We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, July 31, 2015

Barter Networks – Lessons from Argentina for Greece

Click here to access article by Marina Sitrin from Telesur.

This multi-talented author and activist has visited Greece many times in recent years and she reports on her discussions with Greek activists about what Argentinians learned about dealing with a collapse of a capitalist economy.
In this article I focus on the Argentine barter networks, both because it is a specific question that is raised repeatedly in Greece, and also because there are some very concrete forms of organization and lessons that can be derived from the experience. It is also because there are already many different forms of barter throughout Greece, from local villages trading based on history and custom, within families and family to family to an increasingly large number of activist and community organized spaces of exchange. Within this culture of barter, immediate questions are arising as to how the networks can be expanded, if they are the right base for a currency based network, and what sort of support to ask for from the government to help ensure their existence.

“In every neighborhood people were able to eat because of this barter relationship -- we were all involved – and it changed us all.” (Nicolas, sub.coop, a conversation in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003)  

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