Post-Capitalist Alternative Economic Solutions Spreading in Europe and Beyond

Spanish Mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo has become the face of the growing post-capitalist alternative economic  movement in Spain. The mayor of a small town in Southern Spain called Marinaleda, he has become well-known for leading a raid on Spanish supermarkets in which food was taken and redistributed to the poor. Sánchez Gordillo has backed up his critiques of capitalism with a viable alternative. In his town of Marinaleda, there is full employment, people rent homes for 15 Euros a month, and everybody who works in the agricultural cooperative that was formed, including the mayor, earns the same salary.

Spain's financial crisis has spawned a number of solutions that don't rely on the euro instead using time banks and alternative currencies that can be used to trade goods as well as services. Struggling Greeks too are going back to basics as the government mandated austerity programs drive their economy deeper into recession. Greeks are leaving the urban poverty behind and returning to their rural roots where both barter and alternative currencies have historically been used widely.

These changes are a potential force for revolutionary social change, for replacing capitalism and the state with a new non-globalized society that is collectively self-managed by workers locally. Spain's Robin Hood Mayor Gordillo says, "The solution to the financial crisis is outside of capitalism". Many observers call Gordillo an anarchist but he presents himself as a communist. Despite Spain's crisis it a has far more socialized economy than North America. Marinaleda and Gordillo operate only with subsidies from the state and the EU. The land they farm was leased to them by the state at no cost. The materials in the houses, though built by the community, are totally funded by the state to the tune of about $25k each. And the wages that keep everyone employed are subsidized by the state and the EU.

Almost all of the alternative economic solutions in Europe are being spawned by the financial crisis, by necessity. The same is true in Latin America by and large where the long running unequal distribution of the wealth garnered from resource extraction has forced the working class to adopt alternative solutions out of necessity not out of choice.

Hopefully, civil disobedience will be father and necessity will be the mother of a new vision for the world based of sustainable organic agriculture and the equal distribution of wealth. Unfortunately, in the past necessity has been a poor long-term motivator compared to choice. Most often once the necessity for cooperation passes the cooperation itself does too. Choosing to change is hard work, choosing to live with less material wealth consciously, to dropout, is a powerful, hard won and stable position.