RIPESS Europe was invited by Podemos to intervene in a workshop on “social and solidarity economy as an alternative to democratize the production of goods and services”. This event echoed previous initiatives of the “left Front” in Paris and “Die Linke” and Varoufakis (DIEM 25) in Berlin.

Originally planned with Iñigo Bandrés (REAS) and Andrés Ruggeri (Argentina researcher on recovered enterprises), this workshop to be held at the end of program at the other end of the city was finally cancelled. RIPESS Europe was still able to intervene in another workshop on “experiences and alternative trade models” with Claude Girod of the peasant Confederation and Brid Brennan of the Transnational Institute.

There was an atmosphere of Social Forum, in a weekend monopolized by the « Brexit » in the media, on the magnificent site of Matadero, old slaughterhouse converted in cultural venue. The 3,000 announced people could attend 30 plenary and workshops.

We can generally affirm that there is a clear consciousness of the European left movements to build an alternative to the European Union, mired in managing catastrophic flows of migrants and different national self-interest, with a single vision of economic austerity. But the consensus is still a long way from being achieved in both divergent scenarios mentioned.

Solidarity economy is not very clearly taken as a political challenge for the desired changes. There is much to do to win this legitimacy and put the issue of economic and ecological alternatives a little more at the heart of a strategy for a more democratic and solidarity based ‘other Europe’ in which we believe in the RIPESS Europe network.

Eric Lavillunière (RIPESS Europe general coordinator)