Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in comments
Search in excerpt
Search in posts
Search in pages
Search in groups
Search in users
Search in forums
Filter by Categories
483
548
619
87
Campaign
Editorial
Editorial
Education and Research
Europe
Event
Events
Featured
GA2016-workshops
GA2017
GA2018
General Assembly
International
News
News
Newsletter
Public policies
Public Policies
Resources
State of the Art
Training
Uncategorized
UniverSSE2017
Video
Transforming Europe in the world we want
Drawing New World

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.

By Josette Combes (MES)

Poland’s democratic spring: the fightback starts here
February 15, 2019
0

Article from The Guardian, by Christian Davies, January 30, 2019

Back when Anna Gryta and Elżbieta Wąs started a local campaign to preserve a town square in south-east Poland, they had no idea it would turn them into potent symbols of democratic revival. But almost 10 years since their success in Lubartów, the sisters have become figureheads for thousands of Poles determined to secure the clean, democratic governance promised to them in the wake of the collapse of communism 30 years ago.

It’s a surprising revelation. Poland has become a byword for nationalist populism in recent years as the ruling Law and Justice party defies European democratic norms with its assault on the media and the courts. But away from the limelight, there is a flourishing grassroots movement against the flaws in the country’s democratic culture on which the populists feed. Tight groups of civic activists are notching up success after success across the country on a vast range of different issues – from sex education to air quality and the rule of law, from cycle lanes and public spaces to transparency and participation in local decision-making processes.

Read the article here.

Towards a European Republic
February 14, 2019
0
Deviant art by nederbirdhttps://www.deviantart.com/nederbird/art/European-Federation-98402973

Alain Caillé is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. He co-founded the MAUSS (Mouvement Anti-utilitariste dans les sciences sociales) in 1981, and has been editor of the MAUSS Journal since its foundation. In June 2013, Alain Caillé and Marc Humbert created the Convivialiste Manifesto, a text signed by some sixty personalities from all over the world. He is the leader of the Convivialistes’ Movement (www.les convivialistes.org) and the Club des convivialistes.

The European project has not made us dream for a long time. It included two promises. By transcending the borders of nation states, it had to guarantee a perpetual peace. By creating a large market, unified by a common currency, it had to ensure economic prosperity. The first promise may seem to have been kept, but for how long? Europe is in fact divided into six or seven blocs of countries, each with its own unstable contours and deeply divergent interests. The unanimity rule prohibits any consistent political project and therefore any significant concrete progress in any field whatsoever. This is not without explaining why the second promise has hardly been kept or is no longer kept. In the absence of common economic, financial, social, technical, energy, scientific, diplomatic and military policies (except in fragments), Europe is losing ground to Markets and tax havens, to the United States, Russia and emerging powers, particularly China, whose hegemonic aims are no longer a secret. Europe does not speak to the world and no longer even speaks to itself.

Three emergencies

Of course, one could say that, on the one hand, there is only a fair catching-up of a temporary historical imbalance, and, on the other hand, that Europe has always progressed slowly, and that it must be given time to complete the many forms of cooperation that already exist in many areas. The problem is that we have absolutely no time left, for at least three reasons. First of all, if people remain attached to the euro, anger is growing everywhere in Europe against the deterioration of material and moral living conditions. And also, perhaps first of all, against the meaninglessness, the absence of a mobilizing project. Secondly, it is now time to promote an energy transition that can no longer wait. If Europe does not provide itself with the institutional, technical, economic and financial foundations, it will lose all geopolitical autonomy, an autonomy that can only be based on good economic health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as we can see, everywhere in the world, and even within Europe in which they were born, adherence to democratic values – respect for pluralism, human dignity and freedom of thought – is in constant decline. If Europe is no longer able to carry and embody these values, who will do it ? Since the democratic ideal is not strong enough in itself, Europe, which claims to be strong, must assume to become strong again in order to champion an ideal of (re)civilization in the face of rising barbaric behaviours. 

Contours of a European Republic

Europe believed that it could go beyond the form of the nation-state. However, all over the world, there are nations that are asserting themselves and confronting each other. And this is true again within Europe itself. The reason for this is that the national framework is the only one to date, where, in modern societies, citizens feel solidarity with each other, and are protected and reassured by this solidarity. This presumption of solidarity is irreplaceable. However, it would be dangerous, and impractical, to want to return to the traditional forms of the nation based on the imaginary tendentious identity between a people, a territory, a language, a culture and a religion. How can these two requirements, that of solidarity and that of diversity, be reconciled within the framework of a Europe that would break with the denial of nation and force, both of which are in reality necessary for the achievement of the democratic ideal? The only solution seems to be to build a meta-nation, a nation of nations, in the form of a European Republic. This Republic would be of a confederal type in order to leave as much scope as possible to the principle of subsidiarity. With a sovereign Assembly and a Senate representing both the regions and civil society organisations (trade unions, NGOs, associations, etc.), this Republic would be governed by a small government, drawn from national governments, responsible for implementing the principles of common economic, financial, social, technical, energy, scientific, diplomatic and military policy adopted by Parliament. This institutional set-up could be complemented by an Assembly of citizens drawn by lot (a kind of permanent consensus conference). Its role would be consultative, but this assembly would have the power to submit to a referendum those proposals that have not been taken into account.

Six priority projects

Such a European Republic would have six projects and six reasons to be priorities:

– The European project was first embodied in a coal and steel community (the ECSC). The European Republic’s first objective would be to provide itself with the means to meet the objectives set at the Paris Conference and to achieve an efficient and virtuous energy transition.

– For this to happen, it must represent a sufficiently important economic area and show sufficient political coherence to be able to effectively combat tax havens and tax optimisation when their sole function is to enrich the richest to the detriment of the most vulnerable.

– Similarly, this Republic must be strong enough to be able to enforce its own accounting and legal standards (and not have them imposed on it by private firms), and to ensure control over all “data” concerning it. The importance of the battle of Artificial Intelligence does not allow us to wait.

– To ensure that the European Republic is indeed a space of solidarity, and therefore functions as a meta-nation, it must respect the rule that only the most advanced social protection can be generalised.

– Only a European Republic will be able to respond both effectively and humanely to the enormous influx of migrants that neoliberal globalisation is causing. Similarly, only a European Republic will be able to meet the challenges of radical Islamic terrorism.

– Finally, while the sustainability of the American shield is problematic, it is essential to have a real European defence. A defence that will be all the more effective if it is clear that its sole objective is to ensure world peace.

Who will or could create the European Republic?

The project, the broad outlines of which have just been described, while remaining at the level of generality desirable at this stage, is not for the time being supported by any of the existing political forces in Europe. It is easy to understand why: These political forces only exist, act and influence at the national level, not at all at the level of the meta-nation to be brought about. This project may therefore seem totally utopian and unfeasible. Need we remind you, however, that it was one of Europe’s founding fathers? A totally forgotten project, yet more urgent than ever. Because the peoples of Europe no longer have a choice. To unite, once and for all, or to perish. To leave history and exist only in the renunciation of everything they believed in. Europe is now at the mercy of a challenge. To reconnect with what she has invented, and to update it, or to disappear. Contribute to the invention of universalizable standards, become exemplary, or vanish into the chaos that lies ahead. The crucial test before us is this: will the peoples of Europe be able to move beyond their nationalism and chauvinism to a higher-ranking nation, or will they prefer regression? At the very least, the question must be asked to them by accessing media visibility. It will not be possible for it to be asked either by business representatives, who are subservient to “markets” (even if those are often their main enemy), or, so it seems, by the current political parties, confined to national spaces. It is therefore up to European civic society, this informal nebula, so lively and protean, of associations, cooperatives in the social and solidarity economy and NGOs to take over. It is now that we must create a debate that can give hope to the peoples of Europe. Do they not have in common a past, too often murderous but also full of artistic, technical, scientific and political splendours (the emergence of modern democracy…)? They still have to invent their future.

Who would be a stakeholder and constituent part of the European Republic? All States, regions or peoples of Europe who so wish. But it is clear that this could not be achieved and reach a critical size without, at a minimum, the participation of France and Germany, plus Italy and/or Spain. It is also clear that such a project can only be truly meaningful if it is sufficiently exemplary on at least two levels: on the one hand, on the preservation of ecological balances, and on the other, on the reinvention and revitalization of a democratic ideal.  The European Republic, which must now be built, will have the project of strengthening a peaceful and equitable multilateral world order. It will be built around common public policies for collective well-being, developed and evaluated in a participatory manner, with deliberate and shared objectives (ecology, energy, the fight against inequality and poverty, etc.), and no longer as a correlate of the single market. 

Transforming our economies, stopping the Climate War!
December 21, 2018
0
War on Climate Change (The New Republic)

The Third World War has already started. And this time the “enemy” is everywhere. It’s the War on Climate: a whole system that has gone mad – based on unsustainable growth, fossil energy, extraction of natural resources and hugely unjust and discriminatory distribution of wealth – creating a distruction that is potentially at the biggest scale that ever occurred. It’s not just devastating to the environment, it is creating huge injustices, climate poor, and no future. We are in a systemic crisis and need systemic alternatives to get out of it.

This year, 2018, ended with some contrasting events. On one side there was the COP24 in Poland, which finished with almost no advancement on the 2015 Paris Agreement for Climate. On the other, more and more organized citizens (as well as many who are not used to be “activist”) have started to “rebel” and “build alternatives” in different ways around the planet.

As summarized by the Guardian, “on current targets, the world is set for 3°C of warming from pre-industrial levels, which scientists say would be disastrous, resulting in droughts, floods, sea level rises and the decline of agricultural productivity”. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two months ago issued a report warning that allowing warming to reach 1.5°C would already be extremely dangerous.

This is a huge failure of our governments and their market-based economic growth model, which we need to strongly react against. “We are the last generation that can save the planet” was the motto of the Alternatiba campaign this year. It’s time to fight back! We must raise our level of resistance and of concrete proposals for another economic system, a plural and transformative one.

This is what is being proposed by the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, which is becoming a reality also thanks to RIPESS members. People working on the Commons and peer production / community stewardship, on the EcoFeminist approach, on the Agroecology and food sovereignty re-localized production and consumption and on the Social Solidarity Economy (with all its different practices) and other Transition movements are getting together to work on a common Agenda towards systemic change.

Yet we need to advance and open also to other emerging citizens’ movements, such as the people who have been demonstrating with yellow vests in the streets of France, or the precarious workers, many of which are younger generations, aware of the future they will have to (re)build. Or refugees and migrants, and the whole diaspora economy that they have built to survive.

European Parliamentary elections will be in May next year. We can do our part to say what Europe we want. How Europe can foster a positive economy and society and stop subsidizing and promoting a debt-based, competitive and destructive system. The European Social Pillar approved this year goes in the right direction, but is certainly not enough.

We need to join forces now more than ever to change the imaginary of people and show that there is still hope in our communities, although there are powerful reactionary movements and not so much time left. It’s not at all easy, but as the initiatives illustrated here (which are just a tiny part of many more) show, it is definitely possible.

[Jason Nardi – RIPESS Europe general delegate]

PS: Of course, Best wishes for the Holidays and for the New Year!

Strengthening local agriculture with local currencies
wikipedia

by Gaëlle Bigler (FRACP / URGENCI) & Jean Rossiaud (Monnaie Léman / APRES-GE)

In the last issue of the RIPESS-Europe Newsletter, we proposed to open a regular section / blog on the issue of “local currencies”,  to explain the advantages and challenges of this tool in the service of the social and solidarity economy and the issues that arise both locally and internationally in its development. We also took the risk of longer articles, allowing us to discuss more in depth this new and complex issue. The first article focused on the example of the Leman, the currency of the Franco-Swiss living area around Lake Geneva, its guarantee fund and its mutual credit system, its notes and blockchain.

The idea is to build on our grassroot experience, to imagine how to build, both transnationally and in other ever-changing local geographical contexts, synergies between SSE sectors and local currencies: the local currency can serve as an instrument both for building economic sectors (agriculture, IT, construction, etc.) and for promoting exchanges between SSE sectors, and between them and public authorities.

In this issue, Gaëlle Bigler and Jean Rossiaud co-authored this second article laying the foundations for a reflection on the relevance of the use of complementary currencies in the development of agro-ecological agriculture, starting from their own land, French-speaking Switzerland.

***

As presented in the previous article, like many other local currencies, the Leman was created to respond locally to two contemporary global systemic crises: the financial crisis and the climate crisis. The purpose of citizen money is to give a real territorial identity to the so-called transition economy, a post-extractivist (post-carbon, post-nuclear) and post-speculative economy. It offers an immediate and concrete solution to relocate production and consumption and direct them towards greater sustainability. It promotes the development of a dense network of companies, businesses, consumers and public authorities that share these principles, ethics and ideas of citizenship and commitment. As a Eusko spokesman said: when you take your Eusko note out to pay, it is the “transition identity card” that you display. Consuming healthy food as close as possible to home, from known sources, which we may have contributed to producing or distributing, is an action that benefits from being integrated and articulated in a broader economic and financial perspective.

Since 2008, the Fédération Romande des ACP (FRACP) has brought together some thirty initiatives from all over French-speaking Switzerland. Originally “ACP” refers to Local Contractual Agriculture, and by extension, ACP is used for any initiative, association or cooperative that enters into a partnership approach between a group of citizens and local producers for a social, economic and solidarity commitment. This reciprocal commitment allows you to receive, generally every week, the products for which you have signed a contract. It is a system of short circuit sales, without intermediaries between producer and eater.

FRACP’s missions are to bring together, i. e. to strengthen links between ACP; to accompany, i. e. to share knowledge; to support new ACP and those in difficulty; and to promote, i. e. to raise awareness and defend the ACP model among the public as well as public authorities.

For several years now, FRACP has been an active member of the international network Urgenci for citizen-supported agriculture. Indeed, the models developed in Switzerland correspond to the definition developed jointly by the members of some twenty countries: Citizen-supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership based on direct human relations between consumers and one or more producers, where the risks, responsibilities and benefits of agricultural work are shared as part of a long-term mutual commitment.

The Urgenci network itself is very active in the movement for food sovereignty and in the promotion of local and solidarity partnerships, particularly within the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social and Solidarity Economy.

This commitment to the development of local, ecological, social, solidarity-based and human-scale agriculture to ensure food sovereignty has led FRACP to participate in various events at the local level, such as the day of reflection coordinated by the Feeding the City of Geneva programme, the campaign to add an article on food sovereignty to the Swiss constitution; and at the international level: participation in the drafting of a book on local and solidarity-based agricultural partnerships, as well as the co-writing of the European Declaration on Agriculture supported by citizens, etc.

Among the various work themes, both at local and international level, is the question of the development of sectors. How to integrate bakers, butchers and other artisans working upstream or downstream of agricultural production into the ACP? How can we better integrate eaters, decision-makers and people involved in the food processing into our approach, which means asking ourselves how to strengthen a social and solidarity-based economy in our territory. And this is where the local currency should be considered as a simple and effective tool to answer these questions.

The local currency offers solutions that address ACP concerns:

  • as eaters, we are also citizens and economic actors who have a strong interest in strengthening the coherence of our approach
  • Producers, people involved in the food processing and grocery retailers also have a strong interest in demonstrating their commitment to the agricultural and solidarity transition by accepting local currency. Signing the membership charter allows them to appear on a georeferenced map and thus increase their visibility in the face of a growing audience of responsible consumers.
  • It is in the interest of public authorities to keep agricultural enterpises, artesans or small processing enterprises on their territory, which contribute to social life and collect local taxes.

From a financial point of view, the local currency multiplies your ability to act on the system you are trying to promote and creates more wealth:

  • When you change 100 euros into local currency, your 100 euros will add to the guarantee fund, which is made available for investments in the transition economy. In fact, you have saved 100 euros for projects of collective interest and you have received enough to consume 100 euros in local products, often of much better quality than industrial products.
  • The circulation speed of a local currency is estimated to be 5 to 6 times faster than the circulation speed of a currency; that is, it produces 5 to 6 times more wealth in the real economy.

Secondly, the local currency reduces your involuntary or sometimes unconscious participation in the global economic system that you often find harmful: it is impossible to speculate with euskos, Bristol Pounds or lémans on the financial markets of New York or Hong Kong, while with your money in your bank account, this is what is constantly done. Your banker then takes more risk with your money and contributes, through the constant search for financial return, to the overproduction and overconsumption of the planet, which destroys the planet as much as societies. Everything you seek to thwart by eating local and healthy food.

Moreover, the local currency, because it cannot be exchanged into a foreign currency without costs, requires the search for suppliers and therefore the integration of the production to consumption chains. And that is what is most important. By stimulating the construction of a dense network of local companies, terrirories become very resilient to systemic crises such as the 1929 or 2008 crises. These financial crises do not become economic crises mainly because they dry up credit. Without liquidity, there is no longer any possibility of paying suppliers, no possibility of producing for its customers, and no possibility of meeting a demand that is nevertheless solvent, and serial bankruptcies of entire sectors of the economy. One only has to study the Argentine or Greek crises to be convinced of this.

The local currency when it functions like the Leman in pooled credit allows each company to have permanent credit lines automatically opened in the event of a liquidity crisis. In addition, in the event of excess stock, the same network can be activated for destocking.

That is why local currency is an excellent tool to strengthen mechanical solidarity in the production to consumption chains, from seed to bread,, from barley to pint in our favourite pub

SSE is still too often compartmentalized. Everyone cultivates his/her own garden and collects his/her best practices in well sealed silos. Yet the economy, by definition, is a system. And not every system is good, because it is a system. It is up to us to build an ecological, social and solidarity-based system that allows us to produce more and more healthy products as close as possible to home.

It is in this spirit that the Leman and the FRACP are starting a reflection on collaborations and synergies to be developed between local currencies and sustainable food. Here are the first themes we have identified:

  • reflection in terms of production to consumption chains, for each type of agricultural product: from seed to production, from production to processing, from processing to distribution, from distribution to consumption,
  • reflection within the framework of the “Eating Cities” Programme: starting from neighbourhood territories and municipalities to build short circuits and be part of the transition,
  • reflection to be carried out on the involvement of local authorities both as economic actors in short circuits; and as public authorities, in the context of public policies in the fields of agriculture, economic promotion, food and health (canteens), sustainable development and taxation.
  • role of the multi-currency purse, Biletujo (purse in Esperanto), for the import of products produced in other territories, or the export of products typically produced here.
  • reflection on the importance of networking and anchoring this reflection in the institutional framework of the SSE, and at the international level with RIPESS, but also beyond, by addressing economic actors who do not recognize themselves in the SSE, but who nevertheless share its philosophy by working on the agricultural, energy and economic transition.

We will certainly resume these reflections in a future article. Your comments and questions will guide the contents.

Thessaloniki, Greece: Community Supported Agriculture beyond borders
Urgenci Thessaloniki

We are local small-scale peasant farmers and eaters engaged in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a direct partnership where the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming are shared.

CSA is part of our daily experience of creating a genuine alternative to the current economic system, where the decision-making power of food production and distribution is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few financial investors. But we believe even more is at stake.

We believe CSA is a prefiguration of the new social contract between food producers and the communities they are feeding. The European Declaration of CSA, adopted at the last European meeting in September 2016 is a decisive step forward in sharing our proposals. It is a roadmap.

The European CSA movement has come a long way, but much work still remains to be done. Where do we stand when we look at our initial promises? Saving farms, fostering local economies and jobs that cannot be relocated, healing social and environmental wounds, repairing the broken links between different communities, rebuilding social cohesion: what are our achievements? What are our remaining and new key challenges?

The meeting is scheduled to take place 9-11 November 2018 in Thessaloniki.

More information at : https://thessaloniki.urgenci.net/about/

GSEF2018: RIPESS and REAS Euskadi present the Declaration for a Transformative SSE
Declaration Transformative SSE Bilbao

Within the framework of the GSEF2018 (Global Social Economy Forum) in Bilbao on the 2nd of October 2018, RIPESS and REAS Euskadi have launched the Declaration for a Transformative Social and Solidarity Economy. The statement comes when it is the thenth anniversary since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the trigger that ignited the biggest financial crisis even known.

The outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008 placed capitalism at the centre of all citizen’s criticism. However, in these ten years the much-awaited and necessary changes have not occurred. Quite the contrary: the processes of financialization of the economy have increased, its speculative character has strengthened and, above all, the poverty and inequality rates on the planet have grown significantly.

Therefore, the statement wants to “raise the voice to denounce capitalism that commodifies and threatens our lives and our planet. It is a hetero-patriarcal capitalism that promotes discrimination against women and excludes diversity “.

In this way, the people, organizations and networks of SEE present at GSEF 2018 commit themselves through this declaration to “working together with other social movements for the transformation of the economy through alternative and social initiatives in the areas of finance, production, marketing and consumption. By transforming the economy, we transform territories and communities and thus promote a new cultural, social and political model”.

With this initiative, a commitment is made to a transforming social and solidarity-based economy at the service of a New World that is more just, respectful, democratic and sustainable. It is now a question of joining forces, and all existing practices, to build and impose an Inclusive Global Agenda from the Local to the International, and show that we have answers and proposals to overcome today’s huge global challenges.

In the act of launching the declaration, the World Social Forum of the Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020 has also been presented to the people attending the GSEF 2018.

You can consult the Declaration for a transforming Social and Solidarity Economy here.

E-leman: a local blockchain currency in Switzerland and beyond
October 15, 2018
0

[By Jean Rossiaud, Chambre de l’ESS de Géneve]

The Leman is the local currency of the economic life basin that develops around the Geneva Lake (called Lac léman in French), the largest lake in Europe, crossed from end to end by a border. Geneva is at the end of the lake, and the canton of Geneva shares 90% of its border with France (Haute-Savoie and Ain) and 10% with Switzerland (Canton de Vaud).

The Leman currency is complementary to both the euro and the Swiss franc, on which it is based. The currency was launched in Geneva in September 2015, after 4 years of reflection within a group of about 50 people, composed of Swiss and French residents. A little over 3 years after its launch, 560 companies and businesses and several thousand consumers used the Leman. With the switch to electronic money almost a year ago, the leman is giving itself the opportunity to significantly increase its “payments community”.

The Leman stands out in several ways from other local citizen currencies. First of all, its local and cross-border nature makes it practically a rarity on the planet. Secondly, the fact that it combines paper and electronic cryptocurrency (under blockchain technology) also makes it unique. The new Leman banknotes are all loaded on the blockchain, they all carry a QR-code that allows users to check the validity and cash value of the banknote by scanning it. The π-léman (value 3.14 Leman) and the 1 Leman note, easily split into two 50 cts denominations of Leman, are also innovations.

In addition, the Leman is one of the very few complementary currencies to value the combination of pledge (for the BtoC) and mutual credit (for the BtoB), by stimulating the payment of a portion of salaries in Lemans. Finally, it is part of the trans-localist movement, which advocates the ecological and social transition (it is based on an ethical charter for the continuous improvement of business practices) from the local to the global level, by systematically building international networks in a collaborative spirit (peer-to-peer). Read more

WSF of Transformative economies 2019-2020: update about the process
October 15, 2018
0
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

The debt shackles are off: watch Greek social enterprises go!
kalo SSE in Greece

[by Antonis Vorloou | former Secretary of SSE of the Greek government]

This article which appeared in the Thomson Reuters Foundations News (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) is published with the Author’s consent.

Debt laden Greek consumers have been forced to choose cheap but with the economy improving, will they ‘buy social’?

Decades of crony capitalism and regulatory capture have left Greek productivity crippled, eroded trust between the state and the citizens and – most disturbingly – everyone has placed “self-interest” above all else. The 2009 debt crisis revealed in the most shocking way the deficiencies of the “system” with unemployment sky rocketing to unprecedented levels (28% by 2013) and purchasing power reduced by over 25%. A social economy has been successfully proposed in many countries as an alternative to the market economy, yet in Greece it was first introduced during the early years of the crisis and was mostly regarded as a policy tool to restrain growing unemployment.

Some also had the controversial expectation that it could be a way to shrink the public sector by outsourcing to social enterprises. The economic outlook was especially distressing during the period of the euro zone’s debt relief measures for Greece, due to the shrinking demand triggered by dwindling purchasing power. In such an environment the competitive advantage lays with the enterprise which can cut costs and prices and not with the one which integrate a social premium into their products.

For this new way of doing business to be successful, two ingredients are essential – an enabling environment and a culture of contributing to the society. In a growing economy, aided by policy measures, a social economy can thrive and be regarded as an employer of choice, given the reward of doing something good and worthwhile for the society. Fast forward to today. Post bailout, unemployment has dropped below 20%, the minimum wage is on the rise and an air of normalcy is returning to the economy. The ability of workers to choose their employer is increasing and the purchasing power of consumers is on the rise giving them the opportunity to choose not just the cheapest product, but also one that has social added value.

The Greek government, which views a Social and Solidarity Economy as the new paradigm for aligning the interests of the market to those of the society, has introduced a new legal framework for social enterprises in 2016. This expanded the previous definition of Social and Solidarity Economy entities beyond Social Cooperative Enterprises, which were first introduced in 2011 and includes Workers Cooperatives – a new legal form – as well as all other types of entities which have a social purpose, democratic governance and limited distribution of profits. This has given a boost to the sector which includes more than eleven hundred organisations, half of them created during the last 18 months, with a combined turnover of over 10 million euros and employing over a thousand workers as well as mobilizing numerous volunteers.

To strengthen this dynamism, an ambitious plan to provide a supporting environment for the development of new and existing Social and Solidarity Economy actors is also implemented. The plan, which has a budget of over 170 million euros for the next five years, includes business development services, financial support through grants and state backed loans and a multitude of dissemination actions.

Creating a culture of giving and building trust, on the other hand, needs a more subtle and systematic approach.  Efforts to that end are being made in order to mobilize dormant societal forces so that this type of mentality becomes visible and eventually mainstream. These include the promotion of social impact measurement as well as cooperation with international organisations of the sector – such as RIPESS – in order to identify and implement new and innovative actions.

A Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece is still young but with the boost it will be given from governmental policies, together with the improving economic outlook post bailout, it has the potential to create a new way of doing business which is aligned with the interests of the many.

Antonis Vorloou is the former Special Secretary for the Social and Solidarity Economy law, which recognises different kinds of social enterprises in Greece.

Skip to toolbar