SoliOli was a response of solidarity to the people in Greece facing a major crisis. The concrete starting point was the Congress Solidarity Economy (Solikon) 2015 in Berlin. We import olive oil from two Greek cooperatives (Greenland and Modousa) – to Germany: in the past year 8.600 litres. But the main success is that solidarity grows – economically and between people and persons.
FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF SELF-ORGANISATION AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NETWORKS OF COOPERATION IN EUROPE
Many people in Greece responded in recent years to growing supply problems and high unemployment by setting up self-help initiatives and various consumer and production cooperatives. Agricultural projects, for example, sell their food products directly to consumers without intermediaries, which benefits both sides. We see these and similar processes of mutual help and self-empowerment as crucial for social changes from which we can learn. By networking and supporting such initiatives a small but important sign can be set against the prevailing policy of the European Union, which tends to play people off against each other “from above” and divides them.
PROMOTING PROJECTS OF THE SOCIAL SOLIDARITY ECONOMY
We provide high-quality food at fair prices for both producers and consumers. The direct import and purchase of olives (oil) from small Greek cooperatives is a modest step and a practical starting point with which we can strengthen solidarity-based forms of work and management. The proceeds (30 percent of the producer price) are used to support selected social and political projects such as self-help initiatives for the unemployed or projects of and for refugees in Greece. In the meantime, we have visited the producer cooperatives and invited members of them to come to Berlin. We organize various events, where we discuss how to expand these small steps together. The main question is: How can solidarity-based economic activities – in the sense of collectivity, self-management, environmental awareness, the common good and fair trade – gain in importance not only in theory but also in practice?