The banking elite sees a phenomenon that doesn't like at all, flourish all around Europe: local currencies. Regions that reside inside the eurozone and out of it, have already made the step towards a local currency, which gives them a lot of degrees of independence. Local currencies could be used by local communities to direct policies towards the benefit of the community as a whole in contrast with the big scale, where hard currencies, like euro, have become the tools of the elites to impose austerity and brutal neoliberal policies.
Barcelona is one significant European center that is about to try the solution of local currency. As ElPais reported last year:
Barcelona City Hall has announced it is to press ahead with a pilot scheme to roll out a cashless local currency over the course of 2017 and 2018 in the working class Besòs district in the northeast of the city. The idea is for the currency to become legal tender in 2019.
The Bank of Spain has warned against the initiative, which was first mooted by Mayor Ada Colau after she won local elections in May 2015, describing it as “informal, with no legal framework, or regulator or adequate supervision.”
Colau, who made her name campaigning against mortgage foreclosures and home seizures, heads a left-leaning coalition. The idea is for local stores and residents to be able to exchange euros for this new currency, and use it to purchase products and services at a discount or with other kinds of advantages. Municipal workers may also receive part of their salary in the new money. The exchange rate would be one-to-one.
There are numerous precedents, both in Spain and elsewhere: the Bristol pound in Britain, the Chiemgauer in the German region of Bavaria, the sol-violette in the French city of Toulouse, the ekhi in Bilbao, the res in Girona, and the puma in Seville.
As also reported by ThinkSpain, “Barcelona will have its own 'virtual currency' by next year, despite the Bank of Spain warning the move is 'ill-advised'. From January 1, 2017, the town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet will accept its own local currency in 108 shops, restaurants and other business premises. And the so-called 'social currency' will be in operation in the Eix Besòs cluster – the Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí neighbourhoods of Barcelona city – from the same date. By the year 2019, the whole of the metropolitan area will accept the local money.”
Indeed, “On January 13th, the first 6.000 Gramas (the name of the social currency in Santa Coloma), started circulating throughout the city. [...] The Grama is not the first social currency of Catalonia, but it is the first currency to be established in a city with more than 117,000 inhabitants. In addition, Santa Coloma is the first city council that channels public spending through a social currency. The Grama, which has a 1 to 1 value to the euro, is not a physical currency. It is managed with an application that allows transfers from one user’s account to another user’s account using Internet and mobile phones.”
The reaction of the Bank of Spain tells a lot of how much the banking cartels afraid that may lose control of their debt colonies in Europe, through a local currency 'epidemic'.
As Michael Krieger reported almost two years ago: “TEM—a sophisticated form of barter whose name is the Greek acronym for Local Alternative Unit—was founded in 2010 in the early months of Greece’s debt crisis with less than a dozen members. Now it includes dozens of participating local businesses that use the system to sell goods and services, including prepared food, haircuts, doctor visits, or even for renting an apartment.”, concluding: “You’ve gotta love the Greek spirit. You can knock them down, you can embarrass them, but you can’t kill their spirit. Everyone else on the planet must recognize that what is being done to Greece will be done to us all in turn. We must show totally solidarity with them against the euro-fascists.”
Recall that, while Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland, Italy and Cyprus. The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.
So, the next big question is: could local currencies inside the Greek territory become the solution for Greece to escape the euro-prison? Local communities could build their own currencies and start gaining independence from the Bank of Greece, which of course is completely controlled by the Frankfurt headquarters.