Ashish Kothari interviews Enric Duran about the death grip of finance capital on society and how the recent initiatives like Faircoop and Faircoin are succeeding in breaking that stranglehold.
Ashish – Enric, what prompted you to take the decision you took ten years ago and what has been your journey since then, looking at alternatives to the system that you were protesting?
Enric – Ten years ago, specifically between 2005 and 2008, I took the decision to protest against the national banking system and initiate a political discussion against a system that does not work. This system has failed us on the issues of social justice and it has failed us in protecting the earth, our planet with limited resources. I wanted to start a movement towards the creation of an alternative system, and, the level of radicalism and disobedience, which was already in existence helped to move the discussion in that direction.
Ashish – What was your specific action in this regard?
Enric – I got 68 credits from 39 banks, a total of Five Hundred Thousand Euros and I donated all the money to grassroots movements in Catalonia, particularly the efforts to build the degrowth movement in this region. In September 2008, I made that action public and declared that I will not return the money to the banks.
Ashish – What kind of alternatives have you been building since then?
Enric – With this money we were able to start the process of building a network in Catalonia. To begin with, we created the Catalan Integral Cooperative in 2010 with the intention of starting the process of an integral revolution, which would change the current way of living at every level – political, economic, social, ecological and cultural. What we’re trying to do is to organize from below and change how we live together and reorganize the economy. We’re further trying to create a regional cooperative eco-system based on this larger integral cooperative movement and in the process we’re learning how to reorganize the economy. Since 2013, I’ve not been able to live in Catalonia because of the prosecution of the case regarding the credit from the banks. So, in 2014, I launched an initiative with a similar vision but at a global level. It’s called Faircoop, and it’s been conceived as an open cooperative movement that can support the transition to another way of living, another society in a post-capitalist environment. Because it is operating at a global level, Faircoop is able to create opportunities for radical alternatives at the local level based on the creative experiments emerging at other places. We, then, support the connection between all these efforts to build a larger global economic movement. Faircoop also facilitates digital tools for this process, both, with currencies like “Faircoin” and also communications and decision making tools at a decentralized level.
Ashish – What are you planning next? Are you thinking of creating a bank?
Enric – Yes, in 2017 we created the “Bank of the Commons”. This is an open process and ideologically more transversal, so as to include movements of movements, hoping to involve all of them to build and alternate banking system. Faircoop is one of the co-founders of this initiative but there are many other co-founders helping us create an open space at the global level. We are now looking for partners in different countries to bridge with the old banking system and then to create an alternative banking system together with special currencies like Faircoin. We will have a varied currency wallet consisting of local currencies facilitating investments in cooperative all over the world. This way we would be able to close the gap between the initiatives for funding cooperatives and the funding which is independent and shared completely.
Ashish – In the last few years you’ve not been able to go back to Catalonia. How have you coped with being away from home because of the fear of prosecution for your action?
Enric – Yes, it has been somewhat stressful. In the beginning I was not able to return to my normal life but I did continue with my activist work. However, soon I realized that the Spanish authorities were not searching for me outside of Spain. That, together with the creation of Faircoop and the new focus on the international scene allowed me to travel and maintain a normal activist life – meeting other people, participating in international gatherings without making public where I am. While I’m not doing any publicly announced events, I’m still being able to meet people, and I’m especially focused on networking as well as creating new collaborations with many different movements.
Ashish – So, you’re leading a bit of a nomadic existence right now?
Enric – Yes, that’s right. My life is quite nomadic but it has allowed me to organize my activism in a modified manner, where I’m trying to facilitate the possibility of others becoming more nomadic and organizing for the future together.
Ashish Kothari is a co-founder of Kalpavriksh (email – [email protected])
Enric Duran (email – [email protected])
The interviews in the RED Conversation series are not an exact transcription of the recorded interview. They are an approximation based on an interpretation as well as a summation of the original interview. To view the recorded interviews, click on the links below:
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