Economic Solutions that Wage Life, Not War
Join members of An Economy Of Our Own (AEOO) and Alliance For Just Money (AFJM) for an engaging online forum on radical solutions that get to the root of our problems and that Wage Life, Not War! AEOO and AFJM will discuss their work to learn and advocate for transformation of our economic purpose and our monetary exchanges.
AEOO is an alliance representing a dozen organizations, has for the past two years introduced economic topics online from diverse women’s perspectives, modeling how to talk about and own a realm still intimidating for many women. Our message? Feminism must not settle for “equality” in a corrupt economic system waged as war.
Never designed to benefit most of us or Mother Earth, our present money king-making system is being re-designed by women and people who seek to wage life, not for the few, but for all. While solutions needed are myriad, AEOO has begun by focusing on 1) public banking, 2) cooperative worker-owned business models, 3) inclusion of the value of environmental and family care now omitted from the GDP, and 4) rethinking our current debt-based currency. We say: Women’s ways of knowing money need not make a killing!
AFJM was founded in 2018 to research, educate, and organize to pass legislation to make money a public liquid asset of the people. AFJM grew out of the American Monetary Institute, which has the same goal, and is a member of the International Movement for Monetary Reform, a network of over 30 organizations working on money reform each in their own nation or monetary union.
Why is Just Money reform needed? Unbeknownst to most of us, private commercial banks secured the legally sanctioned privilege to create, via interest-bearing loans, almost all of the national currency that the rest of us, and our governments, use to engage in commerce. In other words, our money is debt. Though this system failed within 20 years in the US, legislation in the 1930s shored it up and it has more or less survived ever since, extracting more and more wealth from our planet and 99% of us into the pockets of the 1% and financial corporations, even on shakier grounds ever since the 2007-08 financial crises. AFJM’s motto is: “Change our money, change our world!”
Rickey Gard Diamond, a Ms. Magazine columnist, began learning about economic systems as a single mom on welfare. She edited a newspaper on poverty issues while getting an education, and in 1985, became a founding editor of Vermont Woman, where she continued as a contributing editor for 34 years. She taught writing and literature at Vermont College for over 20 years, publishing fiction and non-fiction. Her novel Second Sight, and her short story collection, Whole Worlds Could Pass Away, include class, gender, and money troubles.
To make economics a friendlier subject for women, she translated masculine obfuscation in a talk, “Economics is Greek to Me,” at the March 2008 Summit for Economic Justice sponsored by the National Organization for Women, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and the Council of American Negro Women. After 2008’s crash, she designed seminars combining literature, language and economics; her research led to a series of articles that won a 2012 National Newspaper Award for in-depth investigative reporting, citing her “atypical sources”—mostly women, she noted.
Accepted for a writing residency at Hedgebrook, she worked on a new story-based feminist economic primer, including cartoons illustrated by Peaco Todd. She wondered why money, race, and sex seemed intertwined, with billionaires mostly white males, and the poorest most often women of color. The resulting book, Screwnomics: How the Economy Works Against Women and Real Ways to Make Lasting Change, was published by SheWritesPress in 2018, and won the Independent Book Publishers Award Silver Medal in 2019 for Women’s Issues. Screwnomics’ workbook, Where Can I Get Some Change? prompts women’s local conversations and is available as a free PDF at www.screwnomics.org. Her Ms. column, Women Unscrewing Screwnomics, focuses on women making change in a field exclusively male until fairly recently. She welcomes your stories, questions, and insights for her column and her blog. Contact Rickey@AnEconomyofOurOwn.org
Carmen Rios is a pioneering digital activist, currently consulting digital editor at Ms. Magazine and the host of Bitch Media’s Popaganda podcast. She was a co-founder and contributing editor at Webby Award-nominated Argot Magazine. Most recently she spent three years as Managing Digital Editor at Ms. Magazine, was previously the Feminism Editor, Social Media Co-Director, and Community Director at Autostraddle for six years; a founding blogger and activist with the SPARK Movement; a longtime contributor at Everyday Feminism and Mic. Her writing can be found at BuzzFeed, The Atlantic’s CityLab, ElixHER, GirlBoss, the Women’s Media Center and Feministing. She lives in Los Angeles and is building a better feminist internet.
Lucille Eckrich (Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo) was active in the American Monetary Institute since 2005. She is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University, where she taught in the College of Education from 2001 till 2020. She studied economics and African studies in the late 1970s, and then worked in Botswana for three years after which she did anti-apartheid and urban education work in Chicago. She came to a critique of modern money through her 1998 dissertation on Value in Economics, Ethics, and Education. Her first publication on the topic was in 2004 entitled The Inefficiency of the “Cult of Efficiency”: Implications for Public Schooling and Education. In 2013 she co-authored Ivory Tower Graduates in the Red: The Role of Debt in Higher Education, and in 2017 she authored two chapters in a book she co-edited called The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education. Those chapters and her 2013 article situate the student debt problem in the context of monetary critique and reform.
Ryann Enger is a Co-Managing Director of Alliance For Just Money, and committed to advocate for Just Money and a better world for all. As Ryann considers understanding all aspects of our identity and the implications these may have on our experiences to be critical groundwork on the path to a better world. Ryann, a life-long learner is particularly interested in the intersection of environmental issues, social justice, and the money system, and aspires to be an agent of change in their communities locally and beyond. Through these advocacy experiences, it became clear that our money system is at the root of most of our pressing issues.