Mark Boyle vive há um ano sem o deus-dinheiro para mostar que é possível construir um mundo livre sem dinheiro

Mark Boyle mudou de nome para Saoirse (Liberdade, em gaélico), tendo fundado a Comunidade virtual da FreeEconomy, que postula um estilo de vida sem o recurso ao deus-dinheiro.

Há um ano atrás, neste blogue, tinhamos feito referência à experiência de vida sem uso de dinheiro que Mark Boyle se propunha levar durante o ano de 2009. Passado um ano é altura de fazer um balanço provisório. Reproduzimos, a propósito,um texto publicado hoje no Jornal de Notícias, e um outro publicado em Novembro pasado no jornal The Guardian intitulado My year of living without money

Vive há um ano sem dinheiro, numa roullote, come o que cultiva e alimenta o computador a energia solar

Viver sem dinheiro é possível. Mark Boyle quer prová-lo e, há mais de um ano, traçou um audacioso plano que, apesar de alguns reveses, manteve.

Inspirado em Gandhi, este irlandês de 29 anos abraçou uma causa - abolir o dinheiro como base de uma sociedade mais generosa e menos consumista.

Vive numa roulotte, junto a zona de cultivo biológico em Bristol (Inglaterra), come o que produz, troca ou recebe, cozinha numa fogueira e alimenta a energia solar o telemóvel (que só recebe chamadas) e o computador. Acredita na partilha, na parcimónia, na interdependência.

O ponto de viragem aconteceu em 2001, quando Mark, então estudante de Economia, viu o filme "Gandhi". A vida do pacifista indiano impactou-o de tal forma que decidiu ser a mudança que deseja ver no Mundo.

Despertou para as questões ambientais e resolveu ganhar dinheiro de forma ecologicamente correcta. Criou uma empresa de produtos orgânicos e o negócio corria bem, mas Mark continuava insatisfeito. "Dei-me conta de que nem mesmo negócios sustentáveis conseguem mudar as coisas", conta no seu blogue (http://www.justfortheloveofit.org/blog).

Na procura do seu próprio caminho, descobriu que não bastava diagnosticar os problemas. Era preciso chegar às causas. Intervir. "Decidi tornar-me um homeopata social, um pró-activista, e investigar as raízes dos sintomas", explica Mark. Nova vida, novo nome. Escolheu Saoirse, palavra em gaélico que significa Liberdade. O passo seguinte foi fundar uma comunidade virtual para troca solidária de conhecimentos e serviços, a Freeconomy.

O princípio é que todos têm algo que podem oferecer, seja uma explicação, um corte de cabelo - um dos serviços mais trocados -, uma reparação. Em quase dois anos, cerca de 15 mil pessoas de 118 países inscreveram-se no Freeconomy. No ano passado, tentou ir a pé até à terra natal do seu mentor, mas ficou por França. Regressou à roullotte e continua a viver o seu sonho de um mundo sem dinheiro.

My year of living without money

Is it possible to live without spending any cash whatsoever? After becoming disillusioned with consumer society, one man decided to give it a try

The morning I finally decided to give up using cash, the whole world changed. It was the same day news broke about the banks' misbehaviour in the sub-prime mortgage market, so when I began telling people of my plans, they assumed it was in preparation for some sort of apocalyptic financial meltdown. However, having long viewed credit as a debit against future generations, I was infinitely more worried about what George Monbiot called the "nature crunch". Nature, unfortunately, doesn't do bailouts.

I suppose the seeds of my decision to give up money – not just cash but any form of monetary credit – were sown seven years ago, in my final semester of a business and economics degree in Ireland, when I stumbled upon a DVD about Gandhi. He said we should "be the change we want to see in the world". Trouble was, I hadn't the faintest idea what change I wanted to be back then. I spent the next five years managing organic food companies, but by 2007, I realised that even "ethical business" would never be quite enough. The organic food industry, while a massive stepping stone to more ecological living, was rife with some of the same environmental flaws as the conventional system it was trying to usurp – excess plastic packaging, massive food miles, big businesses buying up little ones.

My eureka moment came during an afternoon's philosophising with a mate. We were chatting about global issues such as sweatshops, environmental destruction, factory farms, animal testing labs, wars over resources, when I realised I was looking at the world the wrong way – like a western doctor looks at a patient, focusing on symptoms more than root causes. Instead, I decided to attempt what I awkwardly term "social homeopathy".

I believe the key reason for so many problems in the world today is the fact we no longer have to see directly the repercussions of our actions. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering involved in the production of the food and other "stuff" we buy. The tool that has enabled this disconnection is money.

If we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we wouldn't waste it so freely.

As long as money exists, these symptoms will surely persist. So I decided, last November, to give it up, for one year initially, and reconnect directly with the things I use and consume.

The first step in the process was to find a form of sustainable shelter. For this I turned to the amazing project Freecycle, through which I located a caravan that someone else didn't want any more. I also needed somewhere to put this new home, so I decided to volunteer three days a week at an organic farm near Bristol in return for a place to park my caravan. Had I equated this in terms of my previous salary, it would be like paying penthouse apartment rent for what was effectively a little tin box. But that was the type of thinking I was now trying to get away from.

Having no means of paying bills, the next challenge was to set this home up to be off-grid. For heating I installed a wood-burner I'd converted from an old gas bottle, using a flue pipe I had salvaged from the skip. I fuelled it using wood from trees we coppiced on the farm, meaning fuel miles became fuel metres.

A local member of the Freeconomy Community (the alternative economy which I founded in 2007), then showed me how to make a "rocket stove" from a couple of old olive oil catering tins that were destined for landfill. This meant that for the next 12 months, I was going to have to cook outside. I was a touch overwhelmed by the thought of cooking in the snow, rain and northerly winds of a British winter. But, surprisingly, it has become one of the joys of my life.

While feeding the stove with broken-up old vegetable boxes, I would watch the moon rise in winter and the sun set in summer for the time it took to prepare my evening's repast. Birds in the trees around my kitchen became my new iPod, and observing wildlife taught me much more about nature than any documentary I'd seen on the television.

The one thing I did spend money on (about £360) before beginning the experiment was a solar panel to supply me with enough electricity for a light, my laptop and my phone (on which I could only receive calls). Solar isn't ideal because of the embodied energy involved, but at the start of what might be a lifelong journey, I couldn't expect everything to be perfect straightaway. And the solar panel has always provided me with light – although in winter my phone and laptop time were severely restricted (frustrating, but only because my expectations were based on having infinite energy at the touch of a button).

The last piece of my off-grid puzzle was a compost toilet. This should really be the symbol of the entire sustainably living movement, in the way the spinning wheel became a symbol of Swadeshi in India. Representing sanity and a respect for the earth, I made my alternative loo out of old pallets from a nearby hardware store. As I can no longer buy toilet roll, I relieve the local Bristol newsagents of some of the newspapers that fill their bins every day, and use them instead. It's not double-quilted but it quickly seems normal, and I even used a story about myself once . . .

I wash in a river or under a solar shower (better in the summer), and rarely use soap, but if I do I go for home-grown soapwort. For toothpaste I use a mixture of cuttlefish bone, which gets washed up on the UK's shores, and wild fennel seeds.

Food was my only other real necessity: I think of there being four legs to the food-for-free "table". Growing your own, which is obviously what I've been doing here on the organic farm (my staples are potatoes, beans, kale, carrots, salads, root vegetables, squash, onions and swede); wild food foraging, which is nutritionally exceptional and beautifully gentle on the environment (I forage for berries, nettles, mushrooms, nuts and greater plantain for a hayfever remedy); and also securing waste food and other goods from local restaurants and shops. This is an incredible resource to draw on, and although its existence is, of course, dependent on industrialised society, I feel like I have an obligation to consume it before using up any more energy producing food.

In fact I'm currently organising a free mini-festival called the Freeconomy Feast 2009, where myself and Fergus Drennan, the BBC's Roadkill Chef, aim to feed 250 people a three-course meal with full service for free, completely out of waste food and things foraged from the wilds of Bristol. It even includes free beer made from locally grown and foraged ingredients.
The final leg of my food table is bartering – using my skills or any excess food I've produced to secure anything not met by the other three methods. This means I meet people from all walks of life doing what I do, and while many claim that they couldn't – or wouldn't want to – do the same, most seem to understand where I am coming from and resolve to reduce their own consumption wherever they can. When I first said I was going to do this, my parents probably wondered what they should have done differently during my formative years, but now they are right behind it, and may even contemplate joining me one day.

But what I soon realised is that, in a moneyless world, everything takes much more time. Handwashing my clothes in a sink of cold water, using laundry liquid made by boiling up some nuts on my rocket stove, can take two hours, instead of 10 minutes using a washing machine. Finding stuff in skips – such as the steamer I cook with – takes far longer than popping out to the shops for one, and sorting out the compost toilet is a lot more hassle than flushing it "away".

Cycling the 36-mile round-trip to Bristol also takes a lot more time and energy than driving or catching the bus or train, but it's also an economical alternative to my old gym subscription, and I find cycling much more enjoyable than using motorised vehicles.

The point is, I'd much rather have my time consumed making my own bread outdoors than kill it watching some reality TV show in a so-called "living" room. Where money once provided me with my primary sense of security, I now find it in friends and the local community. Some of my closest mates are people I only met because I had to build real relationships with others based on trust and kindness, not money.

A Confiança Em Si, A Natureza e Outros Ensaios, de Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson (1803-1882) não é apenas o filósofo do optimismo do século XIX que fez Nietzsche referir a «sua alegria benévola e repleta de espírito que desarma a "seriedade"».

Emerson foi também um defensor do sentimento da natureza e o seu conceito de confiança em si deu à América uma nova identidade cultural. A sua visão do Homem e da natureza ainda hoje é de uma espantosa modernidade.
Ainda segundo Nietzsche, Emerson «não se dá conta em que medida é já antigo, e em que medida ainda será jovem no futuro (...)».

Este livro reúne alguns dos principais ensaios de Ralph Waldo Emerson, designadamente "A Confiança em Si", "A Natureza", "A Experiência" e "A Amizade". «Estava a ferver, a ferver, a ferver. Emerson levou-me ao ponto de ebulição.» (Walt Whitman)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 de maio de 1803, Boston - 27 de abril de 1882, Concord, Massachusetts) foi um famoso escritor, filósofo e poeta norte-americano

Associado ao transcendentalismo, este é, para Emerson, um esforço de introspecção metódica para se chegar além do "eu" superficial ao "eu" profundo, o espírito universal comum a toda a espécie humana

O desemprego em Portugal atingiu os 10,3% em Novembro passado, ultrapassando a média europeia (9,5%)

O desemprego na Zona Euro subiu 0,1 pontos em Novembro para os 10 por cento, com Portugal a manter também a trajectória de subida até aos 10,3 por cento, acima da média comunitária (9,5%), revelam dados divulgados do Eurostat, o gabinete de estatísticas europeu, que adiantam que a taxa de desemprego na Zona Euro é a mais alta desde Agosto de 1998.

Só em Novembro, o Eurostat estima que 102 mil pessoas tenham perdido os seus postos de trabalho nos países que utilizam a moeda única, elevando para 15,7 milhões o número de desempregados na região.

No conjunto dos 27, o desemprego também cresceu uma décima para os 9,5 por cento, a pior taxa desde o começo da série em Janeiro de 2000.

Espanha continua no segundo lugar dos Estados-membros com a taxa de desemprego mais elevada (19,4 por cento), apenas superada pela Letónia, onde o desemprego chegou em Novembro aos 22,3 por cento.

No lado oposto encontram-se a Holanda e a Áustria, a registar as taxas de desemprego mais baixas da União Europeia, 3,9 por cento e 5,5 por cento, respectivamente.
Estes dados confirmam que o desemprego continua a aumentar, apesar da limpeza de ficheiros feita todos os meses pelo IEFP com o objectivo de esconder a verdadeira dimensão deste flagelo em Portugal
Nestas circunstâncias difíceis é fundamental a implementação de uma outra política que assegure e reforce a protecção social aos desempregados, num momento em que mais de 300 mil não tem subsídio de desemprego.

Estudantes dos ensinos básico e secundário convocam manifestação para 4 de Fevereiro e denunciam repressão aos seus direitos

Os estudantes do ensino básico e secundário denunciaram, esta segunda-feira a existência de um ambiente de repressão nas escolas e casos de alunos com processos no Departamento de Investigação e Acção Penal (DIAP) por se manifestarem.

A Associação de Estudantes dos Ensinos Básico e Secundário (AEEBS) denunciou que os alunos são impedidos de realizar manifestações, tendo alguns sido constituídos arguidos.

«Temos uma série de exemplos de atropelo à realização de reuniões gerais de alunos que são um direito» dos estudantes, existindo ainda o caso de sete estudantes com processos no DIAP do Porto por se terem manifestado, algo que é «extremamente grave», disse à TSF a representante do distrito do Porto da AEEBS.

Delegação Nacional de Associações de Estudantes dos Ensinos Básico e Secundário (DNAEEBS) vai convocar uma «manifestação nacional» no dia 04 de Fevereiro para exigir mais investimento no ensino e educação sexual para todos os alunos.
Fonte: TSF e imprensa geral

Próximas reuniões da Plataforma anti-guerra e anti-Nato ( dia 14 e 23 de Janeiro)

Dia 14 de Janeiro (5º feira), pelas 18 h, no Ateneu Libertário de Lisboa (R. do Salitre, 139, 1º)
ASSEMBLEIA DE TODOS/AS OS/AS ACTIVISTAS DA PAGAN (aberta também, como sempre a quem queira participar construtivamente no movimento anti-NATO),

Sábado, 23 de Janeiro de 2010
Hora: 15:00 - 18:00
Local: Crew Hassan, r. Portas de Sto. Antão, 159 Lisboa
Sessão aberta da Plataforma: «Pela Retirada Imediata das Tropas da NATO do Afeganistão».



35 anos depois, feministas voltam ao Parque Eduardo VII ( dia 13 de Janeiro, das 12h30 às 15h30)

35 anos depois, feministas voltam ao parque eduardo vii

Data: Quarta-feira, 13 de Janeiro de 2010
Hora: 12:30 - 15:30
Local: Parque Eduardo VII, n.º 28, Avenida Sidónio Pais, em Lisboa

No próximo dia 13 de Janeiro, a UMAR celebra os 35 anos da primeira manifestação feminista, em Portugal, convocada pelo MLM (Movimento de Libertação das Mulheres) com uma concentração no Parque Eduardo VII.

A UMAR apela à participação de todas as pessoas que querem lembrar um feminismo silenciado no passado e celebrar os feminismos que nos ajudarão a fazer as revoluções do presente!

Esta iniciativa recordará este momento histórico e assinalará o local como um dos futuros pontos dos Roteiros Feministas na cidade de Lisboa.

Às 12.30h juntemo-nos às feministas no canto superior direito do Parque Eduardo VII, frente ao n.º 28 da Av. Sidónio Pais.

Vamos levar uma peça de roupa roxa, colorir o Parque de feminismos, ouvir as histórias das feministas que se manifestaram naquele local, em 1975, e conviver ao som de música feminista!


O campo de concentração norte-americano de Guantánamo abriu há 8 anos e ainda lá estão ilegalmente 200 prisioneiros

Passa hoje o 8º aniversário da abertura do campo de concentração de Guantánamo.
Apesar das declarações de Obama no sentido de fechar o campo de concentração de Guantanamo a verdade é que estas instalações se mantêm em funcionamento com mais de duzentos prisioneiros.
Escandaloso é também que nenhum dos 800 prisioneiros que já passaram por Guantanamo tenham sido alguma vez apresentados a um tribunal com um acusação concreta.
Além de ilegal, Guantanamo sempre esteve associada à tortura e aos maus-tratos dos detidos.
Estas razões são mais que suficientes para exigir o encerramento imediato de Guantanamo que constitui mais uma nódoa negra na já negra história da (in)justiça dos Estados Unidos da América.

Join Witness Against Torture January 11-22, 2010 in a Fast and Vigil to Shut Down Guantanamo, End Torture and Build Justice

“I believe strongly that torture is not moral, legal or effective.” Guantanamo is “a damaging symbol to the world… a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and harmful to our national security, so closing it is important for our national security.” Admiral Dennis Blair. January 2009.

On January 22, 2009, after signing the Executive Order to close Guantanamo, President Obama said "This is me following through ... on an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct not just when it's easy but also when it's hard."

Obama committed his administration to closing the prison—long a symbol of U.S. terror and lawlessness—within a year. Since that time, the process of releasing or relocating or prosecuting the 200 plus men still detained at Guantanamo has become mired in bureaucratic machinations, Congressional grandstanding and fear-mongering, and legal foot-dragging. In the meantime, the president seems to have lost interest in the issue altogether.

And what of the imprisoned men themselves - those still detained, still separated from their families after six, seven, eight years? More than 60 of them have been cleared for released, innocent men caught in an indiscriminate sweep that landed them at Guantanamo, isolated and tortured. The government has acknowledged it has no evidence on most if not all of them, yet still they languish. Only a few men have been released since the Executive Order was signed in January.

Barack Obama’s historic election, the end of the Bush administration, the new tone and tenor of politics in Washington, an executive order, rhetoric about core standards of conduct, human rights and democracy - all of this is hollow and meaningless if not accompanied by actions that lead to justice, freedom and accountability. Closing Guantanamo, breaking with Bush-era policies, ending torture, rendition and indefinite detention is hard, but it must be done. It is taking too long.

January 11, 2010 will mark eight years since the Bush administration turned the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a “enemy combatant” detention facility, re-commissioning it as a torture chamber and legal black hole they hoped no one would notice and from which they hoped none would emerge.

Witness Against Torture did notice, and along with many other groups, we have been working to challenge this detention and torture apparatus, to ensure legal representation for the men there, and justice and release for the vast majority—most of whom were swept up in raids in the early days of the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan or are the victims of false condemnation by people eager to collect hefty bounties for “terrorists.”

When President Obama signed the Executive Order calling for Guantanamo's closure, we felt as though we had won - that the long years of arguing against torture (of all things), of demonstrating, of railing, were over. We dared to believe that a new day had dawned. Soon, however, our optimism faded to feelings of frustration and betrayal. The administration has dragged its feet and continued to trample on the lives of the men - real people, not merely abstract "others" - at Guantanamo.

In all, the Obama administration's handling of detainee issues-- from the reluctance to investigate and prosecute systematic torture, to its defense of indefinite detention—has fallen far short of the soaring rhetoric of his campaign. And now, and as the administration expands the war in Afghanistan and expands operations at the U.S. prison in Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan-- we see more clearly than ever the need for consistent, principled, nonviolent action and witness.

But, more than mark this miserable anniversary, we intend to call attention to President Obama's political bankruptcy. As such we have committed to a fast and daily vigil from January 11 through January 22-- the day by which the president said Guantanamo would be closed.

So, it is with resolute-- but heavy-- hearts that we in Witness Against Torture once again turn our attention to the sad business of marking January 11, 2010 and the eighth year of torture, abuse and detention at Guantanamo.

As we fast and vigil and spend time with one another, we will build towards and plan a day of action for that day-- January 22 - when we hope to call the world's attention to both the administration's record of broken human rights promises and the shattered lives of the men at Guantanamo and their families.

We have always tried to orient our actions with questions asked and answered in community. The question that brought 25 of us to Guantanamo in 2005: how do we resist the war on terror, and care for its victims? Out of fasting, vigiling, community building and focused intention, what new questions can emerge for us to ask and answer?