Sunday, April 29, 2012

Derek Wall: Bolivar Hall, London: 30 May

Join Derek Wall (Green Party councillor, former Principal Speaker for the Green Party and author of Babylon and Beyond, The Rise of the Green Left) in conversation with me (Anitra Nelson) and contributor Adam Buick (regularly published in the Socialist Standard) at Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL, on Wednesday 30 May at 7.30pm.

Please participate in this stimulating discussion on why we, as a society, need to go money-free and how we might do it. Come and comment, question and bring stories of your experiences.

Here is a YouTube video of segments from our first event, a book launch-discussion in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia where the editors live.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Purposeful Waste

One of the participants in the Trade School talks on Life Without Money on the weekend was Natalie Z. Wang, who has made a UTube video, Purposeful Waste, which tries to raise the awareness of New Yorkers to waste and the opportunity it offers to those prepared to make use of it. Another participant was Collin DeJoseph who also contributed to the video.

Because sustainability is a the central theme of this work, it reminds me of another UTube video involving creative people. It's one of a series made by the City of Port Phillip Community Environment eHub. It's about Alex, a cartoonist in Melbourne, living on the other side of the world. Alex shares her ideas for living in more sustainable and low cost ways in small spaces.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


OWS Mutual Aid and SolidarityNYC are collaborating to ensure there is space for sharing art, skills, healing and wellness, food, games and ideas at May Day in Union Square. The May Day Mutual Aid group is calling for a day of mutualism on May Day, i.e. meeting the needs of New Yorkers for free noon to 5.30 pm. They say:
No exchange of money is necessary for the world we seek to create! Come with an open mind, ready for creative and fun action. What to expect? A really, really free market: art, skillshares, workshops, learn-Ins and teach-ins, lectures, free food and drink and more...
They continue:
You can help by bringing to share: cooked or uncooked food and water, and clothes, books, toys, electronics and other reusable things to the Really, Really Free Market. Please no big furniture! Bring art supplies and musical instruments! Volunteer your time to help serve food; or to remind folks that, yes! the items at the RRFM are indeed free. Share knowledge, labor or a skill.
Email us to get involved!
Furthermore to the questions 'What is mutualism?' and 'What are we doing here?', they answer:
We want to demonstrate that mutual aid is a viable alternative to capitalism. Actions of mutual aid prove that scarcity is manufactured by capitalist structures that commodify everything from the environment to human life in order to build individual wealth, whereby mutual aid seeks to build community and meet our needs together.
We want to support those taking part in strikes and other actions on May Day through the form of mutual aid. For example, those who are taking off of work and joining us in the streets may need legal or medical assistance, or food and clothing! We want to ensure that mutual aid “fills the void” created by the withdrawal of people’s consent from the capitalist system on May Day. In providing mutual aid, we want to make sure the actions and strikes negatively impact the 1%, not the communities!
We want to create a platform for skill shares and learn-ins. Our concerns for community empowerment and self governance rely on education of a free nature that is accessible to all. We have never seen such income disparity between the rich and poor and this serious fact has profound implications. The pivot from inequality and disenfranchisement on many fronts in our culture begins with education, community building/sharing and outreach to build skill sets: hitting against commodified knowledge.
 Great! Actions without money and with the viable alternative, mutual aid.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Postcard from Occupy Wall Street

Check out our Postcard from Occupy Wall Street, New York city, which is published in the latest Green Left Weekly 917.

Also, we still get these kinds of emails:
I am astonished that you charge for the document. Surely this is counter-intuitive. Why would you charge for a lesson on how to live without money? Haven't you worked out how to live without the need for money?

I'm a social work student living in suburban Sydney and besides my rent I haven't spent any money for the past two days. Please send a pdf to my email, I don't want this to be what breaks my streak of non-spending.

In good humour, thanks...
To which we replied:
It's easy Leo: you order it through your local library and that way lots of other people have access to it as well. The book is as much about why, in our capitalist society, it is extremely difficult to live without money, as it is about why and what that means in terms of social fairness and sustainability, and how we need to change our economic and political structures so none of us produce and exchange on the basis of monetary values, rather on social and environmental ones. Hope you enjoy the book. It's written for lively minds like yours.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Is Imperialism a Useful Concept in the Age of Financial Globalisation?

On 6 March 2012 I attended a panel debate at the New School focusing on the question: 'Is Imperialism a Useful Concept in the Age of Financial Globalisation?' Prabath Patnaik started off by saying:
To me, imperialism is immanent in the money-form and I want to argue that in the era of finance capital far from its becoming less relevant, it becomes more relevant.
This was a significant rebuff of the position put by David Harvey in 2011 that the concept 'hegemony' was more appropriate than 'imperialism' for analysing contemporary global financial circumstances. To explain his defence of the concept of imperialism, Patnaik continued:
As we know, in a capitalist economy the bulk of the wealth-holders will hold their wealth not directly in the form of claims on physical capital, not directly in the form of physical capital, but indirectly in the form of financial assets, which constitute claims on physical capital, in the form of money, which again is an indirect claim on physical capital.
And, sometimes, there is a layering of claims: you hold claims upon claims upon claims upon claims upon the physical capital. Now, all these claims have certain money values. And its absolutely essential for the system that the money value of these claims in terms of command of commodities must not deteriorate, must not fall.
Now, of course, you can have situations in which the values of financial assets, in terms of money, falls, like we have had with the collapse of the bubble. But that may affect very specific financial assets. But, far more important, is that the value of money in terms of commodities must not fall.
There is a very long remark by Keynes in The Economic Consequences of the Peace where he says that Lenin is aid to have declared that the best way to destroy capitalism is to debauch the currency. Lenin is certainly right. So the idea that the value of money in terms of commodities must not be allowed to fall is essential for the stability of the capitalist system...
I heartily recommend that you watch Patnaik's talk now on UTube here.

It is Part 1 of 7, of which I also liked Anwar Shaik's contribution (Part 4 of 7).

The Man Who Quit Money: Daniel Suelo

Paula emailed me to say that she'd just heard two speakers at the Telluride library: Daniel Suelo, author of The Man Who Quit Money, and his publisher, Mark Sundeen. She writes:

Daniel gave away his last $30 11 years ago and has not used money since. He lives in a cave in the Utah desert but is quite social. I had a chance to visit with him for a few minutes before the talk... I'm working my way through his website. (He uses the computer at the public library in Moab).

Monday, April 2, 2012

Decision-making based on use-values

An interesting article in the recent issue of The Guardian, 'Bhutan rails against world's "suicidal path"' is worth a read, not because Bhutan has decided that money won't be used in its economy but because it makes concerted efforts to reduce and control the way money operates. What marks out Bhutan from the pack of other nations is that as a small country that is poor in monetary (exchange value) terms, it is achieving social and environmental gains by stressing social and environmental goals and policies rather than economic ones.

Bhutan's prime minister has just told the UN:

[Our] measures of progress and GNH index clearly show that producing and consuming more stuff does not make people happier. On the contrary when they overwork and go into debt to buy ever more goods and pay the bills, they get more stressed. Working, producing and consuming less is not only good for nature but gives us more time to enjoy each others...  Instead of progress [the world] has perilously accelerated ecosystem decline. Humanity is now using up natural resources at a 35% faster rate than nature can regenerate. This ecological destruction is not separate from global economic realities that are dividing rich from poor...

Everything Goes Book Cafe Neighbourhood Stage

Another opportunity to engage on the ideas in Life Without Money...

Join the discussion Saturday 7 April at 4.30 pm at the Everything Goes Book Cafe Neighbourhood Stage, three blocks (on the left as you come out) from the ferry to Manhatten at 208 Bay Street, near Victory Boulevard.

More on the cafe, here.