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New Abbé Pierre book – a wealth of ideas
As Abbé Pierre’s universal legatee, Emmaus International endeavours to keep the memory of Emmaus's founder alive. That’s why Jean Rousseau, Chair of Emmaus International, has compiled a book of fascinating political writings by Abbé Pierre, which has just been released. “Abbé Pierre is known for being a kind-hearted man, but we often don’t pay enough attention to his political writings, which are often very powerful and still relevant today”, explains Jean Rousseau.Pensées inédites pour un monde plus juste (previously unpublished ideas for a fairer world) is available in French in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. Interview with Jean Rousseau about the release of his book (in French only).  Details...

Perspectives on Emmaus International
The world council on political action and international solidarity (WCPAIS) met from 5 – 7 November 2014 in Montreuil (France). Discussions were wide-ranging and included talks from external speakers, namely Bernard Salamand, Chair of the Development Research and Information Centre (CRID) and Addie Stevenson, Emmaus Gloucestershire’s Chief Executive, who introduced the discussion with a debate on international solidarity. Gus Massiah, a member of the World Social Forum’s international committee, spoke about the vital campaigning role played by organisations and social movements.  Emmaus International must be a driving force, it must continue to challenge policy and attitudes and reflect on and implement alternatives that can be utilized to develop a powerful campaigning strategy.Addie Stevenson, Emmaus Gloucestershire Chief Executive, UKEmmaus Gloucestershire is located in Southern England and has been open for 20 years. The community has 33 companions living in four houses. 89% of the community’s funds come from selling recycled goods in their shops.“At Emmaus Gloucestershire we have a strong commitment to solidarity and meet each month to discuss activity and sharing of our money. We believe that it’s in serving others in greater need than ourselves that we grow as people and feel good about life. It’s fundamental to our community. We try to balance local, national and international solidarity. To understand the point of their work, the companions need to be able to see tangible results and it’s sometimes easier to identify with people who live in the same city or who speak the same language. But by going to communities in other countries, companions realise the importance of their action and are encouraged to work for international solidarity when they go back to their communities.In 2014, we decided to focus more on local solidarity – we distribute food and clothing to the homeless, and the community provides support for people in difficulty in the city.However, we’re also involved in international solidarity, as we support initiatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, and make beds available for migrants arriving from Calais.For me, what’s most important is sharing information between companions and communities in order to strengthen ties and raise awareness about solidarity between Emmaus organisations.”Bernard Salamand, Chair of the CRID in France, a collective bringing together some 50 international solidarity organisations.“International solidarity is contending with a context that has been developing very quickly since decolonization and the oil crisis; these developments are changing public opinion on the subject. The socio-economic crisis in the West is leading to greater suffering. It has two consequences: ‘the Other’ is seen as a threat, and it’s no longer regarded as positive to share wealth.Geographical location is vital when choosing solidarity initiatives in crisis periods: organisations are accused of working in faraway lands at a time when problems are closer to home. International solidarity is the international dimension of solidarity. It is not a separate act but instead is a variation of the act of solidarity. We need to ponder the rationale behind international solidarity. If the aim is to offer access to rights for all worldwide, cooperation-based approaches are more suited to achieving this than competitive approaches that distinguish a winner and a loser, the giver and the receiver. A cooperation-based approach requires links and solidarity.Emmaus International is ahead of other organisations: you boast experience that demonstrates that the different types of solidarity do not compete against each other. Working with one’s peers and an equal relationship between the donor and beneficiary are also a plus point in terms of mutual recognition.” Gus Massiah, member of the Attac-France advisory board and a member of the World Social Forum’s international committee.“First and foremost, when developing a campaigning strategy, there is a need to identify the situation in which the organisation finds itself. There is then a need to set long-term objectives and policy directions that define Emmaus’ identity. While we need to identify the causes of the issues in which Emmaus is actively involved, we also need to draw on the concrete situations addressed worldwide in order to avoid formulating a general discourse and losing touch with reality. Emmaus’ campaigning has therefore been developed by linking up immediate and long-term objectives. Helping the poor can therefore take the form of ad hoc support or eradicating poverty. There is a need to be able to think about both these concepts at the same time. Emmaus’ stance is legitimate because it draws on the organisation’s concrete initiatives and it is strong because it bases its stance on a constant yet evolving practice. The founder of the Italian communist party, the philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci, said that “the old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” This quote is relevant in the current context, as it means that we must simultaneously fight these monsters, build the new world and forge alliances so that we do not fight alone.”   Details...

Meeting at the European Parliament
Last May, Emmaus Europe met with European Parliament election candidates to address the breach of the rights of migrants and socially excluded groups in Europe.To continue with this dialogue, around 50 participants from 18 European Emmaus organisations met 12 members of the European Parliament on 26 November 2014 for a meeting organised by Emmaus Europe held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.The Emmaus organisations told the MEPs of their concerns about security-focused migration policies in Europe (Frontex agency), and about the future of the social economy. Further to this meeting, it’s expected that action will be taken.  Details...

Attack in Paris
 “Freedom can only be achieved through fraternity.” Abbé Pierre Following in the footsteps of their founder, the Emmaus movement is paying tribute to the cartoonists of weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and all the victims of the attack in Paris – champions of freedom and audacity. The movement stands in full solidarity with the relatives, colleagues and everyone who has been affected by this intolerable act of hatred.   Details...

International Migrants Day – the movement takes action
Up to 1,000 people responded to a call by Emmaus France, Emmaus Europe, Emmaus International and the Organisation for Universal Citizenship to take action in Calais, France on 18 December. The call was put out to protest against the construction and reinforcing of what’s been dubbed the “wall of shame” there. Demonstrators came together on International Migrants Day to call attention to the disgraceful conditions in which migrants are living and lack of appropriate measures taken by the authorities – even though local NGOs and charities have been sounding the alarm for months.“What we need today is action,” urged Jean Rousseau, Chair of Emmaus International. “After so many years of inaction by our governments, citizens are now our only hope – only they are capable of bringing about the change we need.”Migrants themselves, members of the Emmaus movement, activists from partner organisations and citizens of Calais came together to express their solidarity with the migrants and anger at their governments’ lack of action.The wall of shame, which is a wire fence topped with barbed wire, now surrounds the port of Calais. Intended to stop migrants from crossing into the UK, the fence has recently been fortified, which is further evidence – as if there were any doubt – that our governments’ migration policies are solely concerned with national security, and not with migrants’ rights or freedoms.To see images of this day of action, click here  (video in French).  Details...

World Social Forum on Migration
From 5 – 9 December, ten representatives of the four Emmaus international regions are to attend the World Social Forum on Migration in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the last forum in 2012 in Manila, the Philippines, the Organisation for Universal Citizenship (OUC) introduced its plans for a universal citizenship passport. In 2014, Emmaus International and the OUC organised three workshops with partner organisations to demonstrate through talks from grassroots stakeholders that migration policies based on freedom of movement and settlement are possible. They also called for a cycle of United Nations conferences on the subject to be held.   Details...

No to the ‘wall of shame’ in Calais!
On 18 December, migrants and the civil society organisations that work with them, the Emmaus movement and the Organisation for Universal Citizenship are calling for people to take part in a large-scale awareness-raising event on International Migrants’ Day in Calais and throughout France:- To denounce the shameful conditions being experienced by the migrants and demand, in accordance with the recommendations made by non-profit activists, that a realistic reception system is set up in the Calais area.- To reject the security-based response and the building, in our name, of a ‘wall of shame’ in Calais.- In favour of new migration policies that respect the rights and dignity of migrants being put in place at national, European and world level.We denounce the construction of the wall of shame, a dangerous new step that contravenes migrant freedom and respect for their rights, and a policy that places the emphasis on 'total security’, and we wish to demonstrate that other alternatives are possible.We are inviting you – citizens and civil society organisations – to join our procession on 18 December. You can read the appeal here .  Details...

Political action and solidarity within the Movement
The World Council for Political Action and International Solidarity was held from 5-7 November at Montreuil (France). Its aim: to get a take on the collective action being carried out in the Movement in anticipation of the forthcoming 2016 World Assembly (which will bring together all member organisations to determine the main directions of the Movement). Representatives from four continents – Africa, America, Asia, Europe – were present. They had an exchange about the two missions of the Movement: 1) organising everyone’s participation in international solidarity and 2) making a collective call on the authorities to provide access to everyone’s fundamental rights. After feedback on the activities of the member organisations, the participants and three guest speakers debated a number of themes: What is international solidarity nowadays? How can we lobby for the political commitments of Emmaus International?  The external perspective of the three speakers helped us highlight the strong and weak points of the Movement, and the way in which these need to be handled so that we can be a voice for the most needy, as Abbé Pierre did throughout his life. “We have a responsibility to build solidarity together, and to make a commitment to it”, summed up World Council Member Juan Melquiades.  Details...

Support civil society in Burkina Faso
There is growing concern about the situation in Burkina Faso, where in the last few days there have been general strikes, protests and clashes with police. Emmaus Africa, whose board has met in Togo, and Emmaus International reiterate that they lend their full support to civil society organisations there, which are calling for the constitution to be followed and for a democratic change of government.In solidarity with civil society organisations and the four Emmaus groups that are mobilised in Burkina Faso, Emmaus International and Emmaus Africa fully support the demonstration to be held on Thursday 30 October in front of the Burkina Faso embassy in Paris, France. Meeting at 4:30pm, 32 rue de Courcelles.  Details...

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Upcoming regional salons
Several regional salons will be held in France in November. Some of the proceeds will go to international solidarity.• Rouen-Elbeuf Salon (1st-2nd Nov, Rouen)• Herbiers Salon (9th Nov, Herbiers)• Emmaus International auction,organised by the Tours and Angers groups (22nd Nov, Angers).  Details...

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