In 2021, Ripess Europe celebrates its 10th anniversary!
As part of this celebration, and in order to honour the network and its members in particular, Ripess Europe will be conducting interviews, throughout the year, with the people who have brought it to life since its creation. Follow us on this European tour of the network’s members!
This time, we have an appointment with Colm Massey from Solidarity Economy Association (UK), member of Ripess Europe since 2015.
Hello Colm, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your organisation?
I’m Colm Massey: Co-founder/Worker Member of the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA).
SEA is a small UK based co-operative with a mission to promote the growth of the Solidarity Economy in the UK and to build links with the movement in other parts of the world. Our work is wide ranging from designing and running workshops, education websites and social media sites, to developing digital tools for the movement, to practical international solidarity and fundraising work.
What does it mean for you to be a member of Ripess Eu?
We have been a member (on and off) of RIPESS Europe since 2015. Although I think we have not renewed membership for some time…
We have been a member because we felt it was important to co-ordinate the work of the many solidarity economy networks across Europe and the world, although this has been much harder than we hoped and right now we are not active in any collaborations through RIPESS.
If I had to choose a word to define Ripess, it would be “Networking”!
What does Social and Solidarity Economy mean to you?
We understand the ‘solidarity economy’ as “the means to survive and sustain our communities through the onslaught of austerity and further dispossession of communities, as well as a framework of tools and examples people across the world are using to grow a post-capitalist future in the shell of the old”.
Informed somewhat by the Marxist feminist concept of ‘social reproduction theory’, we recognise there is power to be untapped that is located within ‘the caring classes’ – the ones which contribute towards social reproduction. The de-industrialisation of this nation has brought with it a decline of an industrial working class, and as a result, the economy has shifted further towards the class of workers who reproduce society. In this understanding, the work of social reproduction is to encompass the work of nurture not only in the home, but society at large – be it schools, hospitals, nursing homes, alternative social spaces, etc. It is within this framework that we view ‘the solidarity economy’ subsists – an economy under which communities (imagined or otherwise) participate in the financial redistribution and collectivisation of resources, as well as other material ways communities can be nurtured through sustenance, shelter, etc.
If you had to choose one memory since your integration, what would it be?
Our most useful outcomes from involvement with RIPESS have been networking. We were introduced to individuals and organisations that have had a major influence on our direction.