“We can be carriers of the new economy”

Jerome Saddie President ESS France

It’s hard to get your voice heard in this atypical campaign. The Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS) is experiencing this. ESS France, its spokesperson for the general public and institutions, has just published an appeal to candidates in the presidential elections calling “promoting the conversion of the economy towards SSE”. If society strives for more democracy in an economy that combines ecological and social transition, then 165,000 associations, cooperatives, mutual societies, foundations and social enterprises with their 2.4 million employees and 22 million volunteers are vying for a major role in the next five years. -year period. Jérôme Saddieu (1) explains which one.

How do you rate these five years?

The results are far from 100% positive. I think, for example, about the recovery plan. However, this five-year term ends without much trouble for either the majority or the outgoing government. Because, after all, we had to deal with trustworthy interlocutors.

You call for “facilitating the transition of the economy to SES.” What do you mean ?

In preparing the recovery plan, we called for a real planning effort so that the model could change. The pandemic and war in Ukraine are causing severe economic and social trends that require profound changes in the economy and business. The latter can no longer remain in their current mode of operation based solely on ownership and competition. They should be based on the people who make them up. Our organizations are democratic. Therefore, we propose to create a fund to transform profitable private companies into a social and solidarity economy. The recovery plan is what it is: it does not require any transformation effort. The government could count on the ESS to be the operator of this new economy. We adhere to the mainstream discourse for which there is only one form of business, the form of capital, supported by most ideologists who tell us that non-profit activities are inefficient. It’s time to change the tune.

The transformation of the economy was precisely one of the goals of the 2019 pact law passed by Bruno Le Maire, specifically with the creation of companies with a mission? Do we need a superpact law?

We have to go much further, diving into the essence of how companies operate. The latter face increasingly controversial injunctions. They must be profitable, demonstrate demanding social dialogue, go beyond labor laws to treat their employees better, offer meaning to attract young people in particular, be transparent to customers and consumers, act as a responsible player in relation to the territory, where they work and be concerned about its impact on the environment. Non-profit organizations like ours are best placed to meet these challenges.

Are you able to carry out this claim in the presidential campaign?

Aside from payroll issues, which we have a lot to argue about, especially those who were called first and second line during the pandemic, what we have to protect is not striking. We remain confident, because the spirit of the times is blowing in our direction. Our fellow citizens know that we will have to invest in environmental and social transition. But not in any case. On the other hand, new relationships at work, a balance between personal and professional life are also favorable for us, as well as reflections on the evolution of companies. Civil society is ahead in these matters. We present initiatives that abound in the territories. These themes should be more pronounced in the course of the legislative campaign.

Does ESS support the candidate?

We do not give voting instructions. The SSE is very diverse and covers a very wide political spectrum. This does not mean that the SSE is apolitical. This movement is political. I call on his organization to reclaim that role. On the other hand, we are very clear about the far-right candidates presented by Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, whom we did not invite to our work. The application of their program would require us to depart from constitutional principles that have gained freedom.

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