Why no Local Currencies Panel at TOES99?
This is the correspondence of John Turmel, one of the original LETS engineers, with the organizers of TOES 99:
April 26 1999 letter:
>W E E D <email@example.com> >World Economy, Ecology & Development >Subject: Alternative Economic Summit >attached you'll find a draft program of the Alternative Economic >Summit. As one of the original Local Employment-Trading System (LETS) engineers, I made presentations at both the 1997 Denver TOES and the 1998 Birmingham TOES. If the agenda is still in its draft stages, would it be possible for me to make a presentation on the Local Currency Equation as well as on updated news about local currencies from around the world?
>The main-purpose of the congress is the discussion and promotion of >alternatives to the neo-liberal world order. The greatest alternative to the present world order would be an international interest-free currency system based on time, collateral everyone has in abundance, rather than on money based on assets, collateral not everyone has in abundance and further made scarce by the demand that more be returned to the bank as interest than was originally taken out in principal.
>In the light of the deepening crisis of the dominant economic >paradigm the political conjuncture for alternatives has never been >more favourable in the last decade. And with the internet technology at out disposal, we have the power to opt out of the present debt slavery money system and use the LETS software to do-it-ourselves.
>The congress will focus on three main issues: >towards a different world economic order, in particular the finance >system, This is what makes LETS engineering so important to that different world economic order.
>while cross-sectorial issues like ecology, peacekeeping and women >will be considered. LETS can provide the funding to save the ecology, make peacekeeping unnecessary and equalize opportunity for women.
>All over the world people defend their dignity and fight for the same >rights. Do our visions have the power to establish alternatives? With an international internet clearinghouse for local timecurrencies, we do have the power to establish this alternative.
>For a new economic world order >Regulating the financial markets >In the last decade, the international finance markets were the main >catalyst of globalisation. Any politics seem to be dependent from >the power of capital. Will we be able to turn the tide? Which >strategies, which instruments are necessary for a change? This would be the panel that should be most interested in the LETS instrument to eliminate our financial slavery.
>Panel 3 >A new architecture of the world economy and the international system >will be discussed. There is only one new architecture which has been engineered to avoid the same problems suffered by the current system and making interest-free LETS currency available to all persons must be raised.
>Final discussion: Perspectives of a democratic world order with >social justice and sound environment Again, a democratic world order with social justice and sound environment can only be engineered when all individuals have access to time credits from a LETS timecurrency bank. Using LETS to lift the yoke of debt slavery from the oppressed nations of the world is the most realistic and successful alternative available at this point. I hope you agree that a presentation on the LETS local currency alternative will be as relevant to TOES 99 as it was to previous TOES conferences and I hope to raise it with the invited speakers whether I'm given the chance to make a presentation on LETS or not. Hoping there is still room for a presentation on LETS engineering, I am sincerely yours. ---
May 7 1999 letter:
>W E E D <firstname.lastname@example.org> >World Economy, Ecology & Development >Subject: Alternative Economic Summit Ten days ago, I wrote the appended message asking for the opportunity to make a presentation on the Local Currency Equation, the Mathematics of LETS. As yet I have received no response. This happened at last year's TOES where I received no response for a month and was then told that the local currency panel was by then all booked up. Yet, when I arrived at the conference, I found that not only was there only one panellist and I was thus quickly included but then that panellist cancelled out and I was the only speaker on that panel. As local currencies are of such major import in developing sustainable economies, I find it odd that the person who first derived the local currency equation can't seem to get a chance to speak. It would be much like the Nuclear industry having a panel and not letting Einstein make a presentation. As I intend to attend, please get my presentation down on the agenda so that we don't have a repeat of last year's events. ---
May 22 1999 letter:
Agenda Committee: On April 27 and on May 7, I wrote asking for the opportunity to put LETS on the TOES agenda. I made a presentation on LETS at both the 1997 and 1998 TOES conferences. I would point out that at the last TOES, the New Economics Foundation managed for 2 months to avoid adding my presentation to the agenda then told me that the panel was too full. When I got there, I found out that this was false and I was the only one who made a presentation on local currencies. As yet, I have received no reply to my previous two requests. Who is in charge of this year's agenda? Is there someone who prefers that I not make such a presentation? If so, could you tell me why? ---
May 25 1999 letter:
Peter Waldow (email@example.com)
>Date: Tue May 25 03:27:36 1999 >From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("WEED ") >Subject: Re: TURMEL: TOES LETS Mathematics Presentation? >once again, your kindly invited to participate at the Congress. >Informations (Registration, Accomodation, programme etc.) are >available on our Website. There is no panel, where you can present >LETS, but we offer you to book a "table" during the Summit, where you >can present your ideas. To get a table please contact Mr. Stefan >Ofteringer at the office "Cologne99" email@example.com ). >kind regards Peter Waldow JCT: I will certainly book a table as a last resort but I do want to get LETS on the agenda. Surely there must be a room that will be available for a two hour stretch where I could make my LETS presentation? At both previous TOES, there were plenty of empty slots and it would be a shame that such an important topic not be on the agenda. ---
June 3 1999 letter:
TOES LETS Mathematics Presentation? Peter Waldow (firstname.lastname@example.org) JCT: As you know, I wrote over a month ago requesting the chance to make a presentation in a local currencies panel which has been available for over a decade. I would like to know how the decision came about that there would be no local currencies panel this year and who decided who this year's speakers would be? I will be availing myself of a table to pass local currency literature but would still prefer to have my LETS presentation added to the agenda. ------
June 5 1999 letter:
LETS Mathematics Presentation at TOES #7 Peter Waldow (email@example.com)
>Date: Fri Jun 4 04:40:45 1999 >From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("WEED ") >Dear Mr. Turmel, >I think you have still not realised, that we organise a Congress, due >the fact, that the world summit take place in Cologne. JCT: Just as they've done for the past 15 years. I know.
>Up to now I answered every of your 6 or 7 (they contained the same) >letters, which you sent us. I tried to explain: >there is no room for your presentation JCT: How can there be no room? Are you saying all your rooms are booked and there's no room at the hotel or are you saying that there is no room on your agenda for a LETS anti-poverty system presentation? See: http://turmelpress.com/stock96.htm
>You are free to organise one somewhere in Cologne. JCT: Why should the discussion of the solution to poverty be excluded? Is TOES now reserved for discussion of the problem and not the solution?
>To get a Table at the Congress, you have to contact the Office of >the Alliance Cologne 99. JCT: I have already contacted Stefan Ofteringer (email@example.com) at the office "Cologne99" to get a table but I haven't as yet received confirmation.
>This is the last message I sent you, regarding LETS in Cologne. JCT: You haven't answered who decided that there would be no local currencies panel this year. This is the second year in a row that the TOES organizers have managed to keep my LETS engineering analysis off the agenda and made me organize my own presentation. It's starting to look like TOES is a closed-shop with a small number of activists reserving all the presentations for themselves, like last year. I will certainly raise my objection to this serious omission at the plenaries. -------------------------------
Why no local currencies panel at TOES99? #2
>Date: Sun Jun 6 15:19:00 1999 >From: tschroye@WARWICK.NET (Trent Schroyer) >Subject: Should Counter G-8 Conferences be Open Programs? >To: TOES97@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU >In response to the "Why no local currencies panel at TOES99?" i would >like to add another case of rejection of program from TOES'99 and >open up the general question - Should Counter G-8 Conferences be Open >Programs? JCT: And we don't know how many others were rejected either. If there are, please speak up and lets us know.
>My understanding of the German strategy is that they know enough >informed people to put together a program that results in a powerful >message to the official summit and they do not want to be bothered >with facilitating additional points of view. >Is this strategy an elitist closed process- or a realistic time and >resource saving instrumentalism essential for a limited NGO event? >I am currently working with some of the individuals who are looking >forward to the 2000 event in Japan and i would like to pass on any >thoughts on this question. But i would also like to document what i >experience as an exclusionary practice that is in my judgment >inappropriate for a counter event which aims toward democratization >of economic policy formation. >In my experience the formation of programs for counter-G7 (now 8) >conferences have usually been open. As a program co-ordinator for the >1990 (Houston) and 1997 (Denver) events we facilitated over 70 panels >and accepted all critiques of the G-7 policy or advocates of >alternative practices. The results were always surprizing. >Connections between groups and individuals that have never heard of >each other resulted in new actions and perspectives. JCT: That's true. There were so many panels and workshops that Pauline and I had so split them up to attend as many as possible. And the resulting contacts were truly amazing. See Pauline's Trip Report at http://turmelpress.com/t97paul.htm and my reports on the LETS panel and workshops at http://turmelpress.com/t97panel.htm http://turmelpress.com/t97works.htm
>It is in this spirit that i sent the following message - after >communicating with many people about possible choices-to Germany in >Feb. of this year: > >to the organizers of TOES"99:(names omitted) >>TOES/US would like to present a panel/round table at Cologne '99 >>counter G-8 conference that updates the TOES '97 theme "Working >>Alternatives for a World that Works" along the lines of "a different >>world economic order". >>Specifically we will feature groups that will explain how >>localities have acted to secure their communities from globalizing >>forces thru the creation of local/regional financial institutions, >>community economics and supporting networks that model NGO >>synergy's and partnerships with other institutions. JCT: I'm sure my presentation on LETS as an alternative currency system to the world economic order would have fit in here.
>>The groups that TOES/U.S.will bring to Cologne will also represent >>exemplary organizational processes because they have formed networks >>that practice global/local strategies that increase local autonomy, >>citizen participation and strong "sustainability" (as local >>"sufficiency") . >>Possible Presentors (still evolving -these might change) >>names omitted..." JCT: And I'd bet I'd have met many people of like minds.
>after a long time and several more messages sent i received the >following response: > >>Dear Mr. Schroyer, >>there will be a big alternative summit conference organised by a >>broad alliance of German NGOs and initiatives. WEED is coordinating >>the project. The issues you are proposing will be covered there. >>b>Attached I send you the concept in German. Next week an English >>version will be available at out website. Apart from that several >>smaller events - one on a feminist critique of globalisation and a >>one day conference of the Anti MAI committee will take place, as well >>as several events on the debt crisis . >>I believe, that the best would be if TOES US joins one or several of >>these initiatives rather than to organise an event of its own. >>name ommitted... JCT: I supposed by "event," he means your own "panel." At least you got an invitation. I was told to go organize a presentation somewhere else in Cologne.
>On Mon, 3 May 1999, Trent Schroyer wrote: >>Could i enlist your help in getting some information on how to come >>to the Counter-summit in Cologne on June 17th? Over the last four >>months I have tried to communicate with the organizers of the >>Counter-summit in Cologne on June 18th and have been systematically >>discouraged: >>- I proposed a very exciting panel on "working alternatives" in >>north america but we were told that our topics were already covered >>in the program! >>-Later I suggested that at least (name ommitted) (who is known world >>wide in NGO circles) be included - and that was ignored! >>Am i missing something here? We are paying for our own expenses and >>want to participate and it feels like we are being excluded. >>I assume that all counter-summits are open events. JCT: I remember how thrilled I was when you, as TOES 97 organizer, gave me the opportunity to make a presentation in Denver. Your quick acceptance is the reason I thought TOES was open to all presentations. It's one reason I was so upset at being shut out of the Birmingham TOES 98. And now the TOES 99. If it's closed shop, the least they could do is advertise it as such. They should openly state that they are going to do all the presentations and no one else need apply. >soon after that some of the key U.S. people who had indicated that >they would go got disinterested. I too decided not to go. JCT: I wouldn't have booked my tickets to attend if they'd been forthright that they had their own speakers who were going to monopolize all the time slots. As such, I'm committed but you can bet I'm going to kick up a fuss.
>Trent Schroyer, Professor of Sociology-Philosophy >School of Theoretical and Applied Science, Ramapo College of New >Jersey, Mahwah, N.J. 07430, 201-529-7740 e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org JCT: Thank you very much for bringing this more-general-than-I- thought policy of exclusion to our attention. I hated having to raise such an ugly issue which often results in my being labelled a contrary person to deal with. Finding out the exclusions are more prevalent certainly adds to taint to the conference that I'd never expected. I hope your arguments are heeded by the organizers of the Japan conference. I'd hate to waste another airline ticket to another conference I didn't know people were being excluded from. ---
Subject: Why no local currencies panel at TOES99? #3
>Date: Mon Jun 7 01:48:08 1999 >From: email@example.com (Charles Michael) >Subject: [lets] "Bomb" them with emails! >Hi All, Regarding the problems John and others are having with >gaining admission to this Alternative Summit event, I suggest John >post the email address of the officials in question on all the >groups he subscribes to. JCT: It's easily done. You send an email with a blank subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following request in the body of the message: Subscribe J18DISCUSSION your email address That way, everybody gets your message, not just Peter Waldow ( email@example.com ). But don't bomb them with messages. Just let them know how you feel about finding out that self-less TOES activists like Trent Shroyer and other willing US participants were denied the chance to speak constituting a major loss for the event. It's not supposed to be a private show, after all.
>Then we can collectively raise a ruckus about alternative currencies >and a more open agenda in general. JCT: That's the ticket. If everyone who finds these exclusions objectionable writes in, it will raise such a ruckus that maybe it will be the last time they shut people out ever again.
>I emailed them on my own several weeks ago asking that alternative >currencies be given a place on the agenda and, if they did not >prefer John, then choose Greco, Lietaer or others to present. JCT: I remember and I really appreciated it. But what right do they have to not prefer anyone, including me?
>I got back a response in thick bureaucratise advising me that all >would be well, not to worry my little head and please eat my milk >and cookies and go to bed. Lets see if all these subscribers can act >on their convictions and take 5 minutes to bomb them with a couple >hundred emails. It can't hurt. >Thanks, Charlie In Denver JCT: Bombing them with repeated messages will just make them feel they were right in excluding us. But a lot of people expressing concern over the exclusions is the way to go.
>Date: Mon Jun 7 08:16:02 1999 >From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("Tom J. Kennedy") >Subject: Why no local currencies panel at TOES99 ?? >To: TOES97@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU Cc: email@example.com ("Econ-Lets") >Greetings: >I have been reading about the exclusion of renowned speakers on >topics relevant to "local currencies", "community currencies", and >"LETS" (Local Employment Trading Systems) at the upcomig 1999 TOES >Conference in Cologne, Germany. >Without a doubt the topic of LETS as an alternative, "usury-free" >currency system to the world economic "disorder" warrants a priority >presentation at the upcomig TOES (The Other Economic Summit) >Conference in Cologne, Germany and in every future TOES Conference - >until such time as the current usury-bearing economic system is >replaced with the usury-free alternative economic system modelled >after "local currency" systems that are successfully operating in >various locations throughout the world. JCT: Actually, TOES has been the major opportunity to spread the word of LETS local timecurrencies so far. Too bad this most important topic has been censored from the agenda this year.
>I have always said that "one is a keeper" or "one is an >abolitionist". Those who are "keepers" work openly and/or covertly to >keep the orthodox "usury-bearing" economic system in place while the >"abolitionists" work openly to expose the current, design-flawed, >usury-bearing money system as the immoral and giant fraud that >creates and sustains global chaos and scarcity and to replace it with >a usury-free economic system which will create abundance for >everyone worldwide. JCT: They probably want to focus on issues related to the problem and don't want to be distracted by discussions of the solution.
>Certainly, any topics relevant to "local currencies", "community >currencies", "community way" and "LETS" (Local Employment Trading >Systems) demand a priority listing at any TOES Conference. >My conclusions can only be that the organizers of the 1999 TOES >Conference at Cologne, Germany are either naive and misguided >individuals who do not know their actions reveal them as "keepers" or >they are covertly working for the global financial elite who are >intent on creating a one-world, "usury-bearing" currency to enslave >us all. There is no evidence that they are "abolitionists" who are >openly working a faster implementation of "usury-free" local >currencies everywhere so that we can usher in a new age of abundance >for all. Rather, their actions of excluding topics relevant to >"usury-free", local currencies reveal them as "keepers". JCT: We can't really say that they're knowingly "keepers of usury," though the loansharking banking system will owe them a debt of gratitude for keeping LETS off the agenda.
>My message to the core supporters of "usury-free", local currencies >is to ignore the "keepers" and work with the those who truly >understand the immediate necessity to get on with the job of >implementing "usury-free" local currencies. At this time, the >Community Way project deserves attention as it effectively promotes >the implementation of "usury-free" local currencies. The Community >Way project is making progress in various locations in the UK, >Canada and the USA. (see below) Thanks to Michael Linton and Ernie >Yacub for working so very hard for so many months to get the >Community Way project launched. I expect it to explode very fast - >everywhere. So who needs to bicker with TOES organizers who are >caught up in "ego" stuff?????? JCT: I put out two grand for airline tickets before finding out there'd be no local currencies panel. I want to bicker with the TOES organizers caught up in their ego stuff.
>LETS just get on with the job of eliminating scarcity and creating >abundance for everyone..... JCT: It's just that the TOES97 in Denver proved so worthwhile in establishing connections. I met Tom Greco for the first time, other LETS organizers, and dozens of interested activists. To think that the American contingent who were prepared to go have now bowed out is really upsetting.
>Working with "abolitionists" for "peace and plenty" by 2020, I AM >Tom J. Kennedy, www.cyberclass.net >PS: Because of their actions I view the organizers of the TOES 1999 >Conference in the same way that I see The Bilderbergers - who are >definitely "keepers" are just finishing their 1999 meeting in >Portugal today and you can be sure that they only discussed the >implementation of their "usury-bearing" one world economic system. >Read details of their agenda at this URL: >http://www.inforamp.net/~jwhitley/HERALD.HTM JCT: I'd point out that I picketed the Bilderbergers the last two times they were in Canada, in 1996 and in 1983 when most people didn't even know who this awesome collection of world rulers were.
>PSS: Later this week readers are invited to visit this URL and learn >about The Community Way concept which is designed to accelerate the >local, national and worldwide growth, understanding and acceptance of >"usury-free" local currencies: www.communityway.org In the meantime, >readers can read about the Community Way proposal which is in the >developing stages for the region of Ottawa-Carleton in the province >of Ontario in the country of Canada at this URL: http://cw.inode.org JCT: Glad to hear it. More good news for me to relay to the activists in Cologne during my LETS presentation once I find an empty room at the conference site and do my own advertising. ---
Send a comment to John Turmel