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Alternate G8 Occupying the Debate

The Summit on a Budget June 22nd

A ‘no-fly’, no neo-liberal conference hosted by The Alternate Collective - seeking a new settlement for European citizens.


#Agit8 #Educ8 #Cooperate

Contents G8 Overview: John Hilary Open Societies: Dr. Nafeez Ahmed Tax Harmonization: Prof. Prem Sikka Open Democracies: Lee Camp and Dave Boyle Open Governments: Michel Bauwens

4 6 7 8-9 10

Open Economies: Nick Dearden


Keynote Speaker: Heather Marsh


Introduction People will tell you that you can’t change the world. What they mean is that you can’t change their world. We are Alternate, a collective seeking a new settlement for our common wealth The Alternate G8 Conference is a ‘no-fly’ event. Through the wonders of modern technology, our speakers will be Skyping into the conference or providing exclusive video presentations and interviews. Delegates will be invited to workshop the topics under discussion before proposing consensually agreed policies and action points, Ideas may be developed further by our Collective, and or with your input after the event. In Solidarity, The Alternate Crew

The final results, together with transcripts of interviews and speak-

“The G8 can no longer be the forum in which the future direction of the world economy is set. It is time for a new body with a radically new agenda.” John, writing in Guardian the Monday 6 July 2009

John Hilary

G8 Overview Director, War on Want

John has worked for the past 20 years in the international development and human rights sector, and is a recognised expert in many fields across the global justice agenda.

Bestselling author, journo, scholar, filmmaker, policy expert, strategy/comms consultant, change activist. Founding director, Institute for Policy R&D. Environment writer @The Guardian. • Co-producer, presenter, The Crisis of Civilization (2011). • Author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Pluto/Macmillan, 2010); • The London Bombings (2006); • The War on Truth (2005); • Behind the War on Terror (2003); • The War on Freedom (2002).

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed

Open Societies Author, journo, scholar on climate,

energy, food, finance, conflict, terror, police-state. The focus of Ahmed’s work is to catalyse social change in the public interest by harnessing radical, systemic approaches to understanding the interconnections between the world’s biggest problems, while developing and highlighting holistic strategies for social transformation.

“Nafeez Ahmed’s understanding of the post 9/11 power game, its lies, illusions and dangers, is no less than brilliant.” -John Pilger, Emmy and BAFTA awardwinning journalist

“The G8 summit in Lough Erne was preceded by much hype and promises about action on tax avoidance and corporate secrecy, but it has delivered little. The leaders’ communiqué commits governments to nothing more than vague promises.” “The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published its proposals, but the G8 has made no mention of any time scale for implementation. Neither does the communiqué say anything about how this information exchange is to be co-ordinated or enforced.” Writing for - Prof. Sikka, 19 June 2013

Prof. Prem Sikka

Tax Harmonisation

Prem lectures on Accounting in the Essex Business School. His research specialisms include globalisation, governance, regulation, tax havens, insolvency and business ethics.

“This mafia does not shoot people, but its activities are just as deadly. They deprive millions of jobs, education, savings, pensions, security, food, healthcare, clean water and social infrastructure necessary for Prem, speaking on “The Pinstripe Mafia: How Accountancy Firms Destroy Societies”

Lee Camp

Open Democracies

Amcommy non ut num

(Moment of Clarity show) “Lee Camp is a stand-up comedian, writer, and activist. He’s featured in the new bestseller “Satiristas!” with the likes of George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert. Lee also

provided a catharsis for millions of people when he went live on Fox News and called the network a “parade of propaganda and a festival of ignorance.”

Dave Boyle I’m a writer, researcher and co-operative business consultant. From 2000-2011, I worked for Supporters Direct helping football fans take over football clubs here in the UK and beyond. I’m now advising a variety of co-operatives on raising capital and being better at being democratic. I love co-operatives because they get past the ludicrous notion that democracy is for representative politics and nowhere else, and is constantly looking for ways which allow as many people as want to play as great a role in

their democracy as possible without needing to give up swathes of life, time or energy. I previously wanted to learn German in order to be understand better how great German football was, but now the main reasons is to be able to hang out in pirate party forums to see what’s happening in liquid democracy. I tweet as @theboyler) and blog less frequently than I’d like at

Would you like open-source with that governance?

Let’s recap what is wrong with the current global system, which is entirely predicated on economies of scale, and actually in many instances makes economies of scope illegal.





Open Economies

eer production communities believe that knowledge is a commons for all to share, and hence, no innovation can be withheld from the human population as a whole.

ur current system is n fact, withholding a lifebased on the belief of saving or world-saving infinite growth and the endless innovation is seen as unethical, availability of resources, and this represents a true value despite the fact that we live inversion. And peer production on a finite planet; let’s call this designs for distribution and feature, runaway ‘pseudoinclusion, i.e. small scale, even abundance’. personal fabrication. Planned The current system believes obsolescence, which is a that innovations should be feature and not a bug of the privatized and only available by current system, is totally alien permission or for a hefty price to the logic of peer production. (the IP regime), making sharing In other words, sustainability of knowledge and culture a is a feature of open design crime; let’s call this feature, communities, not a bug.” Michel Bauwens on peer producenforced ‘artificial scarcity’. eer production methodologies are based on the exact opposite economic and social DNA.

Nick Dearden

tion and economies of scope

Director, Jubilee Debt Campaign “Heaven forbid the banks or other lenders should take the pain. Sharp austerity packages mean the poorest shoulder the burden of their economy’s ‘adjustment’.”

Michel Bauwens

Open Government

Founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives

“(Michael) works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property.”


here should be no doubt as to the cause of the crisis, in spite of the barrage of propaganda about profligate public spending extending a life of luxury to lazy public sector workers. We are joined on part of the delegation by financial whistleblower Jonathan Sugarman who told us: “RBS – a bank owned 80% by the UK taxpayer – has been implicated in Libor rigging. This is the equivalent of rigging a horse race or a football game. It’s illegal. But no-one goes to jail. In fact, the banks get to negotiate the fine they will pay.”


he consequences of putting bankers above the law is pretty clear in Greece. Some have benefited – expensive shops still sell designer clothes to the few. But deep cuts have been imposed on the public sector,

with large reductions in wages for those still in work. Now more cuts are threatened...


here is hope that self-help initiatives will create a better society in the long-term, one less obsessed with money, characterised by inequality and selfishness...


f we want to build a better society, where the poorest do not continually pay the price for massive profits made in unsustainable and unethical ways, then standing with the people of Greece against the policies of austerity and privatisation is vital. What happens here will decide the future direction of Europe – whether we have a Europe of corporate freedom, widespread impoverishment, violence and racism, or a Europe of peace, equality,

“...HSBC’s latest advertising campaign is intended to suggest the bank will remain profitable whichever earthly powers rise and fall. I think we should take it as a challenge:

‘The future is emerging’”

Heather Marsh

Keynote Speaker

Author, Binding Chaos “Oligarchy is not necessary, but it can only be overcome in a completely open and transparent system which allows the most

Excerpt from Binding Chaos: Hidden oligarchies


n The Iron Law of Oligarchy 2, Robert Michels holds that any political system eventually devolves into an oligarchy.


epresentative democracy is the most dishonest oligarchy of all as it insists on the falsehood that the voice of its oligarchs is the voice of the people and the subsequent falsehood that their rule is rule by the people.


emocracies have not eradicated oligarchy, they have driven it to secrecy, a state of affairs ironically most abhorrent in a democracy. Instead of confronting the problems inherent in an oligarchy, democracy denies it exists while practicing it openly.


ligarchy is not necessary, but it can only be overcome

in a completely open and transparent system which allows the most widespread participation by all and knowledge for all and recognizes and accommodates expertise and greater levels of knowledge.


ommunist states have failed for the same reasons, by denying and pretending to eradicate elitism instead of acknowledging it and using it to the advantage of society. Many advocates of both democracy and communism hold that their ideas have never been properly tried.


he refusal to recognize and control the causes of oligarchies is the reason the concepts behind both will never be implemented despite widespread attempts. These ideologies fail at the gate because of a

fatal flaw. When a round peg does not fit in a square hole despite numerous attempts we do not say it has not been tried, we say it doesn’t work.


epresentative democracies do not provide for expertise in governance as representatives are elected by land mass and time span, not system, and are usually elected for charisma, not expertise. Athenian sortition likewise made no attempt at combining expertise with authority. Subjects that the majority is unqualified to speak on are delegated to similarly unqualified political representatives, segregated from other representatives by land mass. These representatives appoint experts who obtain their positions by cronyism

with the politician instead of expertise acknowledged by the entire interested population. The politicians and experts in the current system then provide for no meaningful feedback from users of the system, outside of occasional polls. These polls are conducted on test populations which another group have decided shall be considered representative of the population as a whole and used to provide input on only the questions the experts decide.


here is no transparency of any meaningful kind that would allow users of the system to audit what the experts were doing. We can do better than this. We can govern by user groups, respect individual rights and global commons,

and collaborate using stigmergy. We can belong to overlapping societies voluntarily by acceptance of social contracts. Where necessary, elite expertise can be contained and used through transparent epistemic communities with knowledge bridges while control remains with the user group. Copyright Š 2013 by Heather Marsh ISBN-13: 9781489527684 ISBN-10: 1489527680 This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Feedback, discussion and pay what you wish at http:// georgiebc.wordpress. com/2013/05/24/bindingchaos/


SATURDAY, 18 MAY 2013 Liebrary: “If it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working”. How Austerity works for the few by hurting the many. An earlier Tory chancellor during an earlier crisis claimed “If it isn’t hurting it isn’t working”. This, together with the fib from a later Tory prime minister “We are all in it together”, is used to convince

the majority of us ripped-off Britons to keep taking the painful poverty pill while the elite take the opportunity to reinforce their positions.

and labour can be cheaper”. Young just said it as it is: bust businesses leave empty buildings and sacked employees who can be got on the cheap.

As Lord Young, former Tory minister ` advisor to David Cameron, said “a recession can be an excellent time to start a business... Factors of production such as premises

It was ever thus: when a ship sinks although all the passengers start off ‘in it together’ it is the passengers in the lower decks that drown first. The water eventually

reaches the middle class, creeping up so they don’t notice until it is too late. Giving the upper class time to float away in the lifeboats, taking their luggage and hampers, rowed by their more essential servants. The sinking of the UK economy is made apparent by a release in May 2013 from the OECD and the Office of National

Statistics. This shows that austerity has not improved our position relative to our competitor countries. In the period from 2005 to 2011 the disposable income per head in the UK has fallen from fifth to twelfth place in the OECD. France, much criticised for eschewing austerity, in the same period moved from four places below the UK

to four places above. Equally telling from these figures is the fact that in this period the UK disposable income grew by just 7%, compared with 22% in France and 19% in Germany. It would be unfair to say that the slogan “If it isn’t hurting it isn’t working” is untrue. The fact is it is working - but we are misled as to what this is all ‘working’ towards. If you thought ‘working’ meant bringing prosperity back to all Britons you’d be wrong. The

objective of all the hurting is to use the banker induced crisis as another smokescreen for taking back pay, pension, and

employment rights, and to cut back health and education and other public services for those who can’t afford to go private. This rise in inequality, most rapid during the last Labour government, can be seen in graphs produced by the Resolution Foundation’s report “Squeezed Britain 2013”. As an example, the two graphs below show how low and middle incomes have ceased to be sufficient to buy a home: Houses once owned

by their occupiers are now owned by their landlords. Prosperity was once used to justify excessive pay to fill the pockets of the ‘excellent’ few (such as the financiers who mis-sold to their customers and crashed the economy). Now Austerity is being used to achieve the same end: a means to squeeze ordinary Britons into the pockets of the 1%.

The Birmingham and Midland Institute Margaret Street - Birmingham - B3 3BS 0121 236 3591

Locality / Transport / Food

The Conference venue is the Birmingham & Midland Institute, centrally located in Birmingham and close to various local transport routes.

The venue has a small coffeeshop for light snacks and proximity with city centre ensures you’re never far from more substantial food.

The area is served by 3 main railway stations: New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street, with multiple bus routes stopping nearby on Colmore Row.

The BMI is accessible via 3 steps with portable ramps delegates in wheelchairs can use. Please do let us know if you have any special requirements and we’ll do our best to help.


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