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UniverSSE2017
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Bilbao: RIPESS at the Global Social Economy Forum GSEF 2018

The Global Social Economy Forum was held in Bilbao (1-3 October 2018). This is the fourth edition after Seoul 2 times and Montreal 2016. It brought together more than 1700 people from 84 countries. It should be noted that a significant number of representatives of local authorities had made the trip to testify to their involvement in the SSE. It is one of the strong points of the GSEF, to link the evolution of the development of cities to the Social Economy. It should be noted in passing that the title “social economy” has largely predominated in the discourse, the term solidarity being considered superfluous in some cultures because it is included. Nevertheless, the term SSE has also been used in several instances, either in plenary or in workshops. This point can and has given rise to some controversy. We know that for RIPESS, the term solidarity is central because it refers to a philosophy of radical contestation of the ultra-liberal model in force in the globalized economy. The title of the Forum, “Values and competitiveness for inclusive and sustainable local development”, strongly advocated by the Bilbao government, was also discussed.

Mondragon, a partner of the event, is an emblematic example of cooperativism, and of the social economy conceived as a systemic complex aiming at autonomy in a context of resistance, at the time of its creation, to Francoism. Mr. Iñigo Ucin, President of the Mondragon County Council, presented his global experience (production, finance, training, distribution) and invited people to field visits.

The workshops on a wide range of themes offered a wide range of experiences, which is always a time to stimulate optimism and an opportunity for meetings that can be extended over time through fruitful collaborations. RIPESS was present with several members from all continents. The opportunity to get in direct contact with representatives of local authorities and the European Commission was well taken.

During a dedicated session, a Declaration on Transformative SSE which aims at real systemic change was read. During the ceremony, people from several cultures and continents read the text in 4 languages.

During the same session, Jason Nardi for RIPESS, Julia Grannel for XES and Carlos Askunze, coordinator of REAS Euskadi, announced the preparation of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies. A first preparatory phase will take place in April 2019 in Barcelona and the final edition of this Global Forum is scheduled for 2020. The session ended with a “picoteo” (a kind of aperitif dinner) invited by REAS to Hika Ateneo, an alternative place in Bilbao.

In the closing session Margeritte Mendell (Concordia University, Montreal) used an oxymoron to signify that political and also academic research staff should relax the frameworks and rules that stifle the field initiative. She recommended the “institutionalization of flexibility”.

Jason Nardi was one of three people mandated to read the final declaration of the GSEF after participating in its drafting. A statement from the youth who participated in the forum was also presented.

The next edition of the GSEF is expected to take place in Mexico City in 2020.

Vocational Training: a new Erasmus project working on Trainers

Following the first European Erasmus+ project, which ended with an international meeting in Porto (Portugal) organised in July by APDES (Agencia Piaget Para O Desenvolvimento), a new project was submitted to Europe and approved. It will officially begin with a working meeting in mid-November in Timisoara (Romania) dedicated to the planning of the different phases of the project.

“The project aims to contribute to the development and improvement of skills and competences in Vocational Education and Training (VET), a need identified during the evaluation process of the previous project (SSEE: affirming a new paradigm through innovation of VET programmes), by providing programmes and strengthening the skills of VET trainers, in order to make VET a socio-cultural, interdisciplinary innovation and a basis for experiences and jobs, starting with vocational training, in the context of local development. This project will advocate for the integration of transversal knowledge and using the importance of general knowledge and key competences in addition to professional competences in this education and training of trainers subsystem. The adaptation and development of VET and SSE skills and competences are richer and better adapted to the needs of the labour market, enable young people and adults to be better qualified and contribute to permeability and mobility between different education and training subsystems. The ability of VET systems to anticipate future skills needs and skill gaps requires the inclusion of new frameworks of ideas, new paradigms and alternative models. This is why the project aims to include social issues and solidarity in the education of new generations of learners. This new socio-economic model will serve as a relevant tool for them to address labour market challenges (…) SSE as an alternative socio-economic model in the EU and other parts of the world is rooted in inclusive values and practices, which are much needed in a “transition era”. SSE practitioners develop alternatives in all economic sectors within and beyond current economic models by focusing on sustainability, social needs, reciprocity and solidarity. (…) SSE offers new skills and competences as well as methodologies and practices for creating new or alternative business models, enterprises and cooperatives. With regard to new skills, in the era of automation, the development of non-technical skills such as communication, creative thinking, work ethics, teamwork, networking, decision-making, flexibility, critical thinking and conflict resolution is considered more than essential. (…)

Based on the objectives of the project, a threefold scope can be presented:

  • First, to make SSE a visible and familiar concept on the labour market with regard to the potential and specific constraints that this alternative socio-economic model includes.
  • Secondly, to empower trainers and trainees such as unemployed and untrained young people to acquire new skills and competences from SSE as part of their attempt to enter the labour market.
  • Third, to provide VET trainers, especially at higher levels, with innovative pedagogical methods and tools by implementing an alternative pedagogical experience (SSE in training). To this end, the project proposes the development of innovative methodologies and specific pedagogical tools including training courses, an online platform to support learning and training activities and guides to good practice. (extracts from the project presentation)

Project partners: CRIES (Romania), Technet (Germany), DOCK Synergatikos Koinonikis Koros kai allileggyas oikonomias (Greece), Solidarius (Italy), APDES (Portugal), MES (France) and RIPESS Europe

CIRIEC call for papers: “SSE: Moving Towards a New Economic System”
October 9, 2018
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CIRIEC 7th Conference 2019

The 7th CIRIEC’s international conference will be an occasion, from June 6 to 9, 2019, for shared reflection on the role of Social and Solidarity Economy in facing the current challenges and a realizing a ‘transformational vision’ such as the one set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Held for the first time in Central and Eastern Europe, in a post-communist country marked by major political, social and economic changes during the last century – Romania, and which has recently re-discovered the virtues of the social and solidarity economy, the conference aims to generate a renewed scholarly interest in these topics in the region. By bringing together the global CIRIEC network of senior and early-stage researchers interested by the whole range of the social economy components (cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations), it will be a unique opportunity for the West to meet East and to contribute with the results of studies to a transformational vision for a world meeting its sustainable development goals.

More info, themes, abstract submissions and registration here.

Call for papers here.

RTES report: “Europe & SSE Challenges and levers of action for local authorities”

While the budgetary framework of the next European program (2021/2027) is currently being negotiated, the RTES (French Network of Local Authorities for a Solidarity Economy) has published a RepèrESS, “Europe & ESS – issues and levers of action for local authorities to encourage SSE communities and stakeholders to mobilize European funding and to participate in the construction of a more solidarity-based European project.

Through:

– An inventory of the place of the social and solidarity economy in the European landscape

– A presentation of the different European funds and programs and examples of French social and solidarity economy projects benefiting from this funding

– Methodological advice for the assembly of projects – 10 proposals and perspectives for a more cohesive Europe

– The consideration of SSE in 7 Regional Operational Programs in France.

You can find the document (in French) here.

 

Good economy conference hosting the RIPESS Europe General Assembly
Good Economy Conference

On the 15th of June 2018, the 5th Good Economy Conference will take place, followed by the 7th General Assembly of RIPESS Europe (April 16-17). Organized by the Green Network of Activists Groups and the Platform for Good Economy, these two meetings are taking place in Zagreb, Croatia.  You’re all invited to participate!

The Good Economy Conference became in the past years a unique place in Croatia and the Balkan region, gathering activists and people that create and live different forms of alternative economy:  there are practitioners building “good economy” models, capable of supporting and strengthening our local communities and societies. The conference represents the opportunity to share ideas and knowledge, to cooperate on new paths, projects and common initiatives. Now in its fifth year, advocating for good and solidarity economy is going even further, with the RIPESS – Solidarity Economy Europe Network’s General Assembly taking place in Zagreb right after the Conference, will create a space for more cooperation between regional good economy activists and solidarity economy initiatives from all over Europe.

Once again, we are focusing on real stories and models that are already here, around us! A world of “collaborative economy” practices, with concepts of “open factory” owned by its employees, ecological and social enterprises, hotels run by immigrants and former refugees, cities organised on participatory governance, movements for collective ownership and a fairer work sector dealing at the same time between the cooperatives rich tradition and the new technologies of the 21st century.

[by Drazen Simlesa (Zmag / Good Economy Platform) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS Europe)]

2d European meeting “Independant Media and SSE”
February 27, 2018
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2nd European Alternative Media meeting

During the 1st meeting at the UniverSSE Congress in June 2017 in Athens, promoted by RIPESS Europe, a second European meeting of “Independent, Alternative and Cooperative Media and SSE” was proposed.  It took place in February 2018, in Villarceaux (near Paris), with several independent media (print and electronic) from more than 10 European countries – (see list here). The intention of this meeting was to reflect on how to bring together in a network – informal at the moment – media that share a common vision on sharing information and in particular the central question of the independence from the major economic and political powers, an alternative view of the economy and a democratic and cooperative way of working.

The session of mutual acquaintance between the participants showed a number of similarities. or differences, in seniority for example: half of the media present have been in existence for less than five years; content: some produce only paper content, others video, some publish in several languages, others in one, under “creative commons” or not, etc.

The work progressed according to the following order: a first series of workshops whose themes covered a broad spectrum of common concerns encompassing the forms of cooperation envisaged, common tools, commercial models,  potential obstacles to cooperation, in particular the need to better manage time constraints, content that can flow from one medium to another, the language barrier, etc.

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RTES/REVES Meeting: co-construction of public policy

“Europe & ESS, the time has come!” – Lille 12 January 2018

Introduction by Ripess Europe (Patricia Coler and Jason Nardi)

Solidarity Economy is a movement that aims to transform the current social and economic system into one based on cooperative and solidarity short and direct circuit exchanges that connect individual needs with those of the community. It puts dignity in front of any profit. And the common good and public interest before the private, individualistic one.

It’s based on practices of relocalising value supply chains, production, exchange and use of goods and services that meet the economic and social needs of local, territorial and international communities. It promotes economic democracy, social justice, environmental awareness, gender equity and a pluralist, multicultural approach. Social Solidarity economy is already happening through thousands of citizen initiatives, solidarity practices and collaborative networks all over Europe and the world.

For Ripess Europe, meeting the challenges of today’s Europe means that there has to be a much more open and plural economy that recognizes and gives space to the SSE, the full and effective participation of citizens in the economic and democratic regulations, cooperation by and between territories. An economy that goes beyond the traditional division in 3 sectors : private, public and social – where all have the same obligations and responsabilities towards the people and the planet.

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