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Crowdfunding: Water for Rojava

Article by Solidarity Economy Association (SEA), Oxford, England May 2020

In the region of North-East Syria, also known by its Kurdish name Rojava, a democratic self-administration system has been built up since 2012 – a system based on grass roots democracy, ecology and women‘s freedom, in which all the different ethnic and religious communities can live together on their own terms, through autonomy, self-determination, and equality.

The system is based on neighbourhood assemblies and councils, with principles of ecology and gender liberation at its heart, and values of ethnic and religious pluralism throughout. Women are at the front and centre of this movement.

But now, Rojava faces some big threats: War, embargo, water shortage

When the revolution in Rojava began, the groundwater level was very low due mainly to industrial monoculture agriculture organised by the Syrian regime over the last four decades, as well as a decline in rainfall as a result of the global climate crisis.

In 2015, Turkey started to use water as a weapon against Rojava by holding back the water on the rivers which flow from Turkey to Syria through the dams it has been building over the last twenty years. (…)

This situation is greatly exacerbated by the threat of Covid-19. In the time of a pandemic, access to water is more vital than ever.

“In the midst of a global pandemic that is overloading sophisticated governance and infrastructure systems, Turkish authorities have been cutting off the water supply to regions most under strain in Syria,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should do everything they can to immediately resume supply to these communities.”

Now, the people in Rojava need your help. We want to raise £100,000 for vital water infrastructure in North-East Syria.

A small private foundation in the UK that has previously supported projects in the region has agreed to a match-funding offer to kick-start the project. It will donate £1 for every £1 of the first £50k raised. This means we only need to raise £50,000 to reach the £100k target!

The fund will help women’s co-operatives and democratic local municipalities in Rojava with projects like repairing infrastructure damaged by bombings, digging wells and building water pumps for refugee camps, as well as funding long-term projects like co-operative farm irrigation systems and river cleaning initiatives.
Despite the ongoing war, people in Rojava are still living cooperatively, rebuilding their lives, their ecology and their economy.

You can help support these efforts. Please let other people know about this campaign and donate what you can. 

Water is not a weapon. Av jîyan e – Water is life!

Who are we?

The Solidarity Economy Association are working together with Aborîya Jin (Women’s Economy) in North-East Syria, not-for-profit NGO Un Ponte Per (Italy), UK-registered charity Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent), Roots for Change (Switzerland), and the Save the Tigris Campaign.

See the rest of the article here.

See also: Turkey Continues to Weaponize Alok Water amid COVID-19 Outbreak in Syria

Campaign : For an economy without virus

Article from the Solidarity Economy Portal, REAS, May 2020

This new crisis, which once again makes visible the shortcomings and failures of the current economic system, once again puts into debate what economic, social and political model we want. It is time, therefore, to make visible the contributions of the Solidarity Economy as well as other transforming economies and social movements and to make a firm commitment to other frameworks and logics that are more just, solidarity-based and sustainable.

With this objective, REAS Red de redes launches the campaign #PorUnaEconomíaSinVirus (For an economy without virus) where through the simultaneous publication of 6 articles in various media, it seeks to highlight the proposals and contributions of the Solidarity Economy and other transforming currents and movements such as social ecology or feminisms, and to show citizens once again that it is time to make a decisive commitment to the construction of new economic, political and social frameworks that are more just, solidarity-based and sustainable.

This campaign has texts from people of reference whose reflections and contributions are extremely useful in the present moment of systemic crisis. To begin with, we are privileged to have the collaboration of the Argentinean economist, Jose Luis Coraggio, one of the pioneers of the solidarity economy movement, who shows us the possible scenarios that can be opened up to us in the coming months, depending on whether we continue to bet on the current model where the market is above any other consideration or if, on the contrary, “instead of an omnipresent and individualising market, it is based on a complex network of territorial communities, with relative economic autarchy and political autonomy”.

We continue to deepen the solidarity initiatives that are being generated to attend to the multiple needs that are emerging in this pandemic, in accordance with the Guide to Initiatives that we promoted a few weeks ago, which has exceeded 100 initiatives. With the help of Genoveva López and Carlos Rey, we will go into some of the most representative initiatives.

We interviewed Amaia P. Orozco and her colleague from Colectiva XXK Silvia Piris, together with Álvaro Porro, from the Barcelona City Council’s Commissioner for the Social Economy, Local Development and Consumer Affairs, like-minded people from the network, to continue revealing together the flaws in the current system and find clues for this necessary transition, courtesy of Blanca Crespo.

Jordi Garcia, the father of the Social Market proposal, invites us to continue exploring the proposals and tools of the solidarity economy, to take advantage of the maturity and trajectory of the network and the movement generated over these 25 years, as well as the opportunity that these moments of crisis offer to project ourselves as the way out in a “decisive period for the history of humanity”.

And to do this, to get out of this “triple pandemic (health, economic and care) caused by the COVID-19” and which, “has broken the current model by highlighting the deficiencies that existed in the provision of public resources for basic services such as health, as well as the fragility of the care system and the precarization of much of the economic fabric,” Sandra Salsón and María Atienza show us what the proposals for public policies should be from the perspective and contributions of the Solidarity Economy.

Finally, from the hand of the Feminist Confluence, product of the process of articulation of the World Social Forum of Transforming Economies, we enter into the reading of the crisis from a feminist perspective, highlighting the contradictions of the system in times of pandemic and before this one, as well as outlining the elements for a transforming agenda for an economy for life.

This series of texts will later be collected in a digital publication addressed to the social base of REAS Red de redes in the framework of its 25th anniversary.

Corona-crisis affects small Greek farmers. A campaign to unite producers & consumers on local level!

Report by Jenny Gkiougki, President of Agroecopolis – The Hellenic Network for Agroecology, Food Sovereignty & Access To Land

Greece is experiencing low corona-related mortality rates, but the measures imposed came early and were as harsh as in other, more stricken countries, posing severe strain to a society and an economy in shambles due to the ongoing economic crisis. In an understandable move to protect an already depleted National Health System, on Feb. 27, a day after the country’s first Covid-19 case was diagnosed in Thessaloniki, all Carnival celebrations got cancelled everywhere. On March 11, schools closed down, and two days later, Greece limited non essential travel and closed down cafes, restaurants, libraries, museums, etc. From 23/3 till 4/5 (a proper 40 days of ‘quarantine’) the country has been on strict lock-down where citizens are only allowed out for limited time and for a set of specific reasons, and need to notify via SMS of their moves.

Small agroecological farmers were hit very hard by COVID-19. Strict restrictions in movement and the provisional closing of many businesses meant that places like small restaurants, hotels and farmers’ markets suddenly became inaccessible for most of them -who do not receive subsidies or compensations and rely on short supply chain for their survival. This is critical, not just for their livelihoods, but for the continued existence of family farming in Greece. CSA farmers, who usually operate in more local scale, also faced difficulties as in many cases they were not allowed to travel and had to use the services of already overwhelmed delivery companies instead, adding cost and subtracting quality from their produce. Furthermore, most CSA schemes in the country, until now, are informal, there is no ‘contract’ signed between the two parties, and there is no formal national association to promote, or advocate for their interests.

The movement restrictions served to highlight many underlying pathogenicities pertaining to the agricultural sector and food production in Greece, but also to bring forth how the globalised food systems we rely on can collapse, and how the most effective solutions for food security, let alone food sovereignty, have got to be based on the foundations of agroecology and localisation. The consumers were suddenly faced with a new reality: that the place were the majority of them procure their food (the supermarkets) is not safe any more, and that foods purchased there will have to be washed with soap in order to eliminate the possibility of getting infected. The problematic of a food system fraught with intermediaries is showing its face again, not in terms of profit accumulation, but in terms of endangering public health.

Agroecopolis The Hellenic Network for Agroecology, Food Sovereignty and Access To Land (AEP) instigated an e-meet with small producers from all over the country in mid-March; with representatives of organic growers’ associations, members of EcoFest networks and individual farmers, in order to assess the situation and decide on collective action, as assembly. As an urgent and immediate response, it was decided to run a nationwide digital and social media campaign promoting local direct links between producers & consumers all over the country.

Within a few days, a collection of food activists with no direct personal gain, under the coordination of Agroecopolis, started developing the campaign and were even able to create a short promotional video while being unable to shoot new footage! We all came together because we realise the importance of standing by our farmers; now more than ever! Out of the blue, without any access to resources or prior organisation, at a time of extreme uncertainty, we were able to organise four different groups, working on aspects of the campaign, including content creation, dissemination, liaising with producers and organising the final ‘match-making’.

The main message of the campaign is: #Support local small food production# #We are staying in our fields and cater for your household needs# We aim to reach a much larger audience than the ‘usual receptors’ of similar actions organised by eco-activists and bio-farmers in the past. We are addressing the average coronavirus ‘quarantinees’: consumers living in urban setting (from big cities to small towns), who are now, concerned about the safety in big crowded stores; are interested in eating healthy; and wish to protect and cater for their families in times of uncertainty. The campaign will run till July, each week focusing on a different aspect -why it is important to eat locally; why agroecology is the solution; showcasing producer profiles from different areas, etc.

As this is an urgent mater, and not a planned campaign, it is quite tricky to organise resources and create a model that works, immediately! Our first goal is to make sure ‘not one more leaf rots unpicked in a field’. Drawing from the principles of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Reko (The Finnish alternative), the interested consumers in one locality and the chosen producers (experienced volunteers have created a ‘vetting system’ to make sure they comply to the same principles as us) are brought together using Facebook groups, where our volunteers set up each group, instigate interaction and monitor first steps until members take over and self-organise. The idea is to promote self-management of needs and citizens’ mobilisation on local level -thus creating conditions for higher levels of autonomy and food sovereignty in local terms. We have teams of volunteers working on the creation of content and the dissemination of the campaign so it generates responses from consumers all over Greece, and we aim to have groups in each major city, in each prefecture, by the end of June, to make sure all these small farmers are supported by networks of consumers.

In the first four days of going ‘live’ we’ve had more than 400 responses from consumers and the goal now is to make sure we can match demand with supply.

This project started as an immediate and urgent response to the fact that small bio producers everywhere in Greece are facing difficulties accessing markets due to corona restrictions. It aims at connecting, on a local and direct level, producers and consumers in all prefectures of the country, so their sustainability is assured. But, it will also serve as fertile ground for the creation of PGS (Participatory Guarantee Systems) and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) networks that will further solidify the Food Sovereignty movement on a national level -a necessity in the uncertain times that are coming, in a country that has already been exhausted by the ongoing, ten year economic crisis.

For more info, or to join the campaign visit https://www.agroecopolis.org/covid-19/ (only in Greek)

APRES Manifesto

What if the “return to normality” was accompanied by real changes for the environment, the Human being and society?

The Manifesto of Après-Ge regroups proposals for political and concrete actions to make the ecological and social transition our compass to get out of the crisis!

Complementary to the Call of May 4th (in French), this manifesto proposes concrete solutions for a sustainable future.

> Consult the Manifesto < (in French)

Findings
This health crisis is an opportunity
Covid-19, one crisis too many in an already sick society The simple revival of the economy of Befor is out of the question The State must increase its regulatory role
Debt as a response to this crisis is unsustainable The pursuit of financial profit alone is unsustainable

OBJECTIVES
Let’s build an economy of solidarity-based sobriety
Let’s share, let’s cooperate
Let(s favour short circuits and the regional economy
Let’s work differently, let’s govern our organizations differently
Let us reappropriate our time, our lives, our health and our citizenship capacities Let us develop a policy of “commons” to cover our basic needs Let us develop an international Geneva as a conductor of sustainability, and of global and local balances

PROPOSALS
The ecological, social and solidarity transition as a compass for emerging from the crisis
The creation of a fund and a network of expertise as pilots of the transition
Public aid linked to this crisis as a lever for tomorrow’s economy
Innovative financing as an alternative to “classic” private and public debt ” Our savings as the driving force of our economy
Leman currency as a stimulator of local trade
A secure platform for short circuits as an alternative to the giants of globalization like Amazon.
Cooperation and Mutualisation as models of development
Neighbourhoods as living and basic units for transition
Independent information as a guarantor of the construction of our free will
Culture as an expression of creativity and a catalyst for sustainable futures
Social and solidarity economy networks as transition networks
Taking the right exit from the crisis

Local elections in France: citizens get involved.

In France for municipal elections, citizens are trying to thwart the old party system, which they no longer recognize as legitimate and too far removed from the social and ecological emergencies that concern them.

On the initiative of a few at the outset, they are creating alternative lists that no longer bring together the usual nomination candidates but citizens who come together on a project developed through consultations and meetings. In the end, the democratic exercise leads to the accession of a sufficient number of people to validate a list.

The website of the collective Action commune thus lists 157 participatory lists, “one third in villages of less than 2,000 inhabitants, one third in municipalities of 2,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, and one third in cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants”, says Thomas Simon, coordinator of the group, whose mission is to “accompany those who want to engage in citizen participation” (Reporterre 8 January 2020). An interactive map of these lists can be found on the Action commune website.

If these lists are not guaranteed to win the elections, they are an electric shock to the parties. They question the undemocratic methods of governing, by challenging the habits of verticality where the leader decides and surrounds himself with people who are committed to his cause. They highlight themes that the parties feel obliged to include in their programmes.

In addition, several associations have drafted proposals that they circulate in their networks for their members to take up and transmit to their elected officials.

Thus, the Collectif de la Transition citoyenne (Citizen Transition Collective) has drawn up a Pact for Transition inviting local networks to ask candidates to commit to at least 10 of the 32 proposals and to accompany / verify their implementation in the territories. The central objective of these proposals is to respond to the climate emergency and to repair social injustice.

The RTES (Réseau des Territoires pour l’Economie Solidaire) has published a municipal kit’ess containing about twenty sheets to support the initiative of municipalities towards more SSE in their local policy.

The UFISC (Union Fédérale d’Intervention des Structures Culturelles) proposes to the candidates and all those committed to their territories, arts and culture, 3 commitments declined through 20 concrete proposals (…) for a policy of cultural diversity based on cultural rights and a democratic and solidarity organisation.

The MES published : Elections Municipales. 12 questions.

Reporterre has also published its illustrated list of recommendations, this list is not exhaustive.

We are really witnessing an awakening of citizens to the negligence of governments blinded by their subservience to economic powers. The Spanish example and “municipalismo” infuse much of Europe and RIPESS , for whom the co-construction of public policies is a major axis of social transformation, is very happy about it.

Article written by Josette Combes

The RTES – Network of Territorial Communities for a Solidarity Economy – launches the SSE kit for March 2020 municipal elections in France!

On the occasion of the municipal elections of March 2020, RTES offers a MunicipalSSE kit for future municipal and inter-municipal teams wishing to support the Social and Solidarity Economy. It was presented on January 22nd on the occasion of the RTES Board of Directors meeting. A total of twenty sheets will gradually be published by the RTES, dealing with the levers available to the municipal block and fields of activity. This action carried out by the RTES is part of a collegial approach with the actors of SSE France and the SSE Lab, “No municipal elections without SSE”.  

The MunicipalSSE kit aims to provide tools for future teams:

  • What is SSE? Why support it locally? What are the links with the competences of the communal unit? What are the first keys for the implementation of a structured voluntary policy?
  • What can be the principles and mechanisms of communes and inter-communalities to support the development of SSE (knowing and mobilizing the actors of your territory, public procurement, access to land, SCIC, co-construction and evaluation, territorial animation, transversality, resources that can be mobilized by local authorities…)?
  • How to illustrate very specifically the way in which the different thematic public policies can integrate SSE (mobility, food and agriculture, urban policy, waste, business revitalisation, digital, youth, culture & sport, silver economy, …).
THE COLLEGIAL APPROACH LED BY THE RTES WITH SSE FRANCE STAKEHOLDERS AND THE SSE LAB, TO HELP PROMOTE THE SOLUTIONS PROVIDED BY SSE.

The joint press release states:

“The upcoming municipal elections must make it possible to respond to the democratic, social and environmental emergencies raised by citizens in recent years. The Social and Solidarity-based Economy (SSE) is a solid response and must be strengthened at all levels. …

Local authorities have an essential role to play in providing incentives and support with a global vision, and in their role as regional leaders. This can take the form of the co-construction of multi-year plans to act transversally within the local authorities but also in conjunction with the inter-municipal and regional levels.

We are convinced that action can be taken here and now. Everyone of us in our networks is making proposals that concern citizens, elected officials, economic players, researchers, etc. Together, we invite you to consult our various advocacy materials in view of the municipal elections and to get involved with us. Let’s network, at different levels, to bring together the transitions in the territories! “

Article written by the RTES team

Solidarity Economy shows its heart again

Article by Reas, Red de REDES, November 14, 2019

For the fifth consecutive year, Economía Solidaria once again shows its heart by publishing the annual report of the Social Audit Campaign, a tool for accountability and measurement of social, environmental and good governance impact, which is promoted by Social and Solidarity Economy entities (mainly, but not only, integrated to REAS RdR). The organizations that carry it out can use the results to improve internally while at the same time obtaining aggregated data from the ethical standards of the Solidarity Economy and the Social Market (Mercado Social).

In this self-evaluation process, the six principles of the SSE are evaluated systematically, objectively and periodically: profit policy, democracy and equity, environmental sustainability, cooperation, commitment to the environment and quality of work. This tool is also allowing a process of confluence of Solidarity Economy companies at the Spanish state level, by which since 2014 the indicators of the Social Balance and Audit systems developed from their different territories and led by its Social Audit Working Group of REAS RdR have been harmonized. It is from this process that in 2018 the technological platform that XES (Xarxa de Economía Solidaria de Catalunya) had developed within the framework of its “Enseña el Corazón” project was put to common use at the Spanish state level. Since 2008, the Xarxa has been offering entities associated or linked to this network a self-evaluation of their performance based on variables grouped into different blocks: economic performance, professional quality, democracy, equality, quality of work, the environment and social commitment.

The data that we present correspond to a total of 530 entities associated and linked to the different territorial and sectorial networks of REAS RdR that have carried out the campaign this year (19% more than last year), which includes: 191 thousand associated people -not workers-, close to 22 thousand volunteers who collaborate in the development of their social and collective projects, more than 4 thousand three hundred who participate in representation of the organizations, and more than 400 employers of entities. If we unite all those people linked to the entities -not workers- to the employees -members or not, a total figure of 235 thousand people related to the 530 entities that responded to the questions of the Social Audit of 2019 is reached.

The following results can be highlighted from the aggregate report of this self-evaluation process:

  • Equity: the wage difference is 1.5/1 between the highest and lowest wages of all workers; 60% of women in positions of responsibility and 88% of entities promote inclusive language.
  • Work: 75% improve legal work-life balance permits, 64% create spaces for emotional attention and care for workers, and 47% have internal regulations for the management of labour relations.
  • Environmental sustainability: 94% apply responsible consumption criteria in the purchase of products, 37% are entities with environmental management and 46% use 100% renewable energy.
  • Cooperation and commitment with the environment: 64% operate with ethical finances, 7% of their purchases are made within the framework of the Social Market and 7% in non-profit entities.
  • Non-profit: 63% of income comes from invoicing compared to 28% from subsidies. With regard to the distribution of profits, 65% is allocated to reserves, compensation for losses or own investments, 10% to initiatives for the construction of common goods and 4% to investments of financial entities of the SSE.

Based on these and other data derived from the Social Audit 2019 Reas network of networks wants to make visible and value the activity of social and solidarity economy companies in the Spanish state, showing that there are other business models truly responsible and whose objectives are not centered solely on obtaining profit but pursue the transformation and improvement of our society. “EstamosEnlaBrecha

See the full report. (in Spanish) Also on socioeco.org

Keep an eye on general infographics and gender infographics.

Global Peace Marches 2019-2020 from India and Senegal

On October 2, 2019 – the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, a 14,000 km, one-year global march for justice and peace, called Jai Jagat 2020, will start from New Delhi to Geneva. Winding through 10 countries with nonviolence training and events on key justice themes along the way, and joining with separate marches starting from a number of countries in Europe and northwest Africa as well as delegates from around the world, participants will be welcomed and hosted by the City and Canton of Geneva for a week (26 September – 2nd October 2020) of workshops, advocacy meetings and cultural events.

This initiative urges the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a dialogue with UN agencies in Geneva. Four Pillars of Advocacy related to the SDGs are at the core of the Jai Jagat campaign. These are: eradication of poverty, social inclusion, climate justice and the nonviolent resolution of conflicts.

Local committees all along the route will organize daily events, and there will be daily non-violence trainings, making this a year-long practice of non-violence. In some countries new families and new individuals with different stories will be included in the march.

​The arrival of the great march of Jai Jagat bearing the message of Gandhi and the voice of the voiceless is the perfect occasion, through a nonviolent dialogue, to promote various solutions for a world that works for everyone. To welcome the march, a festival/forum of change will be launched; combining, according to Gandhi’s vision, individual transformation with collective change. An innovative contribution to the key role of Geneva in the success of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations.

The Caravan For The Earth To Live

The POUR QUE VIVE LA TERRE caravan offers its public a meeting place for the diffusion and sharing of actions that bring hope.

In agriculture, ecology, politics, economics, social and cultural alternative solutions exist. The caravan creates a space for sharing so that these solutions can grow through the commitment of all. It takes place on average one week in each place to offer conferences, screenings, shows, parties and workshops. We think about it, we learn about it, we train ourselves, we celebrate.

WHY?

In the face of the current economic, social and environmental crises, many individuals are seeking a profound change in the way we live our societies. But many feel that they are helpless. What can I do about it?

Vectors of positive transformations, carriers of hope, the various alternatives underway are already determining the advent of a better world where the human values of solidarity, sobriety and respect for nature will be at the heart of our projects and our businesses.

The caravan is associated with the Delhi-Geneva Jai Jagat 2020 march, organized by Ekta Parishad, which will arrive in Geneva in October 2020.

Climate Emergency, Responses and Alternatives from the Social and Solidarity Economy
Foto Blog El Salto Diario

Blog of El Salto Diario, 19/09/2019, Comisión Ecología de la Red de Economía Solidaria de Cataluña (XES)

With the Climate Strike of September 27 and the week of actions planned for the previous week on the horizon, we reflect on the role of the Solidarity Economy in these mobilizations and its ability to contribute to moving towards more sustainable and supportive post-carbon societies.

We have 11 years (only) left to reach the allowable global temperature limit of the planet, and once exceeded it will lead to an irreversible and unprecedented change in the Earth’s climate that will pose a threat to future generations. This was the forceful emergency message of the United Nations (UN) after its 73rd High Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development last March. (…)

The impacts generated by climate change are direct and indirect, and related to human activity, according to scientific evidence. Natural ecosystems are intimately interrelated with this activity.

Faced with this, several States and Administrations around the world have declared the Climate Emergency, a total of some 800, a figure in continuous growth since the city of Darebin, Australia, declared in 2016 for the first time this state of Climate Emergency.

Along with these institutional pronouncements, various social and ecological movements, trade unions, administrations and, of course, also the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) are articulating and mobilizing to achieve impact actions that contribute to the paradigm shift necessary to face this emergency. The call for a Strike against Climate Change on September 27 and the mobilizations planned for the week of September 20 to 27 are proof of this, and there are many movements and organizations that are working to make these calls a success.

But what does it mean to declare a state of Climate Emergency? Does the alert that the social and environmental movements of the world are putting on the public agenda have the same strategy to put an end to climate change? Is it possible to promote peace, prosperity and the Sustainable Development Goals in a globally capitalist world, based on linear economic growth, which does not take into account the limits of the planet? Do the Sustainable Development Goals really promote a Social Economy, fair, equitable and democratically radical throughout the world?

An ESS for the EcoSocial Transition

Faced with all these questions, the entities that promote ecology within the Social and Solidarity Economy have their proposals. The SSE is part of the set of transforming economies that are erected as an alternative economic model to the prevailing capitalist model and that prioritize the welfare of people and their environment. They are, therefore, the most suitable to provide an effective solution that reduces the socio-environmental impacts that our society has generated and that have resulted in the current climate emergency situation.

The SSE comprises a great variety of initiatives that develop an economic activity from a collective base with a clear will to contribute to the transformation of our society, integrating social and environmental criteria in its values, organization and activities.

Within the SSE we find formulas as diverse as cooperatives, foundations and even associations, which incorporate a certain level of professionalism. Thus, the link with grassroots social movements is very close, to the extent that some initiatives arise from the hand of people linked to these movements, who decide to take a further step for the implementation of their social and environmental demands, carrying out projects or services related to these demands or simply developing an economic activity with a more sustainable approach.

The SSE is an economic practice that is developed in different sectors of the economy, such as: communication, energy, mobility, agroecology, food, consumption, etc. Many of these initiatives are clear examples of success, such as the renewable energy consumption cooperative Som Energia, whose work contributes to the fight against climate change. Emerging from the university world and closely linked to social movements, it has reached 60,270 members. It is an experience that also makes it possible to empower people to consume renewable energy sources and even participate in the generation of energy itself, either in collective facilities or as a prosumer.

The SSE is therefore an opportunity to build socioeconomic models that contribute to the transition to the post-carbon society to which we are heading. But there may be many post-carbon societies and various transitions to reach them. We need this ecological transition to be an opportunity to build more just, equitable and democratic societies. And this transition process must be rapid, because we have little time, and if it is not led by the Social and Solidarity Economy and other alternatives, the big corporations will do it.

But is the Social and Solidarity Economy ready? It is important that the fabric of the SSE asks itself this question, and sees the transitions as a great opportunity to accelerate and grow these alternatives that have been cultivated for years. Because if we don’t manage to build this necessary space from the SSE, we may find ourselves with undesirable scenarios, more and more unequal and with a growth of ecofascisms.

Challenges on the horizon

We have several challenges to strengthen the SSE in the face of the Climate Emergency situation. We need to make the ecological transition the backbone of our strategies for promoting and strengthening the SSE, which entails, for example, prioritizing the strategic sectors for the transition.

On the other hand, we must orient the SSE to its growth, in order to generate broad and replicable alternatives that can compete with large corporations. Likewise, we must influence the educational and cultural model, which promotes individualism, fostering instead cooperation and solidarity, and deepen the links and alliances that can be woven between transformative economic initiatives and social movements that fight for social rights, the environment and climate emergency.

But, in addition to the day-to-day transformation actions that we contribute from the SSE in pursuit of the decarbonization of our lives and activities, the great challenge is to extrapolate these more ecological and democratic operating models to the rest of society. And we have to start with the social entities, cooperatives and companies of the SSE themselves, which have yet to incorporate a more ecological and environmentally friendly vision into their operations. This is, in fact, one of the objectives for which the Ecology Commission of the XES (Xarxa d’Economia Solidaria de Catalunya) was born: “to strengthen the ecological dimension of the Social and Solidarity Economy”.

There is a long way to go with the whole universe of the SSE and the climate movements, and as we point out it must be extended to the whole of society, given the urgency of the problem and the need to provide short-term responses to the climate emergency.

In this process, the next calls for mobilization for climate justice to raise awareness and generate the paradigm shift necessary to move to a decarbonized society and economy will be key. In these mobilizations, we are going to bring together diverse entities and people, and the entities of the Social and Solidarity Economy must play a key role as the engine of this global paradigm shift.

Therefore, we assume as our own the declaration of Climate Emergency, (in Spanish) and we call for active mobilization and massive participation in the World Climate Strike next September 27, as well as in the activities of this First Wave of mobilizations, scheduled since September 20.

Because, the Social and Solidarity Economy will be sustainable and fair or it won’t be.
Because only from a firm and clear commitment to a decarbonized economy will we see the world in which we want to live.
We ‘ll meet on the Wave!

Vote for a Social Solidarity Europe !
vote SSEurope flags

Open letter to candidates standing in the European Parliamentary election

The Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) brings together national and territorial networks in Europe with a 360° transformative vision that is economic and ecological, democratic, social and societal. We are committed to change in the economic practices and imagination: 

  • Rehabilitate cooperation, solidarity and equity in a break with existing unbridled competition
  • Focus on the emancipation of individuals, economic citizenship and human rights as higher principles
  • End the waste of resources, the indiscriminate use of pollutants, the excessive pursuit of profit

The European Parliament elections will be held between 24th and 26th May 2019. Let us consider Article 3 of the EU Treaty, in particular paragraphs 1, 2 and 3: “1. The Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. It promotes economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity between States”. 

This new Parliament will undoubtedly have to face a very challenging situation within the European Union, and in the world: accelerating climate threats, extinction of animal species, deteriorating living conditions, the phenomenon of migration. Moreover, the increase in authoritarian political regimes has become blatant, as an appempt to stifle the growing aspiration of peoples to access their fundamental rights. As a result of all the above, the European ideal is under severe threat and the European ideal of peaceful cohesion of peoples has lost its credibility with those living in the ever-growing precariousness that is the outcome of a blind, globalized economic system. 

In the face of these challenges, European citizens are organizing, proposing appropriate solutions and re-creating a relocalised social and solidarity economy, that is respectful of biotopes, and anchored in social justice and the common good. They encourage consultation with local institutions, enterprises and elected officials. This solidarity model is expanding rapidly in Europe and throughout the world, makes it possible to create an economy that supports the well-being of our societies, allying producers and consumers in responsible production and consumption models. It makes a significant contribution to the territorial cohesion and the preservation of resources through their intelligent use. It ensures that planetary boundaries are not exceeded.

This new parliament has the duty to take on board that European electors wish to be consulted beforehand and become active stakeholders in the policies, laws and rules that affect them and influence the future of the planet ,and build peace in the world.

We request you take position on the following ten points

1. It is fundamental to take the path of a more ethical, responsible and solidarity-based redistributive economy in which the Social solidarity economy is fully recognised as an exemplary economic model that increases wellbeing and peace within Europe. Similarly, in a transversal way across sectoral policies, we call on you to build and pass the necessary laws to do so.

2. Food and agriculture that respects the soil, air and water, eliminates the use of toxic inputs that have a dangerous impact on human health and living species and promotes decent incomes for small and medium-sized farms by limiting industrial agriculture, processing and distribution models and developing short food chains with traceability and approved by consumers and producers.

3. Low-carbon transport infrastructure that services terriorities and meets local peoples’ needs and specifically rehabilitates rail and inland waterway transport, public transport, special bicycle lanes and shared forms of transportation.

4. A renewable energy development policy based on the production of eco-designed, solidarity-based and sustainable goods and services and breaks with the current obsolete fossil fuel-based model that is both harmful to the climate and dangerous.

5. An ambitious European Social Rights Pillar and a unified European labour code based on the Gothenburg Social Summit (16-18 November 2017), that supports access to protective social rights (pension,health cover, unemployment rights, training, etc.), and eliminates harmful social dumping on countries where companies relocate in the community and establish intolerable working conditions that fly in the face of decent work (see RIPESS Europe contribution). This includes the recognition and construction of cultural rights in Europe (in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Diversity , the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity, Earth Chart and the Declaration of Peasants Rights and Rights of Other People living in Rural Areas), and the respect of Indigenous Peoples and local cultures.

6. Ongoing commitment to fight against all forms of discrimination based on gender, origin, sexual orientation and religion by developing an educational system oriented towards an understanding of our common belonging to humanity, whose future depends on our solidarity and cooperation.

7. An ambitious common policy for human rights, open borders and economic citizenship for migrants that ensure the immediate integration of people in compliance with international conventions for the protection of human rights (UN conventions and the main conventions previously adopted by the Council of Europe, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families/ICRMW).

8. A coherent plan to build and consolidate economic conditions in countries that are sources of migration for the benefit of local communities through the implementation of Social Solidarity Economy framework legislation and programmes. The European Union also needs to exert pressure on large companies when the level of predation on resources dispossesses local populations through notoriously unethical procedures, rather than support them.

9. Support for education that emphasizes civic engagement, cooperation rather than competition, a fair and redistributive economy and ecological awareness that are conducive to transitional innovations.

10. A regulated financial system, that promotes ethical non-speculative public finance that serves a transformative solidarity economy and communities and a plurality of alternative and complementary social and local currency systems, which do not create debt but promote fair trade, and sustainable relocalised local development.

All these policies are necessary. The social solidarity economy movement as a whole can collectively and democratically implement them. Your active participation in this process is indispensible. Your position – and our votes – are key in providing the opportunity to open the future towards greater social justice, economic democracy and economic vigilance.

RIPESS Europe and its members will support your efforts and relay the declarations of intent that support these positions. We invite you to join us and participate in the construction of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020.

April 2019

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