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World Social Forum 2018: some first lessons

Article by Gustave Massiah, March 25, 2018

The World Social Forum of Salvador de Bahia took place from March 13 to 17, 2018. The watchword was “Resist is create, resist is transform”. This forum had three dimensions: a successful Bahian forum, a Brazilian forum determined by the situation in Brazil and Latin America, an international forum focused on the global situation and the future of the forums.

The Forum was very followed. Between walking and activities, there were an estimated between 50,000 and 80,000 participants. They came massively from Bahia and Brazil. As is the case in all forums, most participants come from the country and the region. There were participants from 120 countries. Especially from Latin America, with some other strong delegations (Germany, Spain, France, Morocco, Quebec, Switzerland). Several African movements were represented. There were Asian movements in small numbers (India, China, Nepal, Japan, Indonesia, …). There were nearly 2000 activities, referenced around 19 thematic axes. Read more

Ctrl-shift: An emergency summit for change in the UK
March 27, 2018
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By Kat Darling, SEA

Last week, the culmination of eight months of collaborative effort came to fruition as the Solidarity Economy Association (https://www.solidarityeconomy.coop/) joined co-organisers in Wigan, in the North of England, for CTRLShift: An Emergency Summit For Change. The event brought together 150 people representing almost as many organisations to work on action plans and projects that will deliver radical, positive social change, in light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Kat Darling, SEA’s communications manager, said: “Brexit – whether you agree with it or not – heralds a time of unprecedented rapid change and opportunity. Its timing, amongst unfolding and concurrent crises of the environment, social justice and the economy, mean that we are facing stark realities and starker choices if we are to ride the various storms and emerge as a more resilient, more sustainable society, culture and land base.

“SEA has been part of the CTRLShift organising group since its inception, and whilst co-organising an event of this scale, alongside 35 partner organisations, certainly had its challenges, the fact that such a diverse range of organisations, from across varying sectors all over the UK, were working together for meaningful change was incredibly exciting, and we’re excited about the tangible work that has, and will continue to, come out of the event.”

The organising team are still collating the outcomes of the event, which will be shared very soon, but in the meantime there are some great post-event reports like this one from Transition Network’s co-founder, Rob Hopkins,  this from Indra Adnan, co-initiator of The Alternative UK, and this report from Dr Bertie Russell, Research Associate in the Urban Institute.”

SEA joined national apex bodies like Permaculture Association, Co-operatives UK, and Transition Network, alongside organisations spanning the social justice, open democracy, food sovereignty and environmental movements, including the RSA, Schumacher College, Shared Assets, The People’s Food Policy, UnLtd, Real Farming Trust, and Stir to Action. Find out more about CTRLSHift, and follow plan’s for future collaborative work, here – http://www.ctrlshiftsummit.org.uk/partners/

Publication : Trade union and co-operative innovations for precarious workers
March 20, 2018
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By Patrick Conaty, Alex Bird, Cilla Ross, March 2018

With the erosion of the archetype of a five day week, full time for most, agreed hours job goes the loss of a wide range of benefits in favour of precarious work with limited rights and imposed flexibility. Not all self-employment is of this form, but what tends to be characteristic of newer self-employed workers and those on zero hour contracts is low pay, limited legal protection, high insecurity, limited social security access, limited pension entitlement and limited collective representation. Surveys show that casual agency staff and self- employed workers are earning 40% less than an average employee.

Such workers also commonly live in precarious housing with a lack of security of tenure and limited access to personal loans and mortgages. With lack of access to maternity or paternity leave or pay for a growing number of precarious workers, family life and family planning becomes more difficult.

International research by the ILO has shown that partnerships between mutual aid groups, co-operatives and trade unions are proven ways to organise self-employed workers and to secure both rights and access to a wide diversity of needed services.

 

You will find the document here.

Publication: The economy that is there, the economy that is coming. The challenge of a positive institutionalization of the social economy

Original title: L’économie qui est là, l’économie qui arrive. Le défi d’une institutionnalisation positive de l’économie sociale

To exit a niche and shake up the dominant economic norms, the social economy seeks to be recognized. This institutionalization allows it to become known, to grow, to obtain an adequate legal framework, funding … But it also has its flip side: it is observed that by becoming institutionalized, the social economy is impregnated with dominant norms and sometimes loses its ambition of social transformation. Is it possible to envisage a positive institutionalization, that is to say without loss of values, of the social economy?

This is the theme of this study that will take us through various institutionalization cases (the re-employment sector, social impact bonds and social clauses in public procurement). We will then take more of an overview to look at the history of the social economy and take a look at the different scenarios for its future.

Elements to act  – hopefully – against the excesses of institutionalization.

The 2017 SAW-B study is available here online (in French).

The study, like all SAW-B documents, is also referenced on socioeco.org.

European Solidarity Corps
February 21, 2018
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What is the European Solidarity Corps?

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

The young people who participate in the European Solidarity Corps will all agree with and uphold its Mission and Principles.

You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.

After completing a simple registration process, European Solidarity Corps participants could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, such as helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards, assisting in centres for asylum seekers, or addressing different social issues in communities.

Projects supported by the European Solidarity Corps can last from two to twelve months. They will usually be located within the European Union Member States.

More information here.

The 4 SSE projects of the French government

We open this letter on the news of the (French) government which, as we mentioned in the editorial of the month of January, leads four projects in connection with the Social and Solidarity Economy.

On 18 January, we were able to attend the inauguration of #FrenchIMPACT, the national accelerator for social innovation, and the launch of the first “Pionniers French Impact” call for projects whose objective is to build the showcase of socially innovative entrepreneurs. A call for applications will be launched in March to build the French ecosystem of social innovation and experiment with local accelerators on pilot territories, before the extension of the device on the whole national territory in 2019. It is clear that the stated objective is to support, far beyond the associations, mutuals and foundations, any company which, by its activity innovates socially by making it possible to reach quantifiable social objectives generating savings for the public expenses. It is a vision of social innovation reduced to the sole measure of social impact, but a vision that seems to bring together several members of the government, since three ministers surrounded Christophe Itier for this launch.

A vision that is consistent with the Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Enterprises (PACTE) and the announcement of the mission entrusted to Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard on “business and general interest”. As we announced, this topic raises questions from the actors of the ESS who are mobilizing to value the contribution and the experience of SSE on this subject. Michel Prugue, president of Coop de France, said in an article published in Up Magazine this February 8: “Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model of “B.CORP “, these companies” mission “would be more citizen-based, more modern, more committed … more human! Indeed, a business can be governed by something other than the rapid return on capital and the short-term profit of its shareholders; the people who compose it can be respected, their participation can be valued; the long term can be protected in the name of the collective interests of today’s women and men and their children, and the children of their children. All this may seem extremely innovative, but for us, it’s our daily life though being sometimes … very old companies! See also on this point the forums published in the monthly letter n ° 117 of CIRIEC and in particular that of Jean Gatel who was Secretary of State, in charge of the Social Economy.

If the Movement for the Solidarity Economy (MESà conceives / understands this desire to moralize the lucrative enterprises to tend towards a more ethical capitalism, we remain vigilant so that the notion of general interest is not distorted. We remain above all mobilized to defend the diversity of citizen dynamics working for a transition towards a more solidarity-based, more just and more sustainable society. If, as stated by Les Echos, a majority of bosses would be favorable to companies with a mission to see a new opportunity for companies to go further in the CSR and to go beyond the green or the social washing, why not propose to these companies to meet the obligations imposed today by the ESUS approval, it would already be a great step forward.

(Extract from the editorial of the MES – Movement for the Solidarity Economy – of the February 2018 newsletter)

See the full text (in French) here.

Manifesto for Transformative Social Innovation
February 20, 2018
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The Manifesto for Transformative Social Innovation Version 0.1 has been written by people involved in a number of networks, initiatives and research groups that focus on initiating, facilitating and/or understanding transformative change and social innovation towards more sustainable, just and resilient societies. After a process of 4 years, led by 25 researchers and the TRANSIT’s final conference ‘Learning for Change’ in September 2017 in Rotterdam, the idea of a manifesto was used as an entry point to share, compare and debate thoughts and experiences on the delights and challenges of transformative social innovation.

It is written by and for activists, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, citizens, critical intellectuals and other engaged individuals who are interested in understanding and contributing to social change to face the challenges of our times and to imagine alternative futures.

The aim of this document is to unite those people, to identify complementarities, differences, common insights and challenges. The purpose of doing so is to formulate a common call for action to create focus and momentum for collaboration. To this end, this manifesto also deliberates what we mean by ‘transformative’ and ‘social’ innovation, what it has to offer and what sets it apart from other types of change or innovation.

The process in ongoing with 20 Translocal Networks working on social change under study, among them RIPESS Europe.The Manifesto has been endorsed already by RIPESS Europe, many other nerworks and individuals.

You will find the text of the Manifesto here.

 

Northern European Solidarity Economy Meeting (April 21-22 2018)
January 20, 2018
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NESEM -Northern europe se meeting 2018

21-22 April, Helsinki, Finland

Let’s join our SE forces in the North!

As the struggles about the commons and against an ecological catastrophe intensify, we are in the need for more joint networks based on solidarity, emancipatory learning and nondiscriminatory participation. Finland’s commons.fi and the solidarity economy network together with RIPESS Europe invite activists, defenders of the commons, grassroots organisations and networks to come and join a Northern solidarity economy network meeting to initiate cooperation in the field of commons, grassroots and solidarity action around bottom-up, grassroots economies, common strategies to advocate for another economy.

What to expect:

  • Inspiring ideas
  • Great people
  • Discovering experiences from other places
  • Interacting about efforts in Finland on advocating the envisioning of SE and the Commons
  • A possibility to try a lovely sauna and locally sourced food
  • Planning a future for a network

During the weekend, we will organise an event at the Finnish Social Forum, networking meetings and thematic session(s) around solidarity economy and the commons.

Let’s create a network of solidarity economy actors in the North of Europe! It all starts with us. Therefore, we are looking for the people and organisations that are committed to taking steps towards a better, more equal economy and society, protecting the commons and sharing their knowledge in a collective process.

As a host collective having limited resources, we are not able to host a big group of people, so please send an introduction of yourself to commons.fi[at]gmail.com. We will be in touch with you soon to let you know more about the details and the support that is available for participation. If you have a background organisation that can support your participation financially or if you are able to cover the costs of your own trip, please, mention this, so we might me able to host more people. There is an option for solidarity accommodation for some of the attendees.

The working language of the weekend is going to be English. If you have special needs or requirements that we should take into account, please let us know.

Another Economy is Here and Possible!

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