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Media: STIR (UK) community toolbox special issue

“Our spring  2017 issue is a Community Toolbox of illustrated how-tos and articles to support more community-led change. With so many communities now interested in buying local assets and using co-operative governance, we decided to invite leading practitioners to introduce a tool and how it works.

How do you engage your local community? One way to start is to co-create a Local Economicc Blueprint. This tool is about bringing people together to explore how to change procurement strategies  at local anchor institutions, the opportunities for import substitution, and how to support local enterprises. It’s a really useful tool that allows you to identify local needs and build a strategy on how to get there, without assuming what the community needs. “

To help you set up, this issue addresses different themes:

  • What is Community Economic Development?
  • How to Create a Local Economic Blueprint?
  • How to Make Decisions Online ?
  • How to Make a Community Space Work
  • How to Set up a Community Co-op

You can find more informations here:


You can should more informations specifically  about solidarity economy on this issue:


About the Magazine

STIR magazine is a quarterly print magazine of new economic ideas and original art in 2013. We publish international contributors on the co-operative movement, the global commons, solidarity economics and many other emerging political practices. Moving beyond traditional political commentary, we explore the inspiring and viable alternatives that represent a serious challenge to the current political crisis.

STIR magazine explores community ownership, co-operatives, post-growth economics, food sovereignty, alternative finance, law and social change, open data, cultural activism, peer-to-peer production, and the future of work.
Sources: https://www.stirtoaction.com/

Marocco: International Forum of Social Solidarity Economy

Engagement, Citizenship and Development: “How to train in the social and solidarity economy sector?”

MARRAKECH- 22,23 and 24 OF MAY 2017

The goal of this Forum is  to organise a dialogue between  all the actors, from North to South, involved in education and training on Social Solidarity sector. It is a cooperative effort by both Universities: Haute-Alsace University (France) and Cadi Ayyad University (Marrakech). During this meeting organised in Marrakech, associations, enterprises, public institutions as well as students and researchers  from France and Marocco and more in general from Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa are welcome to exchange and debate about the education and research-action in Social Solidarity Economy, in an international perspective as well.

More informations in French:  www.forumess.com

Goodbye Eva

It’s a great sadness that we learned of the passing away of our colleague Pr. Dr. Eva G Fekete on april 24 2017. She was one of the founding members of RIPESS Europe for Hungary. She was professor at the University of Miskolc, former head of the Northern Hungarian Department of the Centre of Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, an active member of the Committee of Regional Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of the board of the Hungarian Regional Scientific Society. She was also a member of the RIPESS advisory council. Last september, she had welcomed the coordination commitee in Budapest. She had also organized an exciting visite in  Tahitótfalu, a village in the north of Pest county, on the Szentendre island near to the capital where we met various actors of SSE, determined to defend their civic engagement. She was herself a staunch avocate of SSE in Hungary. Our condolescences go to all her family, friends and colleagues.

Workers buyouts and self-management: strengths and weakness of a social mouvement
December 23, 2016
EuroWorkers' Economy 2016

The first international meeting “Worker’s economy” was held in 2007 in Argentina and brought together workers from workers’ takeover enterprises, political and social activists, trade unionists and academics.

Since then, the meetings are held every two years and are spaces for coming together, discussing and reflecting on the challenges faced by workers in their efforts to defend their livelihood through self-management, against the assaults of globalized capitalism.

The second Euro-Mediterranean meeting held in Thessaloniki, Greece, from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th October, 2016 gathered over 200 participants from many countries in Europe, Latin America, Turkey and even Syria, thanks to an online testimony of the struggle of the Kurdish community of the Syrian Rojava.

See the programme here.

The meeting focused on the struggles of workers to recover their enterprises, an act of resistance to capitalism that eliminates production units that are no longer profitable, i.e. do not yield satisfactory profits for expected investment returns.

The takeover is therefore firstly the way to preserve jobs, as well in the long term an instrument of social transformation and the creation of a new economy liberated from exploitation and turned to the satisfaction of social needs. It is a question of changing paradigms and replacing a predatory economy, based on the exploitation of workers by a basic needs and social justice oriented economy .

Many testimonies focused on the struggles and forms of organization adopted to reconvert businesses into self-managed cooperatives. The meeting took place in the VIOME plant that has been struggling since 2011, following the abandonment of the factory by employers, leaving workers without wages in a crisis context where unemployment reaches 30% of the population.  VIOME is still threatened with expulsion, the state having put the factory at auction. The resistance of workers is emblematic, supported by people of the region and far beyond. Moreover, it was the mobilisation of those sympathizers that allowed the meeting to be held in good conditions.

Testimonies were also members of Fralib (Marseille region, France), which after 1336 days of fighting the multinational Unilever (for the brand Elephant Teas) succeeded in creating the ScopTI cooperative, and to sell organic teas and infuses (the 1336 brand is now found in in bio-coops and other outlets of the solidarity economy).  Also factory worgers from Rima flow (the suburb of Milan) brought their experiences, as well as Kazova in Turkey or Campichuelo graphics and design cooperative in Argentina, Dita in Bosnia and Herzegovina and many others …

Besides these testimonies, participants were able to examine the values at stake. Thus, an Italian doctoral student expressed her findings under the prism of gender in the self-managed enterprises (where one sees no surprise that women also struggle to take their place in spite of the declarations of equality) and the control of emotions in groups not regulated by authority.  A group of refugee women who organize themselves to produce knittings and securing supplies in the camp where they are kept, testified to the harassing complications that the government introduced to limit their autonomy.

Self-Management was central of course, but also the processes of takeover of the common assets: re-municipalization of cleaning services in Madrid, rescue of beaches in Greece with the example of the Voula camping that was rendered to the inhabitants while the beach was threatened with privatization (everything is sold out in Greece).

Josette Combs, representing MES in Ripess Europe, intervened in the round table on “legal, social and political assistance structures that could help in the takeover of self-managed factories. What role can trade unions, international networks, legal consultants and solidarity movements play in the connection of struggles for self-management with their social and political context“, dedicated to the role of networks in support of takeover initiatives, where the debate also focused on the involvement of local communities with citizens in a spirit of support for the local economy.

The recurring discourse engages in the struggle needed to advance the self-managerial economy, continuously threatened by attacks from the imposed authorities or by the internal risk of departing from the initial spirit of horizontal and joint governance, still under the battering of the market which tries to helm the road to these atypical undertakings, which challenge the capitalist model of accumulation and exploitation of both producers and consumers.

Lots of energy and lots of fragility intermingled and a genuine warm brotherhood during these three days of exchanges that included local music and sales stands for the products of the cooperatives.

Josette Combes, MES

Be part of CSA!
December 16, 2016
Be part of a CSA booklet

The “Be part of CSA!” project – a European Participatory Training Programme for Community Supported Agriculture – has been designed to spread widely CSA initiatives by providing knowledge, skills and competences to local communities in Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania, and disseminates its outcomes at the European level.  The Booklet is here to introduce the fundamentals; the Trainers’ Guide is intended as supplementing material for trainers, multipliers and facilitators to organise the agenda of each training session, providing them with educational materials and training techniques not always directly connected to CSA, but that partners thought relevant to the project.

More info and download the guide (in English) here.

Alternatives économiques: The Economy Otherwise Days
December 9, 2016

The French magazine Alternatives economic organized on 25th and 26th November in Dijon a symposium entitled “The Days of the Economy Otherwise”, in partnership with many SSE actors (see the list of partners here). About 2,000 people, coming from all over the country and even abroad, spent a total of two days in the various places where plenaries, roundtables and workshops were held.

Read more

7th ILO SSE Academy: presentations, materials, photos and videos

21The 7th ILO Social and Solidarity Economy Academy took place in San José, Costa Rica, from the 21st to the 25th of November 2016. You can access its presentations, materials, photos and videos through the following channels:

Read more

Thanks Arielle!
November 17, 2015

Arielle NdimbiarivolaArielle Ndimbiarivola completed an internship at the RIPESS EU during her Masters studies, under the direction of Eric Dacheux, professor at the Clermont Ferrand II university, in the context of the UFR Applied trade, languages and communication. During his internship, Arielle was has been crucial helping for the organization of the Ripess Europe General Assembly within Solikon 2015 in Berlin.  She also participated in the implementation of the Newsletter and ensured with pugnacity the facilitation of the members’ requests. On 17 October, she presented her thesis entitled “Intercultural cooperation through communication” where she examined the challenges and difficulties but also the wealth related to the diversity of the members of a European network dedicated to solidarity economy. We will publish this document as soon as she makes it available. We learned that she has since found employment immediately in the field of her speciality. Thanks to the quality of her presence in the past few months on our side, we wish well for her professional and personal development.

RIPESS Europe Program
July 27, 2015
Zagreb, The second conference on Good Economy

The Second Conference on Good Economy was organised in Zagreb by ZMAG, the Green Network of Activist Groups & Cooperatives for Good Economy from 19th – 21st March 2015.

It brought together a slightly eclectic but highly successful mixture of speakers, whose differences actually sparked a very creative mix, under the guidance of the quietly insightful and humorous Drazen Simlesa, the key figure behind this interesting initiative.

The three main themes were all anchored in their own meaningful way in solidarity economy: alternative finance, participatory budgeting and food sovereignty, and the keynote speakers all complementary, with each in his or own way showing the path forward.

Carlos de Freitas, gave a passionate talk about the potentials for alternative banking and power of local currencies, based on clear illustrations from the Banca Palmas. There were also interventions on ethical banking in various parts of Europe, including Goran  Matic from Croatia. Carlos intervened on both the first and the third day, providing a ray of hope a on how another finance is possible.

Giovanni Allegretti, the global expert on participatory budgeting clearly explained how communities can become empowered through the use of participatory democracy. This includes the key aspect of youth participatory budgeting, that trains young people in civic-mindedness. This talk was complemented by the concrete illustrations from the town of Cascais, just outside Lisbon, given by Isabel Xavier Canning.

On the second day, John Restakis, who is deeply involved in advising on restructuring the Greek economy, after spending over 20 years in Canada, gave a mesmerising talk on the way forward for economies and the State: a combination of a suitably sustainable framework, and civil society empowered cooperatives and social enterprises. And while we had some small disagreements and deep exchange over dinners, there is no way to fault the overall picture he presents!

Judith Hitchman then presented the ways in which solidarity economy does effectively present the lever for paradigm change, using various illustrations, and especially the case study of food sovereignty and Community Supported Agriculture as an illustration (Urgenci has Croatian members). This was further extended in presenting the Good Food local initiatives the following day.

The conference was well attended, well prepared and a rich experience. We look forward to welcoming the members of the newly formed Croatian collective that brings together over a dozen different groups and projects in Croatia into the RIPESS Europe network!

For more information see the official website (in Croatian!)

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