ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH!!! Denver, Colorado June 20 to 22, 1997 T.O.E.S. 97
John Turmel and I were blessed with not only the time but the finances to attend this years T.O.E.S. Not everyone is familiar with this annual event, therefore, I will give a little background information.
First the ECONOMIC SUMMIT.
The G-7 is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Despite President Clinton's move to formally recognize the participation of Russia by designating the Denver Summit as the Summit of Eight, Russia is not yet considered a full member of the G-7 and does not attend all of the summit's sessions.
The G-7 was formed in 1975 to provide an informal forum for coordination of economic policy among leaders of prominent industrialized nations. The G-7 directly influences international financial and trade institutions by virtue of its disproportionate economic power. The G-7 meetings have been credited with providing political will and the momentum needed to ensure the successful assistance to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in developing mechanisms to forestall currency crises such as that which afflicted the Mexican peso at the end of 1994. (We'll see about this one.)
T.O.E.S. (THE OTHER ECONOMIC SUMMIT)
Also known as the Peoples' Summit originated in London, England in the early 1980s. Each year, wherever the G-7 meet, you will find T.O.E.S.
On the day before the TOES officially opened, there was a talk at the university where we were staying featuring Ward Morehouse (Chair) of (TOES-USA), 777 UN Plaza, Suite 3C, New York City, NY 10017, Fax:(212) 972-9878 who mentioned LETS. Jean Gore, co-moderator, was excited to announce she had just learned that Boulder, Colorado, had an alternate currency system.
The TOES 2-day event is packed with workshops covering all topics that affect us today. The opening took place at Tivoli Hall, UC Denver- Auraria Campus. It is very well attended by dedicated individuals from around the globe who are striving to not only get their message out but also to learn how we can work together to speed up the process of saving ourselves. I am thrilled to report that at this point the overall theme, or a major part of the people's summit this year, seemed to have alternate currencies as the buzz word (LETS).
On the light side, John and I stayed on campus in the dorms at University of Colorado with many of the other participants who flew or drove in. It is a lovely well-kept university and the students themselves take care of the administration of room rentals and did a fine job. A large majority of the attendees arrived on the 19th of June to get settled in as we did. This was a very hectic summit with so much to cover it was totally impossible to hear all the workshops.
CREATING COMMUNITY CURRENCIES PANEL AND WORKSHOP Enabling Sustainability and Re-embedding Money Panel-Moderator Carol Brouillet, Jhym Phoenix, free-lance community activist, David Boyle, New Economics Foundation, UK, Michael Linton, LETS, Vancouver, Canada, Thomas Greco, Jr., Director, Community Information Resource Center and John C. Turmel, B. Eng. LETS Ottawa, Canada.
Carol Brouillet, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org: Making Contact web site. Carol is a Co-Founder of the International Media Project Making Contact, a half hour radio program now heard on 107 stations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Her paper "Reinventing Money, Restoring the Earth, Reweaving the Web of Life" won an honourable mention from the Millennium Institute as one of the best ideas for the 21st Century.
Jhym Phoenix, a long-time activist who has worked on a broad range of issues, is a community organizer with invaluable practical experience and insight into the nuts and bolts of getting a local currency off the ground, as well as the vision to see where this movement will take us.
David Boyle, New Economics Foundation (NEF), Upper Flat, 23 Camden Hill Road, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 1NX, U.K.; email: LDN@cix.compulink.co.uk(attn: David Boyle. David is Editor of New Economics magazine and has been working with the New Economics Foundation in London since 1987. He is the author of "Building Futures and What is New Economics?" and has written and broadcast widely about new kinds of money. He spoke on "Future Money" and the future of money, the currency revolution, and so forth. David is also on the workshop to Plan TOES 98'-London, England. I suggest our British LETS contacts talk to him and prepare to make a presentation or help with making a list of possible inexpensive places for our out-of-town guests coming in from other countries. We're all good for our Green. Perhaps you with homes can list yourselves to put some up. It will be a great learning opportunity and John and I also hope to attend so save us a bed.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr., Director, Community Information Resource Centre, P.O. Box 42663, Tucson, Arizona 85733; e-mail email@example.com; web site:http://azstarnet.com/-circ/circhome.htm. Author of "New Money for Healthy Communities; Bioregional Economics" and "Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis." He mentioned GLobal level LETS. Thank you Tom.
This workshop was fast paced, started at 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Finally we had the two engineers who put LETS on the map at the same table. Michael Linton on one hand was adamant that governments should not have a LETS account while on the other hand John Turmel was adamant LETS can only grow stronger and faster with political involvement.
Michael's main arguments were that governments have always made a mess of everything they ever get involved with and should be excluded and that the L in LETS stands for LOCAL. He, like many others, wishes to keep LETS small and neighborly, to build a feeling of community, etc.
John, on the other hand, had strong argument for governments' involvement and pointed out how governments are already getting involved in other countries and why this is a good thing.
Jhym Phoenix had samples of "Idaho Spuds," their own LETS currency where each Idaho Potato was worth $1 dollar US., and gave us a little history on the design, samples attached.
Having been a speaker at another panel but an attendee of the LETS workshop, Luis Lopezllera Mendez, editor: La Otra Bolsa de Valores, Mexico, had samples of their alternate currency called AZTECS being used in Mexico, sample attached. Luis told us that Mexico LETS has been up and running for 1 year.
All throughout the summit Luis took every opportunity to attend every LETS presentation and at the end of the event, extended an invitation to John and I to go to Mexico to speak. Unfortunately, the timing for that to happen on this trip didn't materialize, yet we are certainly looking at the future to do a trip to Mexico.
Since the summit, Luis has put out an edition of La Otra Bolsa de Valores and has a write-up and photos of that session. Thank you Luis for our copy. Though it is all in Spanish, we will soon have it translated.
Ian Wood from Toronto - publisher of Monetary Reform Magazine- talks about the big problem, corrupt money system, social safety net falling apart. Subscriptions are $20 within Canada, $24 CDN to the USA, $28 CDN to overseas from RR#2, Shanty Bay, Ontario, L0L 2L0, Canada. http://www.monetary-reform.on.ca email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another wonderful magazine I picked up was call YES. Editor Sarah van Gelder. YES! A Journal of Positive Futures. I spent some time with Sarah and she is doing a brilliant job educating via the magazine. The publisher of Yes, Richard Conlin, has covered a variety of subjects but the main theme in the spring 1997 edition is printing your own money. I would love to send each and everyone a copy of this mag mag, but unfortunately cannot. So the next best thing I can give you is the information on how to get it and trust me on this one folks, this one should be in every LETser and Monetary Reformer's Library. POSITIVE FUTURES NETWORK, P.O. Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0818 U.S.A. The edition I am looking at is No. 2-Spring 1997, Individual issues are $6.; 206-842-0216 or email@example.com; http://www.futurenet.org. Subscriptions: $24/yr.
I reproduce some of the following statements I transcribed because I found them so relevant:
"The economic system is deeply flawed and has served to concentrate money, land and power in the hands of a few. The concentration of economic power and ecological devastation have heralded the collapse of many civilizations and empires. At this time in history, humanity must choose between the health and well being of our planet, humanity, and other life-forms, or the further enrichment of the ruling elite. The choice is clear. The Summit of 8's policies serve the short-term interest of the rich; the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) blatantly favors the rich over all environmental and human rights concerns."
"Understanding how the monetary system works is the first step towards creating a system which serves human needs and recognizes the value and importance of the biosphere upon which all our lives depend. The local currency movement will reorganize the global system by creating healthy local communities that recognize and respect their interdependence, and work cooperatively to restore the earth, recognize the rights and wisdom of indigenous people and respect the rights of all people - regardless of class, gender, age or race. The panel and the workshops that took place were to enable people to create community currencies at the grassroots level."
"What is real wealth? Western civilization has confused money with wealth. Most of the world's money is chasing other money in the cyber- casino of the global financial markets oblivious to the devastation being wreaked upon the world's ecosystems and people at large. While species go extinct, forests are decimated, rivers are poisoned and people starve, the money is blindly directed towards greater profits destroying the world in the process. The global economy has been shaped by military force, money, greed, fear and a massive propaganda campaign. Money is a tool of empire, which has served to transfer wealth and power from the MANY to the FEW. All monetary systems based upon debt have this fatal dynamic. The ancient religious taboos against usury were well justified, but have been forgotten."
"The illusion that money is wealth needs to be shattered. Real Wealth is a healthy planet and healthy relationships between all life-forms, it is inner peace, world peace, balance and harmony," NOT OUR-MONEY", in the home, the community, the world. Local currencies are a powerful tool towards raising consciousness, building community and restructuring our economies in a sustainable direction. Community currencies challenge the system by showing how money is backed by our belief systems."
"Money can be created by banks or GOVERNMENT to serve their interests or it can be created by people in a community to serve their needs. Local currencies help communities to recognize their inner strengths, the gifts of their members and the value of cooperation. Local currencies inspire people to live in accordance with their values, to follow their inner passion rather than chase after an obsolete notion of "success". They enable people to make a contribution to their community and receive what they need or desire in return. They nurture relationships and demonstrate how local production for local needs benefits the community as well as reducing the stress upon distant communities who have been forced into near slavery and starvation to provide resources and services to the world's wealthy. Creating community currencies encourages participatory democratic processes and shows how non hierarchical systems empower people and nurture hope, creativity, respect and compassion."
During an informal welcome party, held on campus, I had the real pleasure to meet Romesh Diwan, International Society for Gandhian Studies, Economics Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and Kerstin Gollner, Graduate Student of the same Polytechnic Institute as that of the Professor of Economics who passed out John's Bank Math to his Economics class. Romesh and Kerstin were panelists in their own workshop which covered topics such as "what works to create healthy local economies given the global context?" I unfortunately could not attend for I had so many workshops of more direct interest to choose from.
"Breaking the Chains of Debt: Jubilee 2000/USA" really intrigued me: "Billions of people in the world's most impoverished countries are enslaved by debt - debt which has enriched some leaders but left children malnourished, health care needs unattended, education neglected and local productive capacity in shambles. The Jubilee 2000 Movement, comprised of thousands of churches, organizations and individuals worldwide, are calling upon the leaders of the richest countries, the commercial banks, the International Money Fund the World Bank, regional development banks and other international financial institutions to write off these debts by the year 2000. They call upon these international creditors to do so in a way that benefits ordinary people - without conditions that perpetuate or deepen poverty or environmental degradation. The start of a new millennium should be a time to give hope to people living in poverty. The workshop described the movement as it is developing in different countries, including the U.S. and they invite participants to join the effort. Jubilee 2000 is a campaign launched in Britain whose purpose is to persuade the G7 to write off the debts of the poorest countries as a way of marking the millennium." Contact: Karen Joyner, Information and Research Officer, Debt Crisis Network, e-mail: email@example.com. Speakers were Marie Dennis(Jubilee 2000/USA) Maryknoll Society Justice and Peace Office, Chair, Religious Working Group on the World Bank and the IMF; P.O. Box 29132, Washington D.C. 20017, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. and Ann Pettifor, Coordinator Jubilee 2000.
John chose: Envisioning a Post-Corporate Society" with four speakers. Interestingly, all four recommended LETS! Sarah Van Gelder, editor, and David Korten of Yes! magazine, A Journal of Positive Futures, featured their latest edition which did an in-depth examination of LETS and HOURS local currency systems. Elizabeth Sahtouris, Independent Evolutionary Biologist & Futurist; UN Consultant on Indigenous People said that Local Currencies should be set up before the next Depression. Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit Activist, theoretician, writer and speaker for more than 55 years told us about the Great Lakes Hours system in Detroit. What dedication. A real warrior for the poor. Imagine. Every panelist who gave thought to post-corporate society preferred the LETS currency software over the present bank software!
Another workshop I attended was titled: Understanding the World Bank: A Discussion for Activists. Information was presented and discussed on the roles, goals and new developments of the World Bank. Panelists discussed ways in which the World Bank uses policy reform to promote the interests of multinational corporations, the gender implications of the Bank's work and what citizens can do to radically reform the Bank.
One of the panelists Kevin Danaher, author of "Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Mama" with foreword by Noam Chomsky did a straight swap with me, his book for John's. Later I was able to introduce John and this man took delight in shaking the hand of the man that took the Bank of Canada to the Supreme Court of Canada charged under genocide and gaming house laws.
My final workshop was "What Works for Sustainable Communities? Industrial Hemp." Outside the Hall where this workshop was taking place a sign continually showing "Hemp for Victory" was an attention getter. Former Colorado State Senator, Sen. Lloyd Casey, was Facilitator and Moderator. He stood before our group and proudly announced that his total attire, from hat to shoes, shirt etc. were all made of hemp. A retail hemp store from Colorado Springs had a display of hemp products. The panelists discussed the environmental and economic benefits of industrial hemp and how sustainable communities could be focused around the hemp industry. I truly enjoyed this workshop and it only cemented my feelings about the growing of hemp. It could be a lifesaver for many reasons. A couple of contacts for those who are following this topic to any extent are: Laura Kriho, University of Colorado, Colorado Hemp Initiative Project, P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466, e-mail:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Candi Penn, Secretary, HIA-Hemp Industries Assoc. P.O. Box 1080, Occidental, CA 95465, tel:1-500-HIA-HEMP; e-mail email@example.com; web site: http://thehia.org/.
Did you know that NAFTA and GATT treaties recognize industrial hemp as a legitimate agricultural crop. A thought, just remember we are polluting our world to fatten the rich and greedy and it is not necessary. We could have hemp fuel, hemp cloth. Henry Ford tried to build a total car of hemp, but it was tabooed for it would have lasted too long. Hemp as medicine, hemp as food, the wide range of uses for this God-given product goes on and on, but you have to ask yourselves: why have our governments taken such a dim view of it when at one point every farmer during the war was forced to produce it? This is a wake- up call. Russia has the best seeds according to this panel.
On the last day, both Grace Lee Boggs and Luis Lopezllera Mendez were speakers at the plenary session. Also on the last day of the Summit, Oasis T.V., interviewer Toni DeMarco of Global Dialog, CA, and David working the camera did a half hour interview with John on currencies and LETS. They had heard about his poetry and had requested he do his poem on the plates. This will be part of a documentary on National T.V. in the future.
Valerie Moldovan of a publication called the" Denver Voice" was anxiously following to try and get a story. She came to John's poetry session and that is where we got to explain and talk at length about what LETS can do. Later on in our trip I was able to read a June 97 edition copy of Valerie's publication Denver Voice. It is geared to promoting dialogue and change related to issues affecting homeless people. I can only say the articles and the wealth of information brought to the homeless via the paper is tremendous, such things as freedays, concerts, food, shelter, every type of medical, dental help available when and where, voices from the streets write into her. This paper is paid for and distributed to homeless by the merchants. I can honestly say Val was overwhelmed with our information. We took her to the video studio where we got her a tape on Ithaca to study. She is the very last person we spent time with and she saw us to our truck. We joined hands in a farewell prayer for the road and to give her strength and guidance to use her new-found information well. As she waved us off, we watched her return to the university, bouncing, arms flying as she ran up the stairs. It warmed my heart knowing we had armed a new enthusiastic soldier in the fight, one who I know will make a difference because she has already proven herself.
The drive through the Rocky Mountains was breathtaking. We stopped several times to take photos of wild flowers and scenery, went through the continental divide where the rivers stop running east and start running west. We saw the source of the mighty Rio Grande and Arkansas Rivers, drove through Historic Bad Lands, treacherous to early settlers in Navajo country. Our next stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona a few days for truck repairs then off to Fort McDowell. I was able to get us accommodation in Mesa 20 miles from the Casino. The El Rancho Motel was quaint, swimming pool, our dwellings consisted of a kitchen, bathroom, seating area and bedroom. $160 a week. Sam and Sunita owners of El Rancho graciously invited us back.
During our stay Paul Brinkley-Rogers of the Arizona Republic came out and did a story on John. Paul also told us that he is leaving that paper to go to the Miami Herald and if we get down to Florida to be sure to look him up and he would do something there for us. Our stay in Arizona was very pleasant, even with the 110 degree weather that was constant the whole time. Article appended for your bemusement. The article even immortalized what John calls our Ford "Bronco from Hell" which needed 4 transmissions, a new muffler, radiator, drive-line and tune-up that got us less mileage than before it was tuned.
We then moved into the Crystal City Casino in Los Angeles, California. After a week, we managed to track down Bill Condon in Industrial City, CA., and immediately moved over to his home. Bill was our Host for the next 15 days. It was a wonderful 15 days and he and John would go to their prospective casinos to play high-stakes poker. I, on the other hand, lazed about the private pool, did a lot of reading and sightseeing. On leaving California we drove to Las Vegas, spent the day sightseeing and then pushed on. Our first stop on the way home was in Nevada, just pass Death Valley where the temperature had reached 120 when I was driving through. Then I spotted two Casinos in the middle of nowhere, the Casablanca and the Oasis, together. We ended up staying at the Casablanca, I went from one to the other playing the slot machines, both had great bands playing. Dropping my last quarter in around 3:30 a.m., I decided to turn in knowing we had to hit the road early in the morning.
From Los Angeles to home was 4,300 KM and I drove the whole thing in 4.5 days, only having to stay in motels 3 nights. I shall never forget Interstate 70 Hwy. going through Utah - the canyon state. This is the most beautiful scenery that I have ever had the privilege to behold. There is no describing this trip in words other than awesome.
On our arrival home we had 2 months of mail to sort. This is where a social secretary would come in handy. Much news from Britain, New Zealand and U.S.
One exciting package to John was from Peter Selby. Mr. Selby held the William Leech Professional Fellowship in Applied Christian Theology at Durham University before becoming Bishop of Worcester. Enclosed in his package was his new book called Grace and Mortgage, The Language of Faith and the Debt of the World. The accompanying letter from Nigel Sherlock, Chairman, Dept. of Theology, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham in his words "You were among those whom he particularly mentioned as having been of assistance to him, and the Support Group joins him in thanking you most warmly." Inside the book Peter wrote, to John "with many thanks for your clear analysis." I have only scanned the book but I believe John has read it twice now and seems moved each time.
Robin Johannsen sent us his documentary tape on LETS which covered part of our trip to Britain. His project was part of his finals and earned him a "FIRST" class degree. Congratulations Robin. We transferred it to NTSC from PAL format and all who have viewed it are thrilled. We will certainly respect your wishes about reproduction and will most certainly keep in touch. Hope you enjoyed your vacation in France, greetings to your mom and family.
Michelle Goldberg: Official Parliamentary candidate for the Natural Law Party, Hackney South & Shoreditch, UK. My last trip to Britain I had the pleasure of meeting this young lady at the Mandeer Restaurant where she did a presentation of foods for the 21st Century. It came as a pleasant surprise that she ran on behalf of the Natural Law Party and mentions endorsing LETS in her campaign literature. Bravo Michelle, keep up the great work. I have not at this time heard from Andrea Langer of Sunrider Herbal 'super foods.' I have had to put this to the back of my mind for now. What I did do was send the information back to Edmonton, Alberta via two friends who were visiting in Ottawa and I do hope they will pursue tracking and learning about the higher level foods that nourish the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body. They are young and eager to follow this through for me.
John Thomas: This is big news, John. "Green campaigners set up rejuvenation team." I know your dream is to eventually come to Canada or to work in the U.S. on your first love, a Rock Concert, but the delay has brought you this wonderful opportunity to make sure they stay on track with this one. I enclose the article from the British paper by Michael Peel where it states: "One of the reasons the forum has chosen to come to Calderdale has been the success of the pioneering Local Exchange Trading System which involves purchases being paid for by "favours" rather than money." I will say when the timing is right is when you will get on with the concert project. I still tell people of your idea and, as a matter of fact, I attended a function recently where I mentioned you and how we could educate via a Rock Concert. Charles, an activist, just bellowed out: WOW what a great idea, what do we have to do to get this going? So you see John, I have yet more people thinking about this for you. Thank you for news and love and best wishes to you all.
Wilfrid Price: What a pack of literature, all good stuff. I will certainly look into your request re: British Edition of the World Book Encyclopedia which states that banks produce credit by lending customers deposits. I am so pleased to see you are actively taking part in the new publication "The Social Credit International" put out by Alan Armstrong, 8 Baileyfield Road, Edinburgh EH15 1DL Scotland. I am also reproducing in this report for all to see that you have been active in getting the word out via your local paper. Wilfrid has managed to get 5 articles printed and in their totality bring light to serious problems with money and how it is being produced.
Also appended is a resolution written up by Gerard Mercier "Michael Journal," 1101 Principale St. Rougemont, Que. Canada J0L 1M0 that was sent to every municipality, school board, federal and provincial representatives, business associations and news media in Canada. This is the first time I have viewed this and feel it worthy of reproduction. Thank you Wilfrid and although you are in your late 80's and say you are sometimes feeling your age, you are a real soldier and I can only give you thanks for your dedication. I hope you don't mind me mentioning your age but I just have to let all know we have followers who have lived through better and worse times and know their history.
Edward Goldsmith: First, I would like to express our sincere condolences on the recent loss of Sir James your brother. Thank you for your kind words that the work we are doing on LETS is incredibly valuable. Encouragement from someone like yourself doesn't go amiss. The paper you wrote with aid from Perry Walker, over 5,000 words on the subject "New Local Currency Systems" is great and has brought light to a lot of new facts I was unaware of. I do hope your busy schedule will eventually slow down enough to do something with this invaluable information. Please be sure to contact me when you come to Canada.
I have many more letters, but more on a personal level. I hope all don't mind the format that I use to answer. Time only allows me to do so much and yet I believe that some, if not all, of the news you send me on an individual/personal basis is worthy of a read by all out there working on this immense project of saving ourselves. I have tried to include addresses of some of our latest contacts in the hope that some of you can connect. I can only hope that replying openly about some of my mail has inspired and served as encouragement, LETting you know the army is ever-expanding. God Bless and Love from John and I. I will continue to keep you informed on our activities. Pauline. P.S. Watch for John's activities in Usenet newsgroups: own.eco.lets, ncf.ca.lets, alt.fan.john-turmel, can.politics.
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