This October, the FESC (Fira of Economia Solidaria de Catalunya) fair and festival is going to be held in Barcelona and RIPESS Europe is concerned for more than one reason. The FESC is organized by a large number of Catalan organizations, including the XES, a founding member of RIPESS EU. This year, RIPESS Intercontinental  has chosen to hold its annual meeting with members of the various continental networks. But of course we are concerned with the worrying situation in Catalonia and the violent clashes between the peaceful demonstrators of independence and the massively disposed police forces to repress these demonstrations in favour of the referendum. From our position, we can not take a stance in this conflict except as militants for the right to the expression of citizens. As such, we express our solidarity to those who have seen this right flouted and eventually suffered the incredible violence of the forces of repression.

This news contrasts with the peaceful and joyful atmosphere of the events that have punctuated the past Summer, rich in meetings of members of RIPESS EU. In June the Congress UNIVERSSE 2017 was held in Athens, remarkably organized by DOCK and the affiliated organizations. The General Assembly of tRIPESS Europe was held there, strengthening the network with new members.

The same spirit of conviviality has animated the multiple meetings organized in Berlin, in Croatia or in Prague, to cite a few.

RIPESS EU also participated in the European Summer School of Social Movements. In Toulouse in August. 2000 people from all over Europe and even from all over the world reflected together on the modes of resistance to liberal hegemony in a specific but determined way. In September, the RIPESS EU coordination committee went to Helsinki invited by, an group of citizens that promotes in Finland all kinds of SSE initiatives such as time banks, purchasing cooperatives, shared gardens etc.

It is comforting to note that citizens everywhere are organizing themselves to implement mechanisms of solidarity to resist a globalized system that hardens its ways and becomes all the more aggressive as citizens challenge its methods and objectives. Citizens are increasingly rejecting globalized governance that is preoccupied with accumulation for the benefit of large multinational corporations, to the detriment of the quality of living together and jeopardizing by a forceful predation the resources which are essential for the survival of humankind and the ecosystem.

The RIPESS EU continues its advocacy mission. It will be present at the European Forum of SSE (EFSSE) in Brussels in November. It is partnering with new entities to conduct studies, including the Youth Vocational Training (IVET). It strengthens its objective of convergence with all those who work in the same way as the network and the members it brings together.

Finally, RIPESS Intercontinental is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and RIPESS EU has participated in the renovation of the website where information from all continents is gathered. One of the projects planned for the coming year is also to renovate the RIPESS EU website in order to make the progress of the SSE in Europe better known and allow to communicate with a more interactive tool.

[by Josette Combes]