TURMEL: Why no LETS panel at TOES 99? #2

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John Turmel

Jun 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/7/99

>Date: Sun Jun 6 15:19:00 1999
>From: tsch...@WARWICK.NET (Trent Schroyer)
>Subject: Should Counter G-8 Conferences be Open Programs?
>In response to the "Why no local currencies panel at TOES99?" i would
>like to add another case of rejection of program from TOES'99 and
>open up the general question - Should Counter G-8 Conferences be Open
JCT: And we don't know how many others were rejected either. If
there are, please speak up and lets us know.

>My understanding of the German strategy is that they know enough
>informed people to put together a program that results in a powerful
>message to the official summit and they do not want to be bothered
>with facilitating additional points of view.
>Is this strategy an elitist closed process- or a realistic time and
>resource saving instrumentalism essential for a limited NGO event?
>I am currently working with some of the individuals who are looking
>forward to the 2000 event in Japan and i would like to pass on any
>thoughts on this question. But i would also like to document what i
>experience as an exclusionary practice that is in my judgment
>inappropriate for a counter event which aims toward democratization
>of economic policy formation.
>In my experience the formation of programs for counter-G7 (now 8)
>conferences have usually been open. As a program co-ordinator for the
>1990 (Houston) and 1997 (Denver) events we facilitated over 70 panels
>and accepted all critiques of the G-7 policy or advocates of
>alternative practices. The results were always surprizing.
>Connections between groups and individuals that have never heard of
>each other resulted in new actions and perspectives.
JCT: That's true. There were so many panels and workshops that
Pauline and I had so split them up to attend as many as possible. And
the resulting contacts were truly amazing. See Pauline's Trip Report
at http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel/t97paul.htm and my reports on the
LETS panel and workshops at

>It is in this spirit that i sent the following message - after
>communicating with many people about possible choices-to Germany in
>Feb. of this year:
>to the organizers of TOES"99:(names omitted)
>>TOES/US would like to present a panel/round table at Cologne '99
>>counter G-8 conference that updates the TOES '97 theme "Working
>>Alternatives for a World that Works" along the lines of "a different
>>world economic order".
>>Specifically we will feature groups that will explain how
>>localities have acted to secure their communities from globalizing
>>forces thru the creation of local/regional financial institutions,
>>community economics and supporting networks that model NGO
>>synergy's and partnerships with other institutions.
JCT: I'm sure my presentation on LETS as an alternative currency
system to the world economic order would have fit in here.

>>The groups that TOES/U.S.will bring to Cologne will also represent
>>exemplary organizational processes because they have formed networks
>>that practice global/local strategies that increase local autonomy,
>>citizen participation and strong "sustainability" (as local
>>"sufficiency") .
>>Possible Presentors (still evolving -these might change)
>>names omitted..."
JCT: And I'd bet I'd have met many people of like minds.

>after a long time and several more messages sent i received the
>following response:
>>Dear Mr. Schroyer,
>>there will be a big alternative summit conference organised by a
>>broad alliance of German NGOs and initiatives. WEED is coordinating
>>the project. The issues you are proposing will be covered there.
>>b>Attached I send you the concept in German. Next week an English
>>version will be available at out website. Apart from that several
>>smaller events - one on a feminist critique of globalisation and a
>>one day conference of the Anti MAI committee will take place, as well
>>as several events on the debt crisis .
>>I believe, that the best would be if TOES US joins one or several of
>>these initiatives rather than to organise an event of its own.
>>name ommitted...
JCT: I supposed by "event," he means your own "panel." At least
you got an invitation. I was told to go organize a presentation
somewhere else in Cologne.

>On Mon, 3 May 1999, Trent Schroyer wrote:
>>Could i enlist your help in getting some information on how to come
>>to the Counter-summit in Cologne on June 17th? Over the last four
>>months I have tried to communicate with the organizers of the
>>Counter-summit in Cologne on June 18th and have been systematically
>>- I proposed a very exciting panel on "working alternatives" in
>>north america but we were told that our topics were already covered
>>in the program!
>>-Later I suggested that at least (name ommitted) (who is known world
>>wide in NGO circles) be included - and that was ignored!
>>Am i missing something here? We are paying for our own expenses and
>>want to participate and it feels like we are being excluded.
>>I assume that all counter-summits are open events.
JCT: I remember how thrilled I was when you, as TOES 97
organizer, gave me the opportunity to make a presentation in Denver.
Your quick acceptance is the reason I thought TOES was open to all
presentations. It's one reason I was so upset at being shut out of the
Birmingham TOES 98. And now the TOES 99.
If it's closed shop, the least they could do is advertise it as
such. They should openly state that they are going to do all the
presentations and no one else need apply.
>soon after that some of the key U.S. people who had indicated that
>they would go got disinterested. I too decided not to go.
JCT: I wouldn't have booked my tickets to attend if they'd been
forthright that they had their own speakers who were going to
monopolize all the time slots. As such, I'm committed but you can bet
I'm going to kick up a fuss.

>Trent Schroyer, Professor of Sociology-Philosophy
>School of Theoretical and Applied Science, Ramapo College of New
>Jersey, Mahwah, N.J. 07430, 201-529-7740 e-mail - tsch...@igc.org
JCT: Thank you very much for bringing this more-general-than-I-
thought policy of exclusion to our attention. I hated having to raise
such an ugly issue which often results in my being labelled a contrary
person to deal with. Finding out the exclusions are more prevalent
certainly adds to taint to the conference that I'd never expected. I
hope your arguments are heeded by the organizers of the Japan
conference. I'd hate to waste another airline ticket to another
conference I didn't know people were being excluded from.
John C. "The Engineer" Turmel, Founder, Abolitionist Party of Canada
915-2045 Carling Ave., Ottawa, K2A 1G5, Tel/Fax: 613-728-2196
LETS Abolish Interest Rates http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel
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