By Josette Combes, RIPESS Europe

The Master 2 “The New Social Economy” of the University Toulouse Jean Jaurès celebrated its 20th anniversary (2000-2020) on Saturday 25 September. Jacques Prades, its founder, concluded his speech during the opening conference of the day with this slogan modelled on “Socialism or barbarism”.1 The day was also a kind of induction of Mireille Bruyère, who will succeed him. Before retiring, Jacques Prades expressed three reasons for satisfaction: having opened the training course in spite of the opposition of orthodox economists, having distanced himself from a theoretical current to which he does not adhere, distinguishing between the new social economy and the solidarity economy (a position that has kept him away from the SSE Interuniversity Network), and considering that only cooperatives are carriers of innovation. Finally, his last satisfaction is to note the diversity of experiences, the new forms of entrepreneurship. “They reveal (…) that linking social struggles and cooperatives shows a desire to overcome the division between a normative point of view (the question of values) and a positive point of view (the description of facts) dear to John Neville Keynes. Is this really different from what we call the solidarity economy? That would be up for debate.

Before him Geneviève Azam gave a brief history of the creation of the Master and after him Mireille Bruyère spoke about the future. I thought I could see reasons for a rapprochement.

After this introduction in the amphitheatre, the Nessies (the NES Master’s alumni association) organised workshops to relaunch the association, which had been dormant for about ten years. I reported the existence of the youth group to RIPESS EU, an information that interested many. The association should be alive again. Contact should be encouraged.

For my part, I was very moved to find former students2 , who have therefore embarked on a career in the SSE and started families – or not. A funny circus show combining a performance by a tightrope walker and a humorous political speech concluded the afternoon, proposed by Hélène Tourmente (class of 2004-2005), and her “Compagnie singulière”.

One of the nice surprises of this reunion was to discover that Bérénice Alcade, a Mexican student (class of 2004-2005), is currently Director of the Office of Partnerships in the Mexican government, coordinator of the GSEF in Mexico City and founder of a new master’s degree in social economy for the Ibero-American University (INAES).

After the 10th anniversary of RIPESS Europe, the 20th anniversary of the NES Master, many heart-warming anniversaries. We are moving forward!

To find out more about the Master NES
1 “Socialisme ou barbarie” is a French revolutionary organisation, created in 1948 by Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort, with an anti-Stalinist Marxist orientation and close to council communism; embodied in a review of the same name from 1949, it remained active until its self-dissolution in 1967.
2I was Associate Professor from its creation to 2006, so I followed six classes.