Alternative economists and and grassroots activists have critiqued the debt-based monetary system for many years.  The knowledge is out there, but how can we change things?  This week, in mid April 2018, we received news of two very different projects from activists challenging the operation of the monetary system as we know it, and using different forms of communication to get their message across:

The first is a new Bank called HSBC = Hoe Street Community Bank in Walthamstow, North London, founded by artist Hilary Powell and and film-maker Dan Edelstyn,  HSBC occupies the premises of the former Co-op Bank and opened from 12th March 2018, hosting two intensive weeks of money printing and events.  Its bank notes celebrate local community leaders, they have printed £50,00 worth in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50, which can be bought for sterling at the face value on the notes .  The proceeds go 50% towards paying off debts (bought on the secondary debt market),  and 50% in support of the local projects portrayed on the notes. The Film is out – see details on HSCB’s own website Bank Job also a • Report from UCL Urban Laboratory: Hoe Street Community Bank opens in Walthamstow • and a Guardian Report: The rebel bank, printing its own notes and buying back people’s debts.  Hilary and Dan did an interview with Ross Ashcroft on Renegade Inc on Monday 9th April 2018 and explained their project in terms of changing consciousness: see Rebels with a Cause. 

The second project, called Share Fairs poses the question: Do we even need money?  It’s an outreach from the Edenbridge Project in Cornwall.  Their videos from last summer show a series of one-day Share Fair Festivals -these are pop-up social event where instead of buying new things, people share, swap or recycle stuff. And instead of feeling isolated, people meet each other to share skills, ideas and stories – like an old-fashioned market but with no money, creating social rather than monetary capital. One Fair Share was held on 18th June 2017, in collaboration with Bodmin’s Big Lunch, in Bodmin, and another one was held in St Austell.  A Share Fair is a way of creating informal opportunities for social interactions: regular, fun ways to transform spaces into ‘people-places’ in our villages, towns, and cities. And by encouraging people to share, swap, and up-cycle, we can also reduce what we throw away and challenge the idea that ‘shiny and new’ is best.  Share Fairs are still in the exploratory pilot stage, and the organisers are happy for feedback you think would be useful.  They have contacted us to get our reaction and we don’t yet know whether alternative currency would be allowed. See further details on Eden Project Communities.

We will be in touch and report back soon.
Article by Mary Fee of LETSlink UK


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