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Russia: in Saint Petersburg, building solidarities with local initiatives
Saint Petersburg

[By Laura Aufrere, member of RIPESS Europe coordination committee]

During the last RIPESS Europe General Assembly in Zagreb, we had the chance to meet Olga Polyakova, representing TRAVA, a vibrant Russian collective organising peer to peer trainings and meetings, food collecting and cooking happening, tours in Saint Petersbourg, a responsible consumption guide, etc. Thanks to Olga, at the end of September, I had the chance to be welcomed in the warm apartment on Kanonersky island, shared with Gleb and Olga.

Considered as the 16th Republic of the (ex) USSR for its geographic independence, this beautiful island stands out from the rest of the city, patching together a major harbor, its industries and warehouses, apartment blocks, children playgrounds, and promenades. This diversity in the landscape is bound together in a common sound-panorama composed by the wind and the harbor rumors. With the help of many of Olga’s friends in Saint Petersbourg, including TRAVA members, we spent together a whole week of encounter with local initiatives, and there are many. Olga toured me in this beautiful city, explaining the history of the buildings and street names. We passed by the Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Center to pay tribute to Russia’s “biggest Beatles fan”, Kolya Vasin, who became a prominent figure of the underground scene in the 1960s. We visited a charity chop, and many collective initiatives to discuss solidarity economy issues to be shared in future common projects. We were told stories of collective adventures of self-managed cafés, restaurants, etc.

I was invited to present RIPESS Europe perspective on the future of work regarding the digital transformation during the Fall Meeting, organized by the German-Russian Exchange, on the topic “How Is European Labour Changing: organization of work, working spaces and times, new professions and adaptation of education, solidarity economy “. With the other speakers Anja Abendroth (University of Bielefeld, Germany) and Margarita Kuleva, Higher School of Economics, (St. Petersburg, Russia), we had the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues that are shared at a European level by many independent initiatives, with our Russian peers. The French Institute also gave me the opportunity to give a lecture on the “New organisational models in the artistic and cultural field: how to organise the creation processes in common and for the common”, as part of the program of research on urban renewal in Saint Petersburg. This week spent in Saint Petersbourg opened so many warm and welcoming relations, and connectionfor future projects.

WSF of Transformative economies 2019-2020: update about the process
October 15, 2018
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Economias Transformadoras

Last July we officially presented the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies in Barcelona and ever since we have been working starting with the networks of social solidarity econompromoting this initiative: XES, Catalan solidarity economy network; REAS, Network of networks of Spanish alternative and solidarity economies, and RIPESS, Intercontinental network of social solidarity economy.

The Forum aims to be a process of confluence between the local and the international spheres of different alter-economic approaches, which we call Transformative economiesAs you may read in the first Callsome local movements have already begun their meetings to establish priorities, agendas and objectives, mapping of organizations and confluences at local and international level. In parallel, RIPESS has promoted the process through the different membersin all the continents, and we are working with many other international networks and movements through the different approaches to disseminate and articulate the process.

In the last few weeks, we have designed a governance model that will organize the confluences both locally and internationally, in which the different ways of participation and co-promotion are defined. We want this structure to be drawn from the social base of the transformative economies, and that the confluence process will be based on the thematic axes.

We are also working on shared online working tools that will facilitate the confluence at all levels, as well as material and dissemination tools, such us the Forum website and graphic materials, that we will share with you as soon as possible, together with the next steps explaining how to participate in the process that we are just starting. In the meanwhile, do not hesitate to contact us with any doubt, idea or suggestion at forum2020@ripess.org.

Finally, we are happy to present you the new operational team that will be supporting the Forum throughout the process.Itisbasedin Barcelona and composed as of now by 3 people, who facilitate the following working areas:

Coordination: Júlia Granell
International facilitation: Iris Aviñoa
Comunications: Laie Vidiella 

Many thanks and let’s converge!

WSF of Transformative Economies Team

INAISE (solidarity finance) and NENA (Australia) join RIPESS Intercontinental

Just after the GSEF 2018 Forum, the International RIPESS Board of Directors was held, composed of two delegates per continent and representatives of international members such as Urgenci. It should be noted that RIPESS and the GSEF practice cross-membership and that the collaborative links between the two entities have been consolidated. Laurence Kwark, General Delegate of the GSEF, had been invited to participate in the first morning of the meeting. The face-to-face Board of Directors is an annual high point during which the RIPESS strategy is developed at the international level in line with the realities of the continents, which are all different from each other. It is also an opportunity to put faces on the names that circulate on the lists during virtual consultations, an essential part of the network’s cohesion.

One of the elements of complexity is linked to the geographical and demographic scale of the continents and the principle of creating sub-continents (particularly in Asia) to better achieve the objective of spreading practices has been considered. Two new members are joining: INAISE (International Network of SSE Investors) and NENA (New Economy Network Australia) as new focal point for Oceania. A partnership with Quartiers du Monde has also been established.

On communication, an important decision was also been adopted: bringing all websites together within the intercontinental Ripess website, which will allow the use of common grammar and semantics, economies of scale and better intercommunication. Gabriel Boichat, the new RIPESS communication officer, broadcast the two events extensively on social networks.

Rethinking Economics: changing how Economy is taught
Rethinking economics

Last August the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering  took place,  bringing together 75 students and academics from all over the world at La Bergerie de Villarceaux, in France. Representatives of progressive fundations such as the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation, Partners for a New Economy, or the Edge Funders Alliance also attended the meeting to discuss the role of philanthropy in overcoming the current extractivist economic system. Rethinking Economics is an international network of students, academics and professionals that lobbies to overcome neo-liberal economic thinking in society and in the academic curriculum. 

10 years after the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis there seems to be a wide consensus among many different initiatives on the need for the so-called “transformative economies” to converge into a common global agenda. Some of these initiatives that also attended the gathering were the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll), Promoting Economic Pluralism (PEP), Reclaim Our Economy or Finance Watch. Villarceaux was a perfect context to exchange some ideas on how to work togehter effectively and how the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies of Barcelona could be a platform to work on this convergence.  The presentation took place on August 16th and many of the students who were present, showed interest in collaborating with the Forum from the different local organisations they represented.

Through the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, RIPESS, REAS and XES have committed themselves to organising a two year path that will cross through events all around the world that include two meetings in Barcelona, in 2019 and 2020. The official presentation at the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering of Villarceaux paves the way of a process that will follow in the next 2 years.

[by Xavi Artigas, XES – Catalan solidarity economy network]

GSEF2018: Bilbao welcomes the Cities promoting SSE

The Capital of the Basque Country – Bilbao – is hosting the 4the edition of the Global Social Economy Forum, GSEF2018, from the 1st to the 3rd of October. The title of the Forum is: ‘Social economy and cities – Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development”. The GSEF that was initiated by the City of Seoul in 2013, in collaboration with its local social economy partners, is an international network that brings together local governments and civil society stakeholders committed to supporting the development of the Social Economy (SE).. In 2016 it took place in Montreal, Canada, and RIPESS participated and became a member. This year the RIPESS delegation is quite large, coming from all continents, and present in several sessions.

REAS – through REAS Euskadi, the local network – has been part of the organising committee and has involved many solidarity economy actors at the local level.

On the 2nd of October, REAS Euskadi, XES and RIPESS are organising a special moment dedicated to present the “Declaration for a transformative Social Solidarity Economy” and the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies.

The programme and key speakers are available on the GSEF website.

 

World Social Forum of convergence of Transformative Economies

A two-year process of convergence to build an Inclusive World Agenda from networked local nodes!

As shared in the World Social Forum of Salvador de Bahia (read March 2018 article), RIPESS Intercontinental RIPESS Europe, XES (Catalan Solidarity Economy Network) and REAS (Spanish SE Network) are happy to announce the commitment to a Thematic World Social Forum of Convergence of Transformative Economies, from local to international levels, by 2020 :

The objective is to start a process of convergence between all initiatives, practices, movements and ways of understanding the economy that share the common goal of transforming the existing economic system, beyond Social and Solidarity Economy. Some of these processes of convergence have already been taking place for a long time :

Another World already exists. We now need to bring together our strengh, the common solutions and practices both locally and internationally, to build an inclusive world agenda, and jointly face today’s main challenges!

See the First International Call inviting all interested movements and networks to express their interest in participating and/or in becoming co-promoters of the initiative.

It is essential to ensure that the construction process reflects the proposals, challenges and opportunities of all continents, movements and networks.

To this end, different committees will facilitate the co-definition of the contents by various networks and movements and will ensure the articulation between local and global levels.

Read more

No Agroecology without farmers and Conscious Consumers !
April 19, 2018
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The 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology took place at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome, 3-5 April 2018.

700 participants, representing Member States, FAO agencies, farmers’ unions, civil society organisations and social movements as well as researchers from all over the world exchanged on their practices and visions of agroecology.

Urgenci, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) raised the voice and the visibility of local solidarity alliances between producers and consumers from all parts of the world. Jointly with the other Civil Society actors from the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, Urgenci supported a clear common message: without women, there is no Agroecology, without small-scale food producers, there is no Agroecology, without conscious consumers, there is no Agroecology.

In their various interventions, Urgenci delegates stressed the importance of the role of conscious consumers in scaling up agroecology:

“A global consumers’ movement exists today. This movement is creative and diverse and stands for a vision of agroecology that is clearly connected to food sovereignty and solidarity economy , said Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, during one of the plenaries.”

Shi Yan, President of the Chinese CSA movement and Vice President of Urgenci shared her experience as a CSA farmer outside Beijing as one of the keynote speakers during the opening session.

Community Supported Agriculture and other types of local solidarity based partnerships between producers and consumers all contribute to many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They should be considered as a central element of the Scaling Up of Agroecology initiative that was unveiled by the FAO.

Nevertheless, several aspects of the implementation of this Scaling up initiative require caution on Urgenci’s part. Especially, that of major investors and large private sector operators who lay claim to agroecology, coopting the principles of peasant agroecology without transparency and accountability. Most importantly, there is a need to tirelessly refer to the fundamental systemic, social, environmental and political changes implied by peasant agroecology.

As the Forum was closing, Simon Todzro, an Urgenci International Committee member from Togo, declared: « Although the FAO scaling up initiative shows a clear paradigm shift, we will continue our own daily work of scaling out, farmer-to-farmer, eater-to-eater dissemination of alternative food partnerships and practicing peasant agroecology on the ground in Africa and around the world ».

By Urgenci, Rome, 5 April 2018.

Farewell professor Paul Singer, promoter of Solidarity Economy
Foto: Agência Brasil
Professor Paul Singer, Austrian economist and tireless promotor of the Solidarity economy in Brazil, died at age 86.  He published several books on the subject and is a reference for studies on local development. His performance in Brazil and his intellectual production yielded him the honored Grand Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria, received in 2009..
From Austria Paul Singer arrived in Brazil in 1940, at the age of eight. At age 20, he worked as an electrotechnician, was affiliated to the Metalworkers Union of São Paulo and had active participation in the 300,000 strike that paralyzed the city in 1953. He graduated in Economics from the University of São Paulo (USP) , he received his doctorate in Sociology, he became a free teacher in Demography and a professor in Economics at the same university. He was one of the founders of Cebrap (which brought together intellectuals against the military dictatorship), of the PT in 1980 and of the Technological Incubator of Popular Cooperatives in USP.

From 2003 to 2016, he was National Secretary of Solidarity Economy, where he worked in close collaboration with the FBES (Foro Brasileiro de Economia Solidaria) and where he defended, among others, the creation of community banks as an instrument for the eradication of poverty.

In the month that Paul Singer completed 86 years, the book “Ensaios sobre Economia Solidária” organized by Rui Namorado of Editora Almeidina was launched in Portugal. The book integrates a theoretical perspective of solidarity economy, which values ​​its historical depth, with its anchorage in Brazilian reality. It is divided into two parts, each of which comprises eight texts. The first is predominantly constituted by essays in which Singer shows how he conceives solidarity economy theoretically, valuing it as a struggle against the exclusion of the exploited and as a possible emancipatory opportunity, towards a future that consubstantizes full humanism. The second one leads us through experiences of the solidarity economy in Brazil, in interaction with the political position of Singer, as a member of the federal government, taking as a backdrop his fraternal closeness with the organizations involved.

See his site for this book, documents, interviews, articles and videos: (in Portuguese): http://paulsinger.com.br/

See socioeco.org documents, interviews and videos in Spanish, Portuguese, English, German and French: http://www.socioeco.org/bdf_auteur-71_fr.html, among others:

World Social Forum 2018: some first lessons

Article by Gustave Massiah, March 25, 2018

The World Social Forum of Salvador de Bahia took place from March 13 to 17, 2018. The watchword was “Resist is create, resist is transform”. This forum had three dimensions: a successful Bahian forum, a Brazilian forum determined by the situation in Brazil and Latin America, an international forum focused on the global situation and the future of the forums.

The Forum was very followed. Between walking and activities, there were an estimated between 50,000 and 80,000 participants. They came massively from Bahia and Brazil. As is the case in all forums, most participants come from the country and the region. There were participants from 120 countries. Especially from Latin America, with some other strong delegations (Germany, Spain, France, Morocco, Quebec, Switzerland). Several African movements were represented. There were Asian movements in small numbers (India, China, Nepal, Japan, Indonesia, …). There were nearly 2000 activities, referenced around 19 thematic axes. Read more

From Salvador to Barcelona 2019 : another economy is paving the way

Article by RIPESS Intercontinental

t the World Social Forum in Salvador de Bahia, the global thematic forum on transforming economies (Barcelona – April 2019) was presented.

From the 12th to the 17th of March the thirteenth edition of the World Social Forum was held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, with the slogan “resist is to create, resist is to transform“. In an explosion of color and proposals, under the Brazilian heat, the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) hosted on its campus an extensive programme full of activities, seminars, workshops, debates, meetings, assemblies, shows as well as demonstrations and protest moments on its campus. A joyful opening march invaded the center of the city, while many emotional spontaneous manifestations took place throughout to protest the murder of the activist Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro. She was assassinated for her denunciation of the militarization of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and her tireless struggle for the rights of the women and the Afro-Brazilian population.

Together with other activities dedicated to the networking of RIPESS LAC (the Latin America and the Caribbean SSE coordination) and to the proposal for a Global Curriculum for economy solidarity, the delegation comprised of representatives of RIPESS Intercontinental, RIPESS Europe and the Xarxa d’ Economía Solidària (XES) Catalunia, had as main objective to introduce the proposal of organizing a World Social Forum on Transforming Economies, scheduled to take place in Barcelona in April 2019.
The 15th of March the presentation activity was attended by some thirty interested people, including the organizers of the WSF of Quebec in 2016, representatives of the Forum of solidarity economy in Brazil (FBES), ATTAC, of the COLACOT (Coordination of Latin American cooperatives), the dialogues Rede em Humanidad and of the Alliance of progressive foundations EDGE.

 

The idea was received with much enthusiasm and offers of support, emphasising the need to focus on transforming economies that we considered begin with as the intersection between :

  • Social solidarity economy (SSE)
  • Feminist economies
  • The commons
  • Common Collaborative Economy
  • Fair Trade
  • Ethical Finance
  • Environmental movements,
  • Degrowth movement
  • Food Sovereignty, etc.

Bringing together multiple solutions and existing alternatives to the capitalist system had already been expressed at the World Social Forum in Montreal of 2016. There is an urgent need for those movements from around the world to converge, to open up to networks of public authorities and universities, to strengthen alliances and create common strategies that can have a stronger impact.
Solutions for a resilient, co-operative and solidarity based society already exist and have to expand on a larger scale, as we need to promote public recognition of the transforming economies.
The following days were of an infinite wealth of contacts and searches for support of the Forum and the exhibition at the “Agora of the future”, culminating in the presentation of the proposal, to the International Council of the WSF, on Sunday morning. It was immediately included in the agenda of global mobilisation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the way is open, and with the complicity of increasingly more organisations in the world, we can say that there is no turning back. Both RIPESS Intercontinental and RIPESS Europe and the XES undertake to carry out this ambitious proposal of convening the Transforming economies thematic World Social Forum the first weekend of April 2019 in Barcelona.

We call on all interested persons, organisations and networks to join the preparatory process, by contacting us at: forum2019@ripess.org

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