Editorial by Josette Combes, Ripess Europe

Let’s start the year with positive thoughts borrowed from two women, a way to establish from the outset a royal road to gender equality, a subject so problematic since women have wanted to put an end to a supremacy imposed since the end of time and is nowadays aggravated in some countries by absurd regimes.

Ariane Mnouchkine, theatre director and animator of the Théâtre du Soleil, which she founded in 1964, sent wishes in 2014 , from which we can retain the following excerpts: To flee from sneering disbelief, swollen with its own importance, to flee from the triumphant prophets of inevitable failure, to flee from the mourners and vestal virgins of a past aborted forever and barring all future. (…) Once this delicate escape has been successful, I wish us a construction site, a colossal, pharaonic, Himalayan, unheard of, superhuman project because it is precisely totally human. The construction site. (…) Let us open laboratories, or join those already innumerable, where, to so many questions and problems, women and men find answers, imagine and propose solutions that are just waiting to be tested and put into practice, with boldness and prudence, with confidence and requirement. Let us add small free zones to those that already exist. Yes, those brave little examples that inspire creative courage. (…And above all, let us tell our children that they arrive on earth almost at the beginning of a story and not at its disenchanted end. (…) What richer legacy can we bequeath to our children than to know that genesis is not yet complete and that it belongs to them.”

Let’s continue with the cultural dream of Mieke Bal, a Dutch researcher and creator during her inaugural lecture of the annual chair dedicated to “The invention of Europe through languages and cultures:Welcome to Babelville, the cultural dream of a plural Europe”. (…) In this European dream, the word “identity” does not exist. This word, as soon as it is pronounced, comes to fixate, stiffen and separate people. » (…) “The plurality of countries, languages and cultures, very clearly indicated in the title of the Chair, is not a problem for the idea of the European Union, as a whole, because these pluralities, precisely, constitute it. That is what Europe is, that is what it is doing. It is through it that Europe as a union is unique. »

It seems to me that these extracts resonate with the project we are carrying out together, combining our points of view to build a common discourse that is not closed on a doctrine that would be the alpha and omega of the solidarity economy but advances through experimentation, testing,s “Small courageous examples” to trace a road to a horizon free of the obstacles that obscure it and that could be called for this very reason “obscurantism”. That of the mullahs who hang and whip at arm’s length to try to curb the tremendous rise of the Iranians, women and men,  that threatens to overthrow them. That of Bolsonaro’s supporters in Brazil, who ransack and call for a military coup, challenging Lula’s legitimacy (and at the moment of the  World Social Forum in Porto Alegre).. That of the plutocrats who monopolize wealth to the detriment of the majority of the inhabitants of our planet. That of all the despots who inoculate the poison of war wherever thy can, even though Life on Earth becomes more and more fragile and calls to care all living beings.

At the beginning of this year, we are continuing our work. The RIPESS intercontinental has renewed its website as well as RIPESS Europe and publishes an interview with two founding members of RIPESS intercontinental, Nancy Neamtan and Michael Lewis. RIPESS LAC addresses decent work in a webinar and ASEC intervenes at the civil society conference of the Asian People’s Forum. In Italy they invent The farm of the future, “one of the largest experiments in self-managed collective agriculture and agroecology in Europe”. In Great Britain Synergia proposes the 5th edition of its annual seminar, “a collection of ideas, models and movements essential to our collective capacity for transition and survival” and The Solidarity Economy Association advocates for building movements based on international cooperation and knowledge exchange . In France the students created Coop4future. In short, the January bulletin presents a little less articles than usual but we hope that these few news gleaned from our members will rejoice you. (Don’t forget to answer our survey!).

We wish everyone a full year of energy for this project that we have undertaken: to tip this old debilitating world to give birth to a world that we know is possible since we experience it dayly as kindly advised by an artist who has herself transformed the approach to theater and allowed the existence of an artistic community always active after more than 40 years of miraculous creations.

And let us not forget that beyond the many temporary anchors we have in space and time, our diverse cultures and languages, we are above all citizens of the world.