Socama, a project on cooperation and mutual aid

Socama, a project on cooperation and mutual aid

Thanks to our german berliner partner EYFA we host an international exchange based on cooperatives and mutual aid project: Socama.

The meeting will last 7 days. We kick-off on the 5th of October and finish on 11th October

The need for this coming together emerged out of many discussions in our network and with our friends about the dominant topic of labour work. The current politicial and economical situation we are facing all over Europe makes it necessary to implement community-based alternatives. Over the course of a whole week we will be digging into the alternatives to the pressing neoliberal labour market concepts which we see around us. We want more cooperatives and mutual-aid spaces and we want them to flourish in the grey concrete landscape of precarious underemployment, badly paid minijobs, occasional freelance gigs and unpaid internships! 
We want all kinds of grassroots activists to be able to sustain their livelihoods without having to face increasingly harsh workplace exploitation. We want there to be more community-based mutual aid spaces where activists can support each other in a solidarity-based way and work together to build more sustainable, ecologically and interpersonally, work structures. There are already quite a lot of cooperative work models being experimented with throughout Europe, in places like Catalunya and Greece where they have played a radical role in sustaining communities that have fallen victim to the collapse of the welfare state, as well as in Great Britain and Germany where these cooperatives serve as important participatory models countering the harsh combination of austerity and corporate take-over and gentrification of urban life. We want to also learn from them and exchange more to deepen our understanding of different alternative methods.
This international activists meeting will combine participatory workshops with discussion panels to generate collective knowledge on participatory alternatives to the existing, neoliberal working models.Main aim:
Encourage/support the creation of alternative, self-organized work structures like cooperatives and mutual-aid spaces.Objectives:
a) Build competencies to access alternative socially and environmentally sustainable self-organized work.
b) Support youth in cooperatives in different European countries to identify common challenges and to expand their networks.

Here is the list of the collectives that are coming to Socama to share their contexts, experiences, and knowledge:
 
Radical Theory & Practice – RTP (Belarus/Russia) is a cooperative with aim to make accessible alternative political ideas and opinions on social order, first of all by publishing foreign books, that hadn’t been published in Russian. They want to practice ideas of cooperation, to do what they like and what is significant for their community, keeping to principles of equality and justice.
 
Listovka (Minsk, Belarus) is a workers cooperative with focus on anarchist principals giving support to social projects and spread ideas of horizontal manufacturing. They do digital printing, post-print services and some design. Besides print orders they organize educational events where they propagate the ideas of cooperation and horizontal organization.  They try to practise environmentally responsible manufacturing trough using environmental friendly recycled paper and reusing.
 
Pagani Libre Free Pages (Cluj-Bucharest, Romania) is an anarchist publishing collective. Their goal is to publish books, brochures, fanzines etc. in Romanian, and sometimes in other languages as well, with the aim of popularizing and inspiring alternative visions and practices to the current capitalist and authoritarian system. So far they tried to cover many themes like: from political, ideological or historical books to prose, poetry, essays and do it yourself manuals.
 
A-casa (Cluj, Romania) is an anti-authoritarian, non-hierarchical, self-organized group. They have a common space that support itself through voluntary donations and activities. Among other things their main activities are: maintaining free shop, gardening, brewing beer, making homemade bread, supporting other initiatives through mobile kitchen, infrastructure and logistics and simultaneous interpretation.
 
Integral Catalana (Barcelona, Catalana) is a tool to create a grassroots counter-power departing from self-management, self-organization and direct democracy, and one that would help overcome the actual state of dependency on the structures of the system, towards a scenario of liberty full awareness, free of authority, and in which everyone could flourish under equal conditions and opportunities.
 
Oktobar (Belgrade, Serbia) is a social center with aim to to create cultural, social and political space for radical left ideas. Oktobar represents as well a base dedicated to development of anticapitalist, feminist, antifascist and other progressive ideas and practises. Among other things they organize discussions, projections, exhibitions and benefit parties on the topics of LGBT rights, marginalized groups, migrant rights, animal rights, etc.
 
Lokal (Warsaw, Poland): is a collectively run vegan bistro with a strict anarchist way of organising and non-hierarchical modern practices of self organising. By serving vegan food, they strive to be ethical and political through their intervention in one of the most important everyday consumer decisions concerning impact into global warming, land grabbing, working conditions and animals exploitation.
 
Becollective (Crete, Greece): Becollective wants to become a network under which various agricultural projects will take place and evolve, in purpose to distribute their products self-organized (without merchants and middlemen) among similar-minded projects. Fundamental conditions for this is that all products are a result of labor that respects and doesn’t pollute the environment and the people involved, cooperate freely and equally, without boss-worker relationship. Feminists ideas are also very important for them – they are fighting for the fair price and salaries in textile industry in which women are engaged mostly. 
 
ReSew (Ukraine): ReSew is a sewing cooperative working as horizontal economic structure that is trying to involve ecological and feminists ideas in to production of clothes and other textile products trough using up-cycling principles, and working without bosses. Besides work they are holding public events (workshops, lectures and discussions) and provide workshops for events of friendly initiatives they want to support.
 
Shvemy (Russia) is sewing, they use clothes and textiles as a medium for spreading their ideas. Aims of the project: working out a model of non-hierarchical company with possibilities for all members for unalienated labor; to find out will it be possible for such company to survive inside the existing system of capitalistic economic relationships and open market which is usually dealing with either cheap goods or famous brands products. Important principles for us are equal involvement of each participant; supporting of friendly initiatives; participating in activists and artistic life of city, country, world.
 
Dr. Pogo Veganladen (Berlin, Germany) is a collective self-administrated shop that sells exclusively vegan products.  They consciously do without formal hierarchies (no bosses, no employees or temporary employees) and all work for the same wage. The collective does not consider the store as their property, rather they see themselves as stewards of the shop – as part of the vegan community of Berlin.
 
Hacklab (Belgrade, Serbia) is a horizontally organized informal collective with the dedication to provide an alternative self-managed educational space. Beside standard programming courses open and free for everyone, they organize workshops/events at the intersection between various salient social issues and technology, and they provide infrastructure and support for other groups with progressive goals.
 
Novi Sad print shop (Novi Sad, Serbia) is a emerging collective that still doesn’t have a proper name. It gathers left oriented people with interests in publishing, graphic design and printing. Aim is to make a print shop with own publishing operation and to work with existing small publishers in the region.
 
FairCoop is a global movement that aims to build an alternative society based on solidarity, equity, ecological and social responsibility. It does so by developing various tools that are used on both local and global level, one of them being an alternative cryptocurrency called FairCoin that enables individuals and groups to collaborate on changing the society without having to rely on centralised, power-controlled fiat money. FairCoin is in the hands of the community that works on the following principles: integral revolution, P2P collaboration and hacker ethics.
 
Mishikamano (Milan, Italy) is a collective formed by asylum seekers. They are cooking traditional food from from places they are coming from fusion with the Italian cuisine. They are located in the squat Remake.
 
Taverna Sociale (Milan, Italy) is a cantina that cooks nice food everyday for cheap price. They are located in squatted social center Cantiere. It is run by SMS comrades.
 
Rimaflow (Milan, Italy) squatted factory in the outskirts of Milan. They recycle technical components that they buy from other industries. 
 
Don Durito Bookshop (Milan, Italy) sells books of independent labels in Cantiere, squatted political autonomous center. 
 
EYFA (Berlin, Germany) is a horizontally organized collective that supports a wider network of individuals, grassroots organisations and collectives working to transform local and international communities in their approach to environmental, social, and economic justice. EYFA offers this support through organising exchanges, seminars, trainings, network gatherings, projects and actions, as well as assisting with fundraising, application writing, planning and implementing projects and networking.

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