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5th, 6th and 7th of April 2019 : First convergence meeting

The first day, Friday, April 5, was dedicated to working in all of the transformative movements and actions that take part in the process: the feminist economies, the agroecological and food sovereignty movements, the commons and the social and solidarity economy, alongside the co-construction and education of public policies. It was a moment to get to know each other and to connect with other people sharing a common ground of action, although developing their projects in different territories.

Thereby, the movement of feminist economies, for instance, shared several specific work experiences from different regions of the world based on their practices and local experiences of sorority, empowerment, and construction. Creatively, the participants shared the need to make visible these experiences beyond the discourses, thus finding different forms of expression from those established by the patriarchy. In this session, the participants insisted on the need for the feminist perspective to not be secluded only as part of a discussion group, but to permeate all areas of economics, which, to be genuinely transformative, they must be feminist.

 

The agroecological and food sovereignty movements also recalled the feminist logic, thus proposing a feminist repeasantry¹, that is, the return to the rural world and peasant work that puts the role of women in the center. Emphasis was also placed on the critical role of consumption in accessing food sovereignty and on the need to rethink the food supply chain by taking into account all its phases: from production to consumption, through distribution or conveyance.

On the other hand, the commons movement brought together people linked to different community resources management, all identified in many areas such as rural, knowledge, urban, natural and digital services. Some of the forecasted challenges were to implement discourses into practice, establish horizontal organization forms, highlight the alternatives to capitalism, expand practices, and manage tensions within institutions.

 

The social and solidarity economy movement dedicated part of the session in sharing valuable experiences put into practice in different territories, such as South Africa, India, Malaysia, Colombia, Portugal and Brazil. It was discussed the hardships faced by some of these initiatives, such as the short range of networks or the social movements lack of involvement. Part of the session was organized in different work groups: work and housing cooperativism, ethical finance and fair trade, community economies and social enterprises.

 

Regarding the economy transformative actions, the challenge was posed in establishing a non-patriarchal, decolonial, anti-capitalist and non-exploitative educational and research system. For this end, it was proposed to put the care of the planet and the dignity of life in the center of the educational system, along the lines of solidarity and holistic model not only linked to childhood but a practice that lasts throughout life.

 

In addition, during the session dedicated to the co-construction of commons, the participants agreed in putting the quality of people's lives in the center and creating spaces able to encourage participation, as well as establishing coherent and transversal policies in areas such as education, housing or trade.

Other spaces were also included during the first day, such as the presentation of the virtual participation platform forum.transformadora.org, the debate regarding the process of the Forum governance model, the forecasting of social and solidarity economy projects or the meeting between the media commission and the people interested in strengthening the WFSTE 2020 communication practices.

 

To wrap-up the first meeting day, an Open Forum was held where the participation of many different voices associated with international transformative movements took place. With a limited five minutes length intervention, activists and feminist researchers such as Florencia Partenio or Marta Rivera, popular educators such as Bernardo Caamal Itzá, representatives of social and solidarity economy networks such as Marian Díez or Pierrette Memong, among others, participated during the event. Between each intervention, there was a musical performance of a "happy and transient" orchestra created for the occasion and with local musicians Txell Neddermann, Simonal Bie, Anna Pantinat, Maria Rodés and Julián Saladarriaga, among others.

Before closing, the WFSTE 2020 announcement was projected, where four superheroes and superheroines embodied the transformative economies movement.

On the second day, the participants met to work on ten challenges previously identified in the day before. These challenges embrace as the starting point for the different debates during the process towards of the WFSTE 2020:

 

  1. The forum process

So far, the three main process pillars are:

  • The transformatives. They are the four transformative movements, plus the transformative     economy actions: The Feminist Economies, The Food Sovereignty and Agroecological Movements, The Commons, and The Social and Solidarity Economy. Additionally, we count with the education, research, and the co-construction of public policies.    
  • The supportives.     They are the process driving networks. Up to now, there are three: Solidarity Economy Network of Catalonia (XES), Alternative and Solidarity Economy Network (REAS), and Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS). In addition to these, an International Promotion Committee has been created to facilitate the internationalization of the process.
  • The     reproductives.     It is the technical team, with the support from different     commissions such as logistics, content, communication, caring...
  1. Transformative and liberating education

 

Recently, a diagnosis has been made about the current educational panorama, showing that schools are a reflection of the capitalist model; education is closely linked to institutions, learning processes are linked to competition, and teachers appear as an oppressive figure.

 

Opposed to these positions, we propose an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, decolonized, non-exploitative, anti-discriminatory and emancipatory educational system that sustains the dignity of life, ecosystems, and the planet as the primary concerns.

 

  1. The visibility and the narrative

The proposal was to disseminate a clear message in all aspects, by using common words, with an explicit, diverse and inclusive language. Besides, it was also raised the concern to adapt the existing materials and turn it into a visual campaign (short videos, academic articles ...),

contact universities, press agencies or associations, community radios and local tv channels, not only through internet and global media.

 

  1. Global-local work and inter-movement

During this challenge, the transversality concept of the transformative economies has been explored under a dual approach: on one hand, from the local to the international range, on the other, between the many different transformative movements. Also, it has been convened the need of the WFSTE process in reflecting the convergence between the experiences from the north to the south of the planet, communities and cities, natural and digital assets, merely to find common ground able to link them. It was also proposed to associate The Commons with the shift in the economic system, in order to evaluate how vital matters such as race and class might overall affect the process. Besides, within the proposal was also included to analyze the relationship between transformative economies and other social movements.

 

  1. The relationship with the State and corporations

Proposals were made, such as in advancing in Social, Solidarity and Transformative Economy laws, mapping and promoting alternative financial education, making visible companies that monopolize power and carry out abusive practices, and including migration laws and sovereignty issues as cross-cutting points.

 

  1. Management and self-organization

The management has been explored as a challenge and also as common issues presented during the sessions, in explaining what kind of governance model has been held along the Forum process.

 

In terms of a shared challenge, some of the debates that appear throughout the session on management and self-organization were:

 

  1. What types of power relationships are we building inside of our organizations, communities and territories?
  2. What does it benefit and what does it not our organizations being considered transformative?
  3. What types of technological tools and practices assist our management models?

4 To what extent does our environment give us the possibility to self-organize?

  1. What kind of territorial management models are we developing?
  2. Peasant communities as a political subject.

In terms of management, regarding the Forum process, the debates held during the different sessions have been structured around three themes: strategy, development and inclusion.

Strategy: It is proposed to change the name of the Initiators Group and for them to assume coordination, galvanization and monitoring tasks. Comes up in question why there are no networks that represent the four movements. There is also a question of whether the presence of REAS (Spanish State) and XES (Catalonia) makes sense in the internationalization process. Also, there is a proposal in creating two new commissions: one regarding the methodology, and another of contents in view of the political message.

 

Development: It is proposed to change the name of the "assembly" of the WFSTE, to that of "space" or "forum". A definition of the WFSTE context is mandatory, which resumes its history and objectives, as well as a definition of what the Transformative Economies are. The importance of the territories in organizing themselves according to a self-managed manner, and avoiding a Eurocentrism perspective was also highlighted. However, there was also a need to establish ethical criteria, an introduction letter and a warning system for detecting non-Transformative Economies.

 

Inclusion: It is necessary to have an open space to collect other actions and initiatives, and perhaps to conform other EETTs that correspond to already existing social movements. It has been valued that, in order to guarantee a global presence and diversity, the upscaling and reinforcement of the International Promotion Working Group, and the extension of non-European international networks and organizations are crucial matters to take into account. The importance of intergenerational interactions was also highlighted, and a youth meeting was proposed. Besides, the creation of a Welcoming Group has been suggested to ensure support for those who can not participate in person.

 

  1. Knowledge building and practices

 

In order to make better use of the Forum itself, it has been proposed to create a knowledge bank. Methods as the combination of traditional and scientific knowledge, the appliance of the principle of "learning by doing" to the Forum process, the incorporation of children and young people, and the knowledge cooperativization while respecting diversity, are some examples of the types of knowledge added to this bank. From The Commons, to take advantage of already existing digital platforms and then to nourish them to become a knowledge bank, these transformative economy practices will be systematized to measure, replicate, and adapt them to different contexts, among other approaches.

 

  1. New technologies

This working group has two objectives: to create new types of technology, and to empower existing movements with technologies. The group also proposes two goals to move towards communities based on an open source use: make a list of entities that produce free software as an alternative to Google and other big corporations, and to create a grid of open networks organizations. All in all, a technical network that supports these movements.

 

  1. Life in the center

It has been set out objectives as an effort to raise awareness about the invisibility of care work in opposition to the productivist work. To include the care for the planet and nature within the concept of "care". To evolve towards non-competitive practices, to the community making and shared property, and finally, to rethink a philosophy based on a decrease movement. It also raised the need to move towards a system where there is no sexist violence as the materialization of the feminist economy proposals on a large scale, and to put some ideas on the public agenda and to turn them into public policies, among other issues.

 

    April 7: organize to transform

    On the third and last day, the participants were divided into groups according to their work territories, with the aim of, in some cases, encouraging the creation of local convergence movements, organizations and people linked to the transformative economies in each territory, or in others, of strengthening the relationship between them. These convergences must respond to the local reality of each territory, with the responsibility in deciding of how to self-organize, and how it wants to be linked to the debates that will take place during the WFSTE 2020.

     

    As a result of these meetings, it was proposed to broaden the debate to include other sectors, such as climate activists, young people and migrants. Besides, some regions of the world such as Asia and Africa, requested more significant support in terms of visa processing, translation or sponsorships

     

    The first meeting wrapped-up alongside a plenary assembly, in which was expressed the need in creating local convergences between people and organizations during the process, as well as the use of a virtual platform able to connect the local within the global. There was also a commitment to work in establishing, from the autonomy, methodologies based on the governance and process, which are part of the transformative economies DNA.

     

    The transformative economies plurality was also highlighted, and the WFSTE process does not seek to endow anything, it rather wants to reinforce existing practices, and to link them as a collective liaison between territories.

    With the commitment to keep working, both face-to-face and remotely, the assembly agreed in expanding the presence of more groups and organizations involved, and to build a common long-term global agenda that makes visible another world that already exists: one of the transformative economies.

     

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