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For more texts, messages and articles about alternative solutions to the Covid-19 crisis, please visit our page :

Dear all,

These are very problematic times. The Covid 19 crisis has created a totally new situation: a threat of pandemic that everyone, after possibly doubting its reality, is forced to take seriously. Epidemiological issues are not new (HIV, mad cow disease, SARS, Ebola, Zika, H1N1), not to mention the major pandemics such as cholera, smallpox and tuberculosis, which killed several million people before medicine found the means to treat and immunize populations. What is undoubtedly changing is the realisation that our lifestyles are in essence vectors of pandemics and first and foremost the flow of people and goods. But this has to be linked to the possible failures of health systems that are highly dependent on components manufactured abroad but above all very weakened in their organisations by the attacks on public systems due to the ideology of “cost cutting”.

It would be indecent to welcome a demonstration to the advantage of what we have been advocating for a very long time, namely the relocation of survival economies: food, health, energy, education. Yet this crisis calls into question globalized systems while endangering local structures that were resisting the hegemony of the major groups. The logics are questionable to say the least: resorting to mass distribution for supplies and banning local shops when the latter are better able to regulate access by imposing a limited number of people at the same time. The result is likely to be catastrophic: small producers, bookshops, performing arts venues, small rural or neighbourhood cinemas, self-employed workers, etc., to the benefit, alas, of mass distribution which benefit fully from the confinement of consumers. 

In the face of this situation, solidarity is the essential response. Almost everywhere, people are organizing to save what can be saved: solidarity grocery stores, group purchases, conversion of stocks in deserted restaurants to make solidarity meals, support for caregivers, platforms for listening to isolated people, etc.

We have the privilege at RIPESS to work a lot by teleworking and we are preparing an April newsletter that we would like to concoct in connection with our members. We are asking you to let us know what measures you are taking to implement this solidarity, which is the revitalizing glue that binds human beings together.

Please send us your texts and suggestions before March 31 so that we can circulate the bulletin at the beginning of April.

Take care of yourself and others. Let’s be humanly responsible for a rapid end to this epidemic and we all know that we will then resume our work of advocacy and implementation for a solidarity economy that respects humans and the planet.

And we cannot conclude without paying tribute to all those who are on the front lines to care for, feed and accompany their fellow men and women in this dangerous adventure. May they be warmly thanked here. 

By Josette Combes

The future of Europe beyond green growth

The Corona virus crisis is dominating all the news and indeed the daily lives of many people are being constrained as governments impose strict measures to slow down and prevent a pandemic contagion.  People are forced to rethink about many things, including resorting to local consumption and production, reorganising mobility, distance / online work, reducing social and public interaction, etc.  This has some positive effects, if communities don’t close themselves and Europe doesn’t become even more a “fortress”, violently rejecting refugees and migrants (as is happening now on the boarders between Greece and Turkey).  Of course this does not mean undermining the pandemic threat – which by the way was not brought here in Europe by “migrants” but by international travelers.  Emissions have been reduced more in the last 2 months than in planned longer periods – so it is possible to actually implement climate friendly policies rapidly, if we really want it. The recent Green Deal by the European Commission seems to be going somewhat in that direction… but is it really?

The European Green Deal was launched by the European Commission at the end of last year and it became a hot topic for debate and reflection in SSE activists circles. It sounds like a gigantic plan for the urgently needed step forwards on the path to become carbon neutral continent by 2050. The main areas of the €260-300 billion per year investments are: energy and climate change, circular economy for industry, building and construction, mobility and transport, biodiversity, food and pollution-free environment. There are few new, unexpected, fresh, promising, approaches and concepts. At least fresh and promising for strategic documents by the EC. The use of terms such as “just transition”, from “farm to fork”, a praise for “biodiversity and nature” (well, very not fresh in the name of “natural capital”), or citizens involvement and protection catch your eyes.

However, when you dive more deep into the document, you realise that the whole plan is still addicted to the growth paradigm and is more of an allusion that there is a need for little bit of green and little bit of money in the current system to become more just and sustainable. In RIPESS and other SSE oriented movements, we continuously push and work for a paradigm shift that will transform our economy and democracy deficit system
So while a “greener” Europe may benefit the issue of climate change or environmental pollution and go in the right direction, there is still a lot to do for a really just and ecological transition to take place.

The European Green Deal is here to stay and we will have to address it in the next several years. Some time ago, not so far from now, it would have been a science fiction idea or wishful thinking to have even the rhetoric shift in the core institutions. After a long term and dedicated work of many activists, workers and promoters of just, fair, solidarity and sustainable concepts we have some part of it in this Green Deal. It is not enough and it not good enough nor solidarity based. So, we have to continue with our advocacy and daily based practical SSE living so that in the next years this kind of framework policy document will include more important concepts, practices and systemic change focus such as: solidarity based economy, deep democracy and participatory decision making, nature rights and ecological footprint tax policies, workers protection and commons enhancing…  RIPESS will do it, so join us!
We’d like to open a debate on this members and other networks and organisations who are working to change the economic system (and are looking forward to participate in the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies) – please read the article in this newsletter and react, send your comments and proposals!

By Drazen Simlesa & Jason Nardi from RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee

Open Call for the Transformative Cities Initiative 2020

Since 2017, the Transformative Cities initiative has been celebrating collectives around the world that have transformed their community in systematic ways with the Transformative Cities People’s Choice Award.
 The winners of last year have become a global source of inspiration

  • The Our Water Our Rights campaign successfully resisted water privatization in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • In Spain, Barcelona Energia lit up people’s houses with renewable energy and stood up against corporate power.
  • In Mexico, Cooperación Comunitaria A.C. worked with the community’s traditional techniques and rebuilt their homes after an earthquake destroyed them.
  • In Kenya, the Dajopen Waste Management Project turned waste into valuable nutrients that regenerated the soil. 

 Today, begins the recruitment for new inspiring examples of transformation in 2020: an open call to find those who are the local leaders of global change. 
Maybe it’s your collective! Apply here for the Transformative Cities Peoples Choice Award 2020. Or maybe you know other collectives that should be introduced to this opportunity. Please share with them this Open Call. 

Three key stories for each category will be chosen by expert evaluators in different fields. These 12 stories will receive widespread promotion, as they want to share the most inspiring initiators with as wide a public as possible.   As a finalist of the 2020 edition your story will be included in the Atlas of Utopias 2020, which this year will feature all finalists from all the three editions so far. An inspiring mosaic of real transformative utopias

 Their goal is not to create competition between different political practices, but rather to put a spotlight on transformative practices and encourage their spread internationally

Ready, set, apply and share!

A mapping of members for Ripess Europe

The interactive map of RIPESS Europe network members is online! Here you will find everything you want to know about RIPESS members, their geolocation, their field of activities and much more!

To use it, it’s very simple, just browse the map and click on the icon of the member you are interested in.

Before you get started, here is some useful information:

– it’s a map of the members located geographically (the dot is on the head office location)

– It’s also – for some networks – a map of members of members

– Each colored dot contains the member’s logo, a small presentation, the main keywords of its activities and access to the complete file with more information.

It contains: the more complete presentation, the year of creation, a contact, the website, the documents and videos on socioeco.org, the list and map of its members. A very complete example is REAS (Spanish network for Solidarity and Alternative Economy).

You will also find, on the top right drop-down menu, a filter by thematics (all the members that work on “responsible consumption” for example) and the networks that already listed their members.

We would be delighted to receive your feedback and suggestions to complete this mapping!

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