018
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Zagreb
By Josette Combes
RIPESS Europe’s activities have been intense lately. We went to Salvador de Bahia where the World Social Forum showed a great vitality bereaved by the assassination of Marielle Franco, activist city councellor on the front of favelas black communities rights  whose young people are killed without any prosecution against the militias and the military responsible for it. Gus Massiah of the French association CRID makes an exhaustive account of it. During the WSF, Ripess presented the World Forum for Transformative Economies project, which will take place in April 2019 in Barcelona. A very important project that will combine the strengths of RIPESS Europe and RIPESS Intercontinental, the XES of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall and several other partners.

Previously, the second meeting of independent media was held, bringing together some 20 media representatives dedicated to alternative information. A manifesto will be published soon after this meeting. It should serve as a basis for cooperation and collective support among journalists with the general objective of producing free information and making the alternatives to the ultra-liberal system. known.
Several new projects are in the process of being validated, including the next phase of the IVET project on Vocational Education and training, as well as other European projects with many field and academic partners.
Ripess Europe has been asked to produce a strategy plan for the Greek government that wants to implement an ambitious policy for the development of SSE in Greece. A team of ten experts from our member networks are working on it.
Among the important projects, the preparation of the General Assembly which will take place on 15 and 16 June in Zagreb as a continuation of the Good Economy Festival in partnership with our Croatian members. To make your arrangements you will soon have more detailed information and we hope that you can join us at this annual meeting.
The 4 SSE projects of the French government

We open this letter on the news of the (French) government which, as we mentioned in the editorial of the month of January, leads four projects in connection with the Social and Solidarity Economy.

On 18 January, we were able to attend the inauguration of #FrenchIMPACT, the national accelerator for social innovation, and the launch of the first “Pionniers French Impact” call for projects whose objective is to build the showcase of socially innovative entrepreneurs. A call for applications will be launched in March to build the French ecosystem of social innovation and experiment with local accelerators on pilot territories, before the extension of the device on the whole national territory in 2019. It is clear that the stated objective is to support, far beyond the associations, mutuals and foundations, any company which, by its activity innovates socially by making it possible to reach quantifiable social objectives generating savings for the public expenses. It is a vision of social innovation reduced to the sole measure of social impact, but a vision that seems to bring together several members of the government, since three ministers surrounded Christophe Itier for this launch.

A vision that is consistent with the Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Enterprises (PACTE) and the announcement of the mission entrusted to Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard on “business and general interest”. As we announced, this topic raises questions from the actors of the ESS who are mobilizing to value the contribution and the experience of SSE on this subject. Michel Prugue, president of Coop de France, said in an article published in Up Magazine this February 8: “Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model of “B.CORP “, these companies” mission “would be more citizen-based, more modern, more committed … more human! Indeed, a business can be governed by something other than the rapid return on capital and the short-term profit of its shareholders; the people who compose it can be respected, their participation can be valued; the long term can be protected in the name of the collective interests of today’s women and men and their children, and the children of their children. All this may seem extremely innovative, but for us, it’s our daily life though being sometimes … very old companies! See also on this point the forums published in the monthly letter n ° 117 of CIRIEC and in particular that of Jean Gatel who was Secretary of State, in charge of the Social Economy.

If the Movement for the Solidarity Economy (MESà conceives / understands this desire to moralize the lucrative enterprises to tend towards a more ethical capitalism, we remain vigilant so that the notion of general interest is not distorted. We remain above all mobilized to defend the diversity of citizen dynamics working for a transition towards a more solidarity-based, more just and more sustainable society. If, as stated by Les Echos, a majority of bosses would be favorable to companies with a mission to see a new opportunity for companies to go further in the CSR and to go beyond the green or the social washing, why not propose to these companies to meet the obligations imposed today by the ESUS approval, it would already be a great step forward.

(Extract from the editorial of the MES – Movement for the Solidarity Economy – of the February 2018 newsletter)

See the full text (in French) here.

Radical and inclusive
December 19, 2017
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Six years after our Foundation Congress in Barcelona in Catalonia  (hopefully the Catalan people can forge a peaceful future), the RIPESS Europe network continues its path. We have reaffirmed this collaborative space as the European force of solidarity economy. We continue our efforts of enlargement (the last Coordination meeting took place in Helsinki, and new members joined from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Greece and Portugal) and consolidation of the network. Read more

Editorial: a more solid(ary) network
October 5, 2017
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FESC 2017

This October, the FESC (Fira of Economia Solidaria de Catalunya) fair and festival is going to be held in Barcelona and RIPESS Europe is concerned for more than one reason. The FESC is organized by a large number of Catalan organizations, including the XES, a founding member of RIPESS EU. This year, RIPESS Intercontinental  has chosen to hold its annual meeting with members of the various continental networks. But of course we are concerned with the worrying situation in Catalonia and the violent clashes between the peaceful demonstrators of independence and the massively disposed police forces to repress these demonstrations in favour of the referendum. From our position, we can not take a stance in this conflict except as militants for the right to the expression of citizens. As such, we express our solidarity to those who have seen this right flouted and eventually suffered the incredible violence of the forces of repression. Read more

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