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The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies. Promoting synergies

By Josette Combes

The preparatory meeting for the WSFTE was held in Barcelona on 5, 6 and 7 April 2019. It brought together more than 300 people from all over the world, more than half of whom came naturally from Catalonia and Spain. For RIPESS international members from Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and more from Europe (18 countries represented), this meeting was an excellent opportunity to share their experiences with people working in other parts of the world and in very diverse fields.

There were representatives of structures dedicated to the development of municipalities, the defence of agro-ecology, the promotion of eco-feminism, ecohousing, social currencies and ethical finance, popular education, alternative media and, of course, social and solidarity economy networks.
The place was well suited for this meeting. The Aula Magna University in Barcelona offered suitable rooms and above all an outdoor space conducive to informal exchanges during meals. The animation of the many workshops was very structured and but too vague at times. The participants sometimes considered that what was proposed for reflection pre-formatted the course of the debates a little too much. It must be recognized that the ambition of the meeting required that it be planned. The whole thing gave the impression of a promising potential but one that lacked the space and time to deploy further.

This test run augurs well for a series of rich interactions but also shows the difficulties in establishing the convergences that are essential to ensure a future for the species living on the planet, an increasingly important part of which is threatened with extinction, and ultimately the human species itself. Even if a certain awareness is beginning to grow, especially among the younger generations, it is urgent to gather all the energies to shift the current economic paradigms from a mad rush to profit towards a rational management of resources and a better social and ecological balance. All the parameters mentioned above will allow this fundamental change of direction.
All these dimensions, worked on by groups in a way that is still too often considered marginal or experimental, are still fragmented. Together, they form a coherent holistic approach in which each party can consider itself a legitimate actor. It is not only a question of fighting against but also of proposing concrete, current and effective actions, capable, through their demonstration, of attracting the support of a larger mass of people who will themselves become actors of change. Finally, these meetings, by providing an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and know-how, contribute to strengthening the determination of the activists of all these networks and in a context where threats from authoritarian governments are increasing, this last point is far from being superfluous.
To achieve its objective, the WSFTE must adopt a more “intercultural” approach that better articulates the networks that were present this spring in Barcelona, so that all those who have visited it feel really empowered.

Building the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies 2020

Interview with Jason Nardi, RIPESS Intercontinental Coordinator, about the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies (WSFTE) that starts this week in Barcelona.

Written by Gabriel Boichat, RIPESS.

The first meeting of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (WSFTE 2020) will be held in Barcelona from 5th to 7th April. This will allow us to establish the basis of the process that will take us until May 2020, when the main meeting will be held.

RIPESS, as the International Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy, is one of the three networks promoting this process, together with the Network of Alternative and Solidarity Economy Networks of Spain (REAS) and the Catalan Network of Solidarity Economy (XES).

We interviewed Jason Nardi, Coordinator of RIPESS Intercontinental, to ask him why RIPESS decided to promote the WSFTE 2020, the objectives pursued and what opportunities present themselves for RIPESS to participate in the process.

Why is RIPESS one of the promoters of the WSFTE 2020?

RIPESS is a network made up of various networks, platforms, campaigns and very heterogeneous initiatives from all around the world. The different countries and continents all have experiences that identify as Social Solidarity Economy (SSE). Some are more focused on the community aspect, others on the business side of local and cooperative development, while others are oriented towards caring for people, defending rights and nature, and how we can rethink the economy to preserve the environment and habitat and promote a more dignified and freer life.

This is why RIPESS, as a coordinating structure is open to the different ways of interpreting another economy, to meeting and working together with other visions and other alternative movements to the dominant neoliberal market economy, that is the opposite of all the values we represent.

We have seen how many times there are not only common struggles, but complementarities and possibilities to cooperate to build a stronger voice that can multiply and be recognized as a plural voice of citizens trying to build another society in different spaces of dialogue with other movements.

What is the starting point of the WSFTE 2020?

There is a need to move to another level. Not necessarily to build the economic growth of solidarity economy activities, although this can also be the case, but rather an intellectual growth, a growth of experience, a growth in our capacity to influence society.

So, a forum like this is an attempt to create an open space between those who are practicing another economy. Not just imagining, not just theorizing. It is not a meeting of heterodox economists, but between networks and experiences that are practicing another economy.

Why is a process like the WSFTE 2020 necessary for movements that create a different economy?

For RIPESS, the idea of convergence has been the basis of our strategic approach in recent years. RIPESS is a daughter of the convergence of social movements, such as the World Social Forum or other spaces between movements that fight for food sovereignty at the United Nations and among the different ways of valuing traditions and social innovation.

But there are not many of these global spaces to share struggles and proposals, campaigns and solutions. And it is not easy to organize them because each initiative, each network, each organization has its structure, its own culture, its approach to participation, and sometimes, if a space is not perceived as open and welcoming, people do not participate.

This is what happened to the World Social Forum, which began as a real space for sharing global struggles between very local movements with a strong political focus. However, due to the lack of capacity to organize these spaces, it has become a space that is neither a movement nor a real place of convergence.

What was missing then?

There was a lack of a more specific approach that reached beyond recognizing that we have shared global problems. We are already building solutions we can mutualize using an open source community approach, and we have to work to overcome the existing difficulties in organizing these spaces.

In fact, I see RIPESS as an agent provocateur. We can see more and more different sectors that identify with SSE in the networks that we are involved with around the world. This is not because our SSE principles have changed or expanded, but because they are the producers and, above all, consumers who are increasingly aware of the interconnection between the different levels.

The WSFTE 2020 is therefore a very important opportunity to practice alternative networking, business, community and the care for people and planet that characterise SSE. We believe that this approach to networking and convergence can be transferred to other spaces and this is our contribution.

How can different worldviews be integrated into SSE?

I believe that we must allow ourselves to be open and positive in our attitude to the innovations that have grown enormously in various parts of the world in recent years. The proposals from feminist economies, for example that are not just a demand for gender justice, but a different worldview of how to organize society, work, care, the relationship between people, etc.

This needs to be integrated into and become part of a vision of SSE, not only because it is a principle, a fundamental right, but also because it is part of the solution.

Something similar happens with indigenous visions of how to organize a resilient economy, respectful of mother earth and its sacredness, which although not religious in the Western sense of the term, is understood as a cosmovision. This broader and more global vision is a very important contribution to all the initiatives that we promote every day through cooperatives of people who work together in a horizontal approach.

The WSFTE 2020 is holding this first big event this week in Barcelona. What is going to happen from now on?

The Forum is part of the more general process of the WSF: social movements are the basis of transformation and also because we do not want to create a new network of networks or a new political movement – which does not mean that we do not include a political approach in our work.

The goal is therefore to create a space that allows a strategic exchange of co-construction with a process that has a long-term vision. And the Forum is a moment in time of this process; it will be built with the contributions of many, and with some clear guidance.

And what is the purpose?

The main focus here is convergence. Why convergence? To define is the minimum common denominator multiplier that will allows us to build a common action agenda, as defined by Carlos Askunze.

If this process really works, as we hope it will, in 2020, after a year of virtual interaction at international level and of local or translocal convergence, we aim to formulate a proposal that will be validated during the Forum, It will be a kind of political programme created by a movement of movements, a plural movement. This is the real aim of this process.

How does RIPESS aim to participate in the Forum and the process? How will it work?

We will be present to contribute, but above all to enjoy meeting other organisations that can contribute to our work on issues to which we are already committed, such as gender, local and international public policies, the media, and how to localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), among others.

At the same time, we will try to provide a specific perspective on the reorganization of economic activities and services and the value chain. If we really want to transform the economy, we not only have to produce differently, more ecologically, with emphasis on more human rights,  we also have to rethink the relationship between production and consumption, and how the distribution of wealth can be transformed.

This implies rethinking public and public-community systems. For example, what formula can we apply where there are services that have been privatized, bearing in mind that we do not want them to be completely controlled by the State either. Or how we can economically re-imagine international trade, migrations or relations between communities that are not in the same bioregion.

I believe that this is part of the RIPESS Global Vision and we can therefore contribute our ideas and formulas from the approach of a solidarity economy of liberation. Euclides Mance defends the idea that, contrary to what is happening today where the economy is a modality of control and submission, the economy can still be a means of liberation.

Finally, the WSFTE 2020 is also an opportunity for RIPESS to renew itself, to rethink itself, to come into contact with new realities, with organizations and new territories. This is therefore a great opportunity to discover, to contribute and to become known as network that promotes a movement for another economy.

Preparing the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies
FSMET meeting

Barcelona, 5, 6 and 7 April 2019. The organising committee is working full steam for the preparatory meeting event – one year ahead of the Forum, that will take place in 2020 – in which each transformative economy movement will develop dynamics aimed at specifying the objectives and priorities to be worked on and broadening the scope of the entities involved. The expected outcome is to have a consensus on the main “transformative actions” and convergence tracks, the governance model will be validated and the next steps to be followed will be marked out.

Participants to the meeting are invited organisations linked to the different movements, representatives of networks and social movements , both locally and internationally, between all those initiatives, movements and ways of understanding the economy that have as a common objective: the construction of a real alternative of transformation of the current capitalist economic and financial system.

We want to make this Forum a meeting place. We do not want to limit ourselves to the celebration of a showcase event where only experts speak, but to discuss together what kind of economy we want. Nor do we just want to discuss and dream that “other possible world”, because we know that it already exists. through thousands of initiatives that build alternatives. We want to find common strategies to make ourselves visible, articulate and to multiply.

We work for sustainability, so that it has continuity beyond of the 2020 Forum, both locally and internationally. To do this, it remains to be ensured that this process is built from the territories and generates spaces for face-to-face and virtual articulation at the local level.

We want to make the transformative economies known and reach out to all. To achieve this, we believe that it is necessary for the Forum to have a network of independent, like-minded media that can disseminate the process, and ensure a multiplier effect.

More information will be available soon at http://transformadora.org

Transformative economies: what do the documents tell us?
December 13, 2018
0
de www.enchange.org

As the article “The process of confluence of the Barcelona 2020 WSF of Transformative Economies begins” explains, the Barcelona WSF will be focused on transformative economies.

But what do we mean by “transformative economies”? If we want to answer from the SSE perspective, a quick look at socioeco.org is in order. A simple search in the search engine indicates that we can find about 700 documents that use the word “transformation” in different languages. To refine the search, we can use the keyword: New paradigm of transformation, which groups together those of interest to us and which we present here, used in the sense of social and political change. In the words of Ruben Suriñac, in his book Economias transformadoras de Barcelona, “the movements and phenomena of the transforming economy are all proposals for socio-economic reorganization that introduce a critique of the dominant economic model and formulate proposals for socio-economic change (both in theory and in practice) that, to varying degrees, attempt to transform this model or, at least, to prevent or mitigate its negative effects“. For Barcelona, he cites the movements of degrowth, the economy of the common good, the commons, the feminist and care economy, the social economy, the SSE. And the phenomena of the collaborative economy, community, responsible consumption, the circular economy, social entrepreneurship, social innovation and societal responsibility.

Here are some examples of documents that you can consult in 3  languages:

In Spanish

we find, in addition to the book mentioned above, the documents related to the Transformative Economies Forum itself and often to REAS and XES:

but also

Describe el concepto de ES desde dos perspectivas -europea y latinoamericana, con especial relevancia sobre el potencial transformador de ésta y su vinculación con los nuevos movimientos sociales.

Si las experiencias basadas en la ES lograran conectarse e intercooperar entre ellas dentro del modelo del consumo responsable, serian capaces de alterar las condiciones perversas del mercado actual.

In Latin America, the documents refer to social transformation, action for transformation, the paradigm of transformative change or as a form of resistance to capitalism.

Plantea que es el sentido de la transformación deseada, y desde esa definición amplia, qué política social o socioeconómica contribuyen a esa transformación.

Plantea la posibilidad de construir una economía no capitalista basada en relaciones y valores de justicia y solidaridad, que fuera –además- eficiente y económicamente racional.

Si no hay una ruptura epistemológica con el eurocentrismo, si no se da cuenta de la especificidad de las sociedades latinoamericanas, las posibilidades de construcción de la otra economía y de la otra sociedad son limitadas.

Plantea la necesidad de un nuevo modelo de desarrollo que posibilite el reconocimiento de las mujeres como sujeto politico y sus reivindicaciones.

and let’s not forget the slogan of the last WSF :

In English

we find the concept of “transformational or transformative change”, in particular used by UNRISD:

The report explores what transformative change really means for societies and individuals. It provides guidance on how to turn the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into concrete actions.

The paper considers whether the uptake of the SSE agenda by governments can scale up and enable SSE in ways conducive to realizing the ‘transformational vision’ of the SDGs.

But also the following documents associated with the comons and degrowth  :

Brisk overview of the commons, commoning, and their great potential in helping build a new society. becoming stewards of natural systems, and mutualizing the benefits of shared resources.

  • Initiatives, Chains and Networking for Transformation , Degrowth in movement(s): Solidarity Economy (Germany) – 2017 – Dagmar Embshoff, Clarita Müller-Plantenberg,, Giuliana Giorgi How is the relation between the degrowth movement and other social movements and perspectives?

In French

the authors discuss the transformative potential of the collaborative economy, social innovations, degrowth, commons or the transformation of capitalism:

Il s’agit de rechercher dans quelle mesure l’innovation sociale est révélatrice d’un changement de paradigme dans l’organisation socio-économique de nos sociétés.

Ce colloque traite de la reconstruction sociale en cours à travers l’émergence d’expériences socialement innovantes visant à redéfinir la société sur des bases plus solidaires et équitables.

Les principes que recouvre la transition écologique concordent avec les valeurs défendues par l’économie sociale et solidaire : démocratie, citoyenneté, solidarité, plus-value sociale et/ou écologique et favorisent la diffusion de nouveaux modes de consommation, de production.

Les Pôles territoriaux de coopération économique visent à organiser la coopération en vue de produire de la richesse territoriale au profit des citoyens, tout en s’inscrivant dans les politiques publiques de développement.

Est-il possible de concevoir certaines des réalités de l’économie sociale et solidaire comme des modèles de communs ?

Cordoba (Spain): Int. Meeting of Transformative Economies (December 6-7, 2018)
The Telegraph

The INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES will take place on 6 and 7 December in Cordoba.

The III Solidarity Economy Congress announced for these dates has become an open appointment to experiences from other countries thanks to the willingness of the promoters to give this space a larger dimension, encompassing international references and relating to transforming economies with a transnational perspective.

Organized by REAS Andalusia and the University of Cordoba, the meeting will focus on analyzing, disseminating and relating transformative economic practices that are not only possible and alternatives but for many are already in the process of realization and able to demonstrate the validity of proposals that place people at the center of their development as protagonists of the economy. Related to each other because we share values and a common ethic that prevails over the intention of profit, the transforming economies will meet in Cordoba at the end of the year to become entangled with agents of SSE, public administrations, NGOs and with developing sectors, entrepreneurship, culture, education and people interested in making the economy a motor of social change towards more human coexistence, a fairer distribution and a transformed world from the sustainability of the environment and the care for life.

More info at:
Área de Cooperación y Solidaridad – Universidad de Córdoba
formacion.desarrollo@uco.es – (+34) 957 21 20 29
www.economiasolidaria.org/encuentro2018

GSEF2018: RIPESS and REAS Euskadi present the Declaration for a Transformative SSE
Declaration Transformative SSE Bilbao

Within the framework of the GSEF2018 (Global Social Economy Forum) in Bilbao on the 2nd of October 2018, RIPESS and REAS Euskadi have launched the Declaration for a Transformative Social and Solidarity Economy. The statement comes when it is the thenth anniversary since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the trigger that ignited the biggest financial crisis even known.

The outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008 placed capitalism at the centre of all citizen’s criticism. However, in these ten years the much-awaited and necessary changes have not occurred. Quite the contrary: the processes of financialization of the economy have increased, its speculative character has strengthened and, above all, the poverty and inequality rates on the planet have grown significantly.

Therefore, the statement wants to “raise the voice to denounce capitalism that commodifies and threatens our lives and our planet. It is a hetero-patriarcal capitalism that promotes discrimination against women and excludes diversity “.

In this way, the people, organizations and networks of SEE present at GSEF 2018 commit themselves through this declaration to “working together with other social movements for the transformation of the economy through alternative and social initiatives in the areas of finance, production, marketing and consumption. By transforming the economy, we transform territories and communities and thus promote a new cultural, social and political model”.

With this initiative, a commitment is made to a transforming social and solidarity-based economy at the service of a New World that is more just, respectful, democratic and sustainable. It is now a question of joining forces, and all existing practices, to build and impose an Inclusive Global Agenda from the Local to the International, and show that we have answers and proposals to overcome today’s huge global challenges.

In the act of launching the declaration, the World Social Forum of the Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020 has also been presented to the people attending the GSEF 2018.

You can consult the Declaration for a transforming Social and Solidarity Economy here.

WSF of Transformative economies 2019-2020: update about the process
October 15, 2018
0
Economias Transformadoras

Last July we officially presented the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies in Barcelona and ever since we have been working starting with the networks of social solidarity econompromoting this initiative: XES, Catalan solidarity economy network; REAS, Network of networks of Spanish alternative and solidarity economies, and RIPESS, Intercontinental network of social solidarity economy.

The Forum aims to be a process of confluence between the local and the international spheres of different alter-economic approaches, which we call Transformative economiesAs you may read in the first Callsome local movements have already begun their meetings to establish priorities, agendas and objectives, mapping of organizations and confluences at local and international level. In parallel, RIPESS has promoted the process through the different membersin all the continents, and we are working with many other international networks and movements through the different approaches to disseminate and articulate the process.

In the last few weeks, we have designed a governance model that will organize the confluences both locally and internationally, in which the different ways of participation and co-promotion are defined. We want this structure to be drawn from the social base of the transformative economies, and that the confluence process will be based on the thematic axes.

We are also working on shared online working tools that will facilitate the confluence at all levels, as well as material and dissemination tools, such us the Forum website and graphic materials, that we will share with you as soon as possible, together with the next steps explaining how to participate in the process that we are just starting. In the meanwhile, do not hesitate to contact us with any doubt, idea or suggestion at forum2020@ripess.org.

Finally, we are happy to present you the new operational team that will be supporting the Forum throughout the process.Itisbasedin Barcelona and composed as of now by 3 people, who facilitate the following working areas:

Coordination: Júlia Granell
International facilitation: Iris Aviñoa
Comunications: Laie Vidiella 

Many thanks and let’s converge!

WSF of Transformative Economies Team

World Social Forum of convergence of Transformative Economies

A two-year process of convergence to build an Inclusive World Agenda from networked local nodes!

As shared in the World Social Forum of Salvador de Bahia (read March 2018 article), RIPESS Intercontinental RIPESS Europe, XES (Catalan Solidarity Economy Network) and REAS (Spanish SE Network) are happy to announce the commitment to a Thematic World Social Forum of Convergence of Transformative Economies, from local to international levels, by 2020 :

The objective is to start a process of convergence between all initiatives, practices, movements and ways of understanding the economy that share the common goal of transforming the existing economic system, beyond Social and Solidarity Economy. Some of these processes of convergence have already been taking place for a long time :

Another World already exists. We now need to bring together our strengh, the common solutions and practices both locally and internationally, to build an inclusive world agenda, and jointly face today’s main challenges!

See the First International Call inviting all interested movements and networks to express their interest in participating and/or in becoming co-promoters of the initiative.

It is essential to ensure that the construction process reflects the proposals, challenges and opportunities of all continents, movements and networks.

To this end, different committees will facilitate the co-definition of the contents by various networks and movements and will ensure the articulation between local and global levels.

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