Planning 2013-01-24

On the evening of Tuesday 8th January 2013 we had a planning meeting to discuss the future of Café Economique Nottingham. There were lots of ideas and proposals but we didn’t finalise anything so we decided to adjourn and continue a couple of weeks later. Hopefully people who could not make that meeting will be at this?

Date: Thursday 24th January 2013
Time: 7:30pm to 9:30 (but probably continuing)

The venue is the the Lounge room at the end of the Mezz Bar on the first floor of the Broadway. Go into the Broadway building, turn left and go up the stairs one storey, thru the double doors, all the way thru the bar to the other end and thru an open door into the Lounge. It has a lot of square pouffy seating and we will probably be in a corner.

Items to discuss include:

  • Ideas for a programme of monthly talks from February to June that would be attractive to attendees and keep the group going and viable
  • Whether we should change the name and remit of the group and if so what to
  • Can we settle on a permanent venue that is convenient, affordable and attractive
Where are we going from here?

Where are we going from here?

We welcome suggestions from people whether they can make them in person at the meeting or not. Here are some of the ideas already suggested:

TALKS

  1. Participatory Economics and the International Organisation for a Participatory Society
  2. The Partnership Council Skills Exchange – an example of a working local alternative economy that actually benefits ordinary people
  3. The Co-operative Movement

Have not only only outside speakers but local people – mix it up and also reduce the expenses cost.

NAME/REMIT

It was suggested that we broaden the group to include wider political issues besides just economics.
“Café Economique et Politique”
“Economic (and Political) Discussion Forum”
Reach out to people in other groups challenging the political and economic status quo at the moment.

VENUES

Criteria:

  • Preferably free
  • Ideally without distractions e.g. noise, uninterested people interrupting
  • Possibly able to buy a drink, conviviality
  • As central as possible
  • Convenient to parking

Suggestions:

  • Friends’ Meeting House – is there a downstairs room that seats 20 people which we could get for £10?
  • Lincolnshire Poacher upstairs room
  • Peacock upstairs room

Feel free to pass invitation to this meeting on to anyone who might like to contribute positively to the future of this group.

Notes from meeting of Café Economique Planning Committee

Date: Thursday, 24 Jan. 7:30
Present: Matthew, Nigel, Alison, Ian, Alan
Apologies: Olumide
These notes written by Alan

Discussions/decisions:

1) Various alternative names were proposed, but in the end we decided to stick with Café Economique.

2) For continuity, it is a good idea to meet in the same location and on the same night of every month. We will meet upstairs at The Peacock (11 Mansfield Road) every third Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

3) Possible discussion topics/speakers/format:
– We will attempt to put on sessions that rely on both internal speakers & internal expertise + external speakers. This will be done on a roughly alternating monthly basis.
– The following topics/speakers were suggested:
a) Living on Benefits
b) The Co-op Movement
c) Time banking and skills exchange
d) Co-housing communities
e) What does ‘alternative economics’ mean? A close reading of a typical manifesto/ set of principles (e.g. Principles for a New Economy by the New Economy Network –
http://www.neweconomynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/
Principles_Letterhead_final_Oct_2011-3.pdf
f) Listen to a sample interview in the BBC Analysis series – and then discuss it. (E.g. Steve Keen: Why Economics Is Bunk) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01j5h51
g) The economic programme of IOPS [The International Organisation for a Participatory Society] (Jason Chrysostomou) – http://www.iopsociety.org/
h) The local currencies movement (e.g., The Bristol Pound – http://bristolpound.org/ )
i) The current state of resistance to the economic crisis (Andreas Bieler, Nottingham Uni. – http://andreasbieler.net/ )

4) We will meet on the following evenings (with planned discussion leaders/speakers in brackets):
1) Thursday, 21 Feb.: Matthew McVeagh – Living on Benefits
2) Thursday, 21 March: Andreas Bieler – The current state of resistance to the economic crisis *
3) Thursday, 18 April: Jason Chrysostomou – IOPS

* Andreas Bieler will now be speaking on 18 April.

5) We will also be meeting (same location) on 16 May and 20 June. The topic and speakers for these two sessions are to be further discussed and arranged.

6) We currently have about £100 in the Cafe Econ bank account.

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Planning 2013-01-08

On the evening of Tuesday 8th January 2013 we had a planning meeting to discuss the future of Café Economique Nottingham. Attendance was: Nigel Lee, Ian Hewitt, Alan, Matthew McVeagh, Moby Farrands. There were lots of ideas and proposals but we didn’t finalise anything so we decided to adjourn and continue a couple of weeks later. Hopefully people who could not make that meeting will be at this?

Items to discuss include:

  • Ideas for a programme of monthly talks from February to June that would be attractive to attendees and keep the group going and viable
  • Whether we should change the name and remit of the group and if so what to
  • Can we settle on a permanent venue that is convenient, affordable and attractive

We welcome suggestions from people whether they can make them in person at the meeting or not.

Discussion 2012-09: What Can We Do?

The first in a monthly series of discussion sessions of Café Economique members to complement the monthly talks. Discussion will be equal between all attendees – no speeches or presentations, just exchange of thoughts and ideas. Bring your own along to share.

This one was focused on the practical question of what we can do to improve matters in the present economic climate. What can we change in our personal lives, what should we encourage and recommend in others, what can we campaign for or against. How can we best protect ourselves for the future.

Subject: What Can We Do?
Where: Fade/the Hard to Find Café, 171 Mansfield Rd, Nottingham NG1 3FR
When: 7:30 onwards, Friday 28th September 2012
Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/320823688015567/

Report by attendee Olumide, edited by Matthew:

Café Eco Round Table Discussion @ 7.30pm on the 28th of Sept 2012 at Fade/the Hard to Find Café.

Attendees: Matthew McVeagh (MM), Olumide Adisa (OA), Nigel Lee (NL) and Alison Russell (AR)

1) Nottingham LETS Scheme

Topic was suggested by AR. The questions raised by other members of the group were mostly around sustainability. It was generally agreed that while they might sound glorious in times of austerity, experience shows that they fail to continue due to various factors once the tide turns. Although, we did not further explore what some of these factors are. Other off-shoot models such as the Skills Exchanges in West Bridgford and Nottingham Area 4, and Time-banking in London suggested by MM/NL and OA respectively were explored with MM sharing his own personal experience of working with the the old Nottingham LETS and the Area 4 Skills Exchange.

2) Boycotting supermarkets and switching to locally produced organic vegetables

Topic was suggested by AR. The group was divided on these two issues. MM and AR seemed to be in favour of both, OA counter-posed and NL played the ‘Devil’s Advocate’. It was an interesting discussion that provoked many open questions as the evening progressed – think of an onion peel scenario. Here are some of the unanswered questions: Is boycotting supermarkets and supporting local growers sustainable? Are we equipped as economic justice activists/supporters to challenge the invisible hand of the market? How do we counter-balance the power dynamics of the local farmers vs. the big supermarkets? How do small farmers self-organise within localities? Do they even self-organise? The Devil’s Advocate position: “Some of what is being called organic today really isn’t organic anyway” – NL. [Nigel has since clarified that his point was that some organic box schemes use imported organic supplies. – Matthew] Some of us also recounted our experiences with Abel & Cole and other organic suppliers and how the vegetables were not always fresh and proved to be more expensive. OA’s major argument was around maximising utility – self-defined to mean the choice and variety coupled with resource maximisation. “Why should I be forced to buy from only one producer? The supermarket offers me an efficient way to maximise my time – which is my most valuable resource.” OA also discussed the critical mass theory to provide a premise to the questions around whether local farmers self-organising will create a tipping point in re-dressing the power imbalances. 

We were not able to reconcile our different positions but it was a very interesting debate and in my opinion should be re-visited at a future date.

3) Café Economique in general

Suggestions raised by OA:

(a) Building links with more similar-minded groups. Linking with the student economics group at Nottm Uni. will provide an opportunity to disseminate the ‘alternative economics’ agenda and recruit more people – OA to help with this if the group is happy with doing this.

(b) Deciding on a theme every fortnight for the blog and encouraging contributions from members and anyone who wants to write a piece. Book reviews are also welcome. Some suggested hot button issues (I appreciate that this may not be evoke a consensus across board hence the word “suggest”):

• Taxation
• Carbon taxes/ De-carbonisation/ Green energy agenda
• Government policy e.g. infrastructure spending, gun control
• Oil supply
• Contraception and economics – a topical issue in the US at the moment.
• Population ageing / pensions
• LGBT equality: an economic issue or a social issue
• Foreign investment: e.g. China’s investments in the UK
• Poverty and development

(c) Future planning of Café Economique events: meetings will now be planned in advance (at least three months) as much as possible to source speakers and to have more time to promote the talk. A programme will be trialled on the WordPress blog and Facebook.

Facebook link of Olumide’s original write-up: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cafeeconomiquenottingham/permalink/365565253525950/