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Finance Tactics

We’re covering various things in the class — everything from the rationales behind permaculture as a system of design, such as using natural relationships as a guide, emphasizing stacking of function, not doing stupid shit, etc — but one of the most interesting things to come up so far was the topic of alternative finance. (Also, I promise pictures soon, but I am busy.) It seems to be one of the areas that many people overlook, especially if they are more interested in practical, nuts and bolts applications of techniques.

But finance is immensely important, for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that capital is a vampyre that sucks the blood out of everything in its insatiable quest to turn all life into its servant drones. So alternative financial methods are useful tools even if the end goal of our efforts is the abolishment of the ludicrous systems that underline how things get done under capitalism.

The lead instructor of the workshop I’m at right now decided that he needed to set up an alternative financial framework because he didn’t want the money that he put into the bank to be used to do things like develop GMO crops or bombs or be used by corporations to destroy yet one more local economy. When you deposit your money in a bank, you have no control over where it goes or to what end it strives. So, he started going to banks and telling them that he didn’t want his deposited money used as lending collateral for anything, unless the bank first got his approval. Banks, of course, could give a shit about doing this, since there is a sea of wealth out there that other people are willing to deposit without strings attached. He decided to start his own financial institution, whose resources would be used only for projects that agreed with his ethical principles.

This isn’t exactly a simple solution. It takes resources. It takes legal expertise. Etc. Etc. But, at the same time, the resulting structure may be exceptionally powerful: the credit union he and his partners started now has enough financial resources to grant low rate loans to other institutions working for social justice, intelligent environmental design, etc, and help them get a leg up. Which is an important tactical move.

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