Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bugger the bankers video

For some short sharp humour try the Austerity Allstars at either of the following links.!

Also, you might like to engage in the life without money discussion on the libertarian communism site here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dana as a transitional strategy

Kellia Ramares-Watson, a freelance journalist and editor in California, is working towards a world without money. Most of us in this position seek strategies for changing the ways we operate in our personal lives. Here's what Kellia's going to experiment with this year in terms of give-and-take for her editing services:
As for price, I am starting the New Year with a new philosophy, for me. Our local Buddhist meditation center has operated for years on the principle of Dana — or generous giving. Basically, it is sliding scale. Consider your own personal financial situation, the length and complexity of the work to be edited, what it might cost in your home country, and your own sense of decency and fairness. Then come up with a figure.

One of the biggest problems with the capitalist pricing system is the fact that it tries to etch in stone a fixed value for something that is, in fact, of variable value, depending on the needs and desires of people who want the thing. The fixed price then creates scarcity, blocking certain people who need something from getting it.

While I am living in a money economy and need more of the stuff — hence the pitch for work — I am also looking for a way to lessen money’s influence on my life. For now, at least, the Buddhist Dana principle seems to be a good answer.
Kellia also has some limitations on the kind of work she takes on (e.g. no indexing) and the amount of work she can do at a time (e.g. no rush jobs) so that work does not adversely impact her health, which is very sensitive to stress. But Kellia is willing to hear what each person has to offer, and to consider each project individually. You can email her:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Radical Notes — interview

Radical Notes is a well-established on-line international forum for transformative politics with a special concern for South Asia. An in-depth interview with Anitra Nelson on non-market socialism and Life Without Money — conducted by Pratyush Chandra, who posed some insightful and intelligent questions — has just been posted on Radical Notes here.

Some extracts follow:
We see non-market socialism as the only way to address the combined crises we face, which are results of a capitalist system based in production for trade, relying on monetary accounting and exchange. This system contorts and confuses the values, relationships and structures that ideally exist between people and between people and nature. At the heart of the capitalist system is the practice and concept of money as a measure, even a god. The structure and relations of capital are impossible without the practice and concept of money as a general all-purpose means of exchange and unit of account. Capital is money that begets more money.  Thus monetary values come to dominate social and environmental values in more and more intensive and expansionary ways. The modern state arises as a handmaiden to capital. We buy and we vote; we are servants to both...

Money and markets represent capitalist power, not only a vernacular of power, but also, and more importantly, existing material practice of power. We must recover that power over the means of our existence, over the conditions and practice of our existence. You cannot have capital without money. You cannot have abstract labour or labour for wages without money. Especially people who have no money understand that money is not a neutral tool, it’s a form of control. Capitalists are defined by money, their power is monetary power, their logic is a market-based logic. If our strategies for confronting, undermining and overwhelming capital are based in these simple facts, it is not hard to challenge the system. Non-market socialism is pragmatic.

In as much as market socialists and social-democratic socialists support market processes and mechanisms, I think that they share a basic misunderstanding of monetary and market practices and how they constitute capitalism. Twentieth century examples of centrally planned and market-oriented socialism, best described as state capitalism, clearly failed to democratise power and, in many ways their systems of production and distribution mimicked capitalist work and consumption. Socialist managers seemed to use market models as instruments of power to control the masses much as we are contained in capitalism. For me, socialism must mean sharing power, the power to decide what is produced, how it is produced and for whom. Socialism must be state-free and class-free because states and classes represent exclusive power...

In Life Without Money, we elaborate a local–global compact society, not to lay down a hard and fast plan for a non-market socialist future but to stimulate people’s imaginations and counter those who regard it as impossible. Most significantly, for our activist practice, we need to have a clear idea of where we are going and how our different activities might ultimately constitute a socialist future. We want as many people as possible elaborating ideas of a post-capitalist future so we can argue, experiment and establish this society.

To distinguish ours, we needed to name it somehow. I liked the way that the word ‘compact’ worked in two directions, socio-political and the other environmental and material. The noun ‘compact’ refers to a social agreement and, used as an adjective, ‘compact’ is associated with efficiency and economy, referring to a condensed, small and efficient use of space. The concept of a compact world is one of multiple horizontal cells, which aim for relative collective sufficiency within neighbourhoods and bioregions, connected by networks of various sizes appropriate to their functions, with voluntarily created and agreed to compacts structuring the production and flow of goods and services. ‘Collective sufficiency’ is a term we coined to refer to material, basic-needs sufficiency evolving on the basis of a commons and people working together to ensure their communal sufficiency (in contrast to individuals or singular households developing ‘self-sufficiency’).
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