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UniverSSE2017
Video
Launch of Transiscope, the portal for alternatives
Logo Transiscope

Transiscope is a new initiative, which aims to highlight all the alternatives for the transition by displaying them on a single map, collecting existing data.

 

WHAT DOES TRANSISCOPE OFFER?

Inform about existing organisations and citizens’ initiatives in a simple, clear and attractive way through intuitive classification, a harmonised format for presenting initiatives and different digital tools available;

  • Encourage participation and citizen action by creating a contact directory of alternatives;
  • Accelerate networking and synergies between initiatives: making alternatives visible to each other is a key factor in cooperation;
  • Visualize the territories or issues that require the development of concrete alternatives;
  • Develop and equip our commons: the software developed for the project is free, therefore reusable and can be improved for other projects.

Read more here (in French).

This platform links the work of transition organisations and actors in France and is supported by a collective of 10 associations, including RIPESS and MES.

Bilbao: RIPESS at the Global Social Economy Forum GSEF 2018

The Global Social Economy Forum was held in Bilbao (1-3 October 2018). This is the fourth edition after Seoul 2 times and Montreal 2016. It brought together more than 1700 people from 84 countries. It should be noted that a significant number of representatives of local authorities had made the trip to testify to their involvement in the SSE. It is one of the strong points of the GSEF, to link the evolution of the development of cities to the Social Economy. It should be noted in passing that the title “social economy” has largely predominated in the discourse, the term solidarity being considered superfluous in some cultures because it is included. Nevertheless, the term SSE has also been used in several instances, either in plenary or in workshops. This point can and has given rise to some controversy. We know that for RIPESS, the term solidarity is central because it refers to a philosophy of radical contestation of the ultra-liberal model in force in the globalized economy. The title of the Forum, “Values and competitiveness for inclusive and sustainable local development”, strongly advocated by the Bilbao government, was also discussed.

Mondragon, a partner of the event, is an emblematic example of cooperativism, and of the social economy conceived as a systemic complex aiming at autonomy in a context of resistance, at the time of its creation, to Francoism. Mr. Iñigo Ucin, President of the Mondragon County Council, presented his global experience (production, finance, training, distribution) and invited people to field visits.

The workshops on a wide range of themes offered a wide range of experiences, which is always a time to stimulate optimism and an opportunity for meetings that can be extended over time through fruitful collaborations. RIPESS was present with several members from all continents. The opportunity to get in direct contact with representatives of local authorities and the European Commission was well taken.

During a dedicated session, a Declaration on Transformative SSE which aims at real systemic change was read. During the ceremony, people from several cultures and continents read the text in 4 languages.

During the same session, Jason Nardi for RIPESS, Julia Grannel for XES and Carlos Askunze, coordinator of REAS Euskadi, announced the preparation of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies. A first preparatory phase will take place in April 2019 in Barcelona and the final edition of this Global Forum is scheduled for 2020. The session ended with a “picoteo” (a kind of aperitif dinner) invited by REAS to Hika Ateneo, an alternative place in Bilbao.

In the closing session Margeritte Mendell (Concordia University, Montreal) used an oxymoron to signify that political and also academic research staff should relax the frameworks and rules that stifle the field initiative. She recommended the “institutionalization of flexibility”.

Jason Nardi was one of three people mandated to read the final declaration of the GSEF after participating in its drafting. A statement from the youth who participated in the forum was also presented.

The next edition of the GSEF is expected to take place in Mexico City in 2020.

Vocational Training: a new Erasmus project working on Trainers

Following the first European Erasmus+ project, which ended with an international meeting in Porto (Portugal) organised in July by APDES (Agencia Piaget Para O Desenvolvimento), a new project was submitted to Europe and approved. It will officially begin with a working meeting in mid-November in Timisoara (Romania) dedicated to the planning of the different phases of the project.

“The project aims to contribute to the development and improvement of skills and competences in Vocational Education and Training (VET), a need identified during the evaluation process of the previous project (SSEE: affirming a new paradigm through innovation of VET programmes), by providing programmes and strengthening the skills of VET trainers, in order to make VET a socio-cultural, interdisciplinary innovation and a basis for experiences and jobs, starting with vocational training, in the context of local development. This project will advocate for the integration of transversal knowledge and using the importance of general knowledge and key competences in addition to professional competences in this education and training of trainers subsystem. The adaptation and development of VET and SSE skills and competences are richer and better adapted to the needs of the labour market, enable young people and adults to be better qualified and contribute to permeability and mobility between different education and training subsystems. The ability of VET systems to anticipate future skills needs and skill gaps requires the inclusion of new frameworks of ideas, new paradigms and alternative models. This is why the project aims to include social issues and solidarity in the education of new generations of learners. This new socio-economic model will serve as a relevant tool for them to address labour market challenges (…) SSE as an alternative socio-economic model in the EU and other parts of the world is rooted in inclusive values and practices, which are much needed in a “transition era”. SSE practitioners develop alternatives in all economic sectors within and beyond current economic models by focusing on sustainability, social needs, reciprocity and solidarity. (…) SSE offers new skills and competences as well as methodologies and practices for creating new or alternative business models, enterprises and cooperatives. With regard to new skills, in the era of automation, the development of non-technical skills such as communication, creative thinking, work ethics, teamwork, networking, decision-making, flexibility, critical thinking and conflict resolution is considered more than essential. (…)

Based on the objectives of the project, a threefold scope can be presented:

  • First, to make SSE a visible and familiar concept on the labour market with regard to the potential and specific constraints that this alternative socio-economic model includes.
  • Secondly, to empower trainers and trainees such as unemployed and untrained young people to acquire new skills and competences from SSE as part of their attempt to enter the labour market.
  • Third, to provide VET trainers, especially at higher levels, with innovative pedagogical methods and tools by implementing an alternative pedagogical experience (SSE in training). To this end, the project proposes the development of innovative methodologies and specific pedagogical tools including training courses, an online platform to support learning and training activities and guides to good practice. (extracts from the project presentation)

Project partners: CRIES (Romania), Technet (Germany), DOCK Synergatikos Koinonikis Koros kai allileggyas oikonomias (Greece), Solidarius (Italy), APDES (Portugal), MES (France) and RIPESS Europe

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.

Rethinking Economics: changing how Economy is taught
Rethinking economics

Last August the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering  took place,  bringing together 75 students and academics from all over the world at La Bergerie de Villarceaux, in France. Representatives of progressive fundations such as the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation, Partners for a New Economy, or the Edge Funders Alliance also attended the meeting to discuss the role of philanthropy in overcoming the current extractivist economic system. Rethinking Economics is an international network of students, academics and professionals that lobbies to overcome neo-liberal economic thinking in society and in the academic curriculum. 

10 years after the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis there seems to be a wide consensus among many different initiatives on the need for the so-called “transformative economies” to converge into a common global agenda. Some of these initiatives that also attended the gathering were the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll), Promoting Economic Pluralism (PEP), Reclaim Our Economy or Finance Watch. Villarceaux was a perfect context to exchange some ideas on how to work togehter effectively and how the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies of Barcelona could be a platform to work on this convergence.  The presentation took place on August 16th and many of the students who were present, showed interest in collaborating with the Forum from the different local organisations they represented.

Through the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, RIPESS, REAS and XES have committed themselves to organising a two year path that will cross through events all around the world that include two meetings in Barcelona, in 2019 and 2020. The official presentation at the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering of Villarceaux paves the way of a process that will follow in the next 2 years.

[by Xavi Artigas, XES – Catalan solidarity economy network]

Flowing through the RIPESS stream
GA2018 Vukovic Drazen Simlesa

By Drazen Simlesa (Good Economy Platform – ZMAG)

Very often local activists are reluctant to join international networks: they don’t see direct benefits for themselves, it is time consuming and they give up very soon because the network didn’t solve some of their daily issues or meet some expectation. But a network is not here because of that. It is here to allow people to meet, to inspire each other, to connect, to not feel alone, to be empowered and gain new strength, to make us more visible and accepted…

So yes, we network together also to help and mutually support each other, to create a better world, to push us beyond our territories, to explore our horizon. I can’t describe better what RIPESS means to me. Here in Croatia we are still flowing through theRIPESS stream that we got during the Good Economy Conference and our network General Assembly that took place in Zagreb last June. We are still riding that wave.

One short drop: during those days we had a meeting with representatives of Croatian cities and one of the RIPESS members, RTES – the French network of local authorities for Solidarity Economy. The main subject of the meeting was how to integrate solidarity economy within Croatian cities in partnership with administrations and other important actors in the local community.

Today, not even three months later with some of them we are applying for two open calls for project proposals, meeting and communicating on a daily basis, preparing the ground for real implementation of solidarity economy in our local environments, we are visible and accepted partner to them. It is a part of our overall work and openness, but without RIPESS and its members’ support, it would be much harder for us to be on that inspiring and new wave.

This newsletter is a good mirror of RIPESS Europe abundance from Bilbao GSEF2018 to Barcelona 2020, from education and training initiatives to the “Europe we want campaign”, from local currency in Switzerland to solidarity economy growing in Greece.
All drops in a bigger wave and many more to come…
Post-growth: The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth

Article of The Guardian, September 16, 2018

238 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP

This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.

For the past seven decades, GDP growth has stood as the primary economic objective of European nations. But as our economies have grown, so has our negative impact on the environment. We are now exceeding the safe operating space for humanity on this planet, and there is no sign that economic activity is being decoupled from resource use or pollution at anything like the scale required. Today, solving social problems within European nations does not require more growth. It requires a fairer distribution of the income and wealth that we already have.

Growth is also becoming harder to achieve due to declining productivity gains, market saturation, and ecological degradation. If current trends continue, there may be no growth at all in Europe within a decade. Right now the response is to try to fuel growth by issuing more debt, shredding environmental regulations, extending working hours, and cutting social protections. This aggressive pursuit of growth at all costs divides society, creates economic instability, and undermines democracy.

Those in power have not been willing to engage with these issues, at least not until now. The European commission’s Beyond GDP project became GDP and Beyond. The official mantra remains growth — redressed as “sustainable”, “green”, or “inclusive” – but first and foremost, growth. Even the new UN sustainable development goals include the pursuit of economic growth as a policy goal for all countries, despite the fundamental contradiction between growth and sustainability.

The good news is that within civil society and academia, a post-growth movement has been emerging. It goes by different names in different places: décroissance, Postwachstum, steady-state or doughnut economics, prosperity without growth, to name a few. Since 2008, regular degrowth conferences have gathered thousands of participants. A new global initiative, the Wellbeing Economies Alliance (or WE-All), is making connections between these movements, while a European research network has been developing new “ecological macroeconomic models”. Such work suggests that it’s possible to improve quality of life, restore the living world, reduce inequality, and provide meaningful jobs – all without the need for economic growth, provided we enact policies to overcome our current growth dependence.

Some of the changes that have been proposed include limits on resource use, progressive taxation to stem the tide of rising inequality, and a gradual reduction in working time. Resource use could be curbed by introducing a carbon tax, and the revenue could be returned as a dividend for everyone or used to finance social programmes. Introducing both a basic and a maximum income would reduce inequality further, while helping to redistribute care work and reducing the power imbalances that undermine democracy. New technologies could be used to reduce working time and improve quality of life, instead of being used to lay off masses of workers and increase the profits of the privileged few.

Given the risks at stake, it would be irresponsible for politicians and policymakers not to explore possibilities for a post-growth future. The conference happening in Brussels is a promising start, but much stronger commitments are needed. As a group of concerned social and natural scientists representing all Europe, we call on the European Union, its institutions, and member states to:

1. Constitute a special commission on post-growth futures in the EU parliament. This commission should actively debate the future of growth, devise policy alternatives for post-growth futures, and reconsider the pursuit of growth as an overarching policy goal.

2. Incorporate alternative indicators into the macroeconomic framework of the EU and its member states. Economic policies should be evaluated in terms of their impact on human wellbeing, resource use, inequality, and the provision of decent work. These indicators should be given higher priority than GDP in decision-making.

3. Turn the stability and growth pact (SGP) into a stability and wellbeing pact. The SGP is a set of rules aimed at limiting government deficits and national debt. It should be revised to ensure member states meet the basic needs of their citizens, while reducing resource use and waste emissions to a sustainable level.

4. Establish a ministry for economic transition in each member state. A new economy that focuses directly on human and ecological wellbeing could offer a much better future than one that is structurally dependent on economic growth.

The International Fair Trade Charter
September 14, 2018
0

Rising inequality, entrenched poverty and a deepening ecological crisis have mobilised the global community to seek new models of business and trade that drive fair and sustainable economies. Over many decades, the Fair Trade movement has developed and implemented a range of models that serve as an experiment in transforming the broader global economy.

The new International Fair Trade Charter enshrines the common vision and fundamental values of the Fair Trade movement to put us on the path to realising the Sustainable Development Goals.

With diverse actors playing actively in the global Fair Trade movement, the Charter serves as the single international reference point for Fair Trade.

Get a copy of the International Fair Trade Charter and support Fair Trade here . The Charter is available here.

[RIPESS International is supporting the new Charter]

 

​I International Congress in Africa Living Cooperation and Global Citizenship

Campaign for a Global Curriculum of Social Solidarity Economy’s
​I International Congress in Africa
LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
December 9, 10 and 11, 2018
Kibera (Rowallan Camp, Nairobi), Quênia

COME TOGETHER TO LIVE THE PRINCIPLE OF UBUNTU- “I AM WHAT I AM FOR WHAT WE ALL ARE ” AND BUILD COOPERATION, SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE STORIES
Let’s meet and connect with social activists from Africa, the Americas and Europe who are developing alternative, sustainable practices to the dominant modes of producing economy, education and culture.

We are calling all those involved in formal, non formal and informal educational processes aiming planetary citizenship and the transformation of reality, with the strengthening of solidarity, non-patriarchal, non-colonial economies, to participate in the Campaign for a Global Curriculum of Social Solidarity Economy’s I International Congress in Africa, LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP. The event, announced at the World Social Forum of Salvador, BR, March 2018, is organized by the Amani Kibera Center for Education for Peace through Deportivo, in Kibera, Nairobi, Quênia and wants to contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda- Sustainable Development Goals.
For three days, we will meet citizen initiatives in Kibera, the largest favela of Kenya, where cooperation and solidarity seek to guarantee the rights to housing, food, water, education, sports and peace. We will listen to stories of experiences in education for the solidarity economy and global citizenship, by activists and thinkers from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and countries of the Americas and Europe. We will participate in thematic working groups on the axes of the Conference – Culture of Peace, Sports for Peace, Youth, Women, Ancestral Knowledge, Sustainability and Territories, always in the perspective of the promotion of new solidarity based, cooperative economies. The event – which will be broadcast on the Internet as an Extension Activity of the World Social Forum – will result in an online Magazine that will be published, based on the contributions to this Conference, and in cooperation projects of members of global civil society present, at local, regional and international level (See Program below).
JOIN US AT THE CAMPAIGN FOR A GLOBAL CURRICULUM OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY ECONOMY’S CONGRESS “LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP”
1-Register as a participant, by sending an email to , containing:
A) your name, e-mail, telephone, organization to which you belong and indicating the modality of participation; face-to-face (will be present in Nairobi) or virtual (via Internet transmission)

OR
2-Register as presenter and submit papers in one or more of the thematic axes of the Conference by sending an e-mail to containing

A) your name, e-mail, telephone, organization to which it belongs and indicating the modality of participation; face-to-face (will be present in Nairobi) or virtual (via Internet transmission)
B) Title of the presentation. Thematic axis (s) addressed: Culture of Peace (), Sports for Peace (), Youth (), Women (), Ancestral Knowledge (), Sustainability () and Territories ()
Type of presentation: Speech ( ) Circle of Conversation ( ) Discussion () Workshop () Other () Which?…….
Time: (15 to 90 m)

Participation in the Conference is free, but they accept collaborations aimed at the reconstruction of the Amani Kibera Center, which was destroyed on July 23 of this year for the construction of a road. https://secure.changa.co.ke/myweb/share/24630

Those who register will receive information about lodging in Nairobi.
If you need a Letter from the Organizers requesting support for the expenses with the trip, this will be provided.
PROGRAM
Day 1 – Opening – the participants; Visit to the transformative initiatives in Kibera; Night of art and culture
Day 2- Presentations of activists and thinkers from Africa, Americas and Europe. Presentations (working groups) on the topics of the Conference
Day 3 – Plenary on the papers presented. Proposals for joint projects of Education for the social solidarity Economy and Global Citizenship, towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda-SDG. Night of art and culture
Consultas: internationalcongresscampaign@gmail.com

September 10, Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements – Call to Mobilise!

WTO and a host of multi-lateral and bilateral Free Trade Agreements have created criminal levels of inequality: La Via Campesina


Global bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) that are directly and indirectly promoting a host of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have created a criminal level of inequality in this world, wherein according to reports, 82% of the world’s wealth is now controlled by merely 1% of the people. Global Hunger is again on the rise, with peoples’ food sovereignty under severe threat.

This comes on the back of a seven-decade long persistent push for neo-liberal policies, which called for ‘free market trade’ regimes around the world. Privatisation and de-regulation that came about as the consequences of such a push has evidently made the rich richer, while poverty and world hunger continue to remain at staggeringly high levels.

It is an unpardonable offence that brings into question the purpose of existence of these institutions and the Free Trade Agreements they promote. All that these agreements have ensured is the freedom for Multinational Corporations to dump cheap food into economically weaker countries, after having received heavy subsidies from their rich governments.

Such dumping and a push for an industrial agricultural system has ended up treating food grains as a commodity for trade, as a commodity to be speculated upon – with peasants and family farmers unable to meet even the cost of cultivation. It has destroyed rural peasant communities, fishers and our peasant markets. Increased privatisation of services have increased the cost of living, while income levels of peasant households have plunged. The resulting debt has pushed millions of peasants households into deep debt.

This industrial system of agriculture promoted by the criminal trio of WTO, World Bank and IMF, has led to consolidation and control of the global food chain into the hands of a few agribusiness corporations, while creating devastating impact for the planet, its people and all the living species.

———EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANISE!———–

It was to highlight this extreme violation of the rural side, that on 10 September 2003, Lee Kyung Hae – a rice farmer from South Korea and a leader of our peasant movement – took his own life outside the Ministerial meeting of WTO in Cancun, Mexico. While sacrificing his life to expose the crimes of WTO and Free Trade Agreements, Lee was holding a placard that read “WTO Kills Farmers”.

Since that day, we have come to mark 10 September as the Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements, mobilising our peasant members against the assault of global capital and free market regimes. We have denounced WTO at all the ministerial meetings held ever since through direct actions.

This year too, we will continue the resistance. Several multi-lateral and bilateral agreements such as RCEP, CPTPP, EU-Mercosur, CETA and more are being frantically negotiated by countries and global bodies behind closed doors, with no respect to democracy and national sovereignty.

In the run up to September 10, we call upon all our members, allies, supporters in the cities and the country sides and all friends to organise marches, public meetings and rural actions that will continue to denounce the existence of WTO, World Bank, IMF as well as expose the details of these agreements that threaten to take away people’s food sovereignty and allow expansion of markets for multinational agribusinesses.

Let us all, in our own decentralised and diverse ways of struggle, echo the call Lee Kyung Hae gave us –“WTO and Free Trade Agreements Kills Peasants”.

La Via Campesina will also soon be announcing a massive mobilisation effort against criminal trio of World Bank, IMF and WTO. We urge every member to stay together and show the power of people’s resistance.

Onward, now!

WTO KILLS PEASANTS!
TAKE AGRICULTURE OUT OF ALL FREE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS!
WE WANT FOOD SOVEREIGNTY, NOT FREE TRADE!

 

More information at: Via Campesina

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