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.
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.
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.
Here’s the audio files from a presentation and a discussion about the commons and counter-hegemonic strategies with Alexandros Kioupkiolis, activists, researchers and academics at L’Asilo Filangieri in Naples on 31/3/2010:
Heteropolitics researcher Alexandros Kioupkiolis and our partner (from the P2P Lab) Vasilis Kostakis will be giving a talk at a workshop on the “Social & Solidarity Economy and the Commons: common places and divergences, limits and potential” organized by the Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS) and Heinrich Böll Foundation, which will be held at TIESS in Thessaloniki on April 20, 2019. The workshop will try to create a fertile dialogue between academics, researchers, members of SSE projects, social movements and Civil Society.
Heteropolitics researchers Alexandros Kioupkiolis and Aimilia Voulvouli will be giving a talk tomorrow morning on ‘the new ecosystems of collaborative politics’ at the Scientific Symposium on Civil Society and Social & Solidarity Economy in Athens. And on Thursday, our collaborator Yannis Pechtelidis will be giving a presentation with Stelios Pantazidis on the ‘Educational Commons and Institutional reconfiguration’.
In Naples, the fieldwork of Heteropolitics is focused on Ex Asilo Filangieri, a self-managed cultural space in the historic centre of the city. In this space, cultural activities are consciously organized as commons. Τhere is also an intense concern with the internal political self-administration of the space, the relationships with the municipality and the city at large, as well as an endeavor to experiment with alternative democratic politics in ways which could resonate with citizens, cities and communities more widely. Civic and cultural praxis in ‘L’Asilo’, as it is called by participants, pivots around a) collaborative artistic creation and experimentation; b) egalitarian democratic self-management; c) self-legislation through the production of an internal regulation that was finally ratified by the municipality after a long struggle; d) the making of a different community and politics informed by openness, plurality, horizontality, non-violence and non-domination, consensus, collaboration, and experimentation; e) the negotiation of a different relationship with the municipality characterized by both collaboration, struggle, conditional municipal support and autonomous self-organization of the community in l’Asilo.
Tomorrow evening at 19:30, Alexandros Kioupkiolis will be a guest of the Refugee Center of Chania for a debate (spurred by the publication of his book ‘Politics of Freedom: Agonistic democracy, meta-anarchist utopias and the emergence of the multitude‘) on the significance of December 2008 and the commons of our time.