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Synergia Institute – Summer Program: Osuna, Spain
April 19, 2018
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As an organization committed to progressive social and economic change, Synergia Institute would like to alert you to an important program taking place this summer focusing on game changing ideas, practices, and economic models that generate system change toward a political economy for people and planet.

The Synergia Summer Institutes in Osuna, Spain (May 18 – 27) and Tuscany, Italy (June 23 – July 8) are the second iterations of a hugely successful program initiated last summer at Monte Ginezzo in Italy. 

In these programs, co-operatives businesses, social finance, community-based solutions for housing, energy and social care, commons, and many other topics will be introduced during what has been described as a game-changing learning experience, deliverd by some of the world’s foremost experts in their fields.

Especially relevant to researchers, policy makers, social change practitioners, activists, and anyone deeply committed to progressive system change, the program is receiving registrations for both venues and detailed registration information may be accessed through the following links.

https://mailchi.mp/f94f390fb88e/registration-open-for-synergia-institute-2018?e=3c64dd9928

https://synergiainstitute.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/register-now-for-our-2018-study-programs/

Registrations are still open for both programs – the deadline for the Osuna prgram has been extended to April 23,  and until April 23, we are also offering a special discount for early registrants :to the Monte Ginezzo Program – 1,000 euros for the one-week prgram and 1,500 euros for the full two-week progam. We invite you to share this information with other colleagues and networks you think would have an interest in this crucial field of work. We hope you can join us in Osuna or Monte Ginezzo this summer!

Conference “SSE and the Commons: Envisioning Sustainable and Post-capitalist Futures”: Call for Papers
April 18, 2018
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Lisbon, 21-23 November, 2018.

For more information on the Call for papers, see pdf: CallforPapers_EN-2

The deadline for the Call is May 31, 2018.

Good economy conference hosting the RIPESS Europe General Assembly

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.

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.

[Drazen Simlesa, Zmag / Good Economy Platform]

World Social Forum 2018: some first lessons

Article by Gustave Massiah, March 25, 2018

https://intercoll.net/Le-Forum-Social-Mondial-de-Salvador-de-Bahia-12-au-17-mars-2018-Quelques (original in French)

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.

We will discuss i the Bahian forum, the situation in Brazil and Latin America, the international forum, the world situation, the interrogations of the movements, the future of the forums.

As part of the delegation coordinated by the CRID, ShareCsympa has produced five excellent 5-minute videos that showcase the Forum. (in French)

Episode 1: Another world is possible?

Episode 2: Give the money back

Episode 3: Boosting the revolt

Episode 4: The revolution will be feminist

Episode 5: The time of the WSF assessment

Bahia World Social Forum

The Bahia WSF took place in an electric atmosphere. Happy and enthusiastic at first, tragic after the assassination of Marielle Franco. The Forum was driven by the enthusiasm of the Bahian movements whose very well captured energy can be measured  in the first video of ShareCsympa.

Three major movements carried the Forum: the women’s movement; the Afro-Brazilian movement; the movement of traditional peoples. The women’s movement in Latin America has taken enormous importance with huge protests on March 8 in many countries, including Argentina. The Women’s Assembly, an exclusive activity from the morning of March 16th was a considerable moment (see the video of episode 4, the revolution will be feminist). The Afro-Brazilian movement has been very structuring. It carries a more general claim, that of the refusal of discrimination and racism. The movement of the traditional peoples was very present, bringing the convergence between the indigenous peoples and the Afro-Brazilian peoples. There was also a very strong presence of youth movements and student movements for the free of charge University.

The assassination of Marielle Franco demonstrated the dramatic link between women’s movements and Afro-Brazilian movements. Marielle, elected in Rio, an activist of the Afro-Brazilian movement, the women’s movement and the lesbian movement, led a commission against police violence in the favelas in Rio. This favelara refused to allow police officers to assassinate blacks and children in favelas with impunity, almost always black children. Her assassination could mark a turning point in the social and political clashes in Brazil. Demonstrations in Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador and all over Brazil underscored the importance of this turning point.

The situation in Brazil and Latin America

Brazilian social movements were very present at the WSF. These include the Brazilian unions, the homeless movement, and part of the MST. Without forgetting, as we have said, the movements of women, young people, Afro-Brazilians and traditional peoples.

If the agreement was unanimous against Temer and the offensive of the Brazilian right; the discussion was open on the elections that will take place in a few months. Lula’s candidacy was accepted by everyone but the debate was open on the appreciation of the PT’s policy and proposals. Lula made a meeting in a stadium with a presence of many participants of the forum. The mobilization was real and the tensions were visible between the PT, the PCDoB and the PSOL.

The situation in Brazil has been linked to the situation in Latin America; the rise of right wing movements and the disarray of leftist movements. The intervention of the United States is certainly active, but it is not enough to explain everything. Progressive governments have been csqueezed by the offensive right wing movements, the consequences of their alliances with the financial sectors, the decline in export earnings of raw materials, the radicalization of the middle classes.

The international dimension

The international dimension of the Forum was real through the representatives of numerous movements and the multiplicity of activities.

Many thematic forums held meetings during the forum. Meetings and debates have shown that international networks are alive. The discussion was difficult because of the limited means, especially for translations.

The World Social Forum remains the main meeting place for the movements for debate on the international situation. Even if, in recent years, it is no longer the central place for the challenge to neoliberalism and must face a new era of globalization.

The discussion on the world situation

The discussion has covered through many channels the world situation. It is still too early to follow all approaches; they will emerge in time through the various international networks that will retain elements and pass them on.

There is a rather general agreement on the characterization of the period as that of a counter-revolution, and even that of several counter-revolutions. This counter-revolution puts forward racist, xenophobic, and security ideologies. It designates as scapegoats in all countries of the world foreigners and migrants. It is based on Islamist, Hindu, and evangelical conservatisms.

Some activities have been working on the current moment of neoliberalism, starting from the sequence opened by Trump’s election. The evolution of neoliberalism mixes austerity and authoritarianism, an “austeritary” political category. Several questions were raised: what evolution of free trade and new contradictions of capitalism? What new geopolitical contradictions with the wars in progress and the increased risks of war?

Several activities, particularly on Latin America, have addressed the question of the limits and contradictions of the movements that claimed to be left wing and the governments that emerged from it. If policies against poverty and inequality have been recognized, the limits must be measured, particularly on the issue of discrimination. And also measure the limits and dangers of alliances that go through the acceptance of leadership by the dictates of multinational corporations and international financial institutions. Productivist, extractivist and rentier export policies of raw materials have shown their harmfulness and their limits.

The situation of the movements

The World Social Forum remains the main meeting place for movements that recognize themselves in the altermondialism. It is no longer the central place of the alternative to capitalist globalization in its neoliberal phase, but it participates in it. The movements have diversified and are found in different spaces. New movements have emerged, on the one hand, and many movements have retreated into their national spaces, on the other.

The movements are facing the new situation. How to fight in a situation of counter-revolution by facing extremely violent offensives of the ruling classes and multinational corporations and institutions and a strategy of generalized precariousness? How can one also resist the racist, xenophobic and security ideologies that carry the conservative waves? Resistances exist and contradictions have not diminished. The Forum makes it possible to perceive them and to see emerging new forms of struggles and new fronts of resistance.

The Forum is a space in which the movements discuss the questions they ask themselves. The debates in the movements concern the necessary definition of a strategy. How to articulate the response to urgency and resistance, with the definition of a project and alternatives. In the movements, there is a lot of debate about how to act and about the forms of action and organization. The questions are lively about forms for the State, Political parties and movements.

The World Social Forum is confronted with questions from certain movements that would like to engage in a more offensive policy. Numerous debates are under way, notably on the priorities to be given to the interventions of the movements in each country, at the national level. And also, the debate on the “gregariousness” of international movements and spaces. It should also be noted the attempts of new international spaces of movements, like that which was engaged by the MST and La Via Campesina, which, while being present in the forums took a certain distance.

An attempt was made with the proposal of an assembly of peoples, movements and territories in resistance starting from new forms of struggle. There are many: women’s struggles, struggles over the climate emergency, social struggles, struggles of indigenous peoples, youth struggles in the Maghreb and around the world, struggles of the Dakota pipelines, struggles against extractivism , cultural struggles. This assembly has not yet found the way to make visible the articulation between the specificity and the convergence of these struggles and these movements. The Agora of Initiatives has made visible many actions proposed from the World Social Forum by international networks.

The future of the forums

The forums do not sum up the altermondialist movement. They are nonetheless an important form of it. The anti-globalization movement was born out of the challenge of neoliberal globalization in the late 1970s. Its first phase was marked by struggles against debt and structural adjustment programs. Its second phase, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was marked by the rejection of a global institutional system that subordinates international law to business law through the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. The third phase, after Seattle, was that of the World Social Forums which culminated with the Belém Forum in 2009. We are entering a new phase whose forms must be invented.

In this new phase, the WSF will continue and remain very useful. Regularly some say that the WSF are no longer central and it is better to stop them so that something else can be born. And yet, the WSF do not want to die and just as regularly, others come to grab it and want to renew it. WSFs are necessary for now, even if they are very insufficient. They have a specificity, it is for the moment the only space where the movements confront their strategy on an international scale and wonder about the international dimension of their strategy.

https://intercoll.net/VERS-UN-NOUVEAU-CYCLE-DE-L-ALTERMONDIALISME (in French)

The International Council met after the Forum. He congratulated the Brazilian organizers for the success of this Forum. It decided to implement the previous decision to extend the Council to the organizers of thematic and regional forums. He also decided to meet in November, in Mexico City, on the occasion of the World Social Forum on Migration, or in the Maghreb.

Proposals for the evolution of the World Social Forum have been proposed. They converge on the need to prioritize the World Social Forum process in terms of focusing on a single event every two or three years. It is about defining, diversifying, strengthening and making visible this process of global social forums.

Many events, all global, are already launched. These include: the World Social Forum against Extractivism in South Africa in August 2018; the World  Social Forum on Migrations, in Mexico City in November 2018, with five continental caravans to prepare it, including the caravan of coastal countries in West Africa; actions against the G20 in Buenos Aires in December 2018; the WSF on alternative economies in Barcelona in April 2019; the Health and Social Security Forum, Bogota, June 2019; the Panamazonian Social Forum, in Colombia in October 2019; the Jai Jagat World March, from September 2019 to September 2020, which will leave New Delhi, will travel through 17 countries to submit a memorandum to the United Nations in Geneva; the World Peace Forum in Geneva, when Jai Jagat arrived in September 2020.

It was proposed to organize an event each year, in response to the World Economic Forum in Davos. The next one will be organized in Geneva in March 2019.

The strengthening of the international secretariat in the Maghreb is a necessary and indispensable condition for facilitating and making visible the events of the World Social Forum process.

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

Ctrl-shift: An emergency summit for change in the UK
March 27, 2018
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By Kat Darling, SEA

Last week, the culmination of eight months of collaborative effort came to fruition as the Solidarity Economy Association (https://www.solidarityeconomy.coop/) joined co-organisers in Wigan, in the North of England, for CTRLShift: An Emergency Summit For Change. The event brought together 150 people representing almost as many organisations to work on action plans and projects that will deliver radical, positive social change, in light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Kat Darling, SEA’s communications manager, said: “Brexit – whether you agree with it or not – heralds a time of unprecedented rapid change and opportunity. Its timing, amongst unfolding and concurrent crises of the environment, social justice and the economy, mean that we are facing stark realities and starker choices if we are to ride the various storms and emerge as a more resilient, more sustainable society, culture and land base.

“SEA has been part of the CTRLShift organising group since its inception, and whilst co-organising an event of this scale, alongside 35 partner organisations, certainly had its challenges, the fact that such a diverse range of organisations, from across varying sectors all over the UK, were working together for meaningful change was incredibly exciting, and we’re excited about the tangible work that has, and will continue to, come out of the event.”

The organising team are still collating the outcomes of the event, which will be shared very soon, but in the meantime there are some great post-event reports like this one from Transition Network’s co-founder, Rob Hopkins,  this from Indra Adnan, co-initiator of The Alternative UK, and this report from Dr Bertie Russell, Research Associate in the Urban Institute.”

SEA joined national apex bodies like Permaculture Association, Co-operatives UK, and Transition Network, alongside organisations spanning the social justice, open democracy, food sovereignty and environmental movements, including the RSA, Schumacher College, Shared Assets, The People’s Food Policy, UnLtd, Real Farming Trust, and Stir to Action. Find out more about CTRLSHift, and follow plan’s for future collaborative work, here – http://www.ctrlshiftsummit.org.uk/partners/

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

The last part was devoted to three essential points:

1. the manifesto which makes it possible to constitute both a membership charter and a communication on the nature of the alternative media network, in the form of a campaign to underline the urgency of coping with existence – or potentiality – of a restriction of freedom of expression;

2. development of economic models for the independent media, including the possible search for cross-financing;

3. Sharing information to increase their reach and impact.

From this founding meeting, three working groups set out these three essential dimensions. We will regularly publish the progress of the work and we hope that this cooperation with a European dimension will have a significant scope, both for the consolidation of each media and the progress of the promotion of the Solidarity economy in the European area.

Article by Josette Combes and Jason Nardi

World Social Forum 2018, March 13-17, Salvador de Bahia
FSM / WSF 2018

The World Social Forum (WSF) returns to Brasil where it was born in 2001 in Porto Alegre. In 2018, from March 13 to 18, it will take place in Salvador de Bahia with seminars, plenaries, workshops, cultural activities and conferences. The Forum will be a moment for horizontal and selfmanaged encounters. It will be possible to participate from a distance through the organization of the extended forum.

In a world where the freedom of expression, organization and resistance is more and more under threat, more than 400 organizations will be gathered to state, under the World Social Forum Charter, that people are determined to defend their rights to a decent living on a  planet preserved from the exactions that endangered it. Thus will take place a specific action with the objective of  enhancing the visibility and reinforce the intervention of the Alternative World Water Forum, that will take place in Brasilia on the following days during the WSF 2018.The 19 issues will address social justice, climate justice, struggle against resource-grabbing,or against discriminations. A thematic centered on Social and Solidarity Economy and Education will bring us together, as Ripess Europe members, with other people around the Global Curriculum project and other issues as medias or ecofeminism.

As in each Forum the women assembly, the people assembly and cultural activities and marches will be organized. This swarming initiatives will take place in the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and around the city and its suburbs.

2nd European meeting of Independent Media and SSE
February 1, 2018
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Alternative Media and SSE

The second European meeting of Independent Media and SSE will occur from the 9th to the 11th of February 2018 at La Bergerie de Villarceaux (an eco-farm near Paris).

During the UNIVERSSE 2017 – 4th European Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) congress in Athens (9-11 June 2017), the “1st European meeting of alternative, independent, cooperative media and SSE” took place, bringing together representatives of around 20 media initiatives from 10 European countries (from Greece to Portugal) and people working in SSE organisations and networks.

The participants agreed to work on concrete collaborations, having a common interest in cooperating together to strengthen each other, beyond the local and national dimension, and where possible to network with the solidarity economy (see here a report on the most important points agreed: we are going to work on them during the next meeting).

At this second meeting we are planning to deepen on the discussions and work on the next steps to construct a way for working together towards the consolidation of the different initiatives across Europe.

The proposed agenda of the meeting is available here.  

The Swiss-French Foundation FPH is supporting the meeting, covering the costs of the accomodation and meals for the participants attending to the meeting.

“Europe and SSE – the time has come!” (January 12, 2018) in Lille

With nearly 170 participants and high density debates, the conference “Europe and SSE, the time has come!” organised by RTES and REVES was a success and a strong impulse to follow up the committed work.

A dense morning allowed to draw the landscape of the question of social and solidarity economy at a European level. The presentation of a mapping to highlight the different SSE approaches in the Union countries, the presentation of a report from the experts group with the European Commission, the testimonies of the local authorities committed in social and solidarity economy projects with a European dimension or financing, the presentation of the position of RIPESS Europe on the co-construction of public policies (see here) and finally the strong words of experts on these questions and of the Commission representative, Ulla Engelmann and of European MEP, Marie-Christine Vergiat, allowed to tackle the issues around this thematic.

The complete article is available in French here.

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