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

Transforming our economies, stopping the Climate War!
December 21, 2018
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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
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[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
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Economias Transformadoras

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks and let’s converge!

WSF of Transformative Economies Team

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.

Solidarity-based and rebel: Summer University in Grenoble
September 6, 2018
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[by Josette Combes, MES]

For 5 days, from August 23 to 28, in Grenoble (France), more than 2,200 participants took part in dozens of activities, including: 64 workshops, 33 modules, 11 forums. Around 300 organizations were mobilized. Attac and the Crid had wanted to combine their financial and organizational efforts rather than juxtapose two events that often bring together activists engaged in common struggles, under the beautiful title for 2018 “Solidarity-based and rebel: Summer University of the social and citizen movements”

According to one of the organizers, the three fundamental objectives were: “the training of activists and new audiences, the convergence of movements, the defense and promotion of concrete alternatives”.
RIPESS and MES have been participating in these convergence moments for a few years now and have been the initiators of several modules in that direction (Paris 2015, Besançon 2016, Toulouse 2017). This year, we were mobilized by two workshops : On Friday 24, in the morning, “Economy and human rights” (see the interview of Bruno Lasnier (MES) and Laura Aufrère (RIPESS Europe) by TV bruits). In the afternoon, by the workshop “Citizens’ initiatives, general and common interest”. It was emphasized that these terms need to be precisely defined in their context of realization. The MES presented the role of the solidarity economy as a space of mobilization conducive to combining the three dimensions and each contributor detailed how the commons and the citizens’ initiative were at the heart of their objectives (Attac, CAC, the collective “Not without us”). These workshops brought together more than 40 people and gave rise to heated debates.

On Thursday 23rd, among the modules organised during the day, we were able to partially participate in the module: “The Commons : sharing, contributing and organising” which, based on the initiatives of Grenoble, Lyon, St Étienne and Lille, but also on several European initiatives, made it possible to take stock of the situation regarding the structuring of citizen actions around the commons: recovery of vacant spaces, development of local currencies, shared gardens, re-municipalisation of water, planning of public spaces,… These actions raise several questions: what structure around the commons? How to set up assemblies of the commons, with what governance and for what missions? How to build resource spaces (commons charters, platforms, maps, self-management models…) and how to link all the initiatives that are part of the commons? What links with the SSE and ecological transition networks already structured in the territories? All these questions were discussed throughout the day. Several movements of the commons organized a “COMMONS CAMP” during the five days of the university so that contributors could meet, exchange ideas and continue to strengthen the alternatives in our territories. More information (in French) here.

The Forum “When Feminists Move the Lines” brought together a large assembly in a packed amphitheater and not just women.

Florencia Partenio (DAWN, Argentina) described the struggle of Argentinian women for the right to abortion, the law of which has just been passed on by the Argentine Senate. Itzel Gonzales (Red Mesa de mujeres of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) described the horrendous situation of women in factories on the Mexican-American border, who are exploited, beaten, raped, killed with total impunity, and her organization’s fight to have these crimes punishable. Louiza Belhamici and Fatima Ouassak (Class Race Gender Network) discussed the theme of intersectionality and animated with a frank anger spoke of their fight of mothers of immigration against the discrimination that their children suffer at school, and the disregard for their values, the straitjacket of confinement in communitarianism as soon as they meet, in short, all the discriminatory behaviors that are legion on the French territory (and elsewhere of course). The last speaker, Assumpta Barbens (IAC Trade Union, Catalonia), raised an unbridled enthusiasm by telling with great humor the success of the women’s strike in Spain and their mobilization in the face of the unfairness of the Pamplona judgment. “We will not let anything go in. The revolution will be feminist or will not be!” These concluding words sparked an ovation from the entire room.

Saturday the workshop “Actors and actresses of local solidarity and international solidarity: how to work together to raise awareness and mobilize more widely” organized by the festival of solidarity gathered a wide range of organizations that have tried to find answers to questions raisedon the same topic: how to get out of speaking to already convinced people, to escape from the aggregation of all middle class/white people and organize broader solidarities and reach a less organized but eager to act public. (see the ATD Quart Monde article)
I circulated the information
on the flyer announcing the April Transformative Economies Forum in Barcelona, ​​whose perspective appealed to most of those present.

The weather favored the strolls in the city that had been organized outside the walls and the party organized by Alternatiba which hosted the Tour; Grenoble was one of the stages before its arrival on October 6 in Bayonne.
Several independent media were present (Politis, Reporterre, Basta,
Le Media, Médiapart, Silence, Alternatives Economiques, Sans transition!, Le Ravi, Le Postillon Grenet). Radio Campus made live broadcasts throughout the university and we can see a TV Bruits “summary”video (Video of TV Bruits).
A university that
sparkled energy and where we could note the absence of local authorities with the exception of Eric Piole, Mayor of Grenoble, though municipalism was the subject of a very busy module.
In the end we regret not having been able to attend
more proposals of reflection and debates but convinced that the gathering of mobilizations is getting better and better to transform the economic and social vision which is so toxic at the moment while decidedly another world is possible (see the ATTAC web site).

GA2018: more inter-cooperation and convergence!

In a lively Zagreb filled with people enjoying the world cup festive atmosphere, RIPESS EU – Solidarity Economy Europe celebrated its 7th General Assembly meeting with members from all over the continent, from Spain to Russia. The first day – Friday 15th of June – was dedicated to the “Good Economy Conference” sessions, in the beautiful setting of the Kino Tuskana theater, with a small yet rich and colourful local producer fair and many sessions dedicated to sharing experiences from Croatia, the Balkan region and the rest of Europe.

The dinner party in Zmag’s Recycled Estate Farm – 30 km out of Zagreb – was the most welcoming, convivial and social networking evening there could be, where new members got to know the rest of the RIPESS crowd as well as the great Zmag team.  Pizza and local craft beer, as well as reggae music, helped create a true multicultural atmosphere.

One of the oldest schools in Zagreb, in the old part of town, was the setting for the actual Genera Assembly for an intense day and a half of strategy discussions (on convergence with other alter-economic movements, public policies and SSE, education, peer training and cultural change), elections for the renewal of the coordination committee and admission of new members.  Three new members joined the network: Bio Fair coop from the Czech Republic, Fair Trade Poland and Good Earth cooperative from Macedonia.

One of the main issues discussed was the promotion of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies, a three year process of alliances and convergence with two main events planned to take place in Barcelona in Spring 2019 and 2020.  More to come about it…

The last day was dedicated to foster the inter-cooperation among members, sharing ideas, projects and areas of work where new exchanges and common actions can be discussed and help advance SSE concretely all over Europe as well as at the international level, connecting with the other continental networks of RIPESS.

Last but not least, lunch and dinner were assured by the excellent food prepared by two catering cooperatives, Taste of Home (whose main worker-members are refugees and asylum seekers) and Avocado, with the participation of local “Food not bombs” food recyclers…

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