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Transforming Europe in the world we want
Drawing New World

Every year in January, the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee meets, hosted by Eric Lavillunière in the pretty village of Elne to work on the movement’s strategy. This year two important topics were on the agenda: the European elections to be held in May and the meeting to prepare the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (WSFET) in April in Barcelona. Everyone is convinced that a race is underway to reverse the course of an economy that is outrageously predatory of the planet’s natural capital, leading to increasingly serious imbalances in human relations with their biotope and among themselves. The role of the European Parliament is becoming fundamental in harmonising the responses that European countries must urgently put in place to combat climate change and the authoritarian abuses that threaten democracy, in Europe but not only.

For several years now, we have been working to bring local authorities closer together to build public policies based on the territories that support citizen initiatives in the solidarity economy. But it is also essential to address European political leaders so that they encourage all the measures that act positively to maintain the democratic and ecological health of European countries. We are in the process of drafting a text that anyone can send to their Candidate for the elections of the European Parliament. The more of us do so, the more difficult it will be for them to ignore our claims. Alain Caillé’s proposal for a “European Republic” has something to say on this subject.

RIPESS Europe is also participating in a campaign for these elections on production and sustainable consumption with other networks such as FTAO and IFOAM. And with Friends of the Earth and several other organisations, we have developed a guide on how to talk about “the Europe we want”.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of initiatives that are invigorating to boost energy and hope. Whether it is a question of local currencies, renewable energy or the organisation of commons, the mobilisations are there.

European projects that allow cooperation between members are focused on transmission through training. It is essential to train new generations to continue to invent the solutions of the future.

In addition, during the meeting in Elne, Jean Louis Laville, member of the RIPESS EU Advisory Council, joined us to consider how the Advisory Council could contribute to research within the network, in order to allow for “change of scale” of SSE.

This change of scale must be seen not as a race for growth but as an intense process of disseminating the fundamentals of SSE so that they virally replace the culture of competition, profit at all costs, concentrations of power and wealth at the expense of the quality of life for the majority of people.

By Josette Combes (MES)

Radical and inclusive
December 19, 2017
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Six years after our Foundation Congress in Barcelona in Catalonia  (hopefully the Catalan people can forge a peaceful future), the RIPESS Europe network continues its path. We have reaffirmed this collaborative space as the European force of solidarity economy. We continue our efforts of enlargement (the last Coordination meeting took place in Helsinki, and new members joined from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Greece and Portugal) and consolidation of the network. Read more

Europe falters, but SSE stands firm

Europe is under heavy weather: it is undermined by populism, legitimately contested by all those who consider it too dependent on the big financial and industrial powers, and defended by all humanists who do not wish to see nationalism take hold again, who do not believe in isolationism but rather imagine a space for exchange, positive cooperation and a culture of the common good. The present challenges, especially those of the preservation of the Planet and even of the humankind, can only be resolved by using our collective intelligence and our combined strength to jointly build the paths towards our future.

RIPESS EU – Solidarity Economy Europe has set itself the task of linking the actors of social transformation for a better future that benefits us all. That is the underlying meaning of the activities in which our members are involved, and continue to implement. This objective implies that alliances should be undertaken with more or less key prospects, all our approaches being above all aimed to converge and join other like-minded energies. This is the spirit with which we participated in the NESI Forum (New Economy and Social Innovation) that was held in Malaga from April 19 to 21. It was mainly constituted by a large number of energy and social transition organizations.

The divergence of views and opinions has helped to have rich debates and exchange of ideas, reaching from social entrepreneurship to solidarity economy, as the Forum brought together many people of good will who actively participate in the renewal of the paradigm of economic thought (and practice).

There were some 700 participants from 43 countries at the Forum. A Charter – RIPESS EU participated in the drafting committee – and “100 actions to change the world” emerged from the numerous workshops that took place. There will undoubtedly be follow ups, in particular on the theme of the Commons.

RIPESS Europe will participate in the International Forum for Social and Solidarity Economy entitled “Engagement, citizenship and development: how to train in SSE”, on May 22-24 in Marrakech (Morocco). The meeting i organized by the Inter-university Network for SSE (sRIUESS), in partnership with our RIPESS Morocco and African counterparts REMESS, and RAESS. At the end of the forum, which will bring together more than 150 Francophone researchers from Europe and Africa, the various networks have scheduled a meeting to discuss possible future cooperation in the field of training.

Finally, our network’s General Assembly will be held at the 4th European Solidarity Economy Congress in Athens – organized by a group of Greek actors in partnership with RIPESS Europe. It is a very good opportunity to return to the Greek capital after our first visit to Solidarity4all in 2014, when the SSE was seeking its identity, without even having developed a real definition. Since then, it has evolved in a country where it represents, more than anywhere else, the oxygen necessary for the survival of citizens asphyxiated by the austerity measures imposed on their country. This event promises to be rich in content, opportunities for debate and joyful festivities. Let us welcome the inventiveness of our Greek friends who called it UNIVERSSE 2017. We hope to see you there, together with many others and hope that the beautiful energy of the inventors of the future will circulate there with serenity.

[Josette Combes]

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