June 10-12, 2003
Barcelona workshop on strategies of change

Challenges and implementation of strategies of change and action by citizens alliances: A workshop of reflection organised next June 10/11 and 12, in Barcelona,

The WSES is organizing a workshop "Challenges and implementation of strategies of change and action by citizens alliances", next June 10/11 and 12, in Barcelona. This workshop is the result of the decision taken during the meeting of the WSSE in Porto Alegre (see message of Feb.2, 2003), we will attempt to answer the different questions raised at the time of this meeting, that turn around three main lines:

  • Links with the social movements and the networks of action
  • Cross-cutting strategy and complementarity between the workshops
  • Plural participation

The need for a strategical reflection on the Alliance dynamics

Those among us, who have participated of some international events, as for instance, the World or Continental Social Forums, could notice that the Alliance starts to be seen simultaneously as an important means for proposals, cohesion, coherence and global view. The Alliance has not always been seen like this - some even regret this lack of view - but frequently it was acknowledged by moderators and participants of different workgroups, who were present, as an opportunity of establishing theoretical perspectives, collective work articulation, organization, synthesis, as well as of articulation between the thematic workgroups.

We think that this is a result from the Alliance action itself: debates on the great society challenges, dialogues among different actors, contextualization in a global perspective, the transversal approach among themes, means and territories, etc. Everything is a unique contribution for the construction of a citizen attitude.

But the effectiveness of the Alliance action, within its intellectual and strategical support to networks and movements, the quality and value given to the proposals created in this space, the possibilities of concretion of these proposals, imply in a need for a collective reflection on the strategies to be established.

A parallel reflection of the Workgroup on the SocioEconomy of Solidarity (WSSE)

These same contestations have been made by the WSSE. The solidarity economy and its different families start to emerge - it is true, that they are still very timid - as the anticipation of a more human way. Solidarity economy networks are being created everywhere in the world and, because of this, the Solidarity Economy has become one of the important themes of the World Social Forum and of other international events. Moderators or participants of the socio-economy workgroups of the Alliance are present in some of the steps of this process.

But some questions arise from this finding. Like the ones manifested in the meeting made by the WSSE in Porto Alegre, on the 23rd of January of the current year, with the presence of a good number of moderators and active participants of the workgroups at the III World Social Forum. At all, there were 38 participants.

  • Renewed workgroups on Solidarity Finance, Social Money, Fair Trade / Ethical Consumption, International Trade, Ecological Debt and Environmental Justice, Women and Economy;
  • From 7 new workgroups: View, Indicators, Integrated Projects, Pedagogical Tools, Regulations, State / Economy / Territory, Social Responsibility.

The essential of the meeting was the identification of the most important issues that appear in the strategy and in the future activities; the limited time allows only identifying the issues, their explicitness and their grouping around some basic axis: How does the interaction of the Alliance dynamics with the social movements can be constructive? What are the concrete strategies for the execution of the work transverseness within the Workgroup and the Alliance core? How can we strengthen the participation plurality and balance in the workgroups?

Three days of strategical reflection

It is with the intention of answering these different questions that the WSSE has decided to organize three days of strategical reflection, with participants that know the WSSE dynamics, and participants from other Thematic Workgroups and Colleges of the Alliance, that had been identified as being close to the WSSE in terms of proposals. At all, 16 participants from the WSSE with representatives from all the workgroups within their possibilities, (one person can represent more than a workgroup) and from 9 people from other Thematic Workgroups or Colleges of the Alliance.


There will be previous exchanges through a mailing list. On site, the work will be developed in sub-groups, which will work on the answers to these questions, starting from concrete cases, concerning the workgroups that are present, in order to find lessons and behaviors for the future.

The guests will contribute with a text with one or more pages, telling concrete experiences of: creation of links with the social movements, dynamics among the workgroups or with the other colleges, or still about how to manage the plural participation. For example, the Women and Economy workgroup could tell us the status of the relations with the Global Women March, and the possible perspectives for the future. These texts will circulate before the meeting, and they will be commented and worked again on site.

Main issues to be debated in the workshop on strategical reflection

Relations with the social movements and networks of action

  • How do we define the strategical objectives of the Alliance in terms of activity, and not in terms of thematic challenges?
  • How can we compare them to other networks gathered around the work process, to nets as ATTAC, to social movements, to the Social Forums?
  • How can we make a linking between the strategical challenges and their practical application: barriers, oppositions, role of the actors, ways of action (innovation, confrontation, pedagogy…), concrete strategies of change, geocultural priorities.
  • How to translate the proposals into concrete strategies of change and local action?
  • How do we interact with the social and citizen movements, with the action networks? How do we create partnership with them? This issue is crucial to value and to justify all our work.
  • How to bring the horizontal global view (thematic) and the vertical one (from the local to global) that is one of the specifications of the Alliance?
  • How to maintain a global coherence of the set of the proposals?
  • How do the construction strategies meet the opposition strategies? (for example: the solidarity economy and the movements against the capitalist globalization)
  • Which understanding do we have about the alternative proposals of the other movements? How do we relate these proposals with ours?
  • How do we create a debate with the different socio-professionals means?
  • Which is our strategy to support the social forums?
  • How can we build common projects, starting from workgroups? How to perform an operating action, to promote an idea? Which are the limits of a movement?

Crosscutting strategy and complementarity of the workgroups

  • How does the workgroup operation allows a global approach of the Alliance?
  • What are the concrete and precise mechanisms to ensure the transverseness and complementariness of the workgroups?
  • How are we going to organize the collective work among the involved workgroups concerning the new workgroups (frequently more transversal)?
  • Which is the relation to be established between the old and new workgroups? Did any of the old workgroups already have a strong transversal dimension? How are the new workgroups going to take into account the legacies of the old ones? How are the old workgroups going to integrate to the work of the new ones?
  • How can we distribute the work among the workgroups? Some themes can be dealt by several workgroups.
  • How to manage the positioning among the different levels of the Alliance: workgroup, pole, Alliance? Some positions can deviate from the interests expressed by the proposals.

Plural participation

  • How to get a more intensive feminine participation?
  • How to balance the continental participation better: Africa, Asia, European East, North America…?
  • How to create local actors and include them in the reflection? (producers in the case of the Fair Trade, the public services in the case of indicators, for example)
  • How to improve the socio-professional plurality?
  • Why are some categories of participants not present?

Who will be coming from the WSES?

  • Nedda Angulo, Perou, workshop Women and Economy
  • Madeleine Hersent, France, workshop Women and Economy
  • Luis Hildalgo,Chili, workshop Work, Employment and Activities
  • Pierre Johnson, France, workshop Fair Trade
  • Aurélien Atidegla, Benin, workshop Ecosol
  • Arturo Palma Torres, Chile/France, workshop Fair Trade
  • Joseph Rocher, France, workshop International Trade
  • José Augusto Pádua, Brasil, workshop Ecological Debt, Environmental Justice and SD.
  • Morgane Iserte, France, workshop Solidarity Finance
  • Philippe Amouroux, France, WSSE global facilitation team, workshop Solidarity Finance
  • Marcos Arruda, Brasil, WSSE global facilitation team, workshop Vision of a SE
  • Laurent Fraisse, France, WSSE global facilitation team, workshop Indicators for a SE
  • Heloisa Primavera, Argentina, WSSE global facilitation team, workshop Social Money
  • Yoko Kitazawa, Japan, WSSE global facilitation team, workshop International Regulations
  • Oriol Alsina, France/Catalogne, Cofinancing Mission of the WSSE.
  • Françoise Wautiez, France, workshop Indicators for a SE, workshop Social Money

Who will be coming from other workshops and socioprofessionnal groups of the Alliance?

  • Nadia Aïssaoui, Algeria/Libanon, workshop Women/ Yin Yang
  • Laura Maffei, Argentina, workshop Education, Group Latin America
  • Gustavo Marin, France, FPH
  • Marti Olivella, Catalogne, Group Catalan
  • Paul Maquet, Perou, workshop Gestion of Territories
  • Adam Novak, Canada, Socioprofessional group Trade Unions
  • Hamilton Faria, Brésil, workshop Art and Society, Socioprofessional group Artists
  • Siddharta, Inde, Group of Bangalore, Socioprofessional group Journalists
  • Lidia Arteaga, Spain, APM