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Self # governing December 2011

A social economy and politics are possible! We can reform and actively build our future!

s sand u o h T in stеd prote front of us in nBelar ain gover n the m uilding i b t men capital the k. Mins The year 2011 was a significant year for democracy movements around the world. In Belarus, the movement started to become active right after the faked elections in December, 2010. Because of the brutal reactions to the opposition, it has become especially dangerous to work towards a free Belarus. But people have been democratized; now all they need is the power to elect an adequate government. Democracy and human rights can be secured permanently wherever people live in modest wealth, but the prevailing model of ‘predatory capitalism’ destroys this foundation. It is time to reconsider. ‘Occupy’ is one beginning in the western democracies; a corrupt administration in Russia is also coming under pressure, but new forms of economy have to be found and tested everywhere. It’s the beginning of a new time all over the world, and soon in Belarus.

Street s tration demons t ia, Egyp in Tunis and Libya!

er cemb s of e D n O zen 11 do ties 0 2 , i 10 s ian c Russ d protest f sse lts o witne the resu ns to st again al electio n natio he Duma. t

Gener al strike s take p lac acros e s Greec e!

15, 2011 y a M n O d in s starte t s e t o r p Spain. n 8 millio Almost rds Spania pate! p a r t i c i

Occupy W all Stree t began on Septemb er 17, 201 1 in Zucco tti Park!

On December 6 , 2 0 11 in M in s k ,  Ta ts ia n a H a ts u ra ,  a c c o m p a n ie d by her sons , p ro te s te d a g a in s t th e d e a th p e n a lt y : “M is te r P re s id e n t, I h a v e fo u r c h il d re n . W h o w il l g u a ra n te e th e m a ri g h t to li v e ? ”

Self # governing

The main government building in Minsk

My income is almost a million rubles [€100] per month. To buy the things my two kids need for school is going to take me several months, without eating and drinking.

It’s not possible to survive on my scholarship. I spend a third of it just to cover my utility costs. Since the prices rise, I come home from the supermarket with half-empty bags.

I can’t buy as much food as before. I have to choose — food or pills.

Self # governing

According to Article 3 of the Constitution the only source of governmentAL power in the Republic of Belarus is the people. Belarus without visas!

ID No RAP ation privatiz ries o of fact l p and ants

Rights for LGBT!

Free Internet access for everybody!

Belarus without discrimination!

Affordable education! No ban on t activit y he of non-reg istered organiz ations!

Get paid for your work!

Yo u r a c t

ions insp ire others!

r! in powe n e m o W

For politics in action!

I say what I wanna say!



E W E! D I C E D

abolish the death penalty

Democracy is us!

Self # governing


We got used to the idea that politics means the power of politicians and the interests of the political parties, and that the economy is a governmental monopoly, with huge fortunes in the hands of just a few oligarchs or transnational corporations.

The Belarussian regime of Lukashenko — the last dictator in Europe — is excluding itself from the world community.

Russia and Belarus  could become one unit, as it was in the times of the Soviet Union. This is possible and highly welcome.

Free market, international funds, t ransnational corporations. Competition and profit — the major motor of the economy and social life.

The ‘free-market’-state economy belongs to just a few oligarchs.

The West should take a lesson in democracy from Belarus. There is no opposition in Belarus. Crisis? We don‘t have a crisis. There has been panic runs and shortages. There is enough to eat. Stop running, and live more calmly.

Buy made-in-Belarus! Governmental capitalism.  Big business under the control of the president.

Belarus is a dictatorship in the center of Europe! An economic crisis, cultural genocide, human-rights violations! For free elections! For elections without Lukashenko! For a European Belarus!

40% of population: 40% unemployed have work/career, e xcluded from the public have income/consume/have fun community, with alcohol and TV 20–30% of the as alternatives employable population leave Belarus

We are working  and feeding our families not with help from the state, but in spite of it.

Do we have a future? I don’t just want to survive. I want to live! Our citizens complain to each other in kitchens or online. That’s where our public sphere is …

A family discussion at the kitchen table

Self # governing

Tomorrow we make tHE decisions ourselves

A social economy and politics are not impossible! We have to take responsibility for our future without waiting for somebody else to do it for us. What can we change ourselves? What might a new society look like? Artels, mutual savings and loan cooperatives, run as non-profit, with no-interest loans.

Development of renewable energy, building wind turbines and solar collectors on the territory of Belarus.

Set up housing and construction artels. Construction at low interest rates, preventing speculative price increases.

Avoid privatization of enterprises by transnational corporations. Unite employees in order to promote local management and manufacturing growth.

Creation of a net of ‘independent univer sities’ based on local initiatives, with lectures and events developed for specific groups, noncompulsory attendance and examinations, and no age limit.

Free Internet access across the country. Independent regional TV channels. Free use of the ‘open channel.’ Solidarity agriculture provides the community with food. The community guarantees purchase and preliminary financing of the harvest. Support of regional agriculture, nutrition, protection from the price dictates of the globalized market.

The museum building becomes a meeting place for citizens to discuss the issues of the day. Artists will help visualize and display propositions in the exhibition space. The museum should be decentralized in different cities of Belarus and become a permanent platform for citizens’ initiatives.

Self # governing


Foreign companies rule over important parts of the economy. Profits are transferred to other countries. The Belarussian people pay for these profits and sink into poverty. This circle has to be broken. The next step is to introduce concepts which empower the people to shape their economy autonomously and help keep profits in the country, which will lead to better salaries and a generally higher level of wealth through reinvestment.

Our own apartment?



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Can we afford a loan?


f pro


Pro fits go to the hea d offi ce in Aus tria

Belarus Branch of Bank Austria

Loan payments, highinterest payoff We sell potatoes with a harvesting plan and prices fixed by the government. The result: low salaries and an economy surviving on government subsidies.

Export to Russia. Unreliable income depending on the harvest in Russia: bad harvest in Russia → good profits; good harvest in Russia → no outlet or low prices, sales at a loss.

The average wage in farming is the lowest of all sectors.

Th fro e corp imp m far orat or t ms, ion p s e sel them xpor urcha ts ls t hem back them ses p , pa otat at b into oes ck t h ene fic e cou s them ial n pri tr y a , ces nd .

at oration p r o c r ajo ket s to a m e world mar e l a s : t on th Expor ce set i r p w lo

Bank Austria

International corporation

Is an interest-free bank loan possible?

But how to change THIS...?

A change can be made through a transparent economic cycle and fair trade. The rule of individual companies over the economy will be replaced by the artel, an association which distributes products and profits to members. Does a plant  need to grow? Do we need a permanent increase in production?

Self # governing

No TransparencY

Today’s capitalist system works under a rule of total non-transparency. Everyone thinks that the less information they provide, the better for them and their company’s strategy. But in truth, they do harm to the entire national economy because this kind of thinking leads to constant price fluctuation and overproduction.

Plant begins production, demand rises, the plant produces more and more ...


Due to overproduction prices fall. Plant goes bust.

TOTAL TransparencY How can transparency be organized? Members of the value-creation chain can meet and exchange regularly in small groups. This works, for example, with agricultural products, where farmers can speak to brokers and consumers. If this system is to work as the basis for a national economy, then councils from every region and every sector of production must be elected. They will meet regularly to exchange information and bring it back to the producers. Producer of fridges

Council Exchange of experience between all groups on production volumes and needs.

Why does transparency lead to higher profits?




Dealers can tell the producers more precisely how much of their products can be sold at what price. This way, production covers only actual needs. Expensive overproduction can be avoided; prices remain stable because an economy of scarcity does not lead to scarcity prices. If consumers become part of the process, they can communicate which goods they prefer and what price they are willing to pay for them.

Self # governing

AN Artel is a non-commercial organization, uniting the citizens’ labor with the aim of satisfying their needs and wants

The system of non-commercial artels could become a progressive model in Belarus, one that will help set up fairer working conditions, preserve and create jobs, support smaller initiatives, strengthen farming, implement mutual interest-free lending and housing construction, and prevent speculative price increases in goods and services. The Law of the Republic of Belarus dated February 25, 2002 No. 93-3 “Concerning consumer cooperative societies in the Republic of Belarus” (quoting the law) defines the consumer cooperative society as a voluntary association of either citizens or citizens and legal entities based on membership in order to satisfy the material needs of the members by uniting proprietary mutual contributions.


In the Russian Federation there are 800 credit societies: citizens’ credit consumer cooperatives, agricultural consumer cooperatives, organizations supporting credit cooperative movement, and others.



1. An artel does not aim at making a profit.

1. Found a committee for the organization.

2. An artel is set up as a membership organization

2. Develop a plan for the activity of the artel, develop an organizational chart, discuss the entry fee.

3. Decisions are made according to the principle ‘one person — one vote’ independent of the number of contributions 4. All services are supplied to artel members only.

3. Prepare and hold an organizational meeting. Elect the artel’s governing body. 4. Register the artel. Open the settlement account.

If commercial banks  aim at maximum profit, cooperatives unite the funds for the necessary resources and services in the interest of the people.

The aim of this publication is to inform the public about the current situation in Belarus. It aims to address the question of the future of Belarus. What is possible? How do we find a structure to discuss a future at all? This raises the question of the function and dysfunction of democratic processes around the world. It also means preparing possible social and economic alternatives for a Belarus at a time of crisis, when the neo-liberal system is also being called into question locally and globally.

Artel means equal rights and equal responsibilities for all its shareholders. This is how we discover democracy in practice.

Published by Marina Naprushkina and the Office for Anti-Propaganda. Translations by Isabel Bredenbröker, Anna Fertich and Olesya Kazakova. Special thanks to Zdravka Bajović, Anna Baranovskaya, Marta Gornicka, Warren Niesłuchowski, Irina Solomatina, Renate Wagner, Tobias Weihmann and Tina Wessel. Production by Union Druckerei Berlin GmbH. Produced with the support of the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (April 27 to July 1, 2012). The Berlin Biennale is organized by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation). With support of the Kalmar konstmuseum.

© 2012, Office for Anti-Propaganda. All rights reserved.

Self governing, December 2011  

The hand-drawn newspaper called Self # governing, an oversized offset publication distributed both internationally, and clandestinely in Bel...

Self governing, December 2011  

The hand-drawn newspaper called Self # governing, an oversized offset publication distributed both internationally, and clandestinely in Bel...