Editorial by Josette Combes, Ripess Europe

It’s summer. So we are going to take a vacation and this bulletin is the July/August one.

In September, we will be in Wroclaw for our annual GA. You will find all the information here. Sign up, don’t wait any longer!

On this occasion, we asked our member friends to give us some news from Poland. (We would like to solicit those who would be willing to send us a file on their country).

Let’s meet young Poles mobilized to protest against the inertia of governments in the face of climate change. They insist that climate justice and social justice go hand in hand and argue that the neoliberal system goes against their values which are “the well-being of others and the environment, not the ruthless pursuit of profit,” hence the importance of alternatives that make this possible.

An interesting article by Justyna Zwolinska draws up a history of agriculture in Poland from the time of partition by three invading countries, then from socialist subservience to the present day productivist one but agricultural methods are evolving, though slowly even if there is hope.

The devastation produced by the privatization of schools is to be feared, in Poland as elsewhere, threatening social cohesion by allowing the richest to escape the increasingly mediocre education of the public school deserted by teachers because of the impoverishment of the profession. Resisting this disaster is a civilizational challenge according to its author Borys Bińkowski.

As for food sovereignty, considered an emergency by all SSE actors, we are still far from the account: that it can be implemented universally, or that it remains, as is the case today, the slogan of enthusiasts and visionaries, depends on strong public institutions, public trust and the cooperation of different types of actors. This is an observation established following research conducted by Ruta Śpiewak. However, whether in Poland or elsewhere, the public policies  support is insufficient if not absent. Yet it is one of the keys to fighting the potential disasters of a planet in danger.

To conclude the Polish dossier Agnieszka Bińskowska gives us her perception of what the SSE represents in Poland: not really known. She illustrates this by the example of fair trade consumers for whom their act of purchase is not related to the situation of producers in the South, but to the benefits they expect from a better quality good. All the more, she says, that in the current context “you are more likely to welcome a family from Ukraine than to make sure that a Guatemalan family producing coffee has something to live on.” Unfortunately, we can only acknowledge such a scale of priorities.

From refugees to refugees, the fate is not the same. While Ukrainian families are welcomed “normally”, i.e. with compassion and solidarity, migrants from the South are pushed back in the most barbaric way.

37 deaths at European borders: Spain-Morocco agreement on immigration is deadly!

We relay the article and campaign of Attac / CADTM Morocco on the events of June 24, 2022 “tragic symbol of European policies of externalization of the borders of the European Union (EU), with the complicity of a country of the South, Morocco”. Deaths and wounded young people who are desperately trying to escape their misery, the one they are fleeing and the one inflicted on them by the conditions imposed on them by the Spanish and Moroccan authorities. We join the protest issued by the signatory organizations.

To compensate for this bleak picture, let’s look at the rising strength of young Africans who are mobilizing to fight against global warming. Africa is the continent that, while being least responsible for climate damage, is suffering the most severe impacts. See the details of what they undertake in the article which we take from the UNDP publication. Let’s highlight the statement by Nisreen Elsaim, Sudanese climate activist and Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. “If the system doesn’t work for us, we will change the system.”

Young people are also concerned by ethical finance. See the ongoing project in which RIPESS Europe is participating. Other young people say loud and clear that the solidarity economy is the answer to the challenges they face and organize a symposium to discuss it, recalling that the year 2022 has been declared the year of youth.

Women are organizing themselves to live better in the workplace and to rehabilitate care as an essential element of the social order.

At the time of writing this editorial, the heat wave is raging in the country and particularly in the South-West of France where I live. Thousands of hectares are blazing all over Southern Europe in Portugal, Croatia, France. Even the UK is on red alert. Every year thousands of hectares disappear on the planet. So many carbon sinks gone up in smoke and as much CO2 emitted.

When, then, will our plutocrats stop their destructive endeavors and let all those who wish to take care of this miracle that is our small blue ball?

Have a good summer, stay in the shade and when possible, plant trees!