Source: Image Jornada internacional “¿Cómo aprendemos economía para una transición ecosocial?” organized by the OES Madrid, 2019.

By Carlos Askunze Elizaga (REAS Euskadi-Red de Economía Alternativa y Solidaria for Noticias Obreras Magazine nº 1.635, January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to us the urgency and necessity of betting on more sustainable and inclusive societies. There is no lack of viable proposals for an alternative future, such as those of the alternative and solidarity economy.

The emergence of COVID 19 has filled our fragile lives with fear and anxiety and, especially, has shown the inadequacy of the social, economic and political system and its main institutions – both local and international – to cope with its expansion and its consequences, capable of compromising the future of our societies.

But beyond the immediate situation, we must recognize that the pandemic and the impotence in its treatment and control are symptoms of a much deeper ecosocial crisis that threatens, as never before in history, to endanger the very survival of the planet and the lives it harbors.

It is necessary to promote strategies for a transition that place us in the possibility of dreaming, identifying and designing alternative futures to those that capitalism is currently leading us to, from criteria of eco-social justice and from frameworks of democratic deepening.

From the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), in harmony with other transformative economies such as feminist, ecological or commons, we propose an agenda of strategies and concrete practices that, taken to the field of structural changes, public policies and social behavior, can open some valuable clues for the promotion of such a transition, as necessary as it is urgent.


A change of course is urgently needed

We (…) need to rethink the economy. We need to reconsider the bases that support its functioning, the social and environmental limits it faces, the public policies that drive it, the economic behavior of citizens… We need to face transition strategies towards more equitable, supportive and sustainable socioeconomic models. Strategies that incorporate the values and proposals of feminism and ecology, and place the economy at the service of the common good, the welfare of all people and territories, equity and social cohesion, as well as the future sustainability of our planet. The SSE, together with other critical, alternative and transformative approaches, provides concrete proposals to promote these transitions towards a new model that can be summarized in the following strategies , which should be considered both locally and globally:

  • Guarantee the human, social and economic rights of all people and, therefore, prioritize the policies, economic resources and instruments necessary to sustain the basic systems of social protection that guarantee a dignified life -health, education, social services and inclusion- from criteria of equality and universality.
  • Promote a new social organization of care that ensures the right to care for all people, its development in dignified conditions and through the shared responsibility of society as a whole: public institutions, social agents, community and households.
  • Develop an ecosocial transition strategy in areas such as energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, ecological waste management, limiting resource consumption, public and efficient water management, the defense of biodiversity and sustainable land management.
  • Promote a change in the productive system that places life at the center of all its activity, prioritizing the production of goods and services of social utility and at the service of the common good, the promotion of direct and circular economies, co-responsibility in productive and reproductive tasks, etc.
  • Promote a strategy based on the support and valorization of local economic chains, through the protection of local production, ethical and responsible financing, the development of sustainable short circuits of commercialization and local trade, as well as the promotion of critical, conscious and transformative consumption. In this way, we promote energy, food, technological, cultural, etc. sovereignty, which is not an obstacle to promote the necessary (inter) international cooperation and solidarity with the rest of the communities of the planet.
  • To make a strategic commitment to the development of the SSE sector, supporting the development of economic activities driven by social initiative at the service of the common good and, particularly, those developed in strategic sectors such as ethical banking, cooperatives for the generation, marketing and consumption of renewable energies, associative initiatives to promote agroecology and food sovereignty, fair trade, sustainable waste management, social intervention, care and community development, open technologies and free communication or cooperative housing on loan.
  • To move towards a new model of governance that is more open, distributed, deliberative and co-responsible, which allows us to deepen democracy to jointly address the complex challenges we face as a society, from a greater public-social collaboration and with a comprehensive perspective that combines a territorial approach, citizen innovation, community participation, applied social research and the strengthening of the different agents.


Proposals for an alternative normality

(…) REAS, Network of Networks of Alternative and Solidarity Economy, promoted a process of collective elaboration of a document of political proposals (in Spanish) entitled “14 Axes of action and 85 measures for a new Solidarity, Feminist and Ecological normality” The document specifies these axes and measures in proposals for the promotion of the SSE in four priority objectives for public policies, which we summarize below.
In addition, it presents some accents that, beyond these proposals, are considered relevant to guarantee progress in economic and social reactivation. Accents that have been particularly highlighted at this time of pandemic

Read the whole article with a brief description of the Public Policies in Spanish here.