RIPESS Europe gathers hundred of initiatives acting through solidarity economy, allied to develop social and economic justice. As a network we bring together over 40 national, sectoral and inter-sectoral networks in several European countries.
The experience of Rojava, the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria”, has been embodying hope through democratic cooperation.
Rojava women and men have been demonstrating to the world it is possible to organize social and economic justice by articulating self-governed councils, communes and cooperatives. Demonstrating it is possible to build a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Demonstrating it is possible to implement a eco-feminist political project.
Some members of RIPESS are working – directly or indirectly , with groups in Rojava, such as Solidarity Economy Association (UK) participating in a project called Cooperation in Mesopotamia, “Fostering international solidarity between the UK co-op movement and the predominantly women-led solidarity economy that’s being created in Northeastern Syria”.
Turkey is now set to destroy the people of Rojava’s Democratic Federation, and ISIS is using the Turkish attacks for insurgency.
We have been learning from Rojava people tenacity in organizing justice and freedom in a society facing war and in a region under attack from many sides. We have been learning from Rojava people the meaning of cooperation and emancipation.
We join the democratic movements worldwide to resist and stop the war against the people of Rojava: Rise Up for Rojava now.
This month of September has been marked by climate demonstrations around the world, particularly those that saw the mobilization of young people who are rightly concerned about the deterioration of living conditions on the planet. We can welcome and congratulate them on these demonstrations, which are supposed to shake up the inertia and carelessness of governments. For us, one of the fundamental axes of the solidarity economy is ecological vigilance, which questions the meaning of production and consumption in relation to the close link that must be sought between these two poles. It is the root of agroecology, which works for the quality of food, the preservation of the land and that of its inhabitants. But in all areas of human activity, it is urgent to rethink the aims and means underlying it, and to be creative and proactive in finding solutions.
As we have already announced, the central objective of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies(WSFTE) is precisely to organize the convergence of organizations that have set themselves the essential goal of resisting the harmful effects of a globalized political and economic system that threatens the vital balances of the planet. The process initiated by the first preparatory meeting in April 2019 is ongoing and should be reflected in each country. This is the case in France, for example, with the Regional Forum of the Social and Solidarity Economy. Feel free to share your own initiatives with us. And please note already the dates of the WSFTE which will take place from 25 to 28 June in Barcelona. Let us be mobilized to ensure that a fundamental awareness generates proposals to significantly transform our imagination and put into action an economy at the service of humans and respectful of the planet. We will communicate regularly on the process by regularly inviting you to participate in the different steps.
The General Assembly in Lyon has enabled new members to join us and this is welcome because social and climatic emergencies are accumulating and demand more than ever that we broaden the circle of people of good will.
In conclusion of this very brief editorial, it should be noted that in October two Peace marches will start, one the Jay Jagat from New Delhi in October and the other “La caravane pour que vive la terre” from Senegal in January. They will meet in Geneva on 25 September 2020.
Solidarity Oxford is a website and digital map which has been produced as part of the Solidarity Economy Association’s Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project.
Oxford has a whole host of organisations, projects and people
working to create a just and sustainable city. From swap shops and
childcare circles to housing co-ops and community farms, we’ve got a
thriving network of initiatives meeting the needs of our communities
in ways that put people, and our environment, first.
Around the world, activity like this is known as the solidarity economy. In many cities and countries – from New York City to Barcelona, and from Mali to Brazil – solidarity economy initiatives play a fundamental role in people’s lives.
In New York City, a group of people came together to create a map of their solidarity economy, and this map has helped to make their city’s communities more onnected, their projects and initiatives stronger, and has helped more people to be able to access the products and services they need in ethical and sustainable ways.
We’ve been exploring whether creating a map in Oxford is similarly helpful for our communities.
A big part of SEA’s mission is to make the solidarity economy in the UK stronger, and to encourage more people to find out about it and support in their local area. Our Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project is about celebrating what’s important in our city’s communities, and showing how all the different projects, initiatives and organisations are helping to create a more just and sustainable world.
Together, we are creating an alternative economy based on cooperation and self-determination, which empowers everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or background, and which cares about the health and well-being of people and the planet.
Our longer-term vision is also to show how the solidarity economy that exists in communities, cities and regions in the United Kingdom is part of a much larger movement of people around the world, all working to transform our economic system into a system that works for all.
From 24 to 26 June 2019, RIPESS was in Geneva (Switzerland) to attend this important international conference where participants discussed the results and role of the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
How can the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs)? Can local SSE projects have an impact on global development? The answers to these and many other questions were discussed at the International Conference RIPESS members presented several papers and organized the parallel session “Building the SSE movement from local to global”.
It was an opportunity to explain the alternative development model advocated by RIPESS, as well as the process of global convergence that is currently being promoted with the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies 2020.
And then we had two presentations from RIPESS members. First, Yvon Poirier of RIPESS North America presented the case study “Association for Sarva Seva Farms – ASSEFA-India: 50 Years of Sustainable Development”. You can consult the complete document here
Then, Denison Jayasooria, President of ASEC – RIPESS Asia, presented “Community Forestry Projects in Malaysia: People’s Participation in the Implementation of the ISF”. The full document is available here
The second day began with a presentation by Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, Community Supported Agriculture around the world and member of the RIPESS Board of Directors, entitled “How Community Supported Agriculture contributes to the realisation of Solidarity Economy in the SDGs”. It showed the deep ramifications that are possible in the specific sector of agriculture supported by the community and SWM. The full text of the article can be found here.
In the closing session, RIPESS members Judith, Denison and Laura Cicciarelli highlighted the main messages of the past two days with the OECD and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
Overall, the evaluation made at the closing session was that, throughout the two-day conference, the contribution of SSE to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was highlighted in the case studies presented.
For the future, it was agreed that the UNTFSSE, to which RIPESS actively contributes, should transmit messages from the field and prepare to work on a UN resolution on #ESS.
Since April 2019, DOCK along with 16 other SSE entities in Greece are functioning as official support centers for SSE, an action funded by the Greek government and the EU.
The main objective of this action is to provide free services to people or entities who want to develop economic activity in the field of SSE either by giving general info and introductory documentation to those interested or through support and personalized counseling for organizations already economically active in SSE.
already supported ten of these SSE initiatives and groups of people
at the stage of the initial idea, the aim during the implementation
of this action is to contribute in making SSE more visible by
strengthening and enhancing the SSE practices and the actors behind
The 10th International Labour Organisation Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Turin from the 3rd to the 7th June. It was been co-organised by the International Labour Organisation, celebrating its first century of existence this year. Looking at the Future of Work, it was an opportunity given to people interested or already engaged in the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of workers and employers’ organisations to exchange on the need to impact the economy through SSE in a sustainable perspective. More than 100 people from all the world were involved (except for Oceania), carrying their different knowledge, traditions, cultures, frameworks and needs. Thanks to an agreement with the organisers, four members of the RIPESS Europe network from Portugal, Greece and Italy were able to attend, as well as Beatrice Alain (Chantier de l’Economie sociale, Quebec) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS coordinator) who were among the invited speakers.
The core of the Academy reflected our market and labour situation, focusing on the challenges we are facing in several fields: economy, technology, environment, climate change, democracy, participation, and others. Despite the diversity of participants, both in terms of origins and in terms of career orientations, everybody agreed on one specific and essential point: the system we are living in is not sustainable at all and the solutions promoted by various governments and the main stakeholders are not relevant. For this reason, the Academy put forward several important issues comprising different form of enterprises and/or organisations of the SSE (SSEEOs – Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organisations), the legal framework existing or that could be promoted in the different countries both at the local and national level, financial mechanisms and tools, and many others.
The report entitled « Work for a Brighter Future » written by the Global Commission on the Future of Work served as an illustration of the advocated work model. That is is a « human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice».
It is important to move from
the local scale and, particularly, from the local expertise and
practices, highlighting the specificities of each territory. During
five days, many practitioners presented their initiatives and their
experiences, sharing knowledge and different form of innovation and
receiving several comments and suggestions. Different experiences
developed in different territories but all guided from similar values
and principals, those of the SSE paradigm, enhanced in contrast with
the neoliberal one.
The importance of the
“practices” has been highlighted together
with the study fields, organised during the second day in the cities
of Turin, Ivrea and Cuneo. It gave the opportunity to the
participants to discover
the implementation of SSE through virtuous experiences.
There is still a long way to go
and probably one of the things that have to be improved is the
construction of a common vocabulary and a common framework to
implement and develop SSE in a transversal and transectorial way. It
is important to work in both direction: the bottom-up, implementing
and supporting local initiatives, and the top down, working with the
local and national authorities in promoting
SSE laws and policies. Thus,
as a participant
said during the closing plenary,
we need to
work on “SSE in all policies”.
On 15, 16 and 17 May, the Réseau Interuniversitaire de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire held its conference, this time hosted by the Université Paris – Est Marne la Vallée. This was the nineteenth edition of this event, which brings together SSE researchers and actors every year, this year under the title SSE of culture, culture of SSE. More than 200 participants were able to exchange ideas within a renovated university, in very good conditions of comfort and accompanied by a team of staff and students of the Chair of Social and Solidarity Economy, under the kind responsibility of Hervé Defalvard.
The opening conference was given by Farida Shaheed, Executive Director of the Shirkat Gah-Women Resource Centre (Pakistan) and former and first UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights. Laura Aufrère, who initiated this invitation, introduced Farida and stressed the importance of her work in understanding the multiple dimensions of cultural rights.
Farida Shaheed, while saying she knew little about SSE, said in the preamble that respect for human rights is an unfailing foundation of an economy that claims to be inclusive. Cultural rights allow the development of specific worldviews and the resulting ways of life. According to the United Nations definition, it is “the right of everyone to take part in cultural life and to benefit from scientific progress and its applications”. Culture is never static, it is always evolving. Similarly, no community can be referred to a single culture knowing that there is always a dominant culture that power imposes to the detriment of so-called minority cultures, including those of women, youth, ethnic minorities, etc. Cultural rights include the right to criticize, contradict and reformulate the parameters of the dominant culture.
According to Farida, one cannot talk about cultural rights without addressing the issue of gender. While women play a fundamental role in cultural transmission, their influence in decision-making is limited and rules are defined little or not at all by women. They face different forms of violence for acts as simple as choosing whether and with whom they want to marry, how to dress and where they are allowed to go. When they violate these rules, enacted without their advice, they are sentenced on the pretext of treason. This is why it is urgent to change the paradigm and place women on an equal footing in their role as spokespersons for what must be transmitted or abandoned from a culture undergoing renovation. Similarly, young people or the marginalized must regain their right to expression and influence.
In her presentation, Farida Shaheed also addresses the issue of access to technologies and the problem of transferring the results of research conducted in public laboratories to the public interest. It also highlights the danger faced by artists whose expression can be censored because it is perceived as threatening to the cultural status quo and thus the right to artistic expression is linked to the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association including the right to form trade unions, the right to benefit from the moral and material protections related to their production and the right to leisure.
There is also a real demand for the restoration of historical truths that have been abused by “official history, especially for the peoples who have suffered colonization. In conclusion, Farida emphasizes the importance of respecting diversity by using the metaphor of the damage caused by monoculture in agroecology. Human ecology needs space and time for multidimensional exchanges.
Two upcoming events were announced in plenary: the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies in May 2020, with which RIUESS will be associated, and the 2nd International SSE Forum “Co-constructing reciprocity in North-South relations”, which will take place in Carthage (Tunisia) on 15-17 April.
There were 10 workshops or 30 contributors in two sessions, according to 5 main axes: the modes of organization of SSE in and through culture, SSE cultures between pluralism, isomorphism and new paths, alliances between culture and SSE, interculturality in SSE, minority, diversity at the crossroads of SSE and culture. (contributions will soon be available on the website as well as on socioeco.org.)
The round table moderated by Patricia Coler (UFISC) Culture and Territory examined the place of local agreements in the dynamics of territories. Finally, the students had organized the gala evening with film screenings and music for dancing, a very cheerful evening. The twentieth meeting is scheduled for May 27,28,29 2020 in Clermont-Ferrand.
This year’s conference focuses on how REScoops and local authorities can transform communities through collaboration and features European REScoops, local authorities (including cities and municipalities) and a bunch of local stakeholders from the RIPESS network, the Compile project and the wider Balkan region.
This 3-day conference will take place in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday 30th of May, Friday 31st of May and Saturday 1st of June 2019. The international conference on day 1 and 2 will coincide with the 6th General Assembly of REScoop.eu on day 3.
We start the conference on day 1 with a plenary session about Energy Remunicipalisation and a guided tour through Zagreb for REScoop.eu members.
On day 2, REScoops and municipalities will present information on how to accelerate the energy transition at the local level. European stakeholders will explain how citizen energy communities are organised in their respective countries and best practices of innovative collaboration between REScoops and local authorities in the Balkan region and beyond will be showcased. Finally, during several interactive sessions participants will be able to share thoughts and ideas
On day 3, more interactive workshop sessions will be organised, followed by REScoop.eu’s General Assembly
This newsletter is a special edition dedicated to upcoming European parliamentary elections.
the critical times we are living, all efforts to counter the
anti-democratic specter which is sweeping across Europe are crucial, as
well as the citizen-led initiatives to build a better Europe, starting
from our everyday practices in our communities to the global policies
that affect all of us, from climate, to migration, to agriculture, human
and social rights, etc.
We need and want a Social Solidarity Europe.
a network of people committed to profoundly transform the financial and
economic systems, we have values and proposals in common. In the Open
letter to the candidates, we’ve spelt out the main ones that look well
beyond our community, collective and cooperative practices.
joined forces with other movements and networks for a campaign on
sustainable production and consumption: the Fair Times is the result of a
common venture – read the Newspaper dated 2024, where we imagine what
could happen if the European parliament actually developed some of our
proposals, 5 years from now.
there’s more: some of our member networks have engaged organising
events in their territories towards the European elections as well as
towards the many local elections taking place in the same period. You
may read about some initiatives below.
The preparatory meeting (april 5-7) for the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (which will take place in Barcelona in May 2020) brought together representatives of different movements from all over Europe and the world. Joining forces in these times is no longer an option – it’s more necessary than ever. What we are trying to build together is an ambitious and precious space for concrete engagement and co-construction of a different financial and economic system. As RIPESS – with all our members, partners and allies – we are fully engaged to make it possible.
These are dangerous times, but also times for opportunity to really change the wind if we (re-)act positively together.
Every year in January, the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee meets, hosted by Eric Lavillunière in the pretty village of Elne to work on the movement’s strategy. This year two important topics were on the agenda: the European elections to be held in May and the meeting to prepare the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (WSFET) in April in Barcelona. Everyone is convinced that a race is underway to reverse the course of an economy that is outrageously predatory of the planet’s natural capital, leading to increasingly serious imbalances in human relations with their biotope and among themselves. The role of the European Parliament is becoming fundamental in harmonising the responses that European countries must urgently put in place to combat climate change and the authoritarian abuses that threaten democracy, in Europe but not only.
For several years now, we have been working to bring local authorities closer together to build public policies based on the territories that support citizen initiatives in the solidarity economy. But it is also essential to address European political leaders so that they encourage all the measures that act positively to maintain the democratic and ecological health of European countries. We are in the process of drafting a text that anyone can send to their Candidate for the elections of the European Parliament. The more of us do so, the more difficult it will be for them to ignore our claims. Alain Caillé’s proposal for a “European Republic” has something to say on this subject.
RIPESS Europe is also participating in a campaign for these elections on production and sustainable consumption with other networks such as FTAO and IFOAM. And with Friends of the Earth and several other organisations, we have developed a guide on how to talk about “the Europe we want”.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of initiatives that are invigorating to boost energy and hope. Whether it is a question of local currencies, renewable energy or the organisation of commons, the mobilisations are there.
European projects that allow cooperation between members are focused on transmission through training. It is essential to train new generations to continue to invent the solutions of the future.
In addition, during the meeting in Elne, Jean Louis Laville, member of the RIPESS EU Advisory Council, joined us to consider how the Advisory Council could contribute to research within the network, in order to allow for “change of scale” of SSE.
This change of scale must be seen not as a race for growth but as an intense process of disseminating the fundamentals of SSE so that they virally replace the culture of competition, profit at all costs, concentrations of power and wealth at the expense of the quality of life for the majority of people.