The social and solidarity economy calls for a focus not only on addressing the consequences of this crisis, but also on the causes that have led us to this point. And through REAS, it is launching a guide of initiatives, collaborative and in permanent construction, which serves as a reference list but which can also be very useful as a source of inspiration for replication.
These are times of change and confusion. The new situation in which we have found ourselves inserted in just a few weeks is that of a scenario in many terms radically different from the one we have been living through; and what is to come is even more uncertain, although the signs and omens, at least in the short and medium term, are not too hopeful…
But amidst so much doubt, there are some lights and certainties, such as the one that reminds us that the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 is part of a larger crisis; a crisis that has a strong economic and ecological dimension, and that once again highlights the decline of the current civilizing system inherited from the industrial revolution and Modernity that has turned its back on life, with its overwhelming logic of production and unlimited growth. As Carlos Rey, coordinator of REAS Red de redes, states, “the response to a crisis must not only be made by attending to the consequences it causes, but also to its causes and to prevention measures. In a capitalist economy model, crises affect the population in a very unequal way, since the value of competitiveness predominates, while in a solidarity economy, all people are taken into account in an equitable way, and furthermore, the value of intercooperation allows us to collectively and solidarily face both the causes and their solutions”.
There are many articles that are already delving into these causes and relationships, and it is therefore not the purpose of this text, but rather to put the focus on the initiatives that are being articulated to face this crisis. We are seeing this these days in initiatives such as the Social Shock Plan, where dozens of organizations from all over the state are coming together to demand urgent measures to guarantee the most basic rights in the areas of housing, work and health, the axes around which urgent actions are being demanded for: strengthen public health; protect the occupational health of workers in essential services; paralyse all non-essential economic and productive activity; prohibit dismissals and introduce a basic income; suspend payment of rent, mortgages and basic supplies and halt all evictions; guarantee sufficient public resources for the implementation of the social shock plan, etc.
Like these, there are a multitude of initiatives that are responding to the health, economic and social crisis in which we find ourselves. That is why REAS Red de redes has wanted to contribute to this collective knowledge, bringing together and socializing some of the most representative ones in a collaborative and under construction guide, which will serve not only as a repository and consultation list but also as a source of inspiration for the replication and adaptation of experiences between territories. In addition, this tool includes a section of specific news on the crisis of COVID-19 that will be updated periodically in the Solidarity Economy Portal that energizes the network. Thirdly, this guide includes a positioning of the network in the current crisis where, from the prism of the Charter of Principles of the Solidarity Economy, the aim has been to provide a view of this economic model and social movement.
These initiatives that the guide includes, and that these days of confinement have made our mobiles and our days vibrate with incessant messages, are experiences overflowing with cooperation, solidarity and mutual support that give meaning to decades of the trajectory of the Solidarity Economy and other transforming social movements, such as social ecology or feminisms, which have been confronting the system and building in a parallel way other ways of doing economy, of creating links and relationships, in short, of weaving another world. We hope that their experience will spread in a pandemic of solidarity that will allow us to finally transition to a system that cares for life.
By Blanca Crespo de REAS RdR for Revista Alternativas Económicas (Spain)