More and more people are becoming aware of the complete system failure we’re experiencing in the United States and around the globe. As the true nature of the control system is revealed, people tend to feel as Howard Beale did in [the movie]”Network” when he said, “first, you’ve got to get mad…and scream, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
But once that anger at being lied to for so long subsides, then we must get on with the business of taking action to make the world more just and hopeful for our children. Many people will take to the streets to protest certain aspects of the current system. Others will do everything in their power to inform or warn their peers of the coming iceberg. Those are good and necessary functions, but they won’t stop the Titanic from sinking.
It seems the broken system will continue to take on water despite the best efforts to affect change within it. That’s why some are suggesting to jump ship now before they run out of lifeboats. By jump ship, I mean function outside of the system as much as possible. The faulty economic system is only propped up by our belief and support of it. When we operate outside of it using alternative markets, barter systems, local cooperatives, and competing currencies, we not only provide a lifeboat to many frightened passengers, but the paddles as well.
Below is my email interview with alternative market activist and founder of Alt-Market.com, Brandon Smith. He explains the need and benefits of using alternative markets as a form of protest and survival:
EB: What was your motivation for starting Alt-Market?
Average Americans believe economics is mind numbingly tedious, and they are right. Primarily, because mainstream financial pundits on your typical FOX News or MSNBC afternoon market show spew vocabulary particular to their field that most of us are not exposed to on a regular basis. They might as well be speaking Sumerian and posting stock quotes in Cuneiform. I really felt this was just a byproduct of the inbred banking and investment world. The complex language makes them appear knowledgeable, almost unreachably superior. In reality, once you learn the terminology of micro and macroeconomics, you begin to discover that these guys actually HAVE been talking gibberish the whole time. It wasn’t you that was incapable of understanding; it was they who were incapable of giving valid explanations. I set out in my own little way to help people realize that they could grasp finance easily, and far better than any talking head on cable television.
Until the past year, I hadn’t really considered taking the reigns of a project dedicated to organizing people around anything. I just didn’t see myself as the “frontman” type. I had written numerous articles on the concept of decoupling from the corrupt establishment system, including pieces on what I call “Alternative Markets”. I figured that launching the ideas and strategies out onto the Web would be enough. “Let some of the heavy hitters in the Liberty Movement pick them up and run with them“, I thought. Some of these guys can jump in front of a camera or a microphone and talk for hours, non-stop about any number of subjects. That just wasn’t me.
Almost out of nowhere I received an email from Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers, an organization I have a lot of respect for. Its one of the few that have gone beyond the sphere of education and produced tangible results, and whose members are willing to take substantial risks to their careers and themselves. Stewart was looking for someone to help him with solutions on the economic side of the globalist problem. We agreed that the military, even honorable oath keeping men and women, would feel compelled to participate in a martial law scenario if there was no alternative in place for Americans to utilize during a breakdown. If we were tearing each other apart for food and water, the DHS, FEMA, and NORTHCOM, would have the perfect rationalization for complete lock-down, and a lot of the troops would go along with it.
I brought up my work on decentralization, localization, alternative markets, and barter networks. He basically said “Great, let’s do it. You take the lead.” I was reticent, but Stewart is a Constitutional lawyer, and damned persuasive. It’s almost impossible to dissuade the guy. So, with the help of my good friend and web designer Josh Ogden, Alt-Market.com was born.
EB: How would you define alternative markets? In other words, what constitutes an alternative market?
BS: It was all theory based on diametric opposition; the idea that there is an opposing methodology for every political or social strategy, that defuses the effects of that strategy. If you want to fight elitist centralization of a system, for example, you have to develop your own working system based on decentralization. If you want to stop the destructive effects of globalism, you have to turn away from participation in it, and focus more on localism. The purpose of centralization is to remove options from a cultural system until the only options left are those that YOU want people to bow to, and become dependent on. If the Liberty Movement wants to fight back against this, we have to have the determination to create our own options and stop playing by their rules. I feel that an Alternative Market is one of those options.
As for what an Alternative Market is; it is essentially any method of trade outside the establishment-controlled economy. It could be based on the barter of goods and skills, or the proliferation of precious metals to break our dependence on the fiat dollar (or Federal Reserve Note), etc. It could be a network of people across a county or state, or, an agreement between two friends.
The Federal Government would call this “black market trade”, and they have called it that in the past. After the recent Liberty Dollar case was concluded and they railroaded Bernard von NotHaus with the broadest and most ridiculous interpretation of counterfeiting law I’ve ever seen, the DOJ even compared barter groups and sound money advocates to “domestic terrorists”. This was meant to shoo us away from such organization, but, really, all it did was reveal what they are afraid of. They are desperate, and I do mean DESPERATE, to keep us from developing our own private economies. If we are successful, we will no longer be in the position of dependency on the dollar or the sham economy. When it implodes, we will be relatively unfazed, and certainly not tearing each other apart. Meaning, their rationalization for martial law goes straight down the drain. The thought of that possibility really pisses them off…
EB: Why are alternative markets important? Explain to our readers what the benefits are to supporting alternative markets, barter systems, local co-ops, or competing currencies.
BS: I went into this a little bit above, but I believe widespread alternative trade and barter will solve a large portion of our problems. We deny the Federal Reserve the ability to collect income taxes to pay off the debt they generate out of thin air to enslave the country. We remove ourselves from dependency on the dollar, a fraudulent fiat currency backed by nothing but more debt, which is on the verge of hyperinflating into oblivion anyway. We rekindle the bonds of meaningful community once again, bonds which we have neglected for far too long. And, we openly declare our independence from a bad system run by despicable people. I see very little downside.
Another thing to remember is that barter networks are inevitable. I pursued a comprehensive study of barter markets throughout history before I even began writing my ideas down on paper, and I can tell you, every single modern economic collapse from the Great Depression on resulted in the immediate and natural formation of barter groups, some of them containing tens of thousands of participants. It’s going on in Greece right now! Alternative markets are a necessity when the mainstream economy falters. They work. Period.
I suppose my project is only original in that I changed the timing. I propose that instead of waiting until the whole edifice comes crashing down, we are preempting collapse by building barter networks now. That way we are insulated from the effects of the disaster before it happens.
Another important benefit is that barter networking is the gateway to other forms of organization. You might trade with each other, but you also might work towards mutual defense if things really go downhill, which I’m sure most of us are aware is a distinct possibility.
EB: Do you consider them a form of protest of the current system?
BS: Absolutely. A lot of people naively call America a “free market economy”. This is simply not so. If you have only two options; use the dollar and play the game, or starve to death, then this is not freedom. In a true free market economy, you should be able to participate in a particular system all you want, but also have the choice of walking away at any time. If you can’t walk away, or if you are punished for walking away, then you are slave. That’s the bottom line. Think “feudalism”. The most effective anti-establishment movements are those that create a “third option”; a way of thinking or a means of living outside of mainstream conditioning. This is what really draws the ire of the authorities, because it presents an actual threat to their base of power.
Normal protest in itself is fine and it gives exposure to your ideas, but, really, true protest involves independent action with tangible benefits. This requires nonconformity, and risk. Without risk, there is no chance of gain. Not to disparage street actions, but waving around signs is a minimal risk, and you can see that in the behavior of our government. Nearly 80% of the country was against the bailouts, and many protested admirably, yet they passed the bills anyway without a second thought. They don’t feel threatened by traditional protest. We’re going to have to do much more than that to stop globalization in its tracks, and I think Alternative Markets are a good start.
EB: What do you think is the major reason for the current system’s failure?…”