What is a pandemic? An epidemic that is highly dangerous and is developing on a global scale. The coronavirus has indeed spread throughout the world and has thus highlighted the dangers of unregulated globalisation, based on the lowest wages, which encourages companies to relocate their production to low-wage countries which, in addition to the indignity of the process, runs the risk of severe restrictions as soon as the flow of goods is interrupted while threatening localised industries. The abrupt cessation of tourism highlights by contrast the damage it does to ecological balances. Confinement has forced populations, by reducing their mobility, to buy goods at a local level, even if, with the help of the Internet, the use of distribution companies has consolidated their supremacy. But this halt to previous forms of consumption and production has shown that many of them were not essential or even useful, and this beyond the circle of convinced activists. It also highlighted the importance of food sovereignty and the quality of agricultural products The pandemic has paradoxically revealed our interdependence by forcing the closure of borders to preserve each nation from a worsening of the pandemic. The shutdown of economies due to the lockdown heralds an unprecedented economic crisis if governments (political and economic) want to “make up for lost time” and restore profit levels, or even deregulate working conditions.
However, since the beginning of the pandemic, chains of solidarity have been set up and virtual meetings have abounded to lead a collective reflection on the “post-Covid 19” period. Internationally, RIPESS Intercontinental has facilitated a series of webinars in three languages organized by its members and published a text reminding us that the globalization of solidarity is the response we need now.
There is a tendency to join forces, because it is clear that there is a tug-of-war between those who support a return to “normal” and those who reject this return to “abnormal”. The major difficulty is to oppose in a firm and effective way without triggering bloodshed because the reaction has the military force at its disposal and the recent mobilizations that have inflamed the streets of many countries on all continents have met with more or less ferocious repression. There are also many calls to organize collectively to have the virtues of the solidarity economy recognized in order to respond to the challenges before us. A certain number of these proposals are listed in this newsletter. Among those that we do not reproduce but that you can find by following the links : A manifesto signed by more than 3114 researchers (at last count) from 600 universities around the world calls for lessons to be learned from the unprecedented health, social and economic crisis that humanity has been suffering for more than two months and for politicians to act now. Immediately. Its title: “Work: democratize, demarcate, depollute.”
In France a group including two former members of the National Council of Resistance calls for the creation of a National Committee of the New Resistance (CNNR), recalling what was set up just after the war for a new social pact. In Belgium, the Regional Council of the Transition brings together 70 associations that wish to advance the solutions of the future. This review is not exhaustive, we can find others in this newsletter and on the website, do not hesitate to let us know about the mobilizations that are taking place in this direction in your countries.
The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies originally planned for June in Barcelona has been postponed but in the meantime a virtual version of the Forum will be organized to publicize the alternatives that exist to the capitalist system, as well as to build new ones.
Many virtual meetings are planned while waiting for the end of the lockdown to come to an end. We publish them on our Facebook & Twitter pages whenever we are informed.
We have enormous challenges in the years to come. More than ever, solidarity will be the glue that will give strength and coherence to what we will undertake collectively. It is gratifying to see the number of those who want to roll up their sleeves.
By Josette Combes