Contributions by Frédéric Dassonville, current member of the local group of Franche-Comté readers, originally published on December 22, 2021 on the facebook page of Attac Besançon, upon returning from the JEA held in Dijon in November 2021.
As the JEA of November 25-26, 2022 approaches, the readers’ association shares with you this testimony written less than a year ago, bearing in mind that a lot has happened during over the past ten months.
GUARANTEES TO APPLY A SAVING DIFFERENTLY
In Dijon, a central meeting of expression for the solidarity economy returned at the end of November 2021. The sixth edition of the Days of the economy otherwise, organized by the journal Alternatives Economiques, had a strong character, on several items . The flaws in a certain system eventually put it to the test of its own consequences. Among them, predictable creaks. With the Presidential which begins, the days of the Economy differently also had to document the public debate by illustrating it with examples. To do so, the two days saw 200 speakers cross a rather broad spectrum of fields, where a plethora of exchanges took place in different forms. It was a question of nourishing the field of possibilities by looking at how to open up new economic prospects. During the closing plenary, Camille Dorival, the new coordinator of the Days, even congratulated herself on the plurality of economic thought, which was erected against the relationship between dominant and dominated. Thus it is necessary to rebel against the vertical power sold even in the lessons on the economy with high school students. A power which, willy-nilly, tends to condition democracy itself. The days of the Economy differently motivate the consumer to conscious involvement. The challenges, after a taste of incomplete left by the COP-26, have the cursors slipped on a state emergency. It is also time to place the solidarity economy in the recovery plan. The latter is also shaped by trades that are not well known and whose innovations are based on a hybrid economic model. Particularly territorial, as the pandemic of a zoonosis can make it emerge. But this type of economy is also intended to make it possible to dispense with subsidies. It consists in establishing virtuous cooperatives which ordinarily do not work together. The spirit anchored in what inspired the late Philippe Frémeaux, the initiator of the Days of the Economy differently, – who died last August, the organizers are driven by the social and solidarity economy of tomorrow. In order to make it coherent, it suggests rethinking cities; rebuild a world by integrating the local. In addition, this economy will have to get us out of the health crisis from above. Nor can it be achieved without ecology. So many challenges for the future, and the future has already begun… The frenzied disruptions force us to have a vision that seems short-termist, assigning the future to an immediate panic. So the Days of the Economy differently explore the most sustainable avenues. And this year the backdrop was the approach of a major election in the troubles of a fragmented political environment. Yet the notion of union surfaces on everyone’s lips, with a nuance of sincerity in the wishes, but the latter remains an insoluble question. Fred D Rico
ANCHORING LOCAL INITIATIVES TO REINVENT A DIFFERENT ECONOMY
The social and solidarity economy must face a socio-territorial fracture. And the climate emergency raises a problem requiring the use of short circuits. Which even economically are interesting, because it means that less intermediary equals less actors. The Different Economy Days of November 26 and 27, 2021 in Dijon, tried to put to music the observations in perspective of a horizon rather than a prayer. The disciplines questioned by the event in Burgundy show that the territory is an appropriate key to all the gateways to the social and solidarity economy (ESS). This is particularly the case with health, where Covid-19 will have incidentally shed light on avoidable errors, such as having let the drug become an ordinary product. We have indeed passively watched its production being relocated. “The ESS has a role to play, it is a central player in restoring health sovereignty”, assured François Dechy during a round table during the Days. The mayor of Romainville, a town of 8,200 inhabitants in Seine-Saint-Denis, who therefore responded to the event, set up a working group near his home bringing together the communities in order to relocate the drug. The goal is to fight against the commodification of a sometimes vital product. Also, when we talk about territory, we cannot rethink cities without taking care of housing. A niche around which the national movement Habitat and Humanism makes integration and social ties gravitate. In particular, as in Dijon, it creates intergenerational residences at low prices, financed by direct and conscious investments in tripartite: benevolent private funders, communities, and associations. The movement can rely on its eight or so structures labeled AIVS (Real Estate Agencies à Vocation Sociale) who collectively manage private and public properties. But also on own property acquired, offered for rent to people/families with frugal incomes. These residences make it possible to germinate structural associations which integrate the movement. Moreover, their number has increased by thirty percent in 2020. The development of Habitat et Humanité could be an approach to what Charles Fourier (the philosopher and economist of the 19th century) called guaranteedism. That is to say, to provide the guarantee of a lasting pleasant life in a habitat worthy of the name. But it is a triptych. So guaranteeism is only complete if we add to it the obtaining of an attractive job. So both paid at fair value and pleasing to the worker. This battery of essentials seems reserved for a segment of the population. Through the crisis of a model – not to be confused with a system – the alternatives are thrown into the utopia box. During the Different Economy Days, a conference questioned the way in which this very Western concept (utopia) could itself be an alternative that would change the world. It is already a prism that skews the gaze cast on India or Africa. The latter cultivate different and undoubtedly less down-to-earth philosophies. Let us also remember that, for example, ecology is not a belief. it puts the economy and society in orbit around the environment. Project leaders try to get utopia out of the definition that absolves it from reality. They fabricate a “concrete utopia”, a kind of oxymoron in a place that does not exist with idealistic conceptions that they try to make tangible. Evoking experience, the conference acted as a tutorial of the possible, with a channel on the symmetrical and opposite path of a systemic dystopia. What if before changing the world, utopia was a concept of resistance that would avoid being caught up in a breathless model? Fred D Rico