Note: to see a hi-res version of the above image, click here.
While Syriza is provided with a four month breathing space to take stock, re-evaluate its strategy and see which of the much-needed anti-austerity measures it can implement, on the streets and in the neighbourhoods the social revolution that began on the streets some three years back continues to evolve. This ‘revolution’ is based on a very different economy to that of mainstream Europe – as promoted by the eurocrat ‘machine men’ – namely, it one that is largely anarchist influenced and based on mutual aid, cooperation, bartering and collective welfare. Below is a list of these alternative economies, plus highlights of one such scheme – the TEM.
Many Greek communities have decided to take matters into their own hands. Apart from informal peer-to-peer initiatives like clothing or book exchanges, there has also been a development of networks of time bank and exchange economy communities in major Greek cities. It estimated that there are currently more than 40 parallel currency schemes across the country.
Example of alternative currency: the TEM (at Volos)
In Volos, a city with a population of 86,000, a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) has been going strong for well over a year. More than 800 merchants and businesses are using the local alternative currency called TEM. One TEM is equal to 1 euro. It works more or less the same as ‘official’ currencies and there are exchanging points around the region. The alternative economic network offers an online platform available to members of the exchange community where they can manage their credits as if they’re managing a traditional bank account. Since there is no interest on the TEMs in an account there is no reason for people to save their ‘money’ as they are tempted to do in the traditional banking system. The accounts and the transactions are transparent and accessible to all the members of the community.
Similar initiatives have been cropping up elsewhere in Greece. In Patras, in the Peloponnese, a network called Ovolos, named after an ancient Greek means of currency, was founded in 2009 and includes a local exchange currency, a barter system and a time bank in which members swap services like medical care and language classes.
Time banks are also found in many other countries, notably Spain, as part of the growing alternative economy. (To see more on the Barcelona Time Bank as well as a list of other time banks in Spain, click here.)
Here is a European Commission report on time banks.
Alternative economies in Greece
Below, courtesy of Omnikron Project, is a list (correct as of June 2014) of movements in Greece organising micro-economies without middle-men or without money so as to increase solidarity and strengthen social bonds.
- 7 Strofes
- 60 Lepta
- Aftonomo Steki
- Agrotiko Pantopoleio Kalamarias [Agricultural grocery shop of Kalamaria]
- Aneksartiti Protovoulia Politon Dimou Thermaikou [Independent initiative of the citizens of Thermaikos]
- Anoixto Diktyo [Open Network]
- Antallaktiko Diktyo Kalymnos [Exchange network of Kalymnos]
- Antallaktiki Oikonomia [Exchange Economy]
- Antallaktiko Veroia [Exchange Veroia]
- Artemida-Spata D.K.A.
- BABY feat
- Bios Co-op
- Chania Net Exchange
- Diktyo Allilegiis Dionysou [Network of Solidarity of Dionysos]
- Diktyo Allilegiis Zwgrafou [Network of Solidarity of Zografou]
- Diktyo Antallagis Ag. Paraskevis [Network of exchange of Agia Paraskevi]
- Diktyo Antallagis Irakleiou [Network of exchange of Iraklio]
- Diktyo Elia [Olive Network]
- Diktyo Evrytania [Network of Evrytania]
- Diktyo DAEP
- Diktyo Pallinis
- ERMIS Time Bank Kifissia
- Fasouli Network
- Kourseva – Paros-Antiparos
- La Candona
- Let’s Net
- Logo Timis
- Mesopotamia Time Bank
- Min To Petas, Xarise To [Don’t throw it, offer it]
- Mitos Politon [Citizens’ thread]
- Mother Earth
- Noah Mother Earth
- Omada Drasis Alexandrias [Team of action of Alexandria]
- O Topos Mou [My land]
- Praxi Allilegiis [Action of solidarity]
- Protovoulia Katoikon Fylis [Initiative of the inhabitants of Fyli]
- Protovoulia Katoikon kaisarianis [Initiative of the inhabitants of Kaisariani]
- Polites tou Virona [Citizens of Vironas]
- Perno abariza
- Sesoula Exarchia
- Solidarity Kallithea
- Spame Petroupoli
- Steki Akadimias Platonos [Meeting point of Akadimia Platonos]
- Steki eleusina
- Steki Pallinis
- Time Bank of Eksarxeia
- [The Ant]
- Treno allhleggyis [Train of Solidarity]
- Uparxei Allos Dromos [There Is Another Way]
- Votsalo Korydalos
- Xoris Mesazontes [Without Middlemen]