Excerpt from the editorial, by Bruno Lasnier national coordinator of MES – Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire (France)

November, the Month of SSE! A time to promote a new way of conceiving the economy, at the service of humanity and the planet for social justice and a sustainable world! We do need it because never before has the model of social democracy and universal rights seemed to have been so damaged. The coming to power of an extreme right-wing candidate in Brazil is a clear demonstration of this: an alliance is taking place every day between a neoliberalism ready to “market” everything, further deepening the gap of unequal rights, wealth and resources, and an identity-based fundamentalism that takes many religious, xenophobic or nationalist forms.

If the Solidarity Economy has the ambition to become a space of resistance against this democratic, social and ecological threat, it must upscale, become a broad and strongly supported force of civil society. This goes beyond the economic activities of social utility and general interest carried out by companies and organisations within the SSE. More than ever, we need to cooperate openly to strengthen effective convergences between our movements, our struggles and new forms of organization driven by the younger generations. We need to connect different worlds, to connect and put into perspective our common project (convivialists, SSE, ecological transition movements, social movements, trade unions, migrants/culture…).

The 19 and 20 October 2018 were a great success, in the premises of the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind! Our “Cooperate to strengthen” meetings brought together our member networks and allied networks convinced that, beyond the shared observation of the multiple pitfalls facing militant organizations, the challenges are to bring about a strong project of social, economic and ecological transformation. For the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire and its membersOurco, it is a question of carrying a clear strategic and political vision: to undertake and organize the Buen Vivir on a territory at the service of a society that we wish to TRANSFORM! For more social justice, more economic citizenship and more commitment to ecological transition! The “how” we proceed is as important as the intended “purpose”!

Our discussions focused on the many resources and expertise that our networks possess and on sharing and pooling them in order to achieve an ambitious convergence that weighs heavily on a daily basis. The production and distribution of services and products must be organised in an ethical, ecological and solidarity-based manner that respects the fundamental needs of people and human rights.

When many no longer know how to say what the economy is, as it escapes them, it becomes urgent to explain and re-appropriate it (popular education, empowerment), as well as to dare to talk about money and its circulation. And this implies forcing oneself to debate, to accept discord in order to share an analysis, which can be common just as it implies the right to evaluate what is good for oneself and others on one’s territory and in the world. The evaluation of social utility/social impact is essentially located at the heart of civil society, the techniques at work cannot ignore this mandatory methodological detour towards citizenship and democracy.

During this working time, several points were reaffirmed. We must be ambassadors for our actions and successes. We must rewrite our commitment in a history and reinforce our message by clarifying both what we oppose and what we want to build. Be clearer, but also firmer. It is up to us to raise forcefully the question of the governance of municipalities, and to promote relevant regulatory methods and organisations already tested in territories (water, land, services, digital, technologies etc.).

Developing real solidarity within the SSE ecosystem is also an issue. This means “speaking the truth” between small, medium and large organizations. Engage in a sincere and ethical dialogue on practices, financing methods, limited lucrativity, issues of company size to be able to build new solid and resilient models.

Faced with the social and environmental emergency, civil society is not stopping. A dynamic emerges driven by youth, conscious and motivated to change the situation, Alternatiba is an example of this! And for the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire, it is exciting because there is material to transmit knowledge and ways of doing in a popular education process. But even more, it is an opportunity to create new experiments with a generation of young people ready to invent new forms of organization

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