Cooperation Initiative for the Social and Solidarity Economy
PROSKALO is a non-profit civil society founded in
2011 in Thessaloniki,
PROSKALO works to promote social solidarity economy and direct democracy in various sectors and especially in commons like water, food, energy, waste menagement, education etc.
In 2012, PROSKALO created the: Consumer Social Cooperative of Thessaloniki "Βίος Coop" http://www.bioscoop.gr/
In 2013, PROSKALO created the People's University of Social Solidarity Economy, http://www.univsse.gr
Since 2011, PROSKALO participates to "Initiative 136", which works against water privatisation and for the cooperative management of the Thessaloniki water and sanitation, http://www.136.gr/
Since 2011, PROSKALO participates to "Initiative for the social management of waste", which works against waste management privatisation and for the social management of municipal waste (through cooperatives etc). http://diapor.blogspot.gr/
Since 2013, PROSKALO participates to "Open network for the direct distribution of products in Thessaloniki" (a network of 16 organizations), http://anoixtodiktio.gr/
Also, PROSKALO supports actively:
"Solidarity initiative for the VIOME self-management by the workers", http://www.viome.org/
"KOINO" - Thessaloniki Network for services and products exchange (without euro), http://koino.com.gr/component/content/frontpage
"Alternative Festival of Solidaristic and Cooperative Economy", http://www.festival4sce.org/index.php
DECLARATION OF PROSKALO
An unprecedented crisis is changing the world and shaking the world system.
After the collapse of the Soviet model, the view prevailed that there is no alternative to the capitalist model of production and economy. Trends of uncontrolled market operation generated crises, such as the one we are going through now.
The social impacts of the crisis set off by the capitalist model, are dramatic for the vast majority of global citizens, from huge social inequalities and widespread poverty in the 'metropoles'; food and health crises in the periphery (
Africa); to local wars and massive population movements
in search of a better life.
While the deteriorating social conditions accelerate, the environmental impacts of the capitalist model crisis are equally dramatic: crop intensification, food crises, increasing greenhouse effect and climate change, soil desertification, pollution, wastage of water resources and renewable natural resources (such as forests etc), depletion of non-renewable natural resources, and violent urbanization.
Technological innovations are driven by the greed of profit and domination, rather than by social and environmental criteria. Multinational companies and financial giants – instead of civil society and democratic processes, often not even democratically elected governments – set the tone.
Emerging economies such as
China, India, Russia,
are seeking power gains from the developed, global decision-makers, but upon
the same lines of the same failed model, sometimes with much greater
authoritarianism and restricted freedoms. Brazil
In this context the European Union and its conservative leaders in the majority of countries do not seem able to play the global role that would increase chances of recovering from the crisis.
The crisis in our country in particular has a universal character, by way of its economic, social, environmental, political, and ideological dimensions.
Our economy has entered a deep recession and a few positive predictions can not create optimism, since it looks bad today and the foreseeable future looks even worse.
Society is on the borderline between strength and ruptured ties. The majority is experiencing an unprecedented decline in the standard of living, while still having the belief that it is not responsible for the situation. The public and natural goods are at risk of being destroyed or sold. The only perspective shown is one that imposes and promotes the "Memorandum" and predicts a steady deterioration on all levels, such as the economic, social, environmental, political, and cultural level. Promises of 'exit' are becoming less credible , as well as progressing "specializations" and proposals for "renegotiation".
The situation can explode and/or lead to deadlock, if there is no conflict of reason, practice, perspective, and hope.
The Cooperation Initiative for the Social and Solidarity Economy aims to contribute to formulating a public discourse, and to activate a social act in the form of a social, environmental, political and ideological Action Plan that gives perspective and hope. This will lead us out of the crisis in a social and just way, because:
- On an economic level, it organizes the production and economy in a way that rejects the failed models of capitalism, and "non existed socialism", in combining collective ownership with incentives to individuals.
- On a social level, it advocates equality, social justice and solidarity, individual and collective freedoms.
- On an environmental level, it promotes environmentally friendly practices, and values for the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.
- On a political level, it combines representative with direct democracy and ensures the popular control in collective decision making.
- On a cultural level, it creates conditions for the personality to flourish in a way that allows change to the benefit of everyone.
In short, an Action Plan which aims to establish a comprehensive system of work, consumption and life that will lead to the social liberation of man on a sustainable planet.
The economic production model
By the experiences we have had it can be concluded that the alternative to the capitalist economic production model must combine successful collective ownership with incentives to individuals.
Is there such a model? If so, does it work in the capitalist framework? Can it be developed in a European country that is a member of the EU, which applies specific rules of economy, politics, and society?
THE ANSWER IS YES
Indeed there are many examples, but for our case we choose a detailed presentation, which has been tested in the EU. It has proven its value for those who participate and those who come in contact with the Social Solidarity Economy.
The selection and presentation is not to restore the battered concept of the cooperative in our country or to advertise a successful experiment realized elsewhere.
We select the model of Mondragon because:
- On the one hand, it represents a positive proposal for the establishment of a democratic community of workers. The republic is in this case a practical application. On the other hand, it is a system that works and this is a testament to the ability of human nature to manage complex social relations through democratic processes.
- Mondragon managed to generate wealth and jobs that have a positive effect both on the local as well as regional and national economy.
- This wealth creates equality and not inequality as we are used to in the dominant economic model. The first thing one notices, when visiting the communities of the valley, is the absence of class differences. The equality is expressed both in economic terms with the vast majority of the population belongs to the affluent middle class, and in social terms. At the dinner table, either within the company or outside, in groups, at cultural and sport events managers and workers come together. The crowd is scrambled, not differentiated.
- Mondragon upsets capitalist relationship between capital and labor. The model of Mondragon shows that jobs can be taken out of the hands of capital and proves that the model can manage itself – even in a capitalist environment – and more effectively than the capitalist venture.
- A humanistic culture is established, which – instead of stupefying – empowers workers. The members of the cooperative are citizens in a democratic community, with all the rights it enshrines. They are considering simultaneously as workers and entrepreneurs.
- Mondragon promotes social, humanitarian, democratic and environmentally friendly values.
- It is implementable by ourselves, not by some others. It is a way that we can walk to the local and regional level. Ourselves, without expecting others to save us!
The choice of Mondragon's model is in no way a rejection of many other efforts and examples that bloom in all continents and in the European Union itself. Our aim is to highlight, communicate, and connect these efforts is our aim, in order to convince our fellow citizens that "another way is possible".
HENCE WE CALL YOU TO DEFINE AND MARCH TOGETHER, HERE IN
THE CENTRAL MACEDONIA, THE NORTH GREECE, IN
WITH FAITH TO THE POTENTIAL OF THE WORLD OF WORK AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY.
Declaration of PROSKALO, June 2011