Monday, March 02, 2009

International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development
Newsletter #56
March 1st, 2009


Message from the Editorial Team

Proposals by the Solidarity Economy movement at the 2009 WSF

For a new economic and social model
Let’s put finance in its place!
A call for the signature of associations, trade unions and social movements Belem, February 1st 2009

Message from the Editorial Team

Yvon attended the WSF in Belem (Brazil), held from January 28th to February 1st 2009. During the course of this event, members of RIPESS working in close co-operation with the Brazilian Forum on Solidarity Economy (FBES) organized several workshops as well as participating in workshops being run by allied organizations.

In the current context of systemic, financial, and food crises, along with global warming and the economic recession, it appears that the media and some politicians seem to have discovered the wealth of this economy, not only in terms of potential job creation but also for its innovative content and potential for regenerating the economy. We could be self-congratulatory, but that would mean overlooking that the general economic slowdown will hit training programs, associations, small businesses, cooperatives, many workers and people very hard! Unlike banks, we cannot count on the massive financial support of governments!

The strength of the solidarity economy will be to operate more efficiently, by networking to enrich practice and overcome problems. It will not be able to succeed on its own, because of the complexity and the interdependence of the problems caused by neo-liberal globalization, but it can emerge as a powerful vector for the transformation of social relations. We do not know if there is an alternative to capitalism, but what is certain is that there is an economic alternative to total liberalism. The road will be difficult, complex and long. It begins with the alliance of the forces of progress united in these different currents of thought and action, in all continents to represent, lead and provide regular support for the construction of alternatives which are more human and interdependent.

Having participated in the RIPESS Board meeting as well as various workshops organized by RIPESS and its members during the WSF, Yvon would like to draw to your attention to two interesting documents.

To grasp the scope of the first article, "Proposals", including point # 5 of this text, we need to understand the word "territory" as referring to the places where the meetings were held, meaning close to the major thematic debate centres that attract large crowds. RIPESS is not a member of the WSF International Council, making it difficult to gain more formal recognition in the programming of forums, including the logistics of meetings.

In this issue, we present:
• Proposals that originated from organizations of Solidarity Economy present in Belém.
• A call for signatures for a new economic and social model: Let’s put finance in its place! Signed by several international organizations.

The Luxembourg meeting ( is an up-coming event, that will allow us to put forward proposals, and hopefully action plans which translate into reality.

Editorial Team
Judith Hitchman
Yvon Poirier
Martine Theveniaut

In light of the international economic crisis, we affirm that Social Solidarity Economy is one of the strategies that can enable sustainable economic growth; It can contribute to building a new model centred on the well-being of people in all 5 continents:

We, the workers and activists of the Solidarity Economy movement make the following proposals:

1. In the current context of global crisis, alternative economic practices are more than ever the response based on their history as new instruments of social and solidarity finance. It is therefore essential to recognize and support the creation of closer links between economics, sustainability and solidarity finances.

2. It is necessary to revitalize the role of the FAO within the UN system in order to ensure the right to food. This should done by recommending increased food production on family farms and solidarity economy projects. It is also as a means of creating jobs and sources of income to overcome rising unemployment in the world.

3. In future events, we wish to give greater political clout and more practical consistency to the physical construction of the World Social Forum, by ensuring that solidarity economy, local family farming, and materials with a low environmental impact play an ever-increasing part in the infrastructure.

4. We recommend the creation of a network of organizations for local and international economic solidarity exchanges, via the web, based on existing systems and using information technology/free media to jointly develop a network solution.

5. In the construction of future editions of the WSF, given the contribution of the Social Solidarity Economy to the globalization of solidarity, we recommend that the territory (in terms of the location) of the Social Solidarity Economy be geographically located near the main themes in order to design territories that take these affinities into account

6. We support the Brazilian Bill on School Nutrition, which ensures that at least 30% of school canteen food is sourced from local family farms and Solidarity Economy. This implies a strategic action in defence of food and nutritional security, and another model of development: local, supportive, sustainable and culturally diverse.

7. We propose to launch a global campaign for public procurement and for the ethical and responsible consumption of goods and services produced by the Solidarity Economy and family farming. We denounce the destructive impacts that result from the consumption of products of capitalist enterprises and multinational corporations.

8. We join other social movements around the world in their struggles for human dignity, well-being, the empowerment of peoples and the transformation of the current development model.

Proposals submitted and supported by:
Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS)
Brazilian Forum of Social Solidarity Economy (FBES)
February 1st 2009

Call for the signature of NGOs, trade unions and social movements
Belem, February 1st 2009

For a new economic and social model
Let’s put finance in its place!

The financial crisis is a systemic crisis that emerges in the context of global crises (climate, food, energy, social…) and of a new balance of power. It results from 30 years of transfer of income from labour towards capital. This tendency should be reversed. This crisis is the consequence of a capitalist system of production based on laissez-faire and fed by short term accumulation of profits by a minority, unequal redistribution of wealth, an unfair trade system, the perpetration and accumulation of irresponsible, ecological and illegitimate debt, natural resource plunder and the privatization of public services. This crisis affects the whole humanity, first of all the most vulnerable (workers, jobless, farmers, migrants, women…) and Southern countries, which are the victims of a crisis for which they are not at all responsible.

The resources to get out of the crisis merely burden the public with the losses in order to save, with no real public benefit, a financial system that is at the root of the current cataclysm. Where are the resources for the populations which are the victims of the crisis? The world not only needs regulations, but also a new paradigm which puts the financial system at the service of a new international democratic system based on the satisfaction of human rights, decent work, food sovereignty, respect for the environment, cultural diversity, the social and solidarity economy and a new concept of wealth.

Therefore, we demand to:

• Put a reformed and democratised United Nations at the heart of the financial system reform, as the G20 is not the legitimate forum to resolve this systemic crisis.
• Establish international permanent and binding mechanisms of control over capital flows.
• Implement an international monetary system based on a new system of reserves, including the creation of regional reserve currencies in order to end the current supremacy of the dollar and to ensure international financial stability.
• Implement a global mechanism of state and citizen control of banks and financial institutions. Financial intermediation should be recognised as a public service that is guaranteed to all citizens in the world and should be taken out of free trade agreements.
• Prohibit hedge funds and over the counter markets, where derivatives and other toxic products are exchanged without any public control.
• Eradicate speculation on commodities, first of all food and energy, by implementing public mechanisms of price stabilisation.
• Dismantle tax havens, sanction their users (individuals, companies, banks and financial intermediates) and create an international tax organisation to combat tax competition and evasion.
• Cancel unsustainable and illegitimate debt of impoverished countries and establish a system of democratic, accountable, fair sovereign borrowing and lending that serves sustainable and equitable development.
• Establish a new international system of wealth sharing by implementing a progressive tax system at the national level and by creating global taxes (on financial transactions, polluting activities and high income) to finance global public goods.

We call on NGOs, trade unions and social movements to converge in order to create a citizen struggle in favour of this new model. We urge them to mobilize all over the world, in particular in the face of the G20, from March 28th onwards.

Signatures of organizations and list of signatories at or signatures by email at (indicating name of the organisation, country and email contact)

1. This call is the result of a series of seminars at the World Social Forum 2009 in Belem, which involved among others :
Action Aid, Attac, BankTrack, CADTM, CCFD, CEDLA, CNCD, CRID, Eurodad, Global alternatives Forum, IBON, International WG on Trade-Finance Linkages, LATINDADD, Networkers South-North, NIGD, SOMO, Tax Justice Network, Transform!, OWINFS, War on Want, World Council of Churches.

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Special thanks to:
Évéline Poirier from Canada for the English translation
Brunilda Rafael from France for the Spanish translation
Michel Colin from Brazil for the Portuguese translation

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