Our April newsletter will be entirely devoted to the Coronavirus crisis. This is not to be redundant on what the media are reporting on: the number of people infected, the number of deaths, the state of the stocks of masks and respirators, etc. All information undoubtedly useful but whose effect on the population is anxiety-provoking. In this newsletter we have chosen to collect the initiatives that are emerging in European countries and in the world to face in solidarity the difficulties generated in daily life. Some initiatives come from public authorities, such as the European answer here. We are also publishing texts for reflection on the post-epidemic period in order to drastically renew the economic model that many of us consider unsuitable for the advent of a society compatible with the well-being of humanity.

This period places under the microscope the negligence of a system that endangers the lives of the most fragile people and places the burden of the crisis on the shoulders of personnel exposed without protection, and subjected to a lack of means and a pace of work that is incompatible with the serenity required in dealing with the sick and bereaved families. It is a glaring example of the inequalities resulting from the unfairness of the rewards allocated to those who contribute to the smooth running of a society and the neglect of a system that considers those who do not have access to jobs to be useless by putting them both at risk of death.

In spite of and thanks to the containment measures, civil society is showing its creativity to compensate for the disorder caused by the deregulation of economic organizations. In this issue, we will therefore find an anthology of initiatives, links and cooperation to save local producers who can no longer sell their products in the familiar channels, dressmakers who are transferring their activity to the production of masks and protective clothing, improvised canteens to help those who would otherwise die, accommodation for those who are “confined outside”, and so on. Finally, the civil society that was previously mobilized to bring about the economies of transition is organizing itself to prepare for the post-Covid 19 period so that we do not go back to the deadly direction of the “business as usual” of the rentier economy and the absurdities of producing useless objects that waste resources and energy. Many are joining together to publish their demands. Others are organizing online debates to gather imaginations and knowledge. Can we hope that this unexpected slowdown will lead to a deeper reflection on the essential needs, among which cooperation and solidarity are currently making a dazzling demonstration of their merits?

RIPESS is participating in these clarifications, these perspectives so that tomorrow will not resemble in any way what has prevailed in recent decades. And if for the moment the date of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies in June is cancelled, we are thinking about how to continue the collaborations begun during the preparation period and we will inform you of the follow-up that will be given to them.

Let us stay together and vigilant.

Link page Solidarity and pandemic crisis

By Josette Combes