Autogestio: Adventures into the New Economies of Catalonia

Enfable (2015)

Film Review

Autogestio* begins with an update on Spain’s modern Robin Hood Enrique Durand. In 2008, Durand borrowed a half million pounds (around $700,000) from 38 banks and donated it to various Spanish anti-capitalist organizations. When he defaulted on the loans, the banks took him to court, where he called numerous expert witnesses to explain no banks had lost any money because they created the loans out of thin air. Despite the fact this is where all money comes from – banks create it out of thin air – the court dismissed the witnesses and Durand went into hiding.

The documentary is based on a June 2015 visit Devon activists made to Durand’s home region of Catalonia to study Cooperativa Integrale Catalonia (CIC). The latter is a coalition of work and and mutual aid co-oporatives created by Catalonian activists seeking to build an alternative economy outside the corporate money system. Many of the activities CIC engages in are technically illegal, such as occupying abandoned land and buildings as living space or to grow food, start cooperatives or provide various community services. However through the years, they have discovered a number of creative ways to turn these squats into legal tenancies.

At present there are 26 local currencies in use in Catalonian communities. Some have been created by CIC and some by other eco-groups seeking to strengthen their local communities. The beauty of local currency is, unlike fiat (bank-created) currency, it can’t be spent outside the community that creates them. This means it can’t disappear into the pockets of billionaires or distant corporations.

In addition to promoting the use of local or “social” currencies for local transactions, the CIC promotes the use of Fair Coin for national and international transactions. Fair Coin, a type of cryptocurrency,** is an eco-friendly alternative to Bitcoin.

The filmmakers challenge the popular misconception that the Bitcoin isn’t central controlled like fiat currency. In actuality, Bitcoins are controlled by a handful of people who have computers powerful enough to “mine”*** Bitcoins, by unlocking the algorithms needed to create new block chains. These and other individuals are constantly speculating in Bitcoins, driving up their value. Because they can’t be traced, they are also widely used on the Dark Web to pay for illicit drugs and other activities (such as hired assassinations).

Unlike Bitcoins, it’s impossible to speculate in Fair Coins because their value is carefully regulated by a network of cooperatives to main a relatively stable value. Fair Coop, the group that monitors and regulates Fair Coins, was started by Enrique Durand and anyone can become a member.

At present Catalonia is seeking independence from Spain – via national referendum or otherwise. See Catalonia Independence Referendum


*Autogestio is a Catalan word meaning collective self-management.

**Cryptocurrency A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for encryption for security.

***Bitcoin mining is the process through which bitcoins are released into circulation. It involves solving a computationally difficult puzzle to discover a new block, which is added to the blockchain, and receiving a reward in the form of few bitcoins.

Comments
  1. molaplume says:

    Good afternon and thanks for following my blog. This is a very interesting article about Catalonia but there is one caveat: due to the shameless corruption of Jordi Pujols and his now defunct party “Convergencia y Unio” the Catalan administration owes hundreds of million of Euros to the central authorities in Madrid. How are they going to unbundle that huge financial compromise? Moreover the EU will not allow them to automatically stay if they secede from Spain. Please keep reading our articles. Arrivederci!

    • Good point, molaplume. It’s my impression that if Catalan secedes from Spain, they will most likely opt out of the Wall Street-London banking system altogether. That seems to be the direction they’re going in.

      • molaplume says:

        Good afternoon and call me Mario please. Please let me beg to differ as the Generalitat has been actively negotiating, unsuccessfully so far, to remain in the EU after their break up with the Madrid government. In another isdue, I liked the re-blogging about those super-bugs in India and I am using that article as a reference in a paper we are writing with an Indian doctor about AMR. Are you in New Zealand? If that’s the case, cheerio mate!

  2. Thanks for commenting, travelindia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s