There is an alternative

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I am a native English speaker, living in France, trying to get my head around my personal politics and professional journalism, and vice versa. It means my source materials are in English and French, bit of an audience killer really, but there you have it.

In the political activism that engages me here, 45 minutes south of Toulouse, people often ask themselves the question: “What are the alternatives to capitalism?”

This picks up from Margaret Thatcher’s (pictured left, with her statue) infamous TINA, acronym for “there is no alternative”, the idea that “free” markets, “free” trade, and capitalist globalisation are our only option.

Tomorrow, I am going to a showing of “Marathonien de l’espoir” a film on the life of Charlie Bauer (pictured centre), a Frenchman who robbed shops and gave away the booty as an act of political protest against the system. That was his alternative. His prize? About 25 years in jail, including nine of them in solitary confinement.

Is that the way to act in opposition? I hope to find out from the man himself what he thinks now during the debate after Friday’s showing and maybe to get an interview with him to post up on YouTube. We’ll see. In the meantime, this is an excellent French-language podcast interview with Bauer.

Meanwhile, in English, Michael Albert of ZNET and parecon fame speaks on the excellent Democracy Now! about a life spent seeking such alternatives. You can watch a video, hear the audio or read the transcript here.

He was on the programme to promote his new book “Remembering Tomorrow – from SDS to a life after capitalism, a memoir”. It includes details of his decades-old relationship with Noam Chomsky.

My humble alternative, for the moment, is (slowly) writing a book on democracy and journalism at the same time as trying to have a life.

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