Life Despite Capitalism – Building Radical Economies
In the beginning of November 2008, the Escanda collective along with others will be hosting a four-day radical economics gathering. We will analyse why the current economic system has failed and we will learn from the possibilities and experiences of those working despite capitalism to build autonomous networks of production and circulation from a basis of sustainability, self organization, solidarity, respect and social/environmental justice.
The gathering will focus both on the theory of radical economics and the practice: working towards creating and building radical economies within and between our own movements and collectives.
We will provide a space for networking and there will be our very own radical marketplace for participants to bring, exchange, barter and give away goods as well as services etc. [reposted]
Over the last 5 years the Escanda collective and friends have organized a number of different gatherings and seminars. Ranging from popular education to renewable energy, from social change to radical women’s politics. This year, we want to provide the space for skill-sharing, learning, discussion and debate around economics.
Within the different movement we discuss politics – what is wrong with the system and how we build our own networks, we discuss ecology – climate change and how we can live more sustainable lives, relations – how to avoid hierarchies and power relations amongst ourselves, consumerism, culture, direct action, health, education… but what about economics?
We all agree that economics is at the very heart of an oppressive system we live in – but for many of us the very economic concepts and functioning remain to complex and abstract to deal with so that our understanding is often being limited to simplified and populist ideas. During the gathering we hope to radicalize and deepen our knowledge and critique of both the current economic system and the various alternatives floating around. We want to approach this in a self-critical yet constructive way – by building on existing models and networks of production and circulation, and by establishing new links within and between communities, be it on a local or global level.
We want to plan the programme participatively – so please get involved! We encourage you to add workshops, discussions, documentaries or any other dynamics (role plays, theatre, etc) that you would like to see, or that you can help organize. We will keep the Escanda website (www.escanda.org) updated as content is confirmed. Please get also subscribed to the economics seminar Email list by sending a request to <firstname.lastname@example.org> to get involved in the process.
The following is a breakdown of the main themes of the programme:
Day 1: Economy – The Basics
A day dedicated to deepening our understanding and critique of the current economic system:
- Definition and clarification of concepts, to include for example: globalization, neoliberalism and the political economy. What can we learn from Marxism, how do we define value, labor, money and exchange, and how does this affect our lives. Market responses to environmental problems, currency markets, futures trading!
Day 2: Life Despite Capitalism – What are the Alternatives?
Day 2 is a chance to review how we manage our needs without money: e.g. in our families, social centres, shared flats and international networks. We will also question self-critically how real and sustainable different proposed alternatives really are:
- Global examples: Zapatistas, Argentina, Spanish civil war, etc.
- Local examples: cooperative movements, collectives, networks of consumption, freeware communities, etc.
- Different models: Solidarity Economics, Participatory Economics, the commons, Anarcho-syndicalism, LETS schemes, etc.
Day 3: Where Do We Go From Here?
The final day of the main programme will bring together participants to discuss concrete next steps, such as:
- How can we build on already existing autonomous networks of production and circulation?
- How can we create news links between our communities to provide for ourselves outside the capitalist marketplace?
- How should we react to the current economic `crisis´
- How can we participate in real alternatives to the current system?
Day 4: Open Space
An informal and open space day for follow-up work, additional meetings and networking for participants who are able to stay on a little longer.
The Autonomous Marketplace
We want to add some substance to discussions and spice to the debate by running an actual marketplace in parallel to the main programme. There will be a dedicated space for participants to bring and display any products they want to exchange! We hope to see not only goods on offer such as self-grown produce, freeware, printing presses, power tools, but also services and skill-sharing such as e.g. bio-construction, plumbing, renewable energy, etc. There are no rules for exchange! We hope this practical exercise will help launch discussions about how we value and exchange, barter etc. and how this market could provide for ourselves seeing it as permanent space. Please let us know what you will be able to bring and offer.
The seminar will be held from the 31st October – 4th November, 2008. It will take place in Escanda, Asturias, in the North of Spain. Escanda is an autonomous collective – we provide a space for interaction and cooperation between groups of people, networks and movements. We aim to practice and experiment with alternative and radical structures of how to live and work together.
The common thread is non-hierarchical, anticapitalist grassroots movements, with an emphasis on social change and the environment. As such Escanda organizes meetings, seminars, courses, trainings, skill-sharing events and provides space for projects on a wide variety of different issues.
If you are planning on participating in the meeting, please try and answer at least the following questions:
- What issues and themes would you like to see represented?
- Can you offer a workshop?
- Can you think of any groups or individuals that would be useful to invite?
- What networks and groups are you involved in and (briefly) what do they do?
Due to time restraints, it will be hard to have a deeper look into all the proposed issues if people come to the gathering totally unprepared. Therefore, we think it would be helpful to get some communication going about the contents beforehand via the seminar email list. That means that we will ask people to send information about their workshop, or other related stuff, before the seminar begins so we can post it on the Escanda website and sent it to everyone involved. Please get subscribed at the seminar Email list by sending a request to <email@example.com>.
Please inscribe yourself, via email or by telephone before 15th October. We have limited space and facilities for up to 100 participants. We don’t have funding for the seminar yet, so as it stands we cannot refund travel or other costs and we will have to ask for a minimum participation fee for food. The seminar will be bilingual (Spanish and English). So please let us know whether you are able and up for translating one or another session.
It is going to be a self-organised gathering, so everyone will have to help out with the daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, logistics, etc. If you are bringing children or have any special requirements (diet, health etc) please let us know in advance. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.escanda.org