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Video
MECISE: European energy cooperatives join forces!
February 14, 2019
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Enercoop article of 29 January 2019

For nearly 4 years, Enercoop and its partners in the European REScoop MECISE project have been working together to develop and strengthen citizen renewable energy projects in France, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom.

More specifically, the project aims to directly support the development of new citizen renewable energy production projects and to explore new innovative solutions for financing these projects at European level.

The REScoop MECISE (Renewable Energy Sources COOPeratives Mobilizing European Citizens to Invest in Sustainable Energy) project has been funded under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises since early 2015. It will end on 28 February 2019 and the public conclusions of this project were presented on 22 January at a conference at the Musée des Sciences naturelles in Brussels (Belgium).

This conference was also an opportunity for Enercoop and its partners Courant d’Air (Belgium), Ecopower (Belgium), Energy4All (United Kingdom) and Som Energia (Spain) to officially announce the creation of the European cooperative REScoop MECISE, or Mutual for Energy Communities Investing in a Sustainable Europe. This European cooperative, a concrete and sustainable outcome of the European project, has as its social objective to promote the European energy transition to energy democracy.

To this end, the European cooperative will provide financial facilitation services, mainly in the form of equity financing for renewable energy production projects and should raise funds at European level to support renewable energy cooperatives in Europe

Going beyond simple financial cooperation, REScoop MECISE is clearly in line with the logic of the social and solidarity economy by putting financial tools directly at the service of citizen energy. For Enercoop, the event on 22 January marks both the culmination of several years of work on the design of this new tool and the beginning of a great adventure of solidarity between European partners.

The French government Growth Pact for the SSE: out of step
December 14, 2018
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Joint Statement of Collectif des Associations Citoyennes / Mouvement pour l’Économie Solidaire

The presentation of the French government’s plan for the “development of the SSE” did not convince the grassroot organisations who jointly published a statement to explain why this plan does not meet their expectations.

See (in French): Les-plans-du-gouvernement-pour-les-assos-et-l’ESS

“Oppose without killing each other”: a Convivialist proposal
December 14, 2018
0

By Josette Combes (MES)

Orchestrated by the members of the Club Convivialiste, itself composed of two hundred intellectuals belonging to various scientific networks, a group of academics and activists launched Ah! a new convergence initiative” against the madness of grandeur, money, power or ideology“. The Convivialists have just published in the newspaper L’Obs their proposed programme for the Yellow Vests, the social movement that has been stirring up French news for the past weeks. We will retain the four emblematic principles of the Convivialists:

  •  the principle of common humanity is opposed to all forms of discrimination
  •  the principle of common sociality affirms that the first wealth for humans is that of the social relationships they maintain, the wealth of conviviality
  •  the principle of legitimate individuation establishes the right of each human being to be recognized in his or her singularity
  •  the principle of controlled and creative opposition states that it is necessary to “oppose without killing each other” (M. Mauss).
Timisoara: transnational meeting for SSE VET
orangesmile.com

By Josette Combes (MES)

An Erasmus project following the previous one focusing on the inclusion of SSE in IVET (initial and vocational education and training) programmes brings together several RIPESS Europe members: CRIES (Romania), DOCKS (Greece), MES (France), Solidarius (Italy), Technet (Germany) under the coordination of APDES (Portugal) and with the contribution of RIPESS Europe. The first transnational meeting took place in Timisoara hosted by CRIES. The meeting was largely dedicated to discussing the program and to adjust to the budgetary restrictions.

The project will run for three years. Its objectives are as follows:

  • Provide curricula to strengthen the skills of trainers in programmes to integrate young people without jobs or qualifications.
  • Propose SSE as a social-cultural, interdisciplinary innovation that provides employment opportunities, especially for those furthest from it.
  • Raise awareness of SSE as a sector that provides employment and an interesting sector in terms of professional and human investment, starting by raising awareness of initial and continuing vocational education, within a local development framework.

Each partner will need to find territories of partners/stakeholders/locally from different macro-regions, which are available to get involved in the project in order to experiment with the modules and participate in their dissemination.

In its final year, the project will produce transmission and communication tools, including a video, with the aim of promoting and disseminating the approach on a European scale*.

Joint projects are an excellent support for intercooperation between members and for strengthening actions in the territories through the circulation of knowledge and skills present in the organizations of each country.

(* For your information, the recommended bibliographies for each of the IVET modules iof the first period are now available on socioeco.org:

Four new women’s co-operative projects open in Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava)

Co-operation in Mesopotamia is one of the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA)’s major, and most successful projects. Its aim is to foster international solidarity and further education about the largely women-driven co-operative economy that is growing, despite ongoing war, in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, commonly known as Rojava.

The project began with a research, translation and education focus, and over the past 3 years SEA has shared over 300 articles on the website, run around 30 workshops all over the UK, and developed strong relationships with many partners, including women’s economic bodies in Rojava, as well as co-ops and co-op bodies in the UK. The project has received overwhelmingly positive engagement, and the UK co-op movement is now much better informed about its counterpart in Rojava.

Here is the article of October 23

Four new women’s co-operative projects open in Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava)

Several new women’s co-operative projects have opened in the Jazira region of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava).

The projects focus on agriculture, animal husbandry, food, and clothing, and will contribute yet further to the thriving women’s economy in the region. They are located in the city of Hesekê and have been developed by the Women’s Committee in the Hesekê Economy Directorate.

The projects are run co-operatively and include:

A dairy farm in Hesekê’s El Silêymaniyê village, which has been built by 11 women and active since 1st September. Duha Mihemed, one of the women involved in the project, said that it was important for the spirit of partnership, and to prevent commercial fraud.

The Inanna Kitchen, which opened in the El Kelase village of Hesekê, where women prepare food for the winter and sell it for well below market prices, and prepare daily meals. One of the project’s partners, Zêneb Umer, said they are taking some of the burden off women’s shoulders.

The Ishtar Women’ Bakery in the El Nasre neighbourhood, opened by 8 women.

The Women’s Committee has been supporting the development of agriculture in Hesekê too, distributing most of the region’s arable land among 300 women. These women have started to produce crops in these plots, and wells will also be created in the coming days.

In addition, generators have been established along several of the city’s streets, providing power for 130 homes each.

Women’s Committee administrator Cewhera Mihemed said they are launching new projects to develop the women’s economy in the region though co-operatives.


 

 

Independent media talk about SSE

Independent media are close to the SSE, often by their status and especially by the values they defend. But how do they approach it? Here is a selection of independent media articles from the last three months. You can also find them on the map of socioeco.org: Journalism of Solutions (the articles are located in the city where the experience is taking place or, in the case of a general article, in the city where the media is based).

As you will see, the articles are in their original language, due to the diversity of European countries. For Greek, for which the Efsyn journal is particularly present with sometimes several articles per week on SSE, an English summary is included. This will allow you to perceive which themes are covered by these media: sustainable development, refugees, self-management, cooperatives, organic agriculture, etc. Feel free to send us an article or a media site to improve the map and our knowledge of SSE. Write to Françoise Wautiez: fwautiez[at]socioeco.org

Image of Terra Nuova

French
  • Se déplacer en milieu rural : ces territoires enclavés qui développent des alternatives sociales et solidaires
    Sophie Chapelle
    Article de Basta!, 16 novemnre 2018 [lire]
  • A Clermont-Ferrand, le succès d’une grande librairie reprise en coopérative par ses salariés
    Sophie Chapelle
    Article de Basta!, 19 octobre 2018 [lire]
Spanish
  • Nace el Foro de Consumo Responsable de Zaragoza, que velará por la extensión de políticas sostenibles y saludables a nivel local
    Artículo de Arainfo, 16 de noviembre 2018
    2018 [lire]
  • La Contratación Pública Responsable estrena nueva web y se abre a la participación de las personas usuarias
    Artículo de Arainfo, 13 de noviembre 2018 [lire]
  • Comercio Justo y Economía Solidaria, valores compartidos
    Artículo de El Salto,30/10/2018 [lire]
  • El Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza aprueba la primera Estrategia de impulso a la Economía Social de la ciudad
    Artículo de Arainfo, 22 de octubre 2018 [lire]
Catalan
  • Jordi Via, excomissionat d’ESS a l’Ajuntament de Barcelona: balanç d’una experiència, moment i perspectives
    Pep Valenzuela
    articulo de Malarrassa, 16/11/2018 [lire]
English
  • Why Co-ops and Community Farms Can’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap
    Zenobia Jeffries
    Article of Yes! Mafazine, Nov 09, 2018 [lire]
Italian
  • Un modello 100% biologico e’ possibile: l’esempio del Sikkim
    Articolo de Terra Nuova, 16 ottobre 2018 [lire]
  • L’economia per un mondo nuovo
    articolo de Comune.info, 11 ottobre 2018 [lire]
Greek
  • Οι άνθρωποι της Κ.ΑΛ.Ο. προχωρούν με προβλήματα αλλά και αισιοδοξία (The SSE people are moving with both problems and optimism)
    Ioanna Sotirchou
    Article of EFSYN, 12/11/2018 [lire]
  • Επιχορηγήσεις για υφιστάμενους φορείς Κ.ΑΛ.Ο.(Grants for existing SSE organizations)
    Article of EFSYN, 09/11/2018 [lire]
  • Στο Βελβεντό ο πρώτος αυτοδιαχειριζόμενος υδροηλεκτρικός σταθμός (In Velvento the first self-managed hydroelectric power station)
    Article of EFSYN, 04/11/2018 [lire]
  • Κοινωνικός αντίκτυπος για Κ.ΑΛ.Ο. (Social Impact of SSE)
    Ioanna Sotirchou
    Article of EFSYN, 29/10/2018 [lire]
  • Ροκάνι: ΚΟΙΝΣΕΠ για την κυκλική οικονομία (Rokani: in a circular economy)
    Aphrodite Tziantzi
    Article of EFSYN, 29/10/2018 [lire]
  • Οι εναλλακτικές στον καπιταλισμό είναι ήδη εδώ, ήταν πάντα εδώ! (Alternatives to capitalism are already here, they’ve always been here!)
    Hara Kouki
    Article of EFSYN, 15/10/2018 [lire]
  • Κουκάκι: η Κ.ΑΛ.Ο ξορκίζει το κακό (Koukaki: SSE excuses the evil)
    Aphrodite Tziantzi
    Article of EFSYN, 08/10/2018 [lire]
  • Συνεταιριστές όλης της Ελλάδας, συνεργαστείτε! (« Co-operatives all over Greece, work together!”)
    Aphrodite Tziantzi
    Article of EFSYN, 01/10/2018 [lire]
  • Κριτική και προτάσεις για να βελτιωθούν οι νόμοι για την ΚΑΛΟ (Criticism and suggestions to improve the laws for SSE)
    Ioanna Sotirchou
    Article of EFSYN, 1/10/2018 [lire]
  • «Ευρώπη, ήρθε η ώρα να τελειώσει η εξάρτηση από την ανάπτυξη!»(« Europe, it’s time for development dependency to end!”)
    Article of EFSYN, 24/09/2018 [lire]

 

Fair Trade and Solidarity Economy: shared values
November 22, 2018
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Integrante del Co

El Salto Diario, blogs, October 30, 2018 article by Coordinadora estatal del comercio justo

Recently, coinciding with the third anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, we as Fair Trade have presented our new Charter. It is a text in which we update and reaffirm our principles and values, and claim the relevance of this Solidarity Economy movement in the face of the scandalous increase in inequality and environmental degradation.

In the new Charter, which has been endorsed by more than 400 organizations around the world, the Fair Trade movement denounces the failure of the current neoliberal system, a model that increases inequalities and poverty. A model that generates situations as unjust as 1% of the population possessing as much wealth as the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, and facing the interested and misinterpreted use of the term Fair Trade that has recently been made by certain political leaders (see Trump…), the Fair Trade movement clearly reaffirms what our values, principles and practices are. With the new Charter, Fair Trade wants to define the direction in which it wants to move forward. And we know that in that direction we are going to meet with other movements, with other groups of people, with other demands with which we have much in common.

One of them is the Solidarity Economy. In fact, Fair Trade is one of the movements that integrates this vision of an economy that puts “people, the environment and sustainable development as a priority reference over other interests”, as can be read in the Solidarity Economy Charter.

Both movements also share the importance of giving back to the economy its true purpose, that is, “to provide in a sustainable way the material bases for the personal, social and environmental development of the human being”. In the same way Fair Trade in the face of speculation, practices such as futures markets, commercial transactions without products, financial strategies that seek only economic profit at the expense of those who produce them, defends trade as a real exchange of goods, even more, as an interaction between people based on respect, transparency and dialogue. In short, a trade and an economy for life, to guarantee a better life for all. To trade for a living, not lo live for trading.

The six principles on which Solidarity Economy is based are closely related to those of Fair Trade. Let’s see:

The first of the principles of Solidarity Economy is that of equity, defined as the “value that recognizes all people as subjects of equal dignity and protects their right not to be subdued. […] A more just society is one that takes into account the differences that exist between individuals and groups. This principle of the solidarity economy finds its concretion in Fair Trade in its first principle, which highlights the disadvantageous situation in which many producer organizations find themselves, and starts from the idea that it is necessary to take this situation into account in commercial relations in order not to generate situations of abuse of power or exploitation.

Solidarity Economy establishes work as a second value understood as “a key element in the quality of life of people, the community and economic relations between citizens, peoples and States”. In this sense, Solidarity Economy highlights the importance of the human, social, political, economic and cultural dimension of work that allows people’s capacities to be developed.

Fair Trade also includes work from this same philosophy, as an element that must guarantee a dignified life. Work that is also understood as a way of participating in society. This aspect is particularly important for women. Fair Trade encourages their work in organisations and their participation in decision-making. In many countries and communities where the majority of women live relegated to the domestic and family space, favoring their productive activity outside the home is not only a way to increase their income but above all it gives them a new role in society, improves their self-esteem and changes the vision of the rest of society on the role of women. This change in mentality is gradually transforming society.

“We consider – affirms the Charter of Solidarity Economy – that all our productive and economic activity is related to nature, therefore our alliance with it and the recognition of its rights is our starting point. For Fair Trade, environmental sustainability is also a key aspect. It could not be otherwise if we bear in mind that for those who cultivate the land, this is their fundamental liveliihood. In addition, farming and artisan communities living in rural areas are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This is why the development of production methods that are careful with nature and the establishment of measures to halt climate change is a fundamental aspect of Fair Trade.

The value of cooperation in the solidarity economy is defined as the importance of “collectively building a model of society based on harmonious local development, fair trade relations, equality, trust, co-responsibility, transparency, respect…”. Almost identical words can be found between the principles of Fair Trade to define how organizations should be and the relationships between producing and purchasing entities, which takes the form of practices such as long-term commercial relationships, avoiding unfair competition or the pre-financing of orders.

Another of the values of the model that defends the Solidarity Economy is that of not having lucrative ends, a bond with the essential purpose of this movement that is none other than the “integral, collective and individual development of people”. The means to achieve this would be “the efficient management of economically viable projects whose profits are reinvested and redistributed”. Purpose and means that are exactly the same in Fair Trade. Thus, for example, producer organizations reinvest the extra profits and the so-called “premium” in the organization itself or, alternatively, develop different educational, social, health or infrastructure projects in their community. The decision on the use of the benefits or premium is made in a democratic way, with the participation of workers. In this way, Fair Trade is also linked to the last of the principles of Solidarity Economy, number 6 “Commitment to the environment”, which is embedded in the “participation in the sustainable local and community development of the territory”.

We don’t want to go on much longer, but if we continue analysing the details of the Solidarity Economy and Fair Trade Charters we would find many more affinities. Affinities that constitute our main asset, our main strength to build the global society that we al need.

MES: Our commitment to a citizen ecological transition
November 6, 2018
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Excerpt from the editorial, by Bruno Lasnier national coordinator of MES – Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire (France)

November, the Month of SSE! A time to promote a new way of conceiving the economy, at the service of humanity and the planet for social justice and a sustainable world! We do need it because never before has the model of social democracy and universal rights seemed to have been so damaged. The coming to power of an extreme right-wing candidate in Brazil is a clear demonstration of this: an alliance is taking place every day between a neoliberalism ready to “market” everything, further deepening the gap of unequal rights, wealth and resources, and an identity-based fundamentalism that takes many religious, xenophobic or nationalist forms.

If the Solidarity Economy has the ambition to become a space of resistance against this democratic, social and ecological threat, it must upscale, become a broad and strongly supported force of civil society. This goes beyond the economic activities of social utility and general interest carried out by companies and organisations within the SSE. More than ever, we need to cooperate openly to strengthen effective convergences between our movements, our struggles and new forms of organization driven by the younger generations. We need to connect different worlds, to connect and put into perspective our common project (convivialists, SSE, ecological transition movements, social movements, trade unions, migrants/culture…).

The 19 and 20 October 2018 were a great success, in the premises of the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind! Our “Cooperate to strengthen” meetings brought together our member networks and allied networks convinced that, beyond the shared observation of the multiple pitfalls facing militant organizations, the challenges are to bring about a strong project of social, economic and ecological transformation. For the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire and its membersOurco, it is a question of carrying a clear strategic and political vision: to undertake and organize the Buen Vivir on a territory at the service of a society that we wish to TRANSFORM! For more social justice, more economic citizenship and more commitment to ecological transition! The “how” we proceed is as important as the intended “purpose”!

Our discussions focused on the many resources and expertise that our networks possess and on sharing and pooling them in order to achieve an ambitious convergence that weighs heavily on a daily basis. The production and distribution of services and products must be organised in an ethical, ecological and solidarity-based manner that respects the fundamental needs of people and human rights.

When many no longer know how to say what the economy is, as it escapes them, it becomes urgent to explain and re-appropriate it (popular education, empowerment), as well as to dare to talk about money and its circulation. And this implies forcing oneself to debate, to accept discord in order to share an analysis, which can be common just as it implies the right to evaluate what is good for oneself and others on one’s territory and in the world. The evaluation of social utility/social impact is essentially located at the heart of civil society, the techniques at work cannot ignore this mandatory methodological detour towards citizenship and democracy.

During this working time, several points were reaffirmed. We must be ambassadors for our actions and successes. We must rewrite our commitment in a history and reinforce our message by clarifying both what we oppose and what we want to build. Be clearer, but also firmer. It is up to us to raise forcefully the question of the governance of municipalities, and to promote relevant regulatory methods and organisations already tested in territories (water, land, services, digital, technologies etc.).

Developing real solidarity within the SSE ecosystem is also an issue. This means “speaking the truth” between small, medium and large organizations. Engage in a sincere and ethical dialogue on practices, financing methods, limited lucrativity, issues of company size to be able to build new solid and resilient models.

Faced with the social and environmental emergency, civil society is not stopping. A dynamic emerges driven by youth, conscious and motivated to change the situation, Alternatiba is an example of this! And for the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire, it is exciting because there is material to transmit knowledge and ways of doing in a popular education process. But even more, it is an opportunity to create new experiments with a generation of young people ready to invent new forms of organization

Access to the newsletter here (in French).

A Colombian delegation In Occitania (France)

By Bérénice Dondeyne, Co-President MES Occtianie, member of the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee

Présenation artisanat Colombie

 

Following the GSEF in Bilbao, the Movement for the Solidarity Economy Occitania welcomed with great pleasure a Colombian delegation from 7 to 12 October 2018! Meetings with elected officials and field workers were organized by Denis Coutens and Bérénice Dondeyne, co-chairs. Colombia enjoys extraordinary ecological diversity and has natural reserves in the Amazon recognized by UNESCO. A lot of exchanges around a local agriculture of quality guaranteeing food self-sufficiency and articulated around a rural citizen community of “farmers”! Engaged in a peace process with FARC, Colombia is entering a new phase in which the Social and Solidarity Economy occupies a central place. Cooperatives are already shaping a new relationship to the “commons”, to land and property and, of course, to the distribution of wealth. Thanks to partners such as Alfredo Cadena, CODEMA y PROVIVIENDA, César Díaz, CIMA (Cumbre de los pueblos del Macizo), Julián Díaz, Asociación Campesinos Putumayo, Mario Anatole Vega, ProComún, Turismo del Común, we have discovered a range of natural and organic products, products of excellence with high nutritional and culinary value (seeds, oils, beans….) or plant handicrafts for which a distribution channel can be considered here in the Occitania region (France). Initial contacts have been made. To be continued….

 

Thank you to La Région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée O’Saveurs-Paysannes Ville d’Albi Artisans du Monde Toulouse MIRAMAP Lycée Fonlabour Albi who all put responsible agriculture and food at the heart of their concerns. This trip is part of the dynamic that our Ripess and Ripess Europe networks are driving. The Delegation was accompanied by the Fabrica, a social innovation cooperative in Barcelona (Dorys Ardila/Josep Maria Navarro), Intaini, a Franco-Colombian NGO (Amparo Theret in Toulouse supported the inter-knowledge between Occitan and Colombian actors).

O'Saveurs Paysannes Bienvenida

 

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.

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