By Josette Combes

We are starting a new year and on this occasion, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck with the Intercontinental RIPESS, with which we are associated. What else can we wish for but that the world finally changes its paradigm and enters an era of energy sobriety, ecological vigilance and social justice, relegating the appetite for possession and financial speculation to the category of errors and dead ends adopted by the species before it came to its senses.

This year is exceptional as we will celebrate the tenth anniversary of RIPESS Europe, which was born during the Congress organised in Barcelona in 2011, following the 2009 Intercontinental Meeting in Luxembourg. Of course, we would like to be able to organise an event that will allow us to meet again with pleasure and to see that in 10 years the network has developed well, that citizens manage to convince their public partners to commit themselves to the SSE path in order to overcome the shortcomings caused by the liberal economy. Thus a law is being prepared in Catalonia and during the second meeting of the Luxembourg Declaration Follow-up Committee 16 countries committed themselves to sign the Toledo Declaration which recognises that SSE is a “key agent for a sustainable and inclusive future”.

This year is exceptional since it begins, alas, at a time when the COVID 19 pandemic is still raging and, in addition to the health effects, is causing serious difficulties for all those whose economic activity is interrupted, especially what is not considered “essential”, the arts in general. A gag is placed on the mouths of all muses and places of conviviality are banned. A strategy, which is supposed to curb contagion, undermines the interrelationships between family, friends and the world of work as a whole, with the notable exception of multinationals and mass distribution.

All meetings are cut off from the warm times of sharing and are reduced to communication by videoconference. This form of dialogue at least allows us to continue to move projects forward (see the December announcements) and to continue our exploration of initiatives and successes despite the obstacles.

This year is also the year of the return of the World Social Forum, whose virtual edition will take place from 23 to 31 January, hoping to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Mexico for the second time in the autumn, as initially planned, if the virus is willing to take off and our governments lift all the bans that are increasingly reducing our freedoms. RIPESS Europe will participate in various workshops, including one that will report on the results of the WSFTE: Visit and participate

In these troubled times we need solidarity. One of our members, ZMAG, based in Croatia, of which our coordinator Drazen Simleza is one of the animators, suffered serious damage during the earthquake that hit Croatia on 29 December 2020. Drazen described the tremendous work undertaken to repair the roofs and what needed to be done before the cold weather arrived (snow interrupted the operations). The ZMAG educational centre has suffered heavy damage and the association is appealing for donations to help deal with it. If you can, please be generous.

We are pleased to report that Socioeco and Françoise, who devotes her energy to this project, have been awarded a certificate of satisfaction by Jean-Philippe Brun, president of the training commission of the CRESS Île-de-France (@CRESS_IDF) and of ADESS 95, the Association for the Development of the Social and Solidarity Economy in the Val d’Oise (@ADESS_95) and president of the France Bénévolat branch in the Val d’Oise. He states in a tweet: “The main national and international SSE resource centre, which sources in three languages (French, English and Spanish) and provides a wealth of information and data on SSE essential for actors, as well as students, researchers and promoters of SSE. It is one of my favourite media libraries @socioecofr. You will find the socioeco section at the end of the newsletter.

The first newsletter of the year is not as full as usual, the festive season has slowed down the rhythm a little bit everywhere, it’s normal, everyone needed it. In addition, we have spent a lot of time implementing a new site that we hope will be more attractive and pleasant to browse. You have been asked to join the Framavox as part of a working group. Please register.

The February issue should be a special on the Commons. We are already waiting for your proposals for texts, examples, stories and illustrations, since it is above all your testimonies that feed this medium.

So see you soon and once again, long live friendship and solidarity.