National Congres of the MES – Solidarity Economy Mouvement, France
The call of the Movement for Solidarity Economy (MES) invited citizens and actors of solidarity economy, social movements (Alternatiba, Attac…), entrepreneurs and unions to share analyses and actions for its first Congress in Toulouse on 12 and 13 June 2015. Jean-Louis Laville, Professor at CNAM in Paris, Chair of the solidarity economy and socio-economist of international renown, also participated.Over one hundred participants have contributed to joint round tables reflections and cooperating in workshops, with many interventions by solidarity economy actors. Solidarity-based economy is 20 years old. Since 1995, it has created innovations, which today are part of our daily newspapers.2015 is the opportunity to launch a campaign for solidarity economy, a movement today much broader than we had imagined and that affects each and every one during their activities, whatever they are. Social economy and solidarity economy actors have grown closer, led by Claude Alphandéry in 2011 and with the Hamon Law in 2014, the recognition of the social and solidarityeconomy grew as an economic sector, but the result is mixed. If the social and solidarity economy reflects the aims of the production (cultural, social, environmental), it faces a society governed by competition with the emergence of a neo-liberal policy to limit democracy. For Jean-Louis Laville, if there is a democracy in Europe, it is today at risk.
Changes can and must come from the citizen base, but they must be also valued and not put up for competition by public policies at European, national, regional or local level. The question of the general interest and the commons, as well as the balances among the territories, is at the heart of the solidarity economy, which is a model and a project of transformation of society.
Many testimonies from Midi Pyrénées (Etats Génér’eux de l’Ariège, Collectif Rivages…) shared with the members of the movement for solidarity economy who came from Normandy, Centre region, Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur, Auvergne, Île de France, and Nord Pas-de-Calais. People engaged in an enterprise, involved politically, within a social movement or civil society, discussed their “concerns” about the gradual disengagement of the institutions.So what should be done? Let go and surrender? The Congress proposed a new challenge to the solidarity economy movement. Economic citizenship, democracy and transition are political issues and we should not be afraid of the words. As Bruno Lasnier, President of MES pointed out: “We must be able to re-enchant Politics. We have everything to gain back by putting politics everywhere. Politics, in the noble sense, the right to think, propose and decide in the society in which we are living members!Link of the call to Congress: MES Congress declaration
Bérénice DONDEYNE (ADEPES-MES)