Unfettered capitalism has caused widespread damage, but is there a feasible alternative? Journalist Dan Hancox brings us intelligence from the frontline of a thriving communist utopia in Spain, and discusses the possibility of a global paradigmatic shift.
We don’t need to look very far to find evidence of western capitalism’s failings. The age-old principle of growth for growth’s sake has led to gaping inequalities, widespread unemployment, voter disenfranchisement, rampant consumerism, environmental damage, and even brought the financial world itself to the brink of absolute collapse. The Occupy movement had its successes, but momentum was lost and the monolithic system of global corporate capitalism seemed unshakeable. Even staunch defenders of the status quo acknowledge capitalism’s flaws, but ask - what’s the alternative? Is change possible?
For a small village in Andalusia, Spain, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Marinaleda, a community founded on mutual aid and collectivism, has withstood the global financial crisis far better than its peers: 5 per cent of the town’s working population are unemployed, compared to 40 or 50 per cent in many nearby. Governed by a charismatic mayor who raids supermarkets to distribute food to the poor, and offers non-profit mortgages on state-owned properties, Marinaleda offers a glimpse of how things might be otherwise. But can this be scaled beyond the city walls? What are the drawbacks? Is Marinaleda spearheading a potential global paradigmatic shift, or is it an isolated incidence of rebellion?
Speaker: Dan Hancox is a journalist, who writes about music, politics and everything else, for The Guardian, New Statesman, Frieze, Five Dials, The National, New Inquiry, Salon and others.
Chair: Anthony Painter, Director of the Independent Review of the Police Federation, and author of Left without a future? Social Justice in Anxious Times.