This paper addresses the question whether complementary currencies can help us think and practice politics in new and different ways which contribute to democratic change and civic empowerment in our times. The space created by the Sardex complementary currency circuit in Sardinia (2009-to date) seems to leave enough room for the emergence of a collective micropolitical consciousness. At the same time, the design of a technological and financial infrastructure is also an alternative political, or ‘alter-political’ choice. Both are alternative to hegemonic politics and to typical modes of mobilization and contestation. Thus, the Sardex circuit can best be understood as an alter-political combination of the bottom-up micropolitics of personal interactions within the circuit and of the politics of technology implicit in the top-down design of the technological and financial infrastructure underpinning the circuit. The Sardex experience suggests that a market that mediates the (local) real economy only and shuts out the financial economy can provide economic sustainability by supporting SMEs, supply a shield against the adverse effects of financial crises, and counteract the fetishization of money by disclosing daily its roots in social construction within a controlled environment of mutual responsibility, solidarity, and trust. We broached the Sardex currency and circuit in such terms in order to illustrate a significant and effective instance of alter-politics in our times and also to indicate, more specifically, community financial innovations which could be taken up and re-deployed to democratize or ‘commonify’ local economies.
2015 saw a large number of cities in Spain vote in new municipalist governments that sprang from social movements, notably the 15M movement of 2011. After four years of experimentation and struggle within and around city institutions, a new round of elections in May 2019 saw many of these candidacies decline in votes: only a few cities maintained the same municipalist mayors (Cádiz and Barcelona are examples of big cities; there are too many small cities and villages to list here). The reasons for this are manifold, complex, and locally specific: from political conjunctures to internal divisions and beyond. Below we share a few articles of analysis from Málaga, Madrid and Barcelona from June 2019 that we have used in our research (there is a myriad more places, viewpoints and texts, and much analysis to follow too, of course):
The next Research Methodology Issues in the Social Sciences conference organized by the University of Crete’s Faculty of Sociology will be held in Rethymnon on 8-10 November 2019. Of particular interest to readers of this blog, one of the main themes of the conference is ‘commons policies: social and solidarity economy and communities of emancipation’. For more info (in greek), here’s the call.
“tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique is a Marxist journal of media and communication studies. Its special issue “Digital/Communicative Socialism” asks: What is digital/communicative socialism? The special issue will publish peer-reviewed contributions that explore perspectives on digital/communicative socialism in respect to theory, dialectics, history, internationalism, praxis, and class struggles”.
In the context of documentation of the #otheranthropolitics workshop co-organized by Heteropolitics and the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly in Volos on April 15-16, we have collected some of the powerpoint presentations here:
Vassilis Chryssos (Sarantaporo.gr) – A community aspect of wireless networking technology: The case of Sarantaporo.gr [pptx]
Aikaterini Velessiotou (Women’s Centre of Karditsa) – Reforming the social organizations of the local authorities: implementing a pilot street work action for ROMA women by the Women’s Centre of Karditsa [pptx]
Alexandros Papageorgiou (University of Thessaly) – Knowledge brokers in cooperative networks: becoming actors in the production of hope [pdf]
Vassilis Bellis (Development Agency of Karditsa) – The collaborative “Ecosystem” of Karditsa [ppt]
Georgios Dafermos (AUTH) – Digital Commons and Peer Production: Exploring their transformative potential [pdf]
Two members of our research team, Aimilia Voulvouli and Alexandros Kioupkiolis, will be giving a talk on ‘New ecosystems of cooperative politics: the case of Karditsa’ at the Social Sciences Today: Dilemmas and perspectives beyond the crisis conference organized by the School of Social Sciences at the University of the Aegean in Mytilene on June 6-9. Here’s the full programme of the conference, which includes the abstracts of all talks and presentations.
If you’re interested in exploring how blockchain can take on a subversive and anti-systemic character in favour of movements and groups that wish to act outside institutional frameworks, the Integral Cooperative of Heraklion (I.C.Her) is organizing an open event on blockchain on Friday, June 7, in Heraklion-Crete. (For more background info on the I.C.Her, see this short article by Heteropolitics researcher George Dafermos). The event, which will be hosted at Da, will look at blockchain’s radical features and discuss its potential effect on the mode of organization of society.
One of the most useful online resources (in greek) we’ve recently come across is the abc of the commons. The website, which is largely based on the new book of our partner Vasilis Kostakis, Michel Bauwens and Alex Pazaitis, Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto, focuses on the concept of the commons and commons-based peer production, explaining why they are relevant to a post-capitalist transition.
Here’s the audio recording from the first day (afternoon session) of the #otheranthropolitics workshop co-organized by Heteropolitics and the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly in Volos on April 15-16, 2019:
And here’s the audio from the second day of the workshop (afternoon session):
Following up on our last post, here’s the video from the second day of the #otheranthropolitics workshop co-organized by Heteropolitics and the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly in Volos on April 16, 2019.