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Solidarity-Based Economies (ES)

 

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Leaders and Activists in Brasilia for National Conference

16/07/2010: Brazil

From June 16 to 18, the Second National Conference on Solidarity-Based Economies (CONAES) took place in Brasilia. There were 1600 committed representatives in attendance accompanied by two hundred invited guests. The participants came from all of Brazil and they joined forces in the federal capital. The goal of the meeting was to draw up proposals for public policy regarding ES. Several leaders were present at the opening ceremony, among whom was the representative of the FMS Province of Brazil Centro-Norte, Brother Vincente Falqueto, director of the Marist Institute for Solidarity (IMF).

In his comments, Vicente underlined that one must consolidate and put into practice public policies that are in accord with a Solidarity-Based Economy. He emphasized the importance of the right to work in associations. He said, “This is a chance for Brazil to show the world a different kind of economy.” In Falqueto’s view the worker can be free; lasting development must guarantee to individuals this type of productivity, so that they will respect the environment and enjoy a good quality of life as individuals and as families. Vicente alluded to other needed steps: “We desire more than a mere office. We envision a ministry dedicated entirely to the principle of Solidarity-Based Economies.” The comment provoked sustained applause from the public.

Another important moment occurred at the opening conference, on « the right to produce and to live in a spirit of ongoing cooperation.” Among those in attendance was Doctor Ladislau Dowbor from São Paolo’s Catholic Pontifical University, Senator Cristovam Buarque (PDT-DF) and Paul Singer, National Secretary for Solidarity-Based Economies.

Ladislau Dowbor presented a list of « commandments » which in his view have already been attempted in various parts of the world. He believes that clearer ideas are a must if one wishes to build another type of planetary governance.

1. You shall not pay off the people’s representatives - that is, find once again the public dimension of the State.
2. You shall not engage in fraudulent accounting - the accounts must reflect the relevant goals.
3. You shall not condemn your neighbor to a life of misery - some things must be within the reach of all.
4. You shall not deprive people of the right to earn their bread - to guarantee to all the right to work is a viable proposition.
5. You shall not work more than forty hours - we can work less so that all may work. We should have time to do more interesting things in our lives.
6. You shall not live for money - changes in behavior, in one’s way of living, is not a sacrifice but a return to common sense.
7. You shall not make money with the money of other people - rationalize the system of mid-level financial managers: it’s do-able.
8. You shall not restrain good initiatives - the philosophy of public taxes, of debt ought to be revised.
9. You shall not deprive your neighbor of the right to education - it makes no sense to block access to knowledge and to contemporary technologies
10. You shall not monitor what your neighbor wishes to say - to “democratize” communica-tion has become essential.

Senator Cristovam Buarque spoke out strongly in favor of an educational system equal for all. He feels that we must put an end to school inequalities: “Brazil will be in the vanguard when the poor and the rich will have access to the same levels of education.” Cristovam stressed as well that education is at the basis of Solidarity-Based Economies.

Highly praised and extensively applauded, the economist Paul Singer recalled that the Federal Constitution grants liberty to the human person, but in practice the right is denied, especially among the country’s poor. For Singer, unemployment is the worst punishment a worker can suffer; this is because, besides the need for income, the worker also needs dignity. Paul Singer encouraged those present to enter steadfastly into the actions promoted by CONADES II, so that the consequences of the gathering may be truly creative of a Solidarity-Based Economy.

Close to 2000 participants of CONAES II took part in a procession to the National Congress. A team of one hundred people representing all parts of Brazil, took part in a public meeting with the deputies of “Frente Parlamentar de Economia Solidária.” The meeting was held in order to present a plan for the creation of a legal structure for Solidarity-Based Economies.

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