Last August, I had the opportunity to participate in the second gathering for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy hold in Puebla, Mexico. In this short article, I would like to share an overview of the campaign and some of the results from the second gathering.
The campaign for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy (GCSSE) is an initiative started in October 2016 by some Social Solidarity Economy collectives in the global South. Currently, 19 countries are represented, where CCEDNet is the only organization from Canada.
At the GCSSE campaign, we describe the current dominant economic system as an intersection between capitalism, colonialism and, patriarchy. Therefore, the GCSSE proposes a decolonizing, intercultural education that contributes to the creation of an alternative economy.
Some of the objectives of the campaign for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy is to create a dialogue of knowledges between the social solidarity economy movement, the academia, and the diversity of knowledges that may have been hidden by the current economic system. Also, the GCSSE aims to influence the way SSE is thought in different learning settings (i.e., Universities, schools, co-ops, among others). In the medium term, the GCSSE seeks to promote the creation of public policies for Social Solidarity Economy education.
The campaign proposes a set of values that are the basis of the social solidarity economy. These values are solidarity, democratic decision-making, collectivity, equity, diversity, social and environmental justice. We believe that the Social Solidarity Economy initiatives contribute to the eradication of material and spiritual poverty, inequality and, climate change. To overcome the challenges, the GCSEE is building bridges between the social solidarity economy movement and academia. Consequently, both parts can work together and facilitate a dialogue of knowledges, in which humbly, we all learn from each other.
I would like to note that for the GCSSE a curriculum is broader than a set of suggested courses. We believe education is the basis of life and that there are valuable learning experiences in the praxis of the social solidarity economy. Based on popular education principles, learning experiences exist in the praxis of ethical consumption, in collective decision-making processes, in the equal distribution of profits, in gender equity strategies, and the battle against colonialism, among others. In this sense, the GCSSE acknowledges the plurality of wisdoms and knowledges, including but not limited to indigenous nations and farmers, and their epistemologies.
The GCSSE is carried out thanks to the inputs of different people who in different roles are working on the construction of an alternative economy and a possible world. It includes activists, scholars, environmentalist, indigenous peoples, among others. Also, the GCSSE is coordinated by a multi-coordination team from different countries, who on a volunteering basis, promote the exchange and debate about SSE education.
The activities of the GCSSE campaign have been carried in virtual meetings, and in two physical gatherings. The first one was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last March. And the second one, was in Puebla, Mexico last August. I had the opportunity to attend the latter celebrated in Puebla as CCEDNet representative.
The GCSSE campaign gathering in Puebla was part of the First International Conference on Cooperatives and Social Solidarity Economy. The conference was organized by the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) and the Red Nacional de Investigadores y Educadores en Cooperativismo y Economía Solidaria (REDCOOP).
So far, the campaign has articulated a draft of a set of principles for the Social Solidarity Economy education. The GCSSE campaign is, same as is the social solidarity economy, a work in progress. Thus, during one of the activities in Puebla, we handed participants a draft of the principles and asked them to provide their comments. By using some popular education tools, we received fascinating feedback from the participants.
Mainly, participants proposed that research in SSE should be the result of a dialogue knowledges between researchers and the SSE movement. This dialogue needs to be done as equal peers. In this sense, participants mentioned the need to take the academia outside universities. They would like to see researchers working with them, in their land.
Some SSE movement participants urged researchers to be brave and get involved in their battles for social justice. They noted that in the Global South, SSE movements touches other social movements such as land, water, culture defense, that could have threatening consequences for their lives, and support from the academia would be much appreciated.
They also remarked that researchers are not doing enough by documenting SSE experiences, and they would like researchers to focus on practical results that could strengthen their SSE practices. They are demanding researchers be coherent with SSE values such as solidarity, collectivity, equity, diversity, social and environmental justice. In this sense, they expect researchers to invest time, and not only money, in the construction of the Social Solidarity Movement.
Also, they noted the use of academic language in the redaction of the principles, as well as, in most of the publications. Academic language creates a disconnection between researchers and SSE movement and hinders the construction of bridges between these two worlds.
Regarding the principles, they recommended using a decolonialized and more accessible language. For example, they urged to stop talking about development, poverty, but rather use el buen vivir, sustainability of life, caring, among other post-colonial wording. Moreover, participants suggested to include a definition of the SSE in the campaign, and to be explicit about being an inclusive non-colonial, non-patriarchal and, anti-capitalist economy. By doing so, it is aimed that other social movements will identify with the campaign.
Currently, the multi-coordination group is reviewing the GCSSE campaign’s principles to include all the feedback collected in Puebla. In the following weeks, the GCSSE campaign’s will share the reviewed version of the principles through its webpage (see more: http://curriculumglobaleconomiasolidaria.com/english/letter-of-principles/).
In Puebla, the GCSSE campaign announced the creation of a global map that comprises SSE educational initiatives carried out in formal and non-formal settings around the world. This initiative is being done through the GCSSE webpage, and all of you are invited to send your SSE learning experiences. In the following weeks, a first version of the global map will be share to the public.
Also, in the past months, the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) have joined the GCSSE campaign. We believe that RIPESS liaison will strengthen both organizations and the purse of a decolonizing, intercultural SSE education.
In sum, the gathering in Puebla was a great opportunity to meet in person with the people I have been working with in the past year. Also, it gave me the opportunity to actively listen to the recommendations of all the participants from diverse backgrounds and enrich the Campaign for a Global Curriculum of the Social Solidarity Economy.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Campaign