Wednesday, September 01, 2010

International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development
Newsletter #71
September 1st 2010


Message from the Editorial Team

The Editorial Team members – who are we?

US Social Forum, Detroit, June 22nd – 26th 2010

International Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy: Public Authorities and Civil Society
October 2011, Montreal (Canada)

Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet
New publication

Labour Unions and the Solidarity Economy: The Quebec Experience

Towards the European P’Actes: Promoting co-operative territorial economy as a means of combating poverty and social exclusion

Message from the Editorial Team

As we begin our 8th year of publication, we have continued to see new readers join our mailing list. So we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone of the origins of our publication, as well as provide some more information on the members of the Editorial Team.

As well as a brief article on the Social Forum held in Detroit last June, we are including announcements for several upcoming events, and a review of a book that includes an article by Yvon.

The Editorial Team
Judith Hitchman
Yvon Poirier
Martine Theveniaut

The Editorial Team members – who are we?

We first got together in the company of our late friend Franscico Botelho from Portugal, when we were preparing for an international meeting of actors involved in sustainable local development that was scheduled to take place in Portugal in 2002.

Although the meeting was cancelled, we decided to continue promoting the development of sustainable local development, as we believe it is a fundamental prerequisite for developing alternatives to the current global crisis.

We are particularly convinced that it is important to build bridges between people living in different parts of the world. This is why we publish our newsletter in four languages: French, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

The first number of our newsletter was published in November 2003. Our initiative is strictly private, and completely based on voluntary work. We hope to be able to continue until such time as an organisation will continue our work, in the same spirit. Even if we are all involved in different projects and organisations, we do not act on their behalf. All three of us are also involved at different levels in the RIPESS (Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy).

Judith Hitchman (France/Ireland)

• Member of the steering Committee of the Pactes Locaux, a French NGO supported by the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH)
• Special Envoy to the International Committee of Urgenci, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture networks
• Member of Babels and coordinator of interpreting teams for many projects within the World Social Forum Process.

Yvon Poirier (Canada)

• Member of the organising committee of an international meeting on local development held in Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada) in 1998
• Chair of the International Committee of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNET)

Martine Théveniaut (France)

• General Secretary and Coordinator of the Pactes Locaux, a French NGO supported by the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH)
• Actively involved in various local development projects involving social and solidarity economy in her region in France (Languedoc-Roussillon).
• Author of Le développement local: Réponse politique à la mondialisation (1999)

US Social Forum, Detroit, June 22nd – 26th 2010

Last June, about 15,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the second US Social Forum. This represented a 50% increase in participants compared with the first edition that was held in June 2007. The deepening economic crisis in the U.S. no doubt partly explains this increase.

Hosting this event in Detroit was a deliberate choice. The historical capital of the automotive industry is one of the cities most affected by the economic and housing crisis. In the last 30 years, more than one third of the population has left, either for other parts of the country or to outlying cities. The vacancy rate for all types of housing is 17%. The mayor is pursuing a deliberate policy that is detrimental to disadvantaged neighbourhoods. There is a policy in effect to demolish entire sections of neighbourhoods to sell land to speculators. Parks and schools are being closed. In order to counter this situation, there are strong social movements in Afro-American and immigrant communities, since the golden days of the automotive industry had attracted high immigration. Detroit is the American city with the largest Muslim community as well as the largest Palestinian community. One resistance initiative and alternative industry is urban agriculture. It is the largest such movement in the USA, both to feed itself and to create work opportunities, especially for young people.

This was the context that motivated the US Solidarity Economy Network (SEN) and allied groups to organize a series of workshops. It is important to note the strong presence of the movement related to food issues, that represented community supported agriculture or peasants’ and small-scale farmers’ movements who are members of Via Campesina. Interestingly, a meeting was held to organize a US network for Food Sovereignty.
As with other Social Fora in the world, many of the participants adhere to the anti-globalization movement, and many are members of a wide variety of political movements such as anarchists, socialists and Trotskyites.

Even if it is interesting to see all these movements, we found that the construction of alternatives was not a major concern for most involved. The third plenary on June 25th focused on this issue. Thanks to the US SEN, the forum organizers had invited Daniel Tygel from the Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy to present the perspectives of solidarity economy. He reported on the progress of solidarity economy in Brazil, including the creation of a movement that is now rooted throughout the country. He stressed the importance of reaching beyond the capitalist discourse (strong at the Forum) and the importance of "hands-on work". This means concretely building economic activities that are self-managed by the people involved. The fact that these activities are solidarity-based is in itself a reflection of their political impact, an affirmation that another possible is not only possible, but it is already being built.

Yvon Poirier

International Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy: Public Authorities and Civil Society
Montreal (Canada), Palais des Congrès, October 17th – 20th 2011

The main theme of this international forum is the need for a State – civil society dialogue to develop public policies for social solidarity economy.

This event is organized with the support of the Government of Quebec and the city of Montreal. The organizing committee is composed of key members and partners of the Chantier de l’économie sociale du Québec. Several international partners such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the OECD’s LEED Programme as well as political bodies such as the State Secretariat for Solidarity Economy in Brazil are also helping to organize the Forum.

For further information (FR-EN-SP):

Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet
By Emily Kawano

Paperback: $25.00
E- Version : $5.00
Another world is not just possible.

It is being built.
So many of us wish for something more—an economy we can feel a partf, not that makes us feel like a disposable cog in a soulless machine. That something exists and it’s called the Solidarity Economy. This kind of economy starts from entirely different premises than those of the ruling model of neoliberal capitalism which enshrines individualism, competition, materialism, accumulation, and the maximization of profits and growth. The solidarity economy by contrast seeks the well being of people and planet. It holds at its core these principles: solidarity, equity in all dimensions, sustainability, participatory democracy, and pluralism.
This book is about vision and hope. It provides many examples of real solutions in a wide array of sectors. These practices are currently too isolated from one another. The task of the solidarity economy is to bring these practices together to build a whole and humane economy that works for people and planet.

The book is the result of the Forum on Solidarity Economy organised by US SEN, March 2009, in Amherst Massachusetts.

Labour Unions and the Solidarity Economy: The Quebec Experience

Quebec province labour unions have supported the social and solidarity economy. They have created investment funds and credit unions. Most day-care centers (non-profits) are unionized. One union in particular, the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN) has been at the forefront of this activity. How did this come about? This article tells part of the story.

This article written by Yvon Poirier is published in the book entitled Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet described above.
This article is also available in English and French directly from the author.
Yvon Poirier (

Towards the European P’Actes: Promoting co-operative territorial economy as a means of combating poverty and social exclusion (2010 – a key year for Europe)

As a follow-up to Lux’09, the Pactes Locaux are organizing a meeting entitled Towards European P’Actes: Promoting co-operative territorial economy as a means of combating poverty and social exclusion. The meeting will be hosted by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on November 23rd, 2010. The meeting is based on concrete experiences structured around 3 key issues:

1. Reorganise the economic and social spheres on the basis of local realities and resources rather than expecting institutions to take care of everything.
2. Implement co-responsibility in terms of democratic territorial governance of the economic and social spheres.
3. Learn from one another to prepare for a change of, direction: bring learning stories together and connect them. ‘We need to understand what we have learnt in order to jointly put forward proposals’.


Aloe has hosted the Pactes Locaux project on their site since 2009. We plan to continue with this co-operation in 2010-11. We jointly invite you to contribute to these activities.

Our Newsletters are available on the WEB:

Special thanks to:
Judith Hitchman (France) and Évéline Poirier (Canada) for the English translation
Brunilda Rafael (France) for the Spanish translation
Michel Colin (Brazil) for the Portuguese translation

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

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