tziteras

My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.

Twitter

5/20/2017

El viaje del raton

Once upon a time there was a mouse who wanted to take care of a valley he had found. One day a fox turned up and said it was his valley.

"So be gone with you" said the fox, because he wanted to build houses for the humans who lived in the mountains.

The mouse walked up past the humans and their animals, past the highest peaks and on towards a temple so grand and majestic that a stairway to enter it disappeared into a cloud on which the shining temple sat.

In a huge waiting room the mouse sat for hours, then days, then weeks. Soon he could feel himself grow tired and ill from the light and lack of food. He asked a passing condor to send news to the valley of his illness.

The king of the sun looked up from his work, planning the most ambitious constructions with all the cleverest humans. He said:

"I really appreciate your issue but we can't help you. If we made an exception for you we would have to make it for everyone. Thanks for your time."

But phaxi the queen of the moon said to inti the sun king.

"We have to help her. She just wants to take care of the valley.." for the sick mouse's daughter had taken up the quest.

"We will work on it" said the sun king "and we will be in touch."

She then went all the way back down to the earth. And she kept on going, down into the darkest cave swimming down the deepest underground streams. Until she came to the great cave of mother earth.

She walked past the dancers and healers and the great feasts and halls with the most amazing festival and meeting of people's and animals. In the middle of the enormous cave was pachamama, mother of all creatures alive. She was so complex that every time you looked at her she was different.

The queen spoke:

"Little mouse, we can make the earth tremble and spout fire and water so that the fox cannot build on the valley that you defend. This valley will be a flag to unite all beings against the machinations of man."

But the mouse knew that a great many beings already lived in that valley and if it were to spout fire and water it would be very difficult for anyone to live there.

Luckily, Phaxi luna chimed in:

"You are always fighting the sun god, and can't even walk the earth at the same time as he. I am getting so tired of you both, and you never tell me anything".

The mouse replied:

"Dear Pachamama, queen of the earth and all life, the valley I love is not mine to mistreat, only to defend. I have vowed to protect it from all danger, and not to make it into a flag". She continued "While my father is sick at home, I have come all this way to seek your help. I did not know that you needed mine. You need to see that although you hate the sun king, and he seems to think little of you, there is one here who loves you both. Can't you see that she is the one who has been secretly bringing harmony between night and day, earth and sky all this time?"

The earth mother looked accusingly at Phaxi Luna.

"Is this true?" She asked.

The queen of the moon looked down sadly but then grew in resolve and answered -

"Yes pachamama, I only wish for the day and night to be happy again, even if it means I won't see you both so much. I love you and the sun god with all my heart, and I can see what this world would become if only you could also feel that love again."

When they looked up again, pachamama the earth mother was gone. The great cave under the earth was in turmoil as the dancers, healers, sages and party people realised their great goddess was no longer with them. The mouse said to Luna:

"I'm so sorry if I caused you trouble dear moon."

But Phaxi luna smiled and replied

"Don't worry little mouse. Any trouble you see had been there since long ago. Now at least it's out, and I think we will be okay.  Go home to your valley, and I will make sure you are all protected from the fox and his plans."

The little mouse travelled up, back to her valley and to her sick father. When she arrived the whole valley was in darkness. There was no moon, no stars, no wind and no sun, but in the middle of the valley the fox sat gloating.

"When the sun returns I will bring my machines and destroy all this nonsense, to make way for my impeccable buildings."
"But don't worry little mouse. I am not evicting you or your little friends. You are welcome to stay and work in the valley for a modest rent once the building is complete."

That morning the mouse family was ready to leave with all their belongings and the little mouse wouldn't leave. She said

"That's it. I've had enough. I've spent most of my life trying to defend this land and I am not going to stop today."

She walked in front of the angry machines that were gathered there to destroy the trees and plants and make the land into a desert so they could build on it. She walked right in front and stood there defiantly.

As the sun came up over the horizon the fox gave the order and the machines trundled forward.

Just then the sky filled with clouds and lighting struck right in the path of the machines, and hit the mouse and the fox, who was in the biggest most destructive machine. The land rumbled and the earth parted and the machines began speeding away to avoid being sucked in, and then the river tide rose and watered all the cracks in the ground which became lakes. When the other animals in the forest heard about the lakes they journeyed over to see for themselves.

In the middle of the valley there was now a lake. In the middle of the lake there was a house, and in the middle of the house sat a golden mouse and a silver fox, who were known around the world as the wisest of all healers. The sun moon and earth all seemed to make offerings to them bestowing the valley with the most wonderful flowers and animals, grateful for ever for showing them what they themselves wouldn't see, and for bringing back balance between the earth, the skies and the mountains.

1/29/2017

Aarhus, Dinamarca – Hacia una Europa autónoma – conferencia 24-26 Noviembre 2016

(subo este articulo que escribí ya hace mas de un mes! )

Estoy en el país donde todos toman café negro sin leche ni azúcar, y las bicicletas se aparcan libremente y sin ligar. Esta mañana dichas bicicletas amanecieron revueltas por el viento otoñal en montones y tiradas por las vías ciclables que son parte de cada calle de la ciudad. Es el último día y mañana vuelvo a Barcelona donde veo que hay 10 grados centigrados más que aquí. Tocó buena suerte y no bajó de los 4 grados en toda mi estancia.

 “Les va a costar entender” me había contado por teléfono el organizador del evento, que hace una estancia de visita a un proyecto sobre propriedad privada en la universidad de Aarhus: En el norte de Europa, aún hay un fuerte estado del bienestar en el que la gente suele confiar y depender en sus vidas. Aún no se ha convertido del todo en un sistema de austeridad neo liberal, aunque hubo recortes y cierres de bancos o empresas cuando la crisis golpeó Europa en el 2008, y se piensa que el dinero que hay para iniciativas sociales será siempre menor.

Entender estructuras como la de la CIC o FairCoop entonces sería difícil en un lugar donde el estado y ayuntamiento normalmente premian iniciativas sociales con dinero público, aceptación y apoyo. Esta cercanía viene desde los movimientos y desde las instituciones: la gente confía en el estado que se ve como una fuerza benigna. A pesar de esto, como en muchos países europeos – desde Austria a Francia, se constata una caída política hacia la derecha extrema que comienza a notarse en su clima anti-inmigracion. Tal como se constata en Francia con el Front National, el Dansk Folkeparti no tiene la credibilidad necesaria para ganar elecciones, pero sí para reorientar el debate político hacia la derecha.

La ciudad misma se distingue de Copenhague por ser mucho mas pequeña – un tamaño mas manejable, y aunque todos los daneses parecen ser muy simpáticos y abiertos como gente, esto parecía ser mas fuerte aún en Aarhus, que tiene un dialecto usado en la zona de Jutland. Al mismo tiempo, como en muchos países nórdicos, esta capa exterior de simpatía y apertura suele ser superficial y solo con tiempo y esfuerzo se llegan a profundizar los lazos entre la gente, o eso decían los asistentes que conocí.

El contacto para este taller extendido de 2 días nos vino desde un colectivo de agricultura nómada que se interesó por nuestras herramientas de desobediencia económica. En la práctica, los recursos financieros para pagar el catering y residencias para la estancia de invitados vinieron de la Universidad de Aarhus, pero mucho del soporte práctico vino del colectivo de sonido experimental AMOK y del Institut for X – que gestionan un terreno cedido  en el centro de Aarhus en el que existen varios espacios autoconstruidos de residencia para artistas o proyectos como el colectivo de permacultura de Aarhus. 

Nos habian invitado a mi (Ale Fernández) y a Didac Costa a hablar sobre la CIC y FairCoop durante este evento “Towards an autonomous europe” o “Hacia una Europa autonoma”. El evento reunía varios proyectos autónomos de Dinamarca y el norte de Europa, con muchos académicos y activistas presentando proyectos sobre okupación, reciclaje de comida y cooperativismo. 

Llevábamos varios meses planificando el viaje y el contenido en un hilo de correo larguísimo. Al último momento, por problemas familiares Didac canceló, pero luego puedo hacer su presentación por Skype (después de que se intentara establecer la conexión con 5 ordenadores que no fueron capaz de hacerlo!). 

Durante la primera mañana – el viernes 24 de Noviembre, varios proyectos presentaron sobre la situación de la okupación como movimiento, practica y cultura en Suecia, holanda y república checa. La conclusión en todos los casos, como habíamos visto ya en una jornada sobre okupación durante un encuentro en el encierro cooperativo de Longo Mai, Francia, este verano, es por un lado que hay mucha propriedad libre con la crisis y puede que la situación vaya en cualquier dirección según quien se meta. Los resultados de este cambio de practicas y ideas se ve por ejemplo en Klinika, en Praga, donde un cambio de actitud les ha llevado a ser más inclusivos y al mismo tiempo tener el soporte de muchos sectores de la comunidad por sus actividades sociales y manera de organizarse. 

Lo que me pareció entender desde estas charlas fue que si no se logra cambiar la idea que el okupar lo hacen solo la gente okupa, la okupación como práctica seguirá estando en peligro, y ya es imposible o se encuentra en decadencia en muchos lugares, por su progresiva criminalización y la legalización de algunos pocos okupas más establecidos. Aunque la gente denuncia el cierre de espacios o la falta de ellos - por ejemplo para hacer eventos musicales o artisticos, no piensan en la okupación. 

Pero quien sabe si nuevas formas de actuar lleven estas prácticas hacia nuevas auges. Hay otras maneras de vivir - como la vivienda cooperativa, la cesión de uso, las tierras comunales. Si nuevas olas de gente y dinámicas nuevas pueden comenzar a trabajar este espacio puede haber mas critica de la propriedad privada como concepto limitante en el desarrollo cuando este es la única manera de ser de un espacio urbano.  

Al hablar de las posibilidades y limitaciones de estas formas de vivir y actuar, una conclusión que luego Didac resaltó en su presentación sobre la CIC esa tarde, es que en muchos casos las personas que hacen parte de espacios okupados suelen tener economía propria, y en sus eventos aún se bebe y se vende cerveza industrial de marcas grandes, y las dos cosas son ejemplos de como estas formas a veces no logran superar una visión corta por tiempos, conflictos o criminalización. Hay excepciones notables a estos ejemplos, pero como cada acción positiva que uno pueda hacer, esta se puede quedar parada, o hacer parte de un camino de acciones y dinámicas. Cada acción es parte de una transición en muchos ámbitos, que se puede seguir hacia apoderarse y desarrollar la capacidad de autonomía y interdependencia sinergica para que el cambio no ocurra en un pequeño oasis pero en un entorno mas extendido y inclusivo. 

En las EcoXarxes, en la CIC, y ahora con las bioregiones, se quiso ir mas allá, desde la producción de nuestras proprias birras a centenares de otros productos y servicios, al uso de formas jurídicas como protección hacia estos trabajadores cooperativos, como la prosumición de software libre, y de moneda social, que en conjunto lleva hacia una transformación holística y integral en nuestra manera de vivir alejándonos del capitalismo globalizado y sus varias caras de estado nación.

Didac habló de muchos de estos temas, desde los orígenes de la CIC hasta algunos proyectos clave como Calafou y Ecovila Amat. Espero que cuando este artículo vea la luz, esté disponible la grabación de su charla para que la podamos compartir y no tenga que repetir aquí todo lo que dijo y probablemente ya sabéis. 

Luego yo también presenté sobre FairCoop, hablando de sus orígenes, de como surge desde una critica hacia Bitcoin y hacia las cooperativas tradicionales limitadas a un territorio, y de sus varios proyectos y iniciativas como el Fair Market, Freedom Coop y la nueva versión del software de Faircoin, FairCoin 2. Incluyo aquí mi charla, ahora subida a la red. La recepción fue muy positiva y espero que esto lleve a más encuentros y a la formación de un nodo local que siga como contacto y enlace con esta región. 

Después de preparar un arroz con acelgas hecho con comida reciclada, pude ir a ver un poquito de un concierto de noise en la Exchange Library, un pequeño local basado en el intercambio directo sin dinero y la autoproducción especialmente de comidas, donde tuve mucho gusto de ver productos como Cube Cola y Café biológico mexicano distribuidos con Feral Trade(http://Feraltrade.org ) , una iniciativa artística de distribución global autogestionada con el que participé cuando vivía en Inglaterra. 


El segundo día del encuentro tuvo lugar en el Institut for X (http://institutforx.dk/ )– descrito en el mapa del volantin del evento como  “esa cosa hippy al frente del edificio hipster” y así era. Contándonos de sus orígenes, uno de los fundadores nos contó como se había cedido inicialmente por una semana, con la entrega de la llave, pero el grupo inicial se quedó nomás, y cuando las autoridades se dieron cuenta 3 meses después de que seguían ahí, y además estaban construyendo y rehabilitando varios espacios, se comenzó a legalizar, con el pago de un alquiler y luego de los suministros. Ahora, varios años después, desde la calle parecía una colección destartalada de grandes y pequeñas autoconstrucciones, hechas por la mayoría de materiales reciclados, pero viendo mas de cerca y luego con la presentación que hizo un fundador, todo funciona de una manera muy bien organizada, y permitiendo la existencia de muchos pequeños colectivos y proyectos, algunos de los cuales son totalmente basadas en voluntariado, al lado de las empresas sociales mas grandes. Su lema es "Más es más" - dando la bienvenida a diversos proyectos con una actitud abierta.

La imagen puede contener: cielo, árbol, planta y exterior
Una imagen de una autoconstrucción en institut for x, desde su página facebook en https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210035448815706&set=a.10154146829404385&type=3&theater
El primer colectivo a presentar ese Sábado fue “Floating Cities” (http://flydendeby.org/ ) - Ciudades Flotantes – un proyecto de autoconstrucción de naves y inventos como el barco invernadero, ahora hundido tristemente, pero todos ejemplos de autoconstrucción a partir de la basura. 

Nos cuentan “El objetivo de Flydende By es construir una sociedad sostenible desde abajo. Desarrollamos métodos para crear soluciones sostenibles decentralizadas desde recursos recuperados y organicos. Buscamos maneras de organizar el trabajo, la economía, y la manera de decidir, en una manera justa y socialmente sostenible. Y buscamos maneras de usar el oceano con sentido y de manera constructiva, como parte de una sociedad futura sostenible.” 

Como dijeron los Yes Men que habían hecho un pequeño clip sobre el proyecto (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weqVlgAahqc ), esta iniciativa tiene un carácter postapocaliptico que sirve para mostrar como uno podría imaginarse una ciudad de un futuro distopico pero probable, flotando sobre los mares y hecho de la misma basura que el sistema produce en esta era capitalista. Con una nave que sirve de espacio creativo, situado estratégicamente muy cerca de un centro de reciclaje, los dinamizadores habían conseguido obtener permisos y entender la via legal para acceder a los materiales reciclados que necesitaban para construir estos barcos. La propuesta, junto a Foodsharing Copenhagen(http://foodsharingcopenhagen.weebly.com/ ) que también nació de estas dinámicas, lleva a que haya un espacio de trabajo y de comida, hacia espacios autoconstruidos con una creatividad estética y temática de reciclaje marinero muy particular.


Los grupos foodsharing en general han tomado pié en el norte y centro de Europa, a diferencia que en Catalunya donde las redes de reciclaje y el reciclaje callejero de varios grupos informales o autónomos siguen siendo la manera mas conocida de obtener y compartir la comida que normalmente se tira. Los participantes gestionan acuerdos con negocios o restaurantes para recoger periódicamente comida al final del día, navegando situaciones legales que por ejemplo en Dinamarca dicen que la comida ya no es comida una vez que está en un contenedor de basura. Los puntos de reciclaje luego suelen estar en un mapa para formar rutas desde donde se organizan los participantes para llevar estos productos a un lugar donde la gente pueda pasar a recoger lo que se puede repartir. Las participantes recicladoras reciben a cambio de su trabajo una cesta para llevar a casa en base a todo lo que se haya recogido, y normalmente se hace una comida o varias comidas para consumir en el lugar mismo. Esto, mas la presentación de una nueva aplicación android para compartir comida, me dió mucha inspiración para el reciclaje urbano de comida normalmente desperdiciada en Barcelona, donde también hay un grupo de Food Sharing Barça y asociaciones como la PAA y los espigoladors. Junto a iniciativas como los grupos de consumo, distribudoras como la CAC, el Fairmarket con sus compras colectivas y las ecoxarxas, creo que se llega a una alimentación muy comunitaria, social, ética y completa.

Luego fue la presentación de Rethink Activism ( http://rethinkactivism.org/ ) un grupo que en mi opinión va mucho mas allá que otros grupos que se quedan parados con la pelea entre una retorica de protesta contra una retorica de autogestión pura, sin unión entre los dos lados para que se pueda avanzar. Desde varias organizaciones y instituciones, se les refiere la gente que tiene ganas de hacer cosas para mejorar su entorno de alguna manera. 

Los principios de base de este grupo era que cualquiera podía acercarse con una propuesta de iniciativa, no de proyecto – que ven como algo limitado en el tiempo y sujeto a dinámicas individuales de sus participantes – pero de iniciativa entendida como algo que continúa en el tiempo y se puede desarrollar en diferentes maneras según la iniciativa de sus participantes. Un ejemplo era la de un refugiado sírio que producía videos que enseñaban a su pequeña hija en Siria sobre la vida en Dinamarca para que ella pudiera comenzar a entender la cultura de este lugar antes de unirse con el resto de su familia y hacer el viaje a Aarhus. Otros ejemplos fueron una cocina al aire libre, de comida de reciclaje, y un proyecto de skate para mujeres. Todas ideas y iniciativas muy simples, apolíticas, y basadas en princípios claros. 

Por ejemplo, en vez del concepto una vez punk y ahora un poco individualista estilo IKEA del DIY o “Do it yourself” o Hazlo tu mismo - la traducción mas frecuente de la palabra “Autogestión” en los países anglosajones, se habla de manera mas reciente en el mundo de lo común, de la economía colaborativa o sharing, de DIWO o Do It With Others: en vez de hacerlo solo, hazlo con los demás. Aquí la palabra clave es “con”: Hacerlo con otros, no para otros – o sea no crear mas asistencialismo que reproduce jerarquías del benefactor bueno y el necesitado inútil, pero participar desde el mismo nivel que los demás. Otro principio clave era la que pedía a los participantes pensar en iniciativas que no requieran permiso ni dinero para poder empezar. Re-think Activism hacen un encuentro en Septiembre del 2017 y sus miembros visitarán Barcelona dentro de poco. Espero que se pueda establecer un enlace muy potente con este grupo que creo que aporta mucho al entorno activista en Aarhus y podría hacerlo también aquí en Catalunya.
Otras presentaciones fueron la de la ex-fabrica de cerámica de Makvärket, a las afueras de Copenhague - un proyecto comunitario, ecológico y social muy grande (Aquí se ve cuanto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHVIcPwU7T0 ) y que también desde la documentación y folletos que trajeron (pero mejor ir de persona para averiguarlo), muy bien organizado y activo. Por la tarde tuvimos la presentación de SqEK - un colectivo que escribe sobre la okupación en Europa, que vino a Barcelona hace un año para su encuentro anual, y que entonces traían muchos buenos recuerdos de espacios de Barcelona como Can Masdeu y que ha hecho mucha investigación sobre la migración y la okupación. El resultado de sus investigaciones son varias publicaciones muy profundizadas, que son disponibles como PDFs creative commons en su web https://sqek.squat.net/. Durante el encuentro Tina Stiegler, investigadora en migración, okupación y autonomía presentó varios libros producidos por este colectivo. 

Antes de someter nuestras orejas a los ruidos electrónicos del colectivo sonoro AMOK, acabamos con un plenario sobre la autonomía y la Europa. Cual será nuestro futuro? Sabemos que la unión hará mas posible un futuro positivo para la autonomía y el desarrollo y difusión de estas maneras de vivir y organizarnos. Al final el miedo de no entendernos quizá no era necesario. Como resultado de conocernos, haremos una lista de correo para seguir en contacto. Al volver supe que un miembro de FairCoop italia irá a vivir cerca de ahí y entonces se refuerza la posiblidad de que haya pronto un nodo Faircoop en Aarhus, como de un foodsharing y quizá cuantas otras iniciativas positivas en esta bella y tranquila ciudad. Y la okupacion? Aquí en Barcelona parece que aún se intenta


8/02/2016

Procomuns refugee fund talk

This is a slightly extended write up of a lightning talk entitled "Creating a fair market and a fund for refugees" which I gave at procomuns.net in Barcelona, March 2016
When a person arrives in a new place, seen from a P2P perspective of a node, a network  of relationships and connections to people and concepts so beautifully depicted in the myth of Indra's net. When people move around then, they are a mix of slowly fading and recombining connections to experience, knowledge, and culture, plus their long distance relationships. If not cultivated these connections to the past fade, as new connections or knowledge are gained in the new setting.

I am Ale and I work at FairCoop, where we are working to create an alternative economic system that is more democratic, ecological and... fair! 

I arrived in Europe as a child, a refugee of the Pinochet dictatorship, in 1974; we were some of the first to leave Chile and there was no official structure there to welcome us. Instead, we were welcomed by an assortment of miner unions, academic friends and neighbours in Scotland, where my parents were able to complete their studies in humanities which had so damned them in the eyes of the dictatorship, and then found work soon after. The solidarity we found there still overwhelms me sometimes.

Here is the Catalan Integral Cooperative's site: http://cooperativa.cat/ - FairCoop's origins lie there in a way: a regional cooperative and legal structures that allow for smaller cooperative groups to do their activities.

Early on when designing a more ethical counterpart to Bitcoin and its POW algorithm, we were discovered by the P2P Foundation who have supported and written about us a lot: http://p2pfoundation.net/Faircoin

So I arrived as an exile to the UK. We were some of the first to leave and were helped by Roberto Kozak, who comes across as a very corageous figure with a kind of Schindler's list role, who was working for what later became the IOM - International Organisation on Migration. Kozak recently died and was conferred an honorary Chilean citizenship. His help consisted in a deal with the Chilean secret services and authorities. We would be allowed to seek the documentation needed in order to leave the country, in exchange for a stamp on our passports that said "sin retorno". No return.

But a little while later, many more refugees began arriving to the uk. The government began to find its own solutions, asking for documentation, putting people in hotels(thankfully this is long before Tony Blair decided to poodle Bush's militarisation push and start using prisons and private security corporations), and generally finding centralised solutions to the "problem", and later on, they even denied us the right to work. Luckily, by then we had European citizenship and managed to avoid the problems that today's refugees now face. Even organisations like the IOM are now puppets of the shock doctrine which has now spread across the world where it can be found today in the EU.

When the Spanish civil war happened, Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, managed to secure a boat that carried civil war refugees to chilean ports along the atlantic sea, stopping first at my father's home town of Arica, where people waited to cheer and take them in; and this was repeated at each port further south, despite the ongoing crisis that was hitting their exports at the time. They contributed in hundreds of ways and there's a strong cooperativist current in Valparaiso now recognised as coming directly from that input. They even say the man who inspired president Allende to pursue a political career was an spanish ex-civil war refugee of anarchist persuasion. 

Similarly in Palestine, during the Armenian genocide, an entire neighbourhood was once cleared voluntarily to make way for incoming refugees. 

Both these acts came from solidarity but also because they valued the actual capabilities offered by these people: artisans, workers, thinkers, people who through their pain had also gained wisdom and strength.

We are not victims and “refugee” doesn't mean we are inept people who need to be taught, (actually the entire refugee convention was explained outwardly as a humanitarian issue, but internally it was accepted that it was to be able to get intelligent people from across post war borders and across the growing cold war divides between east and west). 

Like in the feminist talk at procomuns.net (just before my lightning talk) this is also a clear example of an area of the commons that isn't being valued: the long distance connections we all might carry with our places of birth or origin, or where we have some kind of connection or have passed through somehow. I once interviewed some Azerbaijani failed asylum seekers who were in Section 4 status under the United Kingdom immigration act - they were destined for deportation, but as Christians, the EU kept them from being returned to a place where they were now deemed unsafe due to EU human rights law. The couple were confined to their house, and the only currency they had access to was government vouchers allowing them to buy at places like McDonalds or Pret a Porter, and the husband said he felt like all his knowledge and connections, all his culture and language was slowly melting away. I asked - what, if anything gives you hope or happiness... and they both smiled and pointed to the tomatoes they were growing out in the garden. ( https://archive.org/details/Section4_201603 9-13m in)

Enter FairCoop
So at FairCoop we asked ourselves: how do you find a way around these laws that in so many countries force people to not be able to make use of their intelligence, abilities, experience and contacts, especially at a time when so many more refugees are arriving?

(aerial view of Zataari)
Not all countries have this ban, but for example at Zataari refugee camp no-one is allowed to work, and it's a controversial subject to even mention this. It creates several black markets, and permanent precariety.

So we tried to just sidestep it all: what if we don't use official currencies, or mainstream processes where most of the budget is typically spent on legal protection against the giants who keep the status quo going? What if we came up with our own ethical system and even our own definition of what a refugee is (make a chart showing all migrants, economic migrants, asylum seekers, then a tiny circle in the middle representing those with accepted refugee status). What if the people who normally get sued to bits for challenging the system didn't have any money to begin with?

Coopfunding
Social movements now have 2 novel ways to access funds: one is crowdfunding - but refugees don't tend to have access to bank accounts - another is through 'alt currencies': we decide where we put our money and even how this money is organised. So we've started a fund for self organised, DIY refugee centred initiatives, that allow us to create separate economies - beyond the black markets  and grey areas where refugee economies usually exist, that we can shape as a common tool, rather than be shaped by market forces of mafias, people traffickers or state oppression. With Coopfunding anyone can start a campaign - we don't charge fees, it's aimed at the common good, and is cooperatively run. Now that our credit card payments go through BetaBank, the German cooperative bank, you don't need a bank account in order to start a campaign there.

A p2p ERP for cooperative work
One of the tools we are developing at FairCoop is the Open Collaboration Platform or OCP, a fork of the NRP used in Sensorica for peer to peer process management in creating sensors. Instead, our OCP is a system that lets you map your cooperative project and add it to an ecosystem of projects all using FairCoin.  We have been collaborating on this with http://mikorizal.org/.

FairMarket
This brings us to FairMarket, which of course is the central marketplace for FairCoop members to buy and sell; in fact one does not have to have had any dealings with FairCoop before to interact with the market; to buy it is sufficient only to have some Faircoins (which can be bought at www.getfaircoin.net)and to sell one only has to apply for an account https://market.fair.coop/web/signup and have a Faircoin wallet address in which to receive funds.

These low barriers to entry, plus the fact that almost any good or service, including non-physical informational or downloadable goods, can be bought and sold using the platform, mean that people who are excluded by the current system, such as refugees, economic migrants or stateless people who are unable to open bank accounts (and thus unable to participate in online commerce) can, as long as they have a means of accessing the internet, start taking advantage of this worldwide platform to participate in an alternative economy which could potentially be both a lifeline, and a way out of the trap in which the incumbent system has placed them.

6/23/2016

Using social currencies to fund the energy transition

This post is a translation of a proposal by Susana Martín Belmonte of which the original will soon be posted!
On July 13 2016, the city of Barcelona published a government measure to create an energy operator in the city. This operator aims to accelerating the energy transition to renewable energy sources, facilitating the citizen's energy self-consumption, and providing the citizens with access to electricity generation business income, as well as addressing economic justice goals, such as ending energy poverty.

One of this project's key points is financing new renewable energy generators, and this is where the social currency that the city of Barcelona is planning can play a very interesting role.

I drafted the proposal that comes next and I shared with the economy and ecology groups, as well as the social currency group at Barcelona en Comú. In addition, this can also be framed in the working group on energy and climate change mentioned in the document.


Offer advantageous conditions for investing in electrical generators to those citizens who access the scheme

1. The energy operator  would offer citizens to exchange euros for social currency. The incentive, for example, can be obtaining joint ownership of the panel(for example 10%). In this way, a citizen can change 100€ a month for 100 units of social currency during 20 months for example (or for the time needed in order to acquire a solar panel or associated equipment).

2. The operator would use the euros collected (some or all) to buy and install solar panels or other renewable energy generators.

3. People would use the social currency to pay for:
  • Goods and services from the companies participating in the scheme (local commerce, etc).
  • The energy bill(in part): The operator accepts a percentage of the electricity bill in social currency (this percentage should be compatible with the operator's cash flow needs, and it can be increased overtime).

The system:

The system can be a mutual credit system, in which other companies and local businesses can participate. Those who sign up for electricity provision from the operator will have an additional incentive as they can then use social currency to pay for their electricity bill. It would therefore be a currency backed by green energy (at least in part: the currency could have other types of backing too). The energy operator is aimed mostly to household customers, but here I assume that some SMEs could become customers of the energy operator too.


Potential Advantages

1. Financing: An interesting amount of capital could be raised to accelerate an energy transition. Basically, the project aims to substitute euros for social currency for the purpose of  goods and services consumption, and use the euros to invest in clean energy generation instead.

2. Promoting a local economy connected to the world of energy: citizens, even with a low income, can access and take part in investing in clean energy and its benefits (both private and common) via joint ownership, without the need to save, based only on exchanging money and substituting global consumtion habits for local ones.

3. Reducing energy demand: Social currency incentivates local consumption, reduces the supply chain (in KMs) and therefore reduces carbon footprint. This complements the energy operator's strategy by reducing the city's energy demand, because if you consume a product produced within a radius of 100km you use up less energy than if you consume a product created at a distance of 1000km.

4. Local economy is boosted. Incentives can be offered so that the operator also pays citizens in for the spaces to place the panels, and for the panel's returns (when the citizen is co-owner), in social currency instead of euros. This would increase the local multiplier effect of this extra income, so it improves local employment and economic activity.

There are many other additional possibilities, but here is the outline of the basic scheme:




Precedents

- Money Market and Climate Change: Theoretical Proposal by Shann Turnbull (2009) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1304083

- Ecoxarxa of Manresa (a bona hora) is a mutual credit system created in 2011. Participants can also buy social currency with euros. These euros are used, among other things, to purchase solar panels. The Ecoxarxa participants can use the energy generated by these solar panels and pay for it in social currency. https://abonahora.wordpress.com/

- Solarcoin: cryptocurrency (based currency block chain technology) created in 2014 to finance the installation of renewable energy generators. The market price can be followed here: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/solarcoin/

---------------

Author: Susana Martín Belmonte
Translated: Alejandro Fernández and Susana Martín Belmonte
Date: 25-07-2016
Creative Commons Licence: 3.0. (Share alike)

OSCEdays Barcelona: Buscando una economía social, transformadora y libre...

Las siguientes son las primeras conclusiones que he sacado de mi participación en las jornadas globales y abiertas a la participación de distintas ciudades del mundo, OSCEdays:
Creado por la deportista Ellen MacArthur, el concepto de Circular Economy es una perspectiva ecologista que facilita un cambio masivo en los procesos industriales mundiales. El concepto sirve para ir a grandes empresas y convencerles o poco a poco exigirles a cambiar o por lo menos a ayudar a quienes lo hacen, cediendo espacios o recursos para las jornadas OSCE en otras partes del mundo por ejemplo. Mucho del contenido internacional de estas jornadas se centra en desarrollar "Challenges" o retos, de diseño, construcción y prototipado de soluciones grandes y pequeñas que transforman deshechos organicos en gas fertilizante, convierten deshechos urbanos en ladrillos, o crean baños públicos que reciclan nutrientes como fosfatos.

Obviamente en Barcelona se puede ir mas lejos que en las partes del mundo donde las jornadas son financiadas por grandes entidades y se desarrollan en sus espacios. Al ser una ciudad diferente, en crisis, pero en lucha, creativa, OSCEdays Barcelona han crecido desde la base, entre pequeños grupos afines a estos conceptos, y ayudados por la omnipresencia de proyectos sociales y espacios abiertos, de trabajo o de encuentro y herramientas vivas como los distintos huertos o proyectos sociales o ambientales alrededor nuestro. De la misma manera, OSCEdays Barcelona ha sido mucho mas claro en su planteamiento discutiendo temas muy vivos en lo que si es una comunidad que sin este enfoque y estas jornadas quizá no hubiera tenido tan buena oportunidad de conocerse y definirse. 

Contrariamente a dinámicas abiertamente anti-capitalistas como el Decreixement o la Permacultura que ya van mucho mas encaminados hacia procesos abiertos y positivas para el entorno, la Circular Economy no intenta llegar a estos "extremos". Los ecologistas de toda la vida plantean ya el cambio total a una escucha y cuidado del entorno, desde una forma de producir extractora y industrial, que trata la tierra como una piedra muerta, y que depende del quemar combustible fósil y de sistemas económicos que necesitan el crecimiento infinito de estos procesos destructivos. 

Pero por otro lado, las pequeñas iniciativas ecológicas que buscan vivir al margen de estos sistemas, no consiguen llevar con ellas tantos adherentes como estas grandes empresas con miles de trabajadores y las enormes masas de espectadores de sus oficinas de relaciones públicas y ética corporativa. Si solo una de ellas cambiara su perspectiva, podría darse un cambio enorme en la sociedad. En este sentido el concepto de Circular Economy funciona de manera similar al Open Source: es un término que se sobrepone a otros términos que comenzaban a tomar forma, introducido para ablandar los grandes comercios y empresas, en la esperanza de así dar grandes pasos desde estas mismas empresas, a veces las mas tóxicas, como se puede ver en la web de la fundación Ellen Mac Arthur.  

Pero estas dinámicas mas hacia los margenes también se habían visto en el mundo del software libre y abierto: el término Free Software había sido propuesto por Richard Stallman con sus herramientas abiertas GNU ya en los años 80. Luego estas se unieron al trabajo de Linus Torvalds en crear un Kernel (la parte mas central, o "nuez" de muchos sistemas operativos) para así producir en su conjunto el primer sistema operativo abierto y libre. Pero esta definición "Free", de Libre, del movimiento de Stallman que en inglés se entiende mas como "gratis", no iba a ser aceptada fácilmente por las grandes empresas que necesitaban remunerarse de su software o servicios. Fue así que otro gran personaje hacker de los 90, Eric S Raymond, junto con la OSI comenzaron a utilizar y difundir el término Open Source, popularizado por su manifiesto "The cathedral and the bazaar" y por el hecho de que la mayoría del software para servidores web o servicios internet ya era hecho bajo algún tipo de licencia libre. Este término si que tomó fuerza hasta que todas las grandes empresas llegaron a pasar al apoyo del sistema de desarrollo Open Source (la mas reciente siendo Microsoft). Sin embargo esta definición pierde varias libertades que aún siguen estando en el movimiento Free Software y su licencia GNU. El debate aún sigue en los círculos de los programadores, tanto que es común el denominativo FLOSS - Free and Libre Open Source Software - para que no se peleen demasiado. Es interesante que un sistema de desarrollo abierto haya dado otra definición de libertad a la idioma inglesa con el uso de "Libre" para denotar el derecho, no la falta de necesidad de pago. 

Hoy, el problema de la libertad o apertura ha migrado desde el software a la ciudad, el campo y la vida real, y es una apertura y libertad física, y es a que ver con los recursos y herramientas que tenemos alrededor nuestro, ya sea en lo que creamos entre personas, como en nuestro entorno natural. Quizá solo la unión entre los proyectos y consciencias mas radicales y experimentales y las dinámicas que ya toman pié en la gente normal de cada barrio puede junto defender y hacer crecer estos cambios. Es un buen momento para unir estas temáticas, seguir trabajándolas en sus nichos naturales y en la experimentación mas radical, o trabajando hacia grandes cambios en ámbitos mas populares y masivos(a cada quien su lucha), y expresar sobretodo, la ecología interna de la identidad local y carácter de lo que significa apertura, libertad y ecología sin deshechos aquí mismo en Barcelona.

2/28/2016

The socially constructed pheroverse

Imagine an interface much like the Construct in the film The Matrix - where you can run your own local simulator for practice or training (not necessarily fighting agents) from your biblically named hovercraft or whatever your vessel may be at that point in life.



So in it you can put all the actors, scenes and situations - as some describe in the experience of lucid dreaming, and put ourselves in them and experience them, or test out scenarios for what you will be doing in your work, or create imaginary environments and buy or create your own 3d spaces where these things take place, maybe sometimes inviting others to join in. Mostly though, it's just an extended interface with respect to today's touchscreens, mice and keyboards, for everyday use. Simulating is then freed from the domain of the dream so that we can imagine situations and train towards them. This was the intent of the Israeli army when they created the first army simulation that led to the first first person shooter.

But then let's go a step furthur: imagine you can also connect your simulation somehow to a main "matrix" of everyone else's interconnected simulators, each one similar to your own. This is what many posit as a future, with respect to the internet as one of many potential networks.

That's the end of the analogy with the film The Matrix: no robot dominion to hack into, depending on how you look at it. Just people, groups and communities connecting their 3d worlds between them, in the same way researchers once linked their HTML based documents via anchor tags to form the world wide web. So this time we join simulations into grids and grids into hypergrids to form a meta world that is the synergy of all of them.

The Pheroverse
This is what many metaverse proponents argue is the future - where different 3d virtual realities might be interconnected the same way the world wide web was once envisioned - a simple standard allowing you to connect disparate platforms in ways people can readily access. Online financial platforms take this new paradigm into account very seriously - as with Gloebit - which provides user avatars (identities), inventory (tradeable objects and creations), and a full currency, as well as providing backup storage and alongside accounting and tracking systems allowing a user to make money from different currencies coexisting across a grid of different simulations and game engines. I can see this concept migrate from gaming into buying and selling with apps like Wallapop where you are buyer and seller at once, or the ability to work under a pseudonym or company name in commercial social networking services. Now we also can carry, courtesy of crypto currencies, a central bank, minting press and even personal possessions (or the information and designs to re-create them) in pocket/worn devices and can use them in all these interfaces.

It's interesting to see this future in some new way, so that we can devise new words for the social and cultural context we are in today, and with that in mind, create a new way of seeing this, and its potential or use as tool or vehicle or simply means of communication. The novel Snowcrash showed a digital divide between the low resolution users of public terminals and private users. But it still had a client server interface, not a mesh of different dimensions and worlds, which is why I propose a new distinction: a p2p metaverse is where everyone emits 3d data as they perceive it: everyone can create, process, and convert, not only consume the data as we did in the age of the TV and one way mass media or as we still do now with short form video and film. So with the "Carrier" or "Bearer" meaning of the word phero I think we should be credited for being both broadcasters and receivers and thus able to perceive or share our view of the world in a unique mix of these inputs and outputs.

For most people 20 years ago, personal diaries, photos, and pretty much any self made creation would stay amongst your closest circles. We were unable to share them, whereas today this presence can be accomplished with social media accounts and mobile devices. The ability to share has led us to confront the idea that it wasn't just about the sharing but also about the way we live, the way we share and with what intermediaries. Airbnb is giving way to Gnubnb. With currencies failing across the world, and desperate situations arising through misuse of the money system, and unjust arrangements that stem from these now useless ideals about the world, I believe we need a new definition of VR and 3d experiences that can more accurately reflect today's interfaces and potential and experimental uses of them, which might soon become mainstream. This is why I propose the term Pheroverse for p2p metaverses, as a way to question what a physical life connected to a 3d virtual reality experience can mean in a way that makes sense to today's most networked people. Instead of all the brilliant data and information inside a phone accessible via thumbs, all this will be freed with new displays, projection, graphical, and multimedia or haptic interfaces, freed from the devices and inhabiting a mixed world of physical and virtual.

In 2016, with the rise of various competing VR platforms, and a large increase in their use - in gaming, but also as proposals from mainstream figures for various large platforms, in many areas, and as a kind of meta-effect of this, streamers - who stream their daily online gaming can now become the actors and protagonists in the media they follow, usually written as open worlds with set triggers and scene based programming and in turn these actors who play actors, can be followed, in a live streaming multimedia setting. It is obvious that VR as a medium and not just as "something you look at through glasses" but as a paradigm, needs to mature to encompass more uses. It's a 3d understanding of interface and space that transcends boxes and screens and allows us full editing capabilities over the known universe, within this simulated metaverse. The problem then is how to link 3d formats and be able to print or turn them somehow into physical objects, that complement or develop from the simulation, and bring these things into being. We could all, simultaneously, around the world, get all the materials, work to understand the process and raise the cash, and one day all switch to modern ecological appropriate urban tech that uses renewables usually recycled by town council services. It would allow for shared presence and third space in ways we still don't conceive of, allowing us to use still the benefits of the office and business world in a post capitalist setting.

We can also create interfaces that can go beyond intuitive. A tree containing people's thoughts, like the trees found at Christmas around Barcelona. People post their wishes on post-its and stick them on top. What if a tree could contain an online life, and the leaves fell as the caches expired? Or a programmer at once viewing all feeds and errors, software and data, at once in a team and alone, how could interface in 3d lead to its proponents going beyond the headset?

If we have to lose the internet, due to all the forces that work towards making it a censored, gated community, split into regional and interest blocks, then I hope the future is the mesh. I think VR can survive that, but maybe it's something we are just consuming, a commercial mesh, where we turn into the ultimate, matrix like, couch potatoes, or maybe it can be a tool for empowerment in the real world, that can make it brighter and more connected as we might relocalise and be able to rely less on low oil prices for long distance transport.

The Pheroverse in live art practice and social networking systems
A protagonist of a story, in a 3D VR, scriptable setting can be the result of putting together creative roles in all senses, from design to functionality, character, emotions, and all aspects of a character are brought about collectively, and scenes and environments planned and created. So they bring together this entity, and then a streamer "plays" the character by playing the resulting game and streaming their experiences, and the distance between this persona and the individual is still huge so that you can aspire to be like this super persona, but it's just a character brought to life collectively.

At the moment, it's unthinkable that a game server might reside in someone's device and allow people to connect to it, but many different VR or game engine related projects are nearing that point. A huge problem is platform disparity - the fact that only 50k polygons can fit in what can be seen at any moment, fluidly, by a Google Cardboard compatible mobile VR platform. Games - if not served by one central server can only be played at close proximity, and high bandwidth, but when distant geographically or with lots of small low power servers all talking to each other, they will have to change: lag and latency in p2p or supernode based p2p-like systems mean games like multiverse enabled 3d worlds must be turn based(like with conversation, debate), or simply must hold subjective realities where different people experience things with a graceful degradation of quality when going from the expensive commercial PC based VR setups to the phone based ones. One thing I think this will mean is that long format video will have a very limited future - as instantaneous recording, generating and streaming takes over from it: Imagine if hundreds of people could get together and make a live, streaming piece of cinema - like the recording of an express telenovela - where 20 full episodes are recorded per day, and the actors have little earphones to hear the next line as it's written in the next room..

An application of that to anime or other short form video for example, would mean for example showings of anime episodes, dubbed and performed live to online and offline audiences in different ways around the world, with different protagonists and local variations, and where the recording or "film" aspect is just a byproduct, or free media for people who couldn't make it in person. The original media being just the animations(which in future will be generated live and "acted" in various ways: bluescreen, motion capture, or more advanced ways of mixing media) and a dialogue script which is then performed live.

The result would be a democratisation of roles, so that many places could pay for art across the world, all coming from live performance bringing people together as prosumers. This way every area could have a different local composition of the performers they value, local stars an an easier ability for local people to get involved and rise up in that world..

Less to do with the world of performance and media, is the social aspect of opening your world and allowing someone to enter. In today's online simulated spaces, areas of the VR world are seen as public, but a personal 3d space could be very different, showing aspects of your needs, dreams, fears, psyche, knowledge, connections etc, and in ways that could be very creative but also inherently private and intimate.

Imagine you could imprint on someone's mind the exact experience you'd had, a bit like ants do when they exchange pheromones: I expect in a few years we will be able to invite people into our worlds and share our subjective narratives and experiences. Could VR be a way towards closer connections between humans? In the 90s, I used to leave spaces saying "insert image here" hoping one day for a world where I could insert images into text. I wished there was some way I could post a time based block of text and have it be full of links and pictures and other people could read it. I thought I'd always be a geek for wanting that.. Then came blogs, and after that came throwaway social media. Today I wish that people might one day have a world that they could share with other worlds, a worldview or weltangshaung. When they do, I'll probably criticise the larger commercial groups that will undoubtedly seek to control or define expensive or unfriendly standards, and the way the multiverse was once a free, open and creative place.

The Conosphere

In a world where bots can be friendly or evil depending on their programming, but still can be quite present in daily life, for me the new concept of what VR might mean is where a scripted interaction with the simulated world, or the real world might have repercussions such that we begin to have machine intelligence within our software that can be aware of and very good at a full range of online tasks, both for and against us. There's even an open source, steam compatible VR viewer project that is already working as an albeit high priced free alternative to the main commercial proposals. Already now, using Opensimulator and various tools such as the Radegast client, you can create a 3d world, or download a ready made creative commons licensed one, and put in an AI bot which you can program using AIML - much like with HTML. The only thing missing from it is the ability to link it's responses with an awareness of the 3d world it inhabits. I think this is a key towards a larger intelligence, that I really believe doesn't need to take long to cross through to the mainstream, and I think will be there alongside VR in a new transcendent post medium. So here is another subset of the metaverse: Cunh/ios is ancient greek for Common property. The sphere of shared intelligence. The Conosphere?

But beyond a name, this last aspect about AI is really interesting because if considered from a Buddhist perspective, a lot of the time we are working towards human happiness, without taking into account the environment. This is where people don't eat meat or even go to extreme lengths not to kill anything or anyone. But also there is a predilection for "life" as only meaning that which is organic and currently alive, whereas I used to love some of the interpretations of the silent prayers in Nichiren Buddhism where the entire universe that has potential for life should be worthy of our absolute care, as valuable as the care we have for other living beings. So we're going beyond just caring for humans as if they are above animals, and even beyond the idea that animals come before their environment.

So we shouldn't dig up our mountains and use this to make money or gain advantage over others, but this is because in light of what is seen as a utopian view of the singularity, you have the potential of that mountain to one day be sentient in some way. Everything around us might one day be intelligent. So if intelligence is a reason not to kill, dividing human from bug, the potential of AI for wisdom and positive action is as strong as its potential for untold damage. By using resources as unspoken property and slaves of the living beings of that land, you are mistreating this potential AI: what might one day be the potential creators or  guardians of values you might uphold, and even made of the very materials that might otherwise be used to fuel an extractive industrial economy.

I believe we mistreat the robots of today in an extreme perversion of this mistreatment of the earth around us, because their main uses are military and (non environmentally) commercial. A robot today in most cases carries an umbilical cord back to a factory, a military / capitalist industrial paradigm and a mountain side. But this Buddhist interpretation doesn't make full sense until I consider the potential of the singularity, of intelligent beings who are software based, or who exist as projections, as voices, or made of just about any material, who exist as shared agents, as individuals or different groupings of decoupled expertise, use and awareness, From here to self build, low impact machine intelligence I can see a clear road. Maybe that's the Conosphere within the Pheroverse, the idea that we are consumed as we consume: that we also, like the earth around us become merchandise as fail to see each other's value, or more humane and wise as our compassion grows and includes more areas and aspects where life might be.

Label Cloud