The solidarity economy for a radical social, environmental and economic change during and after the pandemic crisis. Let’s coordinate to give effectiveness and concreteness to our voices!

The Italian Network for Solidarity Economy (RIES), a unitary body representing realities, associations and cooperatives from all over Italy working for change towards a fair, solidarity-based and sustainable society and economy, believes that the current situation of serious health and economic crisis is at the same time an extraordinary opportunity: – to rethink lifestyles and consumption – for a recognition in facts of the enormous social value of alternative economy practices. In the last few weeks, a renewed operation has been activated in the territories, ranging from solidarity logistics to coordination networks between small agricultural producers and Solidarity Purchasing Groups (GAS), together with concrete and ‘visible’ initiatives in favour of more fragile segments of the population.

On March 23rd, RIES promoted an on-line meeting with over 90 participants from all over Italy, which made it possible to compare the difficulties and solutions with which many Solidarity purchasing groups and similar initiatives have have faced the consequences on their exchange systems due to the (state of) emergency and movement restrictions. In order to facilitate and protect the continuity of these experiences, in the face of decrees that certainly do not favour them, we have prepared some documents that GAS and solidarity logistics structures can use in order to operate in compliance with the provisions in force, that is to say:

  • a letter for the Prefectures on the GAS current methods of purchasing from their own producers, explaining the nature of GAS and their activity, for which the request for authorization is renewed;
  • a self-certification model for Solidarity Purchasing groups members in order to be able to pick-up their orders (in distribution places);;
  • a self-certification model for the entity(ies) responsible for distribution to the GAS.

Now let us join forces for a common strategy!
There are very strong and shared appeals being made by a number of people close to us. In the wake of a priority willingness to listen and deepen the reflections elaborated in this unusual situation, each with its own specificity and each in its own areas of activity, as RIES we intend to best interpret our specific role. We therefore propose to set up a forum for discussion in which ALL together we can think about how we can join forces in a common strategy that will not only be effective towards our worlds, but will also be able to broaden the listening audience to the majority of the population.

In the same way we would like to unite our voices to promote a vigorous public communication that can reach institutions at all levels and also involve the varied world of economic and social realities most affected by the consequences of prolonged restrictive measures. The invitation is addressed both to the members of RIES and to all the networks and organizations active and participating in the emerging will for social change, trying to leverage the many practices and values that unite us, rather than the differences that characterize us, to be considered a wealth in any case.

The Board of Directors of RIES – Italian Solidarity Economy Network

Statement RIES – Rete Italiana Economia Solidale