Editorial by Georgia Bekridaki, Dock Greece

The rapidly growing SSE movement as a global citizens alternative to market-driven capitalism is without any doubt rooted locally while reinforcing bonds of mutuality and proximity among people, cultures, and nature.

It is true that SSE initiatives can be found in all continents where common people struggle for social justice and they create alternative ways of economic activity without exploitation of people and resources. On the counterpoint of the present system, SSE actors prioritize the protection of life and cultures and the empowerment of subaltern social groups through promoting democratic solidarity and creating autonomous public spaces; From Senegal to France and from Malaysia to Canada, cooperatives, communities, organisations, practitioners and supporters create networks, alliances, gatherings and forums in order to raise the voice of the real diverse and transformative potentials.

Inter-cooperation and knowledge sharing is a powerful way for addressing global challenges, such as Right to Food and Food Justice, but there is one more reason why the international dimension has great importance for SSE transformative vision. That is the concept of “plural” aspect of the economy as proposed by Jean Louis Laville and the great importance of global south for the formation of new frameworks beyond the Western-centric market logic, growth, effectiveness and metrics of impact, happiness, and wellness.

SSE practices from Latin America, Asia, and Africa hidden or unprecedented at the European public discourse highlight other perspectives of living, producing, connecting. Economic activity is embedded in social and political life, economy is organized within communities, they prioritize members’ needs. The protection of “Buen vivir” in Brazil, or “Pachamama” of the indigenous of the Andes or “Teranga” in Senegal is the vision, the social goal, the political structure.

Such, the international dimension of SSE is a prerequisite to form an inclusive concept which “leaves no one behind” meaning that economies, social structures, initiatives which do not comply with the standards of the market “success”, the investors or the promoters, are kept hidden or being characterized as backward or the ones coming from “underdeveloped” countries or neglected as non-economic. SSE international dimension tries to reclaim economic principles such as redistribution, mutuality, householding care, exchange and the diverse practices all over the world are the ones that bear witness to it. We are pleased to share with you our valuable experience from Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum 2023 in Dakar though podcast and interviews with African activists and companions.

The latest international declarations highlighting the value of the SSE are encouraging for all those who have been involved, sometimes for many years, in developing solutions to the climate, social and democratic emergency, which are now validated by international bodies. However, it’s not enough, words need actions to be effective even if they do add soul to the work.