These are definitely dark times in Europe and for the world. The aggression on Ukraine initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin is bringing us the horrifying scenes of destroyed places and cities, civilian victims and refugees. But it also leads us again to the atmosphere of violence and aggression, fear and an uncertain future.

RIPESS Europe’s coordination has produced a clear statement for a Europe of Peace, condemning aggression with the request for withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and going back to dialogue and political solutions based on equal rights, peace and solidarity.

At this time it is our human responsibility to help all the people who are under siege or had to leave their homes, support all political activists in Russia that are opposing the war and request more freedom and rights in their home country. We should also focus on the premise that a world based on sustainability, solidarity and dignity is still the basis of our work and that anything else leading us in the opposite direction of violence, hate and destruction is also part of the current economic system as well. If there is a lesson history can teach us it is about the importance of never giving up, of dedicated work based on mutual help and a common struggle for political and social rights.

We are now in the times of International Women’s Rights Day and from this movement, we can learn how to overcome dark times. This struggle is far from over, but it is also a fact that there are so many benefits and better conditions in our societies, thanks to the feminist movement and its struggles, not to mention that with every victory from this side, we are sharing and spreading more solidarity and acceptance of differences in our societies. We have published a podcast with four brave and inspiring women from RIPESS Europe members and you can listen to them here.

This issue of the newsletter also focuses on Europe as a continent of many different communities, languages, peoples, political cultures and… transformative practices. Our vision of Europe is not confined to a European Union that has many contradictions and is still heavily rooted in the financial and market economy that we strive to radically change. Some new elements may come from the EU Commission’s Social Economy action plan, though it still does look for many aspects as social business as usual.

About this and all other important topics close related to SSE we will talk, debate and learn at the Conference on “Social Economy: the Future of Europe” that will happen in Strasbourg 5th – 6th May 2022.

The RIPESS Europe network is organising several sessions and many of our members have sent their proposals for different thematic spaces, such as MES France, Mouvement SOL, You’conomy, RTES, Technet ‘Social Economy Berlin’ and Urgenci, among others. So join us there: it will be the opportunity to make a point on the solidarity within the (social) economy.