By Josette Combes.
November is the month of the solidarity economy. Alas, it ends with “Black Friday”, a crazy day devoted to buying at all costs to take advantage of so-called sales which we know are very often fixed prices. There were hallucinating scenes of rivals almost trampling on each other to gain access to the sacrosanct merchandise. This year, it is all the more distressing as the time is still under the threat of the pandemic which will lead to the ruin of many local shops which can neither participate in nor oppose Black Friday. The term emerged in the fifties in the United States and refers to the Friday following Thanksgiving, a secular holiday held on the fourth Thursday of November. It was imported at the same time as Amazon set up its branches in Europe. In opposition, the “Green Friday” was born in 2017 from a recycling and reconditioning network, Envie, allied with several other associations, which launched this initiative to counter the “Black Friday” in France . The new platform La République de l’ESS, an initiative of SSE France launches its first campaign on this theme https://vivresansamazon.org/ and organises on January 26, 2021 at 2:30 pm a round table in videoconference around the issue “Can SSE allow to live without Amazon? Registration for this event is already open: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/655171902574503182
Elsewhere, the NGO Greenpeace’s “Do something” campaign, with more than 273 events in 38 countries, invites people to “buy nothing” on Friday and to favour its animations and conferences to learn how to recycle, repair, make their own soda or cosmetics. The good news is that according to the customer satisfaction institute HappyOrNot, the satisfaction rates of American consumers during “Black Friday” have dropped by 7.5% in 2017. This trend seems to be getting worse every year, as consumers are starting to move towards a more responsible attitude. Campaigns against Amazon and in favour of local shops are multiplying, including in the United States where it is the booksellers who have mobilised. The ABA association estimates that 20% of independent bookshops are threatened with closure.
“Consume dentro” (Let’s consume inside is of the same order: an initiative promoted by the Spanish network REAS to encourage internal consumption within the Solidarity Economy, based on the conviction that the strengthening of our own economic circuits, by producing and consuming in our entities, is today more necessary than ever.
Responsible consumption is one of the essential pillars of the Solidarity Economy. And despite the latest jolts of the consumerist hubris, we are beginning to see a change in the attitudes of both citizens and politicians. Who could have hoped that Tunisia would pass a framework law on SSE and yet this country is initiating in Maghreb its official entry in the SSE. Turkey, in connection with a group of researchers, is launching the first meetings between actors and researchers [they should] enable to deepen a shared knowledge of practices and reflections on the solidarity economy in Turkey, and to start a dialogue with other actors and researchers in the European space. The city of Geneva supports the alternative currency, Monnaie Léman. The World Social Forum on Transformative Economies continues its path by seeking to consolidate the convergence exchanges that began in June and October. The alternative media are talking about SSE but less alternative media are beginning to take an interest in it, it is about time! We welcome two new members: Essplicite (Bordeaux, France) and the Centre for Solidarity Economy (Budapest, Hungary). Welcome to them.
So much good news that you will be able to discover with others in this last newsletter before the New Year. We hope it is better than the “annus horribilis” we have just experienced. And to take part in it, for example, consider supporting COVID’s campaign in favour of the indigenous people who have been greatly impacted by COVID, click here.
Let’s take the optimism on board to start the new year as RIPESS Europe celebrates its tenth anniversary. Thank you to all those who have helped to make it a decade of joyful solidarity.