A continuing campaign of public education about ESSE (a social and ecological economy that shows solidarity)


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About the project Edit

This dominant economic model is mainly responsible for the multiple crises we face, which is why it should change gradually.

The purpose of the project is to boost the development of ESSE by creating conditions for strong growth for everyone everywhere; disseminating widely the existing alternatives and promoting the development of new local initiatives. The objective being that ESSE increases its GDP from 8% to 35% by 2020.

To achieve this, it is expected to create a network in the national territory of “ESSE Houses” on a geographical scale modeled on the proximity to the districts. They will each host a qualified and paid leader, supported by a local association of individuals and organizations that share the responsibilities. This national network made up of nearly 4000 houses will share methodology, tools, experience and expertise.

In support of this network of houses, a toolbox will be offered with these 3 main components:
- A monthly newspaper for the general public, printed in large numbers (ex. 300,000) and sold for a low price (20 cents), modelled on the journal “L’âge de faire” achieved with the cooperation of citizens and resold at cost price. A website will supplement the newspaper and provide interactivity with the readers.
- A local, popular and interactive website for “everybody”, with the aim that it would be known by all “equipped” residents and read regularly within two years of being created.
- A set of visual images, which can be easily identified nationwide.

The project is not meant to replace what already exists at different geographical levels, but to fill missing links that will allow it to multiply initiatives by developing the dormant potential. Knowing is not the same as taking action: we plan measures to encourage participation, debates, meetings, film screenings, calls to participate, online forums, etc.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

This is about giving rise to vital changes in our behaviour and lifestyles within a reasonable time frame, making them compatible again with the finiteness of the planet.

The ESSE plan specifically addresses the root of evil - ultra-liberal capitalism - by replacing it gradually with a known and proven alternative: ESS (a social economy that shows solidarity). But in order to do that, it needs to resolve a recurring problem that has been marginalizing activist initiatives for many years - the divide between activists across the world and general public. The new economy cannot grow strong without being well known, recognized and desired by a large number of people. A continuing campaign of public education about ESSE is the answer.

In order for the ESSE plan to be successful without large financial resources, we have created ALLIESSE - a group of associations representing the diversity of sensitivities (environmental, humanitarian, charitable, civic, etc.), which are expected to share their projects within their ranks. This indispensable challenge to the success of the project is innovative because it goes against ideological divisions.

Methodological rigor and excellent money value for the tools chosen, local financing for each house, citizens being mainly responsible for innovating and adding realism to the project.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

It could be significant. The ESSE plan should demonstrate that, unlike capitalist paradigms, the values on which ESSE is based resonate with many human aspirations and social behaviour, which is still present, especially in the lower classes.
As Paolo Freire wrote, “Meeting economic needs seems to be less the purpose of self-management than supporting a liberating education.”

The ESSE houses, reception areas in proximity of the people will also want to encourage all initiatives for empowerment and human development. In addition to taking the matter into their own hands by recovering the economy, citizens will see a greater number of opportunities and venues for expression.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

ESSE is not a large project but rather an agglomeration of 4000 small projects. This is why the efforts to carry it out are so widely distributed. The activists know the tasks that need to be completed locally and everything will be done to make their work easier.

As stated above, the condition for success is to be known at a lower cost. The smooth functioning of ALLIESSE (alliance for ESSE) is a major asset. Each member of the alliance is simply asked to invite their members, employees and readers to participate in the project, that is to say to make them want to participate in creating “their house”.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

“The advent of a new world where money no longer reigns supreme.” This project led by Alain Duez, founder of the newspaper ''L'âge de faire”, is based on an alarming fact: we are now facing an enormous challenge, probably the worst the world has ever seen, and unless something changes radically in the way we live, the risk we will face is inhabitability of the planet and our own demise within the next two centuries, perhaps less in the event of a runaway global warming and climate changes that would follow.

Now it is up to us to counter that threat since it is our way of life, conditioned by an outrageous consumption, which are the cause. Our livelihood depends on an economic model, which in order to continue at all odds, threatens growth, unemployment and crises to blackmail us... According to Mrs.Thatcher, “There is no alternative.”

Yet it exists, though still marginal: the social economy has the qualities necessary to ensure a smooth and progressive transition from our unjust and destructive economic system.

In times of doubt against the backdrop of a financial crisis, introducing to as many people as possible this promising reality and creating conditions for extensive development seems to be an opportunity for us to seize and a prerequisite for realizing that a different world is indeed possible.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Approximately € 3,000 monthly are needed to operate each House and it should be collected locally. After the demonstration period (of one year), it will clearly require citizen co-financing given that the expected transitions will benefit the population: quality of life, better quality and price of purchases... these small gifts will be tax deductible.
Other sources of funding are available: Payments from services provided to represent partner organizations. The companies created with the help of the association will pay a percentage of their sales in compensation for the service.

The newspaper will, on the other hand, be financed by readers unless the cooperative decides to make a donation. Ten thousand people willing to spend € 6 per month to receive 30 newspapers in their neighbourhood will be required.

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