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Video
Welcome to the 4 new members of the RIPESS Europe Network !
September 6, 2019
0

The RIPESS Europe General Assembly took place in Lyon, France from the 4th to 6th of July 2019. It was an opportunity for the members to meet and plan out the strategy of the network, exchanging on the network’s priority issues as well as ongoing and future projects. 

For almost 10 years, RIPESS Europe has been expanding with many territorial and sectoral organisations joining every year. This year, 4 new organisations applied for membership and were voted in by the General Assembly, adding 3 new countries to the network: Western Ireland, Austria and Russia.

The new members are:

AAE (www.aae.ie)– An Ait Eile Cooperative of Ireland

Represented here by Eamon Molonay and Kevin Flanagan, it is a cooperative social enterprise based in Galway in the west of Ireland. An Áit Eile is Gaelic language which translated into English means ‘The Other Place‘. An Áit Eile (AAE) started in 2015 as a cultural association of artists, musicians, and performers collaborating with communities on events and projects that address social and ecological issues as well as mental health. Today as a cooperative its membership is made up of both individuals and community organisations.

Cultural workers and workers in the social sector often experience precarity and challenges of self-employment. Small community organisations also face challenges in providing sustainable regular employment and increasing bureaucratic requirements. Responding to these collective problems, AAE seeks to provide cooperative solutions. AAE became a cooperative in 2019 and is one of Ireland’s first cooperatives to adopt a multi-stakeholder model. This means that the cooperative has different member types: worker members, user members, investor members and founder members. All classes of members have representation on the AAE Board. The approach is based on the FairShares model.

KSOE (www.ksoe.at) – Katholische Sozialakademie Österreichs of Austria

It is an academy of education and advice. Socio-ethical thinking and action are its guiding principle. The objective of its services is to support individuals and organisations that are actively involved in social change. “As KSOE – Catholic Social Academy of Austria we are glad to have had the opportunity to become the first member of Ripess Europe in Austria. We hope that other networks and organizations will follow”, declares Markus Blümel, representing KSOE and coordinator of a course on solidarity economy there. “Solidarity economy has grown in Austria the last decade. KSOE supports individuals and groups in starting new solidarity economy organizations and to transform into such. […] Being part of the Ripess network now we are sure to be able to strengthen solidarity economy in Austria and throughout Europe.”

NETZ (www.netz-bund.de) – NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation e.V.

NETZ is a German association for the Promotion and Support of Selforganisation and Solidarity Economy.  Represented at the GA by Elisabeth Voss, it was founded in 1986 as an umbrella organisation of local networks supporting self-help, networks of workers controled enterprises and other sectoral federations like social cultural centers and training organisations in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1989 NETZ decided to go national and further regional and sectorial organisations joined Netz.  To strengthen the capacity of NETZ to deliver services to its members and to do joint purchasing, also small enterprises in the broader ecological and social sense as well as freelancers could join as members. Today NETZ still offers its experiences to promote and support grassroots’ initiatives and solidarity economy also trough networking between further actors in the field. Independent regional associations exist and Berlin-Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia.

TPABA (www.trava.education) – Trava Education of Russia

TRAVA is an organization based in the city of St Petersburg. Share experiences of citizen-led change and self-organization as well as peer education. TRAVA (grassroots) started in the summer of 2014 with 33 conferences and workshops on small projects, the city and self-development in parks, squares and embankments. Since then, they have been organizing year-round educational events on politics and culture in friendly venues.

Food saves the world‘ is one of the projects of TRAVA and it includes catering from saved food, waste cooking workshops, regular informal conference about food activism, public actions and articles about food waste problem. Another project, ‘Map for People‘ is a map for responsible consumers that provides information about local places where tourists can eat, drink, buy souvenirs and clothes and, by doing this, support local projects that follow social, environmental and ethical responsibility principles. It is a research and educational project based on peer-to-peer model.

Russia: in Saint Petersburg, building solidarities with local initiatives
Saint Petersburg

[By Laura Aufrere, member of RIPESS Europe coordination committee]

During the last RIPESS Europe General Assembly in Zagreb, we had the chance to meet Olga Polyakova, representing TRAVA, a vibrant Russian collective organising peer to peer trainings and meetings, food collecting and cooking happening, tours in Saint Petersbourg, a responsible consumption guide, etc. Thanks to Olga, at the end of September, I had the chance to be welcomed in the warm apartment on Kanonersky island, shared with Gleb and Olga.

Considered as the 16th Republic of the (ex) USSR for its geographic independence, this beautiful island stands out from the rest of the city, patching together a major harbor, its industries and warehouses, apartment blocks, children playgrounds, and promenades. This diversity in the landscape is bound together in a common sound-panorama composed by the wind and the harbor rumors. With the help of many of Olga’s friends in Saint Petersbourg, including TRAVA members, we spent together a whole week of encounter with local initiatives, and there are many. Olga toured me in this beautiful city, explaining the history of the buildings and street names. We passed by the Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Center to pay tribute to Russia’s “biggest Beatles fan”, Kolya Vasin, who became a prominent figure of the underground scene in the 1960s. We visited a charity chop, and many collective initiatives to discuss solidarity economy issues to be shared in future common projects. We were told stories of collective adventures of self-managed cafés, restaurants, etc.

I was invited to present RIPESS Europe perspective on the future of work regarding the digital transformation during the Fall Meeting, organized by the German-Russian Exchange, on the topic “How Is European Labour Changing: organization of work, working spaces and times, new professions and adaptation of education, solidarity economy “. With the other speakers Anja Abendroth (University of Bielefeld, Germany) and Margarita Kuleva, Higher School of Economics, (St. Petersburg, Russia), we had the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues that are shared at a European level by many independent initiatives, with our Russian peers. The French Institute also gave me the opportunity to give a lecture on the “New organisational models in the artistic and cultural field: how to organise the creation processes in common and for the common”, as part of the program of research on urban renewal in Saint Petersburg. This week spent in Saint Petersbourg opened so many warm and welcoming relations, and connectionfor future projects.

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