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In  November of 2015, an initiative by collectives and individuals of Heraklion began its action, in order to create an Integral Cooperative (I.C.) in our city. We had been inspired by the project of the corresponding Catalan I.C. (C.I.C.) and the global cooperative ecosystem of FairCoop, that are based on and promote the idea of an Integral Revolution. Since then, we collaborate closely with them, both locally and globally, as well as with other collectives and initiatives inspired by the same values that we are, having the common goal of self-management on all activities related to life itself and our freedom.

 

 

Having understood the devastating consequences of the political model that is being implemented, especially for people, but also for society in general and the environment, we are seeking for a way out, on the precpondition based on common agreements, cooperation but also disobedience the cooperation and the disobedience to the existing system. The values ​​that unite us, which focus on people and the common good, have been the foundations of our effort. We attach great importance to our mutual solidarity and trust, as we believe that the development of a healthy community of mutually supportive members constitutes an emancipational power -first and foremost for our own selves- that can act in a proliferating way, achieving the desired expansion in a horizontal and equalitarian network of autonomous projects and respective antisystemic efforts.

 

Beyond this general context of the values ​​we have developed, we have also agreed on basic functions that will define the relations between us and the way we will decide as an Integral Cooperative. Thus, the first working groups for the discussion of our individual activities were set up, along with the plenary session, that is our main assembly and the body that decides on our overall planning and strategy. Particular focus is given to the harmonious coexistence of all of us in the structure of the I.C., supporting, each one on their perspective, our common effort, while protecting the autonomy of the participants.

The viability of an Integral  Cooperative is primarily based on the plan of economic disibedience which it promotes, aiming to build an alternative community-based economy thet will serve its needs, as opposed to the central and dominant economic system that prevails today. Since our launch, we have adopted two important tools that have been created for this purpose: the IntegralCES local exchange system,  which allows us to use a local currency and FairCoin, a (crypto)currency which is empowered by the FairCoop ecosystem and integrates the financial tools that realize this plan at a global level. We hope that The combination of these two goals will act as a booster for our gradual disconnection from euro, from the banking system and state taxation, which absorb the results of our labour and determine our existence to a large extent in in the most unjustifiable way.


The first productive projects that are already participating in I.C.Her. are actively engaged in agricultural production and distribution of their products, so it was obvious that the establishment of the first  working group, would be oriented to that. We consider the issue of agricultural products and food/nutrition in general as a basic need that we must cover and manage within our context of values. In our area there are several active collectives and producers using ecological methods, who achieve a fairly strong product self-sufficiency, boosting each producer and promoting their conscious choice as part of a local ethical trade and beyond.

 

Relying on all of the above, we decided to move on to our first public event, which would have as its main objective to be an open call for all to get to know the idea of ​​the I.C, to strengthen the plan of economic disobedience that we propose and to actively participate in local processes. This event took place on Saturday, 28th of May 2016, and included an all-day bazaar of solidarity producers, a collective kitchen and a presentation and discussion. Throughout the day, people were able to buy products using both euros and the alternative currencies we are promoting, the local currency of exchange "Kouki" and the FairCoin cryptocurrency. All of them were informed and many people expressed the desire to join the new exchange network in order to actively participate and enhance it with the products and services they offer. Several meetings and assemblies of members of the network followed, where several practical and organizational issues were defined, regarding the establishment of a simple and meaningful  participation process in the network. Now "Kouki" is a well-functioning and vibrant community with ever-increasing dynamics in terms of members, transactions and goods.

 

The event above was also the trigger for the creation of an autonomous venture within the I.C.Her., an "Autonomous Open Market", which aims to cover the need of basic goods a regular basis, but at the same time creates an open public domain of collectivization between producers and consumers.The Autonomous Open Market is currently being run once a month, usually Saturdays at Georgiades Park, and coordinated by the open assembly that follows. Conclusions so far: Producers' involvement and responsiveness make up a very positive image of a set of people who come  together and contribute to a political act of self-management, thus empowering themselves to continue working against what oppresses us.

Additionally, the cooperation of the FairCoop Heraklion Node with the "Kouki" Local Exchange Network is now working as a team to promote Solidarity Economy to more people by updating and presenting our financial tools. Members of this group gather in open meetings every second and fourth Wednesday of each month, from 6 pm until 8 pm in the self-rorganized social space of Da, where everyone can participate. At the same time, they encourage new projects to connect and contribute to the field of nutrition, such as the establishment of a collective kitchen group linking production with the distribution and consumption of agricultural products, while communicating our proposals for locality, self-sufficiency and solidarity.

The future of I.C.Her. will be determined by everyone who decides to participate in our common effort, by both enhancing individual initiatives that are already active and by helping to create new ones that meet our needs outside the boundaries of the Capital. Our future plans are many, and we hope that even more people in the world will be able to come closer to us and co-shape the transition to a society of free people, guided by self-organization.

We are waiting for you!