September 2009, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton. On a beautiful evening with just the first hint of autumn in the air, hundreds of people are packed into the large room for the launch of the Brixton Pound. In the days running up to the launch, the media was full of stories about the currency; it even made the front page of the BBC website on the day. Alongside explanations of how it is intended to work and interviews with advocates, also featured were mainstream economists who, somewhat patronisingly, assured readers that this could never really work and that it was all tremendously naive and foolish. Clearly that was a sentiment that those gathered in the hall, and the 70 traders already keen to accept the notes, had chosen to overlook – or, more likely, would fervently disagree with. This event was both a celebration of the new currency and, perhaps most importantly, of Brixton itself.Derrick Anderson, the Chief Executive of the local council, which had partly funded the initiative, told the audience that he would be using Brixton Pounds, that he hoped they would become ‘the currency of choice for Brixton’, and that he was delighted that this was a good news story about the area. When I spoke to him later, I explored with him how deep the commitment of the council to this new currency would actually run. Would it accept the currency in payment of Council Tax? Would it accept rent from stallholders in Brixton Pounds? The answer to both questions was yes: a national first.Read the entire Foreword. Local Money, published by Green Books, is available in our bookstore.
During the month of July, we’re featuring books to help you claim your independence. What does that look like? Well, there are as many ways to discover freedom as there are minds and hearts in the universe, but to us one of the best ways is gaining localized control of important resources. Money is one of the most important resources, and one of the most highly centralized. In Local Money; How to Make it Happen in Your Community, Peter North  looks at how local currencies have worked around the world, and gives advice for starting on where you live. From the Foreword by Rob Hopkins: