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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Barter Networks: Lessons from Argentina for Greece

“How did Argentina survive their economic crisis?”; “Are they doing better now?”; “What happened to the factory takeovers?”; “Did millions of people really participate in the barter network? Did they actually invent new money?”

These are some of the many questions I have been asked by Greeks, especially over the past few weeks, related to their economic crisis and the potential for self-organization and survival. My first visit to Greece was after a network of assemblies translated into Greek Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, an oral history I compiled on the popular rebellions and forms of organization that emerged in Argentina after the 2001 crisis. I have continued to visit over the years, the last occasion in the days leading up to the referendumwhere the Greeks voted a resounding “No” to austerity and the coercion of the EU.

In this article I focus on the Argentine barter networks, both because it is a specific question that is raised repeatedly in Greece, and also because there are some very concrete forms of organization and lessons that can be derived from the experience. It is also because there are already many different forms of barter throughout Greece, from local villages trading based in history and custom, within families and family to family to an increasingly large number of activist and community organized spaces of exchange. Within this culture of barter, immediate questions are arising as to how the networks can be expanded, if they are the right base for a currency based network, and what sort of support to ask for from the government to help ensure their existence.

Read the full article at teleSUR English


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