This is the first bulletin after the holiday break. September was devoted to the organisation of the General Assembly which was originally planned to take place in Poland in Wroclaw. As Covid 19 is still too present to envisage the travel of members from all the European countries where they are present, the GA took place virtually. 43 members and 8 guests (from various alliances) representing 22 countries participated in it. An overview of the post-covid situation (can we really say that we are out of the pandemic?), revealed, beyond the particularities of each country, interesting similarities to be underlined: a revival of mutual aid systems to support small producers on the one hand and to ensure a quality and proximity supply on the other hand. Increased creativity on the part of citizens to compensate for the fact that most activities are at half-mast. A better consideration of ecological alerts with a greater consideration of the stakes linked to the globalisation of the economy. Some have pointed out a movement from the cities to the countryside as a survival strategy. On the other hand, all the members deplored the lack of support for small SSE structures with the threat of cessation of activity. Despite the many manifest demands for real support for citizens’ initiatives, it can only be noted that the economy has started again in the same “business as usual” direction.
A highlight of the GA was the presentation of the RIPESS EU strategy document, which was developed in January and revised throughout the year to take into account the evolution of the health crisis.
The strategic plan was approved. It is structured around three main points:
1) The promotion of territorial ecosystems and the support to the emergence of new networks by organising the valorisation of local experiences, their networking at European level and their economic intercooperation.
2) The continuation of the effort to develop and recognise the solidarity economy, the co-construction of public policies, advocacy with an increased effort on communication and the media.
3) The creation and strengthening of alliances, particularly in the field of advocacy and campaigning, both at the institutional level and with other movements of the transformative economy, with particular attention to the participation of young people and their forms of organisation. RIPESS Europe actively participates in the work carried out by the international network.
The General Assembly was the occasion to announce the launch of the campaign for the tenth anniversary of RIPESS EU (2011 in Barcelona) and to present the communication tools towards the members, in particular a questionnaire to better inform the members mapping in Europe and a series of filmed interviews to better understand the activity of each member and to promote inter-cooperation.
We have welcomed a new member the Essplicite association, which works to promote SSE by young people and for young people in Bordeaux. They are attached to Sciences Po Bordeaux, but their members are part of different SSE trainings in the metropolis.
Little change in the Coordinating Committee. Drazen Simlesa (ZMAG, Cr) replaces Jason Nardi on the Board of Directors of RIPESS Intercontinental, Josette Combes (MES Fr) remains in this position while accompanying Georgia Bekidraki (DOCKS, Gr) to follow next.
The afternoon of the 19th was devoted to exchanges within the workshops (see the reports here). Finally, the day ended with an exchange session to strengthen the alliances between RIPESS EU and certain partners (which does not exclude all the others). Jérôme Saddier and Céline Corvisy from Social Solidarity Europe, Sergi Corbalan (FTAO) et Francesca Giubilo (WFTO Europe) for Fair Trade, Robert Hall from Ecolise, Fredéric Sultan from Remix the Commons.
We had the help of two interpreters. It is regrettable that the constraint linked to the use of video in a complicated context did not allow for the richness of the exchanges that occur during a face-to-face meeting, but as it stands, this assembly was very rich, strengthening everyone in their action towards the transformation of the economy.
One of the workshops was devoted to the continuation of the WSFTE process. In July after the online edition, we had hoped that the constraint of Covid 19 would be lifted and that the FESC would take place in Barcelona as every year. But once again we will be working at a distance.
You will find in this October newsletter many contributions that attest to how the solidarity economy has been a support of resilience during the Coronavirus crisis and testify to the effervescence of initiatives in the field to raise awareness among the population of the urgency to mobilize to stem the announced race to disaster.
Let us salute the memory of one of those who did a lot to promote SSE both locally and globally. David Thompson, co-coordinator of RIPESS Intercontinaental died suddenly. We pay tribute to him and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends here.
Let’s stay creative!
By Josette Combes