Greeks Flock to Grassroots Alternative Currencies in Affront to Euro Debt Slavery

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Necessity is the mother of invention.

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When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor. 

His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it. 

Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Alternative Currencies Flourish in Greece as Euros Are Harder to Come by

Hundreds of millions of people throughout the Western world are being forced to admit an obvious, yet uncomfortable reality. Democracy is dead. Your vote and your voice doesn’t matter. Not at all.

No group of people understand this as intimately as the Greeks. They voted for one thing, got something else, and in the process were unceremoniously reminded of their political irrelevance. The Greeks are now in a position to show the rest of us how it’s done. Communities need to take matters into their own hands and tackle challenges at the grassroots level. Nowhere is this more impactful and necessary than in the monetary realm, and some Greeks are already leading the charge.

From the Wall Street Journal:

When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor. 

His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it. 

“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis,” said Mr. Papaioannou, part of a cooperative that founded TEM in the port city of Volos and one of nearly 1,000 registered users of the alternate currency there.

“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis.”

Read that line over and over and over again until you realize how simple, elegant and accurate it is.

TEM—a sophisticated form of barter whose name is the Greek acronym for Local Alternative Unit—was founded in 2010 in the early months of Greece’s debt crisis with less than a dozen members. Now it includes dozens of participating local businesses that use the system to sell goods and services, including prepared food, haircuts, doctor visits, or even for renting an apartment.

It is a localized version of what Greece might have to turn to if a tentative bailout agreement reached this week is derailed, or ultimately fails. Before his resignation last month, former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis floated the idea of setting up a parallel-currency system based on IOUs in the event that Greece could no longer stay afloat using euros. Without a rescue, the idea of using IOUs is seen as the country’s most likely alternative. 

Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.

“The problems that existed have only gotten worse, and the new deal is going to create problems of its own that will deepen the crisis in certain areas,” said Mehran Khalili, one of the founders of Omikron. “The logical response is to create groups to react to that and fill those gaps that are going to exist because of the unsustainable situation that Greece has found itself in.

Experts say TEM and other local currencies work best side-by-side with the euro, not as a replacement. 

“Experts” say. Yeah, the same so-called “experts” who destroyed the world economy and turned the planet into a thieving oligarchy. I think I’ve had enough “expert” economic advice for one lifetime.

One notable example of alternative currencies used during a crisis was in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when the Austrian town of Wörgl decided to fight the economic downturn by printing its own money. Economists called the result a miracle: Employment boomed, while inflation remained subdued. During the economic depression that struck Argentina in 1998 and lasted till 2002, people formed barter networks and several provinces introduced their own currencies.

The alternate currencies have their limitations: The use of TEM, for example is restricted to those people and local businesses that choose to accept them, and won’t directly help people struggling to meet their monthly utility bills.

Maria McCarthy, a British woman who lives in Volos with her Greek husband and children, has earned and spent over 10,000 TEMs in four years by offering English and guitar lessons. She also sells secondhand clothes and other material goods in Volos’ biweekly marketplace, where almost everything besides euros are exchanged. 

Mr. Papaioannou says he has paid for renovating parts of his home as well as food and clothing with the currency, and an increasingly larger share of his computer-repair work is done through transactions with TEM.

“You’re used to a method of doing things,” he said, “and suddenly, you realize there are other ways too.”

You’ve gotta love the Greek spirit. You can knock them down, you can embarrass them, but you can’t kill their spirit. Everyone else on the planet must recognize that what is being done to Greece will be done to us all in turn. We must show totally solidarity with them against the euro-fascists.

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  • jadan

    The Greek misfortune highlights what used to be called the “money power”. A monetary system is a means to facilitate but also control economic interactions, ie, the commerce we have with each other. Those who own and operate the privatized monetary systems, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve banking system, etc, control society. It doesn’t matter how the people vote, the small elite who control the monetary system have ultimate control. Democracy is not possible unless the monetary system is owned by the people. The Greeks will have to nationalize their banking system and issue the drachma once again. The “catastrophic exit from the common currency” is only as catastrophic as they make it. They must declare war on the Fascist Elite and their stinking euro. Apparently political will is divided. What would make them all pull together?

    • MrLiberty

      You use the term “privatized monetary systems” but in truth these are anything BUT private. Their position of power and control is both established and protected by government-imposed legal tender laws that FORCE the citizens to use these currencies in all legal contracts, transactions, paying taxes, etc. Nationalizing a currency as you suggest (in the case of returning to the Drachma) is only slightly better for the citizens as it simply transfers power over the currency from the elite who control the government and the central bank to the government who is controlled by these bankers in the first place. The primary benefit of precious metal currency (such as whole and fractional ounce gold and silver) is that everyone knows what a 1/2 oz of silver is and so the intrinsic “value” of the coin itself cannot be manipulated behind the scenes. Such a thing across many countries insures that all citizens are able to engage in commerce with universally-recognized “money” without concerns over the political and criminal actions of their government. Most certainly the Greeks would be better off enslaved by their own government versus the criminals in Brussels, but truly SOUND money would free them from all monetary enslavement.

      • jadan

        Yes, it’s quite a scandal the way the government protects the elite monopoly over money creation. If the people understood money, they might object, maybe rise up and take off some heads. Unfortunately, in your scenario, they have nowhere to turn. Their government is no better than the fascist aristocrats. The people are but sheep awaiting exploitation. Precious metals are no solution. Who sets the value of gold or silver? Who says this gold or silver is legal tender to begin with? Government. If you think that a people can get along without government, show me an instance where a nation has survived without government and I’ll take your libertarian view seriously. The solution is not “hard money”, it is democracy. We have no democracy in this country just as Greece has no democracy. The people must have a revolution to throw out undemocratic practice and institute direct democracy. We have the technology to make this possible. A national referendum for major decisions would be easy to do. We need revolutionary changes in our republican structure.

  • thanks u !

  • truthtime

    I still don’t understand why the Greeks don’t get behind a movement to do as Iceland did.

    And that was to… ARREST the bankers and Nationalize their banks and rescind their application to the EU.

    • Not allot folks read far and vast like some of us here. So, they cannot learn what they do not know or read. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” Lord Acton

  • Ghost of Soddy

    From the perspective of international bankers, one of the great payoffs of the race to the bottom called ‘globalization’ is the ability to confine the day to day work of the world to enslaved populations thousands of miles away from the so-called Western Industrial Democracies. The Greeks apparently need the advanced technology supplied by the Germans if not the consumer amenities supplied by the Chinese. To get them they have to have the ‘money’ supplied by those self-same international bankers in the form of an acceptable reserve currency, right now the US dollar or euro.

    So how are they going to get the money from TEM or whatever? IMHO TINA (there is no alternative) to freeing governments from the grasp of the Money Power, to reinstating (if it ever existed?) ‘government of by and for the people’ – a fundamental requirement for which is public control of money creation.

  • MrLiberty

    Alternatives to currencies controlled by criminal central bankers are certainly a great workaround, but the presence of a sound, stable, and universally-accepted currency is the vehicle that allows an economy to grow and proper, while having to engage in barter and other workarounds only robs everyone of precious time and resources that could be put to better uses. The Drachma is just another fiat currency subject to political and criminal government (that’s redundant) manipulation for the benefit of everyone but the common man. Were it to be gold-backed or silver-backed then the Greek people might have a real future, but such gold accumulation takes wealth and the Greek economy is built on debt, not wealth. And then of course there is the gruesome outcome that “befell” others like Saddam, Ghaddafy, and others who threatened the global banking cartel and the petro-dollar with a gold-back currency for exchange.

  • berger friedrich-wolfgang

    Just for Statistics ! Who of the Commentators Would Not Be Willing , to Sell , for a MEASURED SUM of MONEY , His SOUL ???

  • August 15, 2015 Obama grants legal immunity to criminal banking cartels; ‘too big to fail’ is now #BankLivesMatter

    As reported by The Intercept, an investigative news web site, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has removed a key provision in requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance so that the banks, which were found guilty of federal crimes, could still participate in the lucrative market.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/050798_big_banks_HUD_minorities.html#ixzz3iuEd9G00

  • Libertybelle

    Just as an historical/Bibilical aside. The last seven years of human rule over earth will be centered around a global economy in which gold and silver will hold no value and barter and trade will be outlawed. And the only way to eat or have money is to join “the Borg” so-to-speak. “Resistance will be futile”. It will be a death sentence to resist this unique economic system. There must be some kind of workable solution for this economic system to succeed and create vast wealth (or save the world from catastrophic crash)? Anyway, it was predicted long ago but we don’t know what it is exactly.

    Wonks might want to play around with how this could be achievable and why gold and silver will have no monetary value. Something else will be in operation. Especially since we already see fiat money is on the way out.

  • Anyone Home?

    If there is anything that is going to save the world from the impending Hell imposed upon it by pure psychopaths, it is going to be technology used to counteract the power of the state. With 3D printing, for example, we can actually develop new hands for amputees without having to rely on the mega monopolies of insurance companies and hospitals.

    If 3D printing catches on the same way that the IPhone and other devices caught on, it could remove the absolute authority of the state over the lives of masses forever. For instance, since 3D printers have the capability to print entire housing blueprints, we can make our own homes without having to rely on the predatory lending of banks.