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Be part of the Universse 2017: Call for Ideas for the 4th European SSE Congress in Athens
UNIVERSSE2017

Be part of the Universse 2017

Democratising Economy, Emancipating Society, Empowering Change

The 4th European Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) Congress will take place in Athens on the 9/10/11th of June. Cooperatives, grassroots initiatives, SSE organisations, groups and people that work to promote and advance SSE from all over Europe will meet for the event.

During the 3day Congress, we are going to have the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, experiences, expertise and common strategies around SSE. We consider SSE to be a dynamic space that spreads all over Europe, in which people organise their social and economic activity in many different ways.

This event is a great opportunity to enhance SSE’s visibility in Greece and to build strong connections amongst people, groups and coops on a European level.

We are also happy to announce that the 6th General Assembly of RIPESS EU – Solidarity Economy Europe will be held in Athens as well, as part of the Congress.

Call for ideas

While the organisation team works for the success of this congress, we are looking forward to receiving your ideas regarding the following themes that wprioritiseze to discuss during the 3day Congress.

The procedure will be the following:

Every group, network or individual that is interested in participating on the process of formulating the program, could send ideas according to the following axes, until 05/03/2017 through our email: call@universse2017.org

Proposed axes:

1) Concepts, forms and fields of social solidarity economy and cooperativism

2) Responsible consumption, production and climate change

3) Practices of SSE on social integration with a special focus on refugees issues

4) Social innovation: Research, technology, education and tools for SSE

5) Commons: Approaches and practices on digital, natural, urban, cultural common goods

6) Public policies (on local, national, European level) promoting SSE : From whom, for who, what for.

7) Open space / Free zone

We invite ideas indicating the thematic area you refer to and the format of the meeting you propose (workshop, panel discussion, etc.). After the deadline (05/03/2017), the organizational team will assess all proposals and arrange them in clusters. Within these clusters we will make an effort to include as many ideas sent as possible.

The main intention is to organize the Congress along with the main axes (plus the free zone area) in order to enable a common vision while allowing for the exchange of different perspectives and experiences.

Check for updates and contact us

Organizational Team contact: call@universse2017.org – www.universse2017.org

Ripess EU contact: info@ripess.eu – www.ripess.eu

Portugal: First European Summer School on Solidarity Economy
CES Summer school
4 – 8 September 2017, Lisbon (Picoas Plaza, Rua Viriato – 13, Lojas 117/118)

Is it possible to foster a common agenda for Solidarity Economy in Europe?

The concept of Solidarity Economy is consolidated in many countries, especially in Latin America, as describing a field of citizen-led social transformation and political action. In many parts of the world, experiences have been strengthened by associated work, by the collective ownership of productive assets, by shared management and by solidarity – understood here as reciprocity in the distribution of goods and opportunities.

In spite of this context, the term Solidarity Economy still constitutes a recent designation and is little used in Portugal and in several countries of Europe. In a generic sense, it can be said that it refers to the set of collective economic arrangements of production, consumption, trading, and credit, in rural or urban areas, as well as social reproduction and well-being managed by the citizens themselves and inspired by the principles of self-management, solidarity, and cooperation.

Understood in a reductive way by some writers as an economy of social insertion – linked, therefore, to the situation of structural unemployment and crisis contexts – Solidarity Economy is often presented alongside the Social Economy. The latter is a term that usually means the universe of cooperatives, associations and mutual societies and other terms such as third sector, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. The Solidarity Economy concept is attentive to the non-institutionalized forms of cooperation among citizens, who seek to collectively organize space and economy for the strengthening of their rights and emancipation. Within the framework of the Solidarity Economy, these experiences of associated work and of reciprocal help allow gathering in an equitable and non-hierarchical way diverse knowledge – urban, popular, peasant. Initiatives that seek a direct relationship between producers and consumers, which stimulate the exchange of goods and knowledge, which strengthen the relationship between neighbors and which are based on proposals for critical consumption and solidarity are multiplying. These community experiences exist in several European countries with the same names or with different denominations, showing that there are common points between the experiences of Solidarity Economy in Europe.

In this Summer School, it is intended to explore precisely the common points and the differences between what has been happening in Southern Europe and other countries of the European continent, in order to highlight the multiplicity and diversity of silenced economic experiences, namely those that are carried out by groups of citizens. It also seeks to reflect on the possibility of building a more intense and permanent dialogue agenda among researchers and activists from different countries, in order to build a greater visibility for the Solidarity Economy.

This Summer School takes place as one of the 1st events of the international platform SERESI (Solidarity Economy, Reciprocity and Social Innovation).

It is promoted by: ECOSOL-CES, ICSTE-IUL, Fondation Maison Science de L’Homme, ACEESA, RedPES and RIPESS Europe

More info, programme and registration

Italy: International Deep Dive of Mapping Initiative
January 24, 2017
0

March 10-15 2017 in Florence, Italy

This Deep Dive will enable p to make participants in-depth analysis and tackle the existing challenges to developing a common, distributed, semantic mapping process among different mapping initiatives. Initiatives who share a commitment to making visible diverse human economies and challenge dominant ways of thinking about society and economy.

Mapping practitioners from initiatives such as Transformap, GreenMaps, ESSGlobal (Ripess) and others identified this need at an informal meeting during the World Social Forum (WSF) 2016 in Montreal. The goal is to exchange and articulate a common framework for shared data beyond our own maps and processes. This framework will be tested by applying it in a concrete region with assistance from local activists – namely the region around Florence. This will show the potential for how mapping alternatives can expand from the local to the global level.

Mapping supports the strategic development of Commons, SSE (Social Solidarity Economy) initiatives and other alternatives. Community mapping is becoming part of engaged planning processes, school programs and leadership development projects.

Mapping generates action as it guides the way we explore, experience and interpret the world. Mapping is universally understood and contributes in a very palpable way to developing a new “world-view”. Maps change perceptions and support the discovery and creation of links between initiatives, increasing opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

This mapping lab is part of the Panorama of SSE in Europe and is co-promoted by RIPESS EU.

More information and program here

 

Workers buyouts and self-management: strengths and weakness of a social mouvement
December 23, 2016
0
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

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