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Capitalism is Crisis


Another World is Possible and We Can Write it Together

The revolution won’t start until noon in the UK, part of a long-standing tradition regarding political activists and early mornings. So, to see a fairly concerted number of people gathering in a slightly chilled hall on a soggy Sunday morning, clutching paper cups of coffee was a heartening sign. The New Putney Debates latest event titled “Capitalism is Crisis (Another World Is Possible)” was held at Toynbee Hall in East London Sunday 4th November 2012.

Hilary Koob-SassenIn a departure from the more traditional formats of the previous sessions, this one – exploring alternatives to a capitalist system – was operated and facilitated using the Open Space Technology method, a style that takes the logic that as the most interesting discussions take place during the coffee breaks at conferences, why not make the whole conference like a giant coffee break?

After a brief introduction speech from John Bywater, which touched on matters of capital, Marx, Deleuze and the interwoven web of stories that make up the world we were treated to a brief and eclectic poem before the session was explained by the facilitator – Annette Zera. Ben takes up the story at this point…

…Having arrived somewhat late, due to the usual exciting series of events in a journey up from Gloucestershire, I discovered that what we were having was a talk followed by a series of debates/discussions/sharings about various topics to do with the topic of the day. People suggested topics for discussions in smaller circles – these topics were posted on the walls and circles formed round each topic.

We were encouraged to use our “two feet” if a circle we were in lost our interest, and move to another circle. There were three sessions of circles, with lunch in between.  The debates I was involved in were lively, stimulating and gave me a whole banquet of ideas to chew on subsequently. Many suggestions for what another world could look like and how we might achieve it.

Hilary Koob-Sassen

All the ideas that came out of the various circles were minuted and posted on the wall and then we were given five sticky dots each and asked to read all the ideas and put a dot or dots on the ones we liked the most.  This was a fascinating and not entirely easy task as reading all the ideas could have taken quite some hours.  I understand all these minutes are going to be collated and fed back?

The day ended with a large circle of the 32 people present going round with a talking stick feeding back how the day was. I am reminded of what a powerful tool this is in the right circumstances. Working and interacting during this event with people I do not always get on easily with, was a particular joy.

The beautiful low-key silky facilitation by Annette Zera was no small part of the success of this event. Thank you specially to John Bywater.

The Capitalism is Crisis (Another World is Possible) Event today held at Toynbee Hall put the Debates right back at the heart of the New Putney Debates series.


By Ben Cavanna & Jack Dean

Images by Hilary Koob-Sassen


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