The current international political context allows us to clearly see the serious limits to the possibilities of social change through institutional routes.
On the one hand, the new left-wing political experiences in Latin America have had scant impact on actual political life in the countries where they have had a chance to govern. There is a particularly great difficulty in sustaining long-term processes, given the dependence of these parties on electoral processes where corporate lobbies and private media have all the well known strategies with everything but fairness. Instead, these processes are used to topple governments. Look no further than what happened in Brazil a few weeks ago.
By Enric Duran – for Fair.coop as is an open global cooperative, self-organized via the Internet and remaining outside nation-state control
On the other hand the trajectory of the Greek government last year, is a masterpiece if you would like to learn that being in government is not the same as being in the power. This case is discussed in more detail in the following article: https://fair.coop/neither-in-nor-out-towards-a-socio-economic-community-of-european-peoples/
Meanwhile, within the Spanish state, election after election has served little to move even one step further. This demonstrates that clear majorities in the street and on social networking platforms are not useful for creating parliamentary majorities.
When the 15M movement began occupying Spanish squares in 2011, it took just 30 days to turn the political imaginations of several generations completely upside-down. The expected political continuation of this however, has not even been able to create a social-democratic policy programed – in more than two years.
In Spain, during the first year of the so-called cities of change, we have seen that the discourse and mood have improved significantly. Despite this however, where key decisions are concerned, depending on the capitalist system and on state heirarchies has not even made it possible to create humanitarian measures against increased evictions or in welcoming refugees. Let’s stop talking about structural measures.
In exchange for these phyrric reforms, an entire generation of experienced and well known activists left the streets and have been immersed in an institutional dynamic which seriously limits their capacity to disobediently break away from established practices.
This reality is therefore very far removed from Murray Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism. When gaining municipal power, Bookchin proposed dissolving it and calling for a popular assembly. The 15M’s so-called heirs are instead sacrificing their compromise of disobedience in order to constrain themselves within bureaucracies and hierarchies within government institutions. It is a very tied up system.
Large scale disobedience movements have not developed their strong capacity for action after leaving 15M. A good example of what it is possible to do has been the impact of the PAH squats and occupations in the Spanish state.
Here are two strategic questions I’d like to leave hanging.
Firstly, what is more feasible: to get more than 50% of the population voting for parties that question the established order through their un-actioned programme? Or that the 5% of people who question this order can organise autonomously and disobediently, showing in practice how this world that we carry inside might look?
Secondly, how do we gain real power to change things? Is it by trying to reform the economy from governments that don’t even have the banking or money-creating powers that the Lisbon treaty bestowed on the ECB or is it by trying to create a different economy, with new banking and monetary sovereignties?
Adding other perspectives, we can analyse how basic processes in different parts of the world, based on a gradual grassroots construction manage a democratic autonomy. Zapatistas in Chiapas, and the Kurds of Rojava and Bakur are examples of ongoing solid and strong development, despite state forces using fierce violence against them year after year.
It is important to note that the most radical and inspiring social change processes share a common grassroot element in being created outside the margins of the state. In Europe, millions of anti-capitalists prefer to bang their heads repeatedly against the state parliamentary system, without getting what they want, and losing a huge part of their concerns and values along the way. This is instead of prioritising the creation and support of self-organised initiatives who are using real strength to transition from below to another society.
If this century began, at a planetary level, with movements of resistance against the systems of neoliberal globalisation, and continued with the social forums that showed that another world is possible, well today in the second decade of the 21st century, we are in the era where we construct these other worlds.
Even in Europe, these self-run initiatives, opposed to existing states, have not only triumphed, despite a huge parliamentary hierarchy in the latest years, but we also continue advancing and finding new challenges to focus on.
The Catalan integral cooperative for example, is a consolidated reality after 6 years, more than 700 projects and many thousands of participants. Other integral cooperatives and similar projects have been extending especially to regions in the south of Europe. This is where we see the worth of movements like community supported agriculture, worker-run Fabricas Recuperadas, and the experiences of a community economy which create practices in which the exchange and the gift are more dominant than market forces.
These prefigurative realities, although incipient, are strengthened through online networking and making local contacts between projects in the mainstream.
There are thousands of social currencies used in practice, consumer groups, self-managed social centres, free and autonomous schools, refugee or paperless people’s solidarity groups, all of which that defy the capitalist model and the dominant role of state law. It is a fertile ground for the extension of a movement that breaks away from the establishment, and is disobedient towards States, in order to build a new collective sovereignty based on self-determination and self-organization of communities of free human beings.
FairCoop was created to enhance the spaces of international collaboration (or to be more precise, inter autonomous and inter communal space). It is a global and multi-local ecosystem that contributes to the process of building another economy for another society. It shares principles of integral revolution, such as an assembly-run character, open participation, the non-recognition of states as legitimate subjects and therefore integral disobedience to that can empower the construction of other forms of cohabitation and self-government.
Faircoop recovers the principles of integral revolution as processes of radical transformation at the margins of the current system, across all aspects of life, and builds a coherent ecosystem of projects, resources and tools. It has the objective of facilitating the process of integral revolution in any part of the world, i.e processes where self organisation and democratic autonomy can be built at a local, regional and global scale.
Among these tools, Faircoin is a p2p based social currency that seeks to fund these self-managed processes, and to connect initiatives from alternative economies (from solidarity economies to the communal economy), reinforcing the work that movements are doing that usually lies at the local level, They are using and promoting social currencies. In addition Faircoin intends to update the technologies used in these alternative monetary systems, to make them stronger and more resilient from hypothetical institutional attacks. (If you want to read more in detail about it, read the annex on Faircoin 2)
It is time to make Galeano’s conjecture real: “Many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world” and apply it to some greater things, such as generating tools for the articulation of all those smaller things and apply methodologies that have proven successful in respecting the diversity of all participants as the democratic con-federalism that, being an old form of political organization in places like the Iberian peninsula, now we see the Kurds popularizing.
After so many efforts dedicated to the institutional way, what if we give a very big push to the path of self-management?
You know what? Answering yes to this question will go much farther than a vote. It means saying you want to make your life an example to the world you carry inside, ie., combining theory with practice. To answer yes to this question, is to enter a dimension in which we no longer depend on whether they are more than we are in order to succeed; whether we are thousands or if we become millions, we will rely on ourselves and how far we are willing to go to make our dreams reality. Do you dare?
Faircoin 2 – Annex
In this postscript, we would like to go into more technical detail without creating a barrier to accessing the main parts of this article. The invention of the blockchain [a blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records hardened against tampering and revision] and its implications for money systems and contracts, is rapidly leading us to a scenario in which the centralization of states, judicial courts and central banks is no longer the only means to generate an autonomous economic, political and legal system.
The blockchain allows us to account for economic operations in a way that is difficult to corrupt and manipulate. This is possible due to a combination of encryption and decentralization across hundreds of computers that share the system’s data.
Even so, the new technological capitalism spares no effort in investing in everything related to the blockchain, integrating it rapidly into a strategy to renew banks and companies’ organizational systems. They are turning most of the blockchain related initiatives into an advance fleet for this new networked capitalism that so pleases the anarcho–capitalists in Silicon Valley.
For this state-of-the-art capitalism it does not seem important that in the case of bitcoin, energy consumption and the industrial mining race have skyrocketed, because it is in the interest of investors (and it apparently does not matter that this is not to the benefit of the planet) or that distributing these new coins gives more benefits to those with more …
But at Faircoop and in other self organised or autonomous initiatives, we care a lot about these things. For the blockchain and its associated technologies to really be tools for the common good, FairCoop is working on Faircoin 2. This second version features a cooperative and distributed blockchain whose intent is to adapt this technology to the values of social movements, such as furthering the commons, or solidarity, collaborative and communal economies.
As Faircoin can’t rely on money invested by economic elites it prioritises the commons rather than private gain. We need those close to the 99% to understand the importance of these developments for social change, and to know that we all have to participate collaboratively in making them possible. This is why the Faircoin 2 crowdfunding campaign will be active until the 7th of July.
Faircoin is bringing these innovations to the world as a commons. If you’d like to collaborate in helping them succeed whilst they are maintained by people with cooperative and solidary values, like yours, you can now join in and get your first Faircoins in the process.
For more information on our campaign: https://coopfunding.net/en/campaigns/faircoin-2-crowdinvestment/