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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…
Good economy conference hosting the RIPESS Europe General Assembly
Good Economy Conference

On the 15th of June 2018, the 5th Good Economy Conference will take place, followed by the 7th General Assembly of RIPESS Europe (April 16-17). Organized by the Green Network of Activists Groups and the Platform for Good Economy, these two meetings are taking place in Zagreb, Croatia.  You’re all invited to participate!

The Good Economy Conference became in the past years a unique place in Croatia and the Balkan region, gathering activists and people that create and live different forms of alternative economy:  there are practitioners building “good economy” models, capable of supporting and strengthening our local communities and societies. The conference represents the opportunity to share ideas and knowledge, to cooperate on new paths, projects and common initiatives. Now in its fifth year, advocating for good and solidarity economy is going even further, with the RIPESS – Solidarity Economy Europe Network’s General Assembly taking place in Zagreb right after the Conference, will create a space for more cooperation between regional good economy activists and solidarity economy initiatives from all over Europe.

Once again, we are focusing on real stories and models that are already here, around us! A world of “collaborative economy” practices, with concepts of “open factory” owned by its employees, ecological and social enterprises, hotels run by immigrants and former refugees, cities organised on participatory governance, movements for collective ownership and a fairer work sector dealing at the same time between the cooperatives rich tradition and the new technologies of the 21st century.

[by Drazen Simlesa (Zmag / Good Economy Platform) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS Europe)]

Zagreb: Our Good Food conference 2017
September 28, 2017
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By Dražen Šimleša

ZMAG (Green Network of Activist Groups) organised Our Good Food – conference on sustainability of food systems in a beautifull old cinema Europa building in the centre of Zagreb. The event started on the 15th of September with a theater screening of documentary Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective and later a talk with the director of the movie Costa Boutsikaris. On Saturday 16th of September there was a whole day conference with 100+ participants and the place got too small place for so many interested people. Read more

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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