A tribute to Paul Singer, a founder activist and thinker behind the Social Solidarity Economy

April 27, 2018

From left to right: Michael Toye, Yvon Poirier, Ethel Côté, Paul Singer, Michael Lewis
From left to right: Michael Toye, Yvon Poirier, Ethel Côté,
Paul Singer, Michael Lewis.

Professor Paul Singer passed away on Monday April 16. He had been at the heart of the Solidarity Economy movement in Brazil from the start.

During the Lula Presidency, he was Secretary of State for Solidarity Economy. During those years, 2004 to 2012, he helped create the National Secretariat on Solidarity Economy (SENAES) and he collaborated extensively with the Brazilian Solidarity Economy Forum (FBES). He continued as Secretary of State under the Roussef Presidency until the constitutional coup d’état removed her from office.

Since the FBES has been a key RIPESS member from the start, with their help, Paul Singer participated in many events organized by RIPESS or its members.

I personally am very proud to say that I had different occasions to hear him speak and talk with him. The first time I heard him speak was in November 2006 in Montreal at the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration of Social Economy policies and movements in Quebec province. We met in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in July 2013 at the annual Solidarity Economy Fair.

Paul Singer and Yvon Poirier, Santa Maria, July 2013
Paul Singer and Yvon Poirier, Santa Maria, July 2013

Later in 2013, he spoke at the opening session of the 5th RIPESS global forum in Manila, October 2013.

In May 2013, he gave the keynote speech at the UNRISD conference on SSE, which led directly to the creation of the UN Inter-Agency Taskforce on SSE. The last time I met him was at the Der Solikon conference organized by RIPESS Europe in Berlin, in September 2015.

Even if our friend passed away, the struggle for a better world, a world without exclusion and poverty, a world of justice and a good life for all, will continue. This means building an economy for and by the people, based on their needs, while protecting our planet. Humanity cannot prosper for all if the driving force is capitalism, i.e., the return on capital, which inevitably leads to concentration of wealth.

Paul Singer inspired many people and was at the heart of building the movement. We will continue the struggle for a better world, for all.

Yvon PoirierYvon Poirier has a long history of involvement in the labour and social movements in Québec and Canada. He was founding President of the Corporation de développement économique communautaire de Québec in 1994, and member of the organizing committee of the Global Meetings on Community Economic Development in Sherbrooke, Québec in 1998. From November 2003 to July 2013, he co-edited a monthly international e-newsletter on sustainable local development published in four languages. He has been a CCEDNet member since 2003 at first as an individual and since 2012 he represents the CDÉC de Québec. He has been involved in  tnternational representation for CCEDNet since 2004. His most significant international involvement has been in the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS). He has participated in many RIPESS conferences in different continents and since October 2o13 is a member of the RIPESS Board of directors. He has also participated in different World Social Forums and he represents RIPESS in the UN Inter-Agency Taskforce om SSE.

*The opinions expressed in blog posts are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of CCEDNet