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Solidarity-based and rebel: Summer University in Grenoble
September 6, 2018

[by Josette Combes, MES]

For 5 days, from August 23 to 28, in Grenoble (France), more than 2,200 participants took part in dozens of activities, including: 64 workshops, 33 modules, 11 forums. Around 300 organizations were mobilized. Attac and the Crid had wanted to combine their financial and organizational efforts rather than juxtapose two events that often bring together activists engaged in common struggles, under the beautiful title for 2018 “Solidarity-based and rebel: Summer University of the social and citizen movements”

According to one of the organizers, the three fundamental objectives were: “the training of activists and new audiences, the convergence of movements, the defense and promotion of concrete alternatives”.
RIPESS and MES have been participating in these convergence moments for a few years now and have been the initiators of several modules in that direction (Paris 2015, Besançon 2016, Toulouse 2017). This year, we were mobilized by two workshops : On Friday 24, in the morning, “Economy and human rights” (see the interview of Bruno Lasnier (MES) and Laura Aufrère (RIPESS Europe) by TV bruits). In the afternoon, by the workshop “Citizens’ initiatives, general and common interest”. It was emphasized that these terms need to be precisely defined in their context of realization. The MES presented the role of the solidarity economy as a space of mobilization conducive to combining the three dimensions and each contributor detailed how the commons and the citizens’ initiative were at the heart of their objectives (Attac, CAC, the collective “Not without us”). These workshops brought together more than 40 people and gave rise to heated debates.

On Thursday 23rd, among the modules organised during the day, we were able to partially participate in the module: “The Commons : sharing, contributing and organising” which, based on the initiatives of Grenoble, Lyon, St Étienne and Lille, but also on several European initiatives, made it possible to take stock of the situation regarding the structuring of citizen actions around the commons: recovery of vacant spaces, development of local currencies, shared gardens, re-municipalisation of water, planning of public spaces,… These actions raise several questions: what structure around the commons? How to set up assemblies of the commons, with what governance and for what missions? How to build resource spaces (commons charters, platforms, maps, self-management models…) and how to link all the initiatives that are part of the commons? What links with the SSE and ecological transition networks already structured in the territories? All these questions were discussed throughout the day. Several movements of the commons organized a “COMMONS CAMP” during the five days of the university so that contributors could meet, exchange ideas and continue to strengthen the alternatives in our territories. More information (in French) here.

The Forum “When Feminists Move the Lines” brought together a large assembly in a packed amphitheater and not just women.

Florencia Partenio (DAWN, Argentina) described the struggle of Argentinian women for the right to abortion, the law of which has just been passed on by the Argentine Senate. Itzel Gonzales (Red Mesa de mujeres of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) described the horrendous situation of women in factories on the Mexican-American border, who are exploited, beaten, raped, killed with total impunity, and her organization’s fight to have these crimes punishable. Louiza Belhamici and Fatima Ouassak (Class Race Gender Network) discussed the theme of intersectionality and animated with a frank anger spoke of their fight of mothers of immigration against the discrimination that their children suffer at school, and the disregard for their values, the straitjacket of confinement in communitarianism as soon as they meet, in short, all the discriminatory behaviors that are legion on the French territory (and elsewhere of course). The last speaker, Assumpta Barbens (IAC Trade Union, Catalonia), raised an unbridled enthusiasm by telling with great humor the success of the women’s strike in Spain and their mobilization in the face of the unfairness of the Pamplona judgment. “We will not let anything go in. The revolution will be feminist or will not be!” These concluding words sparked an ovation from the entire room.

Saturday the workshop “Actors and actresses of local solidarity and international solidarity: how to work together to raise awareness and mobilize more widely” organized by the festival of solidarity gathered a wide range of organizations that have tried to find answers to questions raisedon the same topic: how to get out of speaking to already convinced people, to escape from the aggregation of all middle class/white people and organize broader solidarities and reach a less organized but eager to act public. (see the ATD Quart Monde article)
I circulated the information
on the flyer announcing the April Transformative Economies Forum in Barcelona, ​​whose perspective appealed to most of those present.

The weather favored the strolls in the city that had been organized outside the walls and the party organized by Alternatiba which hosted the Tour; Grenoble was one of the stages before its arrival on October 6 in Bayonne.
Several independent media were present (Politis, Reporterre, Basta,
Le Media, Médiapart, Silence, Alternatives Economiques, Sans transition!, Le Ravi, Le Postillon Grenet). Radio Campus made live broadcasts throughout the university and we can see a TV Bruits “summary”video (Video of TV Bruits).
A university that
sparkled energy and where we could note the absence of local authorities with the exception of Eric Piole, Mayor of Grenoble, though municipalism was the subject of a very busy module.
In the end we regret not having been able to attend
more proposals of reflection and debates but convinced that the gathering of mobilizations is getting better and better to transform the economic and social vision which is so toxic at the moment while decidedly another world is possible (see the ATTAC web site).

Publication : Social movements and solidarity economy
January 9, 2018

Mouvements sociaux et économie solidaire, Editions Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, France, november 2017

This collective publication, coordinated by Jean-Louis Laville, Elisabeta Bucolo, Geoffrey Pleyers, José Luis Coraggio, deals with the essential issue of the meeting between social movements and the solidariy economy actors. The book highlights the miscellaneous forms of dialogue among the multiple spheres of the initiatives and the mobilisation of citizen forces to promote a new economic and political narrative driven by the individual and collective intitiatives. You will be able to find analysis from several RIPESS EU members. Jean-Louis Laville is a member of the RIPESS EU advisory committee. For more information on the publication, see socioeco.org

UEMSSI in Besançon, a space to build convergences
October 7, 2016

The Summer University of the Social Movements and International Solidarity (UEMSSI) organized jointly by Attac France and CRID,  took place from 6 to 9 July 2016 in Besançon, under the heading “From utopias to alternatives: let’s act together”. The report of the whole meeting can be seen here (in French).

Nearly 1,000 people gathered to participate in more than 80 workshops, debates or training offered during these four days, built around a common theme: the transformation of our utopias in alternatives. Partners from 15 countries have also responded to our invitation.

RIPESS Europe, thanks to its french member, the MES Movement for solidarity economy, contributed to the development and animation of a seminar (a series of three workshops) with other networks, also dedicated to social transformation. The module titled “Alternatives, their construction and their implementation” received a good turnout, with about 50 people from different organizations, and a dense and lively discussion.

Read more

RIPESS at the World Social Forum 2016
WSF 2016

The next World Social Forum will be held in Montreal from 9 to 14 August. Under the first theme of the WSF ” Economic, social and solidarity alternatives  against the capitalist crisis” RIPESS organizes two activities: first a crossed perspective between continents on the challenges and opportunities in the construction of the SSE movement (Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America) and an activity on Social and Solidarity Economy in Latin America. The network member US SEN is also organizing a workshop on Solidarity Economy in the US. Read more

Report from the World Social Forum in Tunis
April 27, 2015
FSM 2015

Report from the World Social Forum in Tunis

The World Social Forum took place in Tunis from 24th to the 28th of March 2015, under the banner of “Dignity”. Despite the terrorist attack which happened shortly before, on the 18th of March, the most participants wanted to be present to show their solidarity with the Tunisians and to respond against terrorism. By attacking the tourism sector, the aggressors also hit the local economy, which – though we might regret it – depends heavily on the visits of tourists. The opening march to the Bardo museum was the answer of the Tunisian people and the alter-globalization activist.

Dignity and the issues concerning the free circulation of human beings on the Planet were widely discussed. There were five main themes, developed in 1500 workshops and, according to the organisers, with the participation of 50,000 people from around the world, to tackle the challenges of today’s world and its future:

Citizenship and the role of social movements to thwart the power of the reactionary forces and neoliberal logic;
– “
Beyond bordersor the issue of violence created by this concept, which is both abstract and very decisive for those who recognize themselves in a country-nation or who have been deprived of it;
– The
Planet and the climate emergency, environmental justice and the “Good Living” (Buen Vivir) paradigm. The role of social justice, education, health, housing, food sovereignty, social and economic rights, as many dimensions threatened by the undermining of public services and the State, by the commodification logic of transnational corporations.
– Dignity, Eq
uity and Fundamental rights, violated by the politics of religious discrimination, nationalism, sexism and by the exploitation regimens, which have frown almost everywhere;
– The challenge
of Economic Alternatives, bringing together the different formulas of creative resistance and generating solutions to rebuild fairer and more resilient communities.

The workshops were grouped around all of those thematic areas and not surprisingly, the ones promoted by RIPESS were mostly in the alternatives space.

RIPESS_at_wsf2015RIPESS Europe hosted a workshop dedicated to “useful and necessary convergences between actors of Social and Solidarity Economy and Social movements”. The workshop co-organiser was the National Confederation of Employees, a Belgian union that raises its members‘ awareness about the significance of the action of economic and environmental resistance. It was an well attended and interactive workshop, and everyone was able to participate in the debate, bringing their experience. Two members of Solidarity4all from Greece were also there, raising the issue of how to build resistance to the European imposed austerity regime. A report on the debate can be found here [link].

RIPESS International promoted a workshop and the convergence assembly on Social solidarity economy and the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) or post-2015 agenda. All participants considered that it was necessary to put in common their work and specific capabilities to monitor the various processes, but also to disseminate and share at the execution stage all the vital information to support the resistance and mobilization of people.

The meeting concluded agreeing on four main points:

– Human Rights must be the basic framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) applicable to all people and not just for those living in the Global South. Inequality and poverty is growing now in the North and the South and most be solved globally.
– There is an obvious contradiction between the pursuit of sustainable well-being for all and the current free trade agreements which destroy the foundations
for the SDGs’ implementation and deprive people of their sovereignty to decide their own form of development and to contest the forms of development imposed by the Western world.
There is the need of a strong political program, not technocratic but where there is real will and investments, which are clear and legally binding.
– The
organisations who participated are committed to defininf a common agenda of mobilizations and alerts, so to work on the convergence with other initiative which participated in the World Social Forum in Tunis in 2015.

Read the whole report on the convergence assembly here.

[By Josette Combes, MES]

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