Saturday, July 15, 2006

International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development
Newsletter #30
July 1, 2006


Message from the Editorial Team

Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy (FBES)
An inspiring network

The poor communities of Cape Verde organize themselves
A strategy to fight against poverty

German Conference on Solidarity Economy
Berlin, November 24th – 26th, 2006

France and rights of immigrants
Three battlefronts

Message from the Editorial Team

With this issue, we have practically finished three years of publication of this Newsletter. For your information, please note that each issue is sent to nearly 200 addresses, and that each number is disseminated more widely within certain organizations. Therefore, there are several hundred people throughout the world who receive this newsletter via email.

As the comments received are generally favourable, and very few people have stopped subscribing since the first number in the fall of 2003, we believe our work is useful. Thus, we intend to continue as long as we are capable, or until an organization or a network is willing to take this charge and see it through.

The challenge to produce our newsletter is not on the level of content. Our respective involvements put us in relationships with a considerable number of individuals and in a position to receive much relevant information.

Our main challenge, by far, is to succeed in producing our newsletter in four languages. We find it very important to establish bridges between experts and researchers of four rather widespread languages of use on our planet, that is to say French, Spanish, Portuguese and English. We think that it is important because the majority of our readers know rather well what happens in their cultural space, but often very little in the others. Within the current framework of globalization, any building of an alternative globalization requires this dialogue between people of various languages and cultures. Thus, in this number, we present two articles from countries whose language is Portuguese.


In order to continue our publication in four languages, we are launching an appeal for volunteer translators. Initially, we have an urgent need for translation into Spanish. Our current translator, Anne Vaugelade is returning to the full-time studies this autumn. Thus, the last number which she will be able to translate is the September 1st issue. We would also need more volunteers who are capable of translating into French, or from French towards the three other languages. For Portuguese and English, generally we are relying on one person in each case. In fact, we would prefer having several volunteer translators for each language. This would allow us to allocate timely assignments, in order to reduce the workload of the persons who do the translation on a regular basis. We do not know what we will decide if we do not have anyone who can translate into Spanish or eventually any of the other languages. On the other hand, there is no question of continuing the publication of the Newsletter if we cannot produce it in several languages.

NEXT ISSUE: September 1st, 2006

Editorial Team
Francisco Botelho
Yvon Poirier
Martine Théveniaut

Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy (FBES)
An inspiring network

Although extremely recent, the Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy (FBES) is an inspiration which is also rich in lessons on how to organize oneself as a network.

At the time of the first World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre in 2001, participants from various areas of Brazil decided to work together to construct of a common platform in order to build an alternative economy to the dominant neo-liberal one. Two years of debates will have been necessary in order to agree on a charter of principles and a common platform.

Created in June of 2003 during the III Brazilian Solidarity Economy Plenary Meeting, the Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy (FBES) is nowadays the national authority in charge of the organization, discussions, preparation of strategies and mobilization of the Solidarity Economy movement in Brazil. The FBES represents the Solidarity Economy movement regarding the public authority (at federal, state and local level, through its National Coordination and the State and Local Forums), and domestic and international organizations, networks and associations.

Brazil is a vast country of more than 180 million inhabitants, divided in 27 states. Thus, the FBES created its organization based on Forums in each of the 27 states and 16 national organizations or entities. The National Coordination is made up of 97 people, three per state and 16 from the other organizations. This coordination meets twice per year. Furthermore, a National Executive Coordination comprised of 13 individuals ensures a regular follow-up of the FBES. In support of the FBES, a National Executive Secretariat composed of 3 persons supports and leads the whole, ensures the information flow, in particular through a newsletter distributed to over 4000 subscribers.

President Lula, elected in 2002, carried out his promise to create a National Secretariat the Solidarity Economy (SENAES). The FBES and the SENAES organized eight joint Work Groups (WG) in order to concretely promote Solidarity Economy in Brazil: communication, geographic census, legal frameworks, public policies, production, marketing and consumption, international relations, solidarity finances and training.

At present, the FBES is very active in order to promote legislative changes. The years of dictatorship did not favour a suitable legislative framework. Therefore, more than 50% of the 14,000 companies listed are associations. However, the legal framework of associations is not adapted to specificities and the diversity of the businesses of solidarity economy. In the same way, the law of cooperatives, instituted during those years, supports mostly large cooperatives (mainly agri-business). For example, one needs a minimum of 21 members to create a cooperative and the requirements of incorporation and other formalities are such that they put a brake on solidarity economy ventures. Thus, only 8% of the listed businesses are cooperatives.

In June, a first national Conference of scale took place, gathering more than 1,200 participants designated by the forums in the 27 states. In the weeks which preceded this Conference, more than 10,000 people took part in these 27 official state forums.

The Conference was convened by three Departments: Social Development, Agriculture Development, and the SENAES (which is the Department for Employment and Work). The FBES was responsible for a vast movement of mobilization in the states, in order to assure debates and to broaden the participation of the actors of the civil society and the local governments which were not yet aware of Solidarity Economy. The topic of this Conference was: Solidarity Economy as a strategy and policy of development.

It is interesting to note that the BFSE does not yet have the status of a legal association. However, this does not prevent it from having an operation of scale. In comparison with what we know elsewhere, it is undoubtedly possible to say that it is a network, even an organization.

The word “forum” was retained because its original meaning signifies “public place”. Dictionaries give the following definition: “a place where a people held their assemblies and where the public affairs were discussed”.

This article was written following exchanges and discussions with the executive secretary of the FBES, Daniel Tygel, during his mission in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada last May 15th – 27th. A text presenting FBES is available at the following address: ( English, French and Spanish translations available )

Author: Yvon Poirier


The poor communities of Cape Verde organize themselves
A strategy to fight poverty

The Program against Poverty in Rural Areas - PPRA, in Cape Verde, has been in effect for the past 5 and half years, with the support of IFAD – the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Inspired from the European LEADER Program, this program takes place over three phases of 3 years in duration.

The first phase (2000-2003), identified as a demonstration, aimed to show the way, to set up the organization of the program which is based on Regional Partnership Commissions (RPC) - one per island - integrating community associations, central and local public organizations (with the obligation of majority decisions by community associations). The second (2004-2006) and third phases (2007-2009) are phases of planning and implementation, of consolidation of the development plan carried out by each RPC.

The basis of the intervention is the mobilization of rural communities and their organization to take charge of their own development. The program already gathers 169 community associations on 5 islands - Santiago, Fogo, Brava, Santo Antão and S. Nicolau.

Last June 3rd – 8th, the participants of the Program met on the island of S. Nicolau for a meeting of reflection and experience sharing on their own intervention. These were very rich days revolving around 4 topics: Local Development and the fight against poverty; Participative Management of community projects; Community animation and Organisational Life. Directors of community associations, managers of the program at the national and regional level and members of public organizations exchanged their information and looked for the best way to achieve success in the fight against poverty. And, the main result is seen when one visits the poor communities - the population united around its own association, defining its own development plan and discussing with the persons in charge of the program and the national institutions the financing of its needs. It was clear to everyone that only the organization of poor communities and their fight for development allow to succeed.

With many problems, the least of which is not financing, the Program against Poverty in Rural Areas of Cape Verde has become a laboratory of intervention and an example for the areas of Africa and Asia. It is always with the awareness that the principal secret of success is the participation of populations in the construction of their own destiny.

Author: Francisco Botelho


German Conference on Solidarity Economy
Berlin, November 24th – 26th, 2006

Under the theme of How do we want to produce and live? The Solidarity-Based Economy in a Globalized Capitalism, a First National Congress (with international participation) will be held from the November 24th - 26th at Berlin’s Technical University.

The Solidarity-Based Economy is a growing worldwide movement, but yet not well known and acknowledged in Germany, although there is a growing sector of social and solidarity based activities in existence already: Old and new types of cooperatives, charities, social and solidarity enterprises, self managed and alternative enterprises, collective housing initiatives, local exchange and trading systems, fair trade organisations, solidarity finance institutions, producer and consumer and other rural initiatives, integration enterprises and other forms of economic self-help initiatives for and with unemployed, women, ethnic minorities or otherwise socially and/or economically disadvantaged. Although the sector employs almost two million people in Germany, it is not yet visible as such, because it is split up in a number of diverse milieus or approaches which do not know much about each other. Therefore, the congress will bring together these different activists, exchange experiences and organise a theoretical as well as practical debate about the underlying concepts and strategies. Furthermore, the congress will bridge the gap between economic self-help initiatives and the more politically oriented activists from other social movements. The time has come to work together for another type of economy based on democratic, social and/or ecological values aiming at socially useful products and services for the common good in an empowering, peaceful and socially just environment. To achieve this, the congress will offer an open space for exchange of experiences, controversial debate and learning from each other, including examples from abroad, representing Africa, Asia, Latin and Northern America, Eastern and Western Europe.

The programme is designed around 9 Forums with plenary sessions and workshops:
1. Good practise in the solidarity based economy: room for presentations and exchange of practical experiences
2. The solidarity based economy in education and training, science and research
3. The solidarity based economy and neo-liberalism:
precarious jobs, individualisation and social decline;
privatisation of services for the common good;
ambivalence of the self-help concept;
basic income strategies
4. Perspectives, opportunities and constraints of the solidarity based economy within the context of globalisation
5. Lifestyle and the solidarity based economy – from an individual perspective
6. Who owns the world? – The role of ownership in the solidarity based economy
7. The solidarity based economy – a worldwide movement: international experiences and co-operations
8. Working differently – practical tools for enterprises in the solidarity based economy
9. Political framework and necessary support structures for the solidarity based economy

Note: The term solidarity based economy is used here synonymously for related terms like social economy, community economy, third system, economía popular, people centred development etc.

Contact: Dagmar Embshoff, Bewegungsakademie e.V., Artilleriestr. 6, D-27283 Verden,
Tel.: +49-4231-957 512,

or: Karl Birkhölzer, TU Berlin, FR 4-8, Franklinstr. 28/29, D-10587 Berlin,
Tel.: +49-30-314 73394


France and rights of immigrants
Three battlefronts

Initiative to reject a disposable immigration policy, undignified of a country proclaiming human rights.

The new reform of the Code of Entry and Stay of foreigners and the right of asylum (CESEDA) has led to a radical negation of the basic rights of the person. It even more radically restricts the right to stay for families, spouses, and children of all those who build their lives in France. It ratifies the near disappearance of a tool for “integration” known as the resident card. It also attacks the stay of the foreign patients.

The project fits deliberately into a utilitarian prospect. The government proclaims its will to rampage the skills and talents in the world (which it wants). Only the foreigner perceived as profitable for the French economy will be “acceptable”. This project creates a new category of immigrant workers for whom the duration of their stay is limited to goodwill of their employer. Furthermore, the suppression of the right to stay permit, for foreigners having lived for at least ten years in France, has condemned them to be without papers in perpetuity. The project will be much more selective for the entry of the foreign students as well.

As for foreigners with papers, the right to live as a family becomes a challenge: the government is considering making more difficult the conditions for family regrouping (resources, housing, opinion of the mayor on the “integration” of the family). It throws suspicion on the foreign fathers of French children, who will have to justify of their paternity.

Knowing that a reform of the right of asylum should largely reduce the conditions for granting the statute of refugee, it is the entire rights of foreigners which are in danger. It is responsibility for each one among us to react. By stigmatizing foreigners, the government tries to oppose us one against the other as it sells off fundamental freedoms.

For more information and to sign the petition :

A campaign for the voting rights of all the residents of France, regardless of their nationality
The timeframe of 2007-2009, with the presidential, legislative, local and European elections, is particularly favourable to advance and to challenge all the political organizations, all the candidates, all the elected officials in place.
In the European Union, 17 countries out of 25 have a legislation more advanced than France: Spain is on the point of taking a step ahead, while the question is being discussed in Italy. In Belgium, the non EU foreign residents will take part on October 8th, for the first time, in the local elections.
Will France be the last country of the EU to give the voting and eligibility rights to all its residents regardless of their nationality?
In the absence of being able to change the law directly, all the inhabitants of this country are being asked to participate in “Voting citizen” from October 16th – 22nd, 2006. An important mobilization should result prior to important electoral deadlines.

For more information and to sign the LDH petition :

A collective support by poets for the children of families without papers

After June 30, 2006 the circular suspending the evictions of children without papers but who have been educated becomes null and void. Hundreds of children will then in danger of being detained with their families and put by force on airplanes.
Because the deportation of rejects is definitely unacceptable: companions, friends and brothers let us fight with our words, since we only have this strength.
For more information and to sign the petition:

Information gathered by Martine Theveniaut

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Special thanks to:
Évéline Poirier from Canada for the English translation
Anne Vaugelade from France for the Spanish translation

To contact us (for information, feedback, to subscribe or unsubscribe):
Yvon Poirier

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