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Socialism and Hope

LEFT FORUM CONFERENCE: TOWARDS A POLITICS OF SOLIDARITY

Left Forum Conference

Pace University

March 18-20 2011
Towards a Politics of Solidarity

See: http://leftforum.org/content/announcing-2011-conference-theme-towards-politics-solidarity

This year’s Left Forum will focus on the age-old theme of solidarity: the moral act of imagination underpinning working class victories everywhere. It will undertake to examine the new forms of far-reaching solidarity that are both necessary and possible in an increasingly global world.

The spread and intensification of capitalism across the globe binds people together in complex interdependencies – as producers, consumers, victims, and insurgents. And as this process continues, the connections between people become more evident. The rebel Zapatistas in the Lacandon jungle understood clearly that the North American Free Trade Agreement forged in Washington was a direct threat to their traditional way of life and their aspirations for the future.

The potential for transformative struggles in the 21st century depends on new chains of solidarity—between workers in the rich world and workers in the global south, indigenous peasants and more affluent consumers, students and pensioners, villagers in the Niger Delta and environmental campaigners in the Gulf of Mexico, marchers and rioters in Greece and Spain, and unionists in the United States and China.

This year’s Left Forum will contribute to the intellectual underpinnings of new and tighter forms of world-wide solidarity upon which all successful emancipatory struggles of the future will depend.

Please join us once again in building upon the successes of last year’s conference – 200+ panels, 600+ speakers, 3000+ attendees, art shows and theater performances, and plenaries that included Arundhati Roy, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Noam Chomsky.

The conference will be held from March 18-20, 2011, at Pace University in NYC. Early registration discounts are available for a limited time – register now!

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Crack Capitalism

CRACK CAPITALISM – JOHN HOLLOWAY

Crack Capitalism

With John Holloway

At Bookmarks Bookshop Thursday 11 November, 6.30pm

What are the most effective methods of going beyond capitalism? Holloway argues that the capitalism is already badly cracked. The question is whether cracks are enough to break the whole system?

This book will doubtless spark new debates (and reignite some old ones) about the way forward for movements that want to challenge capitalism.

John Holloway is a Professor at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico. His publications include Change the World Without Taking Power (Pluto, 2005), Zapatista! Rethinking Revolution in Mexico (co-editor, Pluto, 1998) and Global Capital, National State and The Politics of Money (co-editor, 1994).

Bookmarks events are free to attend, but please contact us in advance to reserve your place.

Bookmarks Bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
events@bookmarks.uk.com
020 7637 1848
http://www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Capitalism

ALTERNATIVES TO CAPITALISM: SELF-MANAGEMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Within the framework of the CNT-AIT centenary (1910-2010), a series of conferences brought together under the name of “Alternatives to Capitalism: Self-management in the Spotlight” will take place in Barcelona (Spain). These conferences will be held throughout April 2010. The contents will be organized in three blocks of lectures: theoretical, historical and a broader one, based in more current experiences. 

The theoretical block draws up a program of lectures on how the capitalist system works, focusing on the present moment of economic and social crisis. Anarcho-syndicalist proposals facing the crisis will also be debated. This theoretical perspective is completed with several papers which shall offer a wide vision of economic and social literature on the subject of socialism and libertarian-communism models. 

The historical block tries to put forward two strong models that may serve as an alternative to the capitalist system. On the one hand, that of the anarchist collectivization during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), for which lectures will be included to explain how it worked in the different regions where it was implemented (Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Aragon, Castile, Andalusia). On the other hand, explanations will be offered on the Yugoslav co-management model (1950-1990) with the purpose of assessing this experience both in the light of a possible model for the development of impoverished countries and from the limits imposed on socialism by the five-year plan, the market and the One Party State, along with a strictly libertarian vision of the whole process. 

With the present block we intend to gain an insight on different organizational experiences that fight against capitalism nowadays from a self management point of view. In this sense, the contribution of the CNT-AIT (labour and socioeconomic aspects) is included, as well as those of other specific anarchist organizations (socio-political aspect), of some models of cooperatives with a radical perspective (labour and socioeconomic management aspect) or of cultural and study centres (cultural aspect).

Finally there’s a place for initiatives linked to local and municipal fields, such as those of squat social centres and apartments, municipalism or local assemblies (local-political aspect). Finally, from a wider geographical, and in some cases, thematic point of view, live experiences from other places in the world will be debated, such as social movements in Latin America, Chiapas, Brazil (Landless Workers Movement, MST), Argentina (enterprises recovered by their workers), Venezuela and Greece.  

More info: http://www.autogestion2010.info/ 

Organizing:

CeNTenary (Barcelone) Comission  

Collaborating:

Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo – FAL (http://www.cnt.es/fal)

Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences – ICEA (http://iceautogestion.org)

Fundació  d’Estudis Llibertaris i Anarcosindicalistes –FELLA (http://www.nodo50.org/fella
 
 

PROGRAM 

Friday 9th April. Capitalist system: exploitation, conflict and destruction

-4 p.m. Introduction to the conferences. CNT Barcelona

-4.15 p.m. Where do we stand in the crisis? Miren Etxezarreta. Economist, lecturer at Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) for 35 years and member of the critic economic seminar TAIFA

-5.30 p.m. Capitalism today: crisis or downfall? Some thoughts. Toni Castells. Economist.

-6.45 p.m. Anarcho-syndicalist proposals in the face of the economic crisis. Gaspar Fuster. Economics teacher in Secondary Education and member of the Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences (ICEA).

-8 p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Saturday 10th April – Morning. Studies on self-management and models on socialism and libertarian communism (I).

-10 a.m. Socialism and libertarian communism in economic thought until 1939. Lluís Rodríguez Algans. Economist and member of the Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences (ICEA).

-11.15 a.m. Self-management, an up-to date debate: participative planning or re-conceptualization of the market. Endika Alabort Amundarain. Economics lecturer at Basque Country University (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea) and member of the Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences (ICEA).

-12.30 p.m. Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences: study and technical support for widespread self-management. Members of the ICEA.

-1.45 p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Saturday 10th April – Evening. Studies on self-management and models on socialism and libertarian communism (II).

-4 p.m. The economics of freedom: creating abundant lives for all (in English). Jon Bekken. Member of the editorial collective of Anarcho-syndicalist Review, former general secretary and treasurer of Industrial Workers of the World.

-5.15 p.m. Inclusive Democracy as a political project for a new libertarian synthesis: rationale, proposed social structure and transition (in English). Takis Fotopoulos. Political philosopher and ex-senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of North London (UK) where he taught Political Economy for over twenty years. He has been the editor of the theoretical journal Democracy & Nature, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracysince 1992 and founder of the Inclusive Democracy movement.

-6.30 p.m. Anarchist Planning for Twenty-first Century Economies: A Proposal (in English). Robin Hahnel. Professor Emeritus at American University where he taught Political Economy for thirty-three years, and is currently Visiting Professor of Economics at Portland State University. He is best known as co-creator along with Michael Albert of an economic model known as “participatory economics” which is widely discussed as an alternative to capitalism (PARECON).

-7.45 p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Friday 16th April. Anarchist collectivization during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (I)

-4p.m. Historical background and social aspects of the Civil War. Paco Madrid. Historian.

-5.15p.m. Face to face against the state: the 1936 revolution and agrarian collectivism in Catalonia. Marciano Cárdaba. Historian. Researcher in the social, economic and political factors of agrarian collectivization in Catalonia (1936-1939).

-6.30p.m. Collectivist transformations in the industry and services in Catalonia (1936-1939). Toni Castells. Historian.

-7.45p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Saturday 17th April – Morning. Anarchist collectivization during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (II)

-10a.m. “Agrarian collectivities in Aragon (1936-1939). Between revolution and reaction.” Walther L. Bernecker. Professor of the History of Spain, Portugal, and Latin-America at Friedrich Alexander University, Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany).

-11.15a.m. Coup-d’etat, war and social transformation in Andalusia and Castile (1936-1939). José Luis Gutiérrez Molina. Historian. Researcher in contemporary social history, particularly in Andalusia. 

-12.30p.m. Collectivities in the Valencian Community. Ending with the typical topics. Manuel Vicent. Historian and archivist.

-1.45 p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Saturday 17th April – Evening. Yugoslavia 1950-1990

-4 p.m. Unequal development as a limit to the self-management process. The Yugoslav case. Ramón Franquesa. Lecturer of World Economy at University of Barcelona (UB). Researcher in management of natural, renewable resources and on Social Economy and non-capitalist economic organization processes 

-5.15p.m. The Yugoslav selfmanagement squeezed by the plan, the market and the single party : is the suppression of institutions the solution? (in English). Catherine Samary. Professor and Researcher specialist of the Yugoslav and East European transformations; activist in internationalist networks.

-6.30p.m. Yugoslav Self-Management: An Anarchist perspective (in English). Andrej Grubačić. Historian and anarchist sociologist. Researcher in the subject of anarchism and the history of the Balkans. Member of Industrial Workers of the World.

-7.45p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Tuesday 20th April. Organizational models as an alternative to capitalism: anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism.

-4p.m. CNT: syndicalism for social change. Genís Ferrero. Member of the CNT Barcelona.

-5.15p.m. Libertarian organizations: Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI), Iberian Federation of Anarchist Youth (FIJA), Federation of Libertarian Students (FEL).

-6.45p.m. Uruguayan Anarchist Federation. Specific anarchism, anarchist direct action: towards the construction of the Popular Power. Mario Remedios. Secretary of Affairs of FAU. Militant of the Germinal Ateneo in the Villa Colón neighbourhood (Montevideo).  

-8p.m. General debate and conclusions

 
Wednesday 21st April. Organizational models as an alternative to capitalism: cooperativism and municipalism.

-4p.m. Solidarity economy: the embryo of a new economy? Jordi García Jané. Cooperativist, professor and writer on subjects related to solidarity economy and social alternatives in general.

-5.15p.m. Cooperatives: production, finances and consumption. Mol-Matric, Coop57, and Germinal.

-6.45p.m. Libertarian municipality on the way to self-management. Manel Aisa. Historian.

Assembly of the neighbourhood of Sants. Mireia Rosselló.

-8p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Thursday 22nd April. Organizational models as an alternative to capitalism: anarchism, culture and social movements.

-4p.m. House squatting and social centres. Jesús Rodríguez. Activist of the squat movement.

-5.15p.m. Libertarian Ateneo. Popular Encyclopaedic Ateneo and Libertarian Ateneo of Sants. Xavier Oller, historian and members.

-6.45p.m. Libertarian Centre of Studies: Foundation for Libertarian and Anarcho-syndicalist Studies (Barcelona), Libertarian Centre of Studies, Federica Montseny (Badalona), Libertarian Centre of Studies, Francesc Sàbat (Terrassa), Foundation Anselmo Lorenzo (Madrid). Members.

-8p.m. General debate and conclusions 

Saturday 24th April – Morning. Nowadays experiences (I): Social Movements in Latin America, Chiapas y Brazil.

-10 a.m. Social movements in Latin America: you can’t fight progressivism. Raúl Zibechi. Thinker and activist, professor and researcher in social movements, journalist and international analyst for La Jornada (Mexico) and Brecha (Uruguay).

-11.15 a.m. Indigenous rebellion in Chiapas. Committee of Solidarity with the Zapatist rebellion.

-12.30p.m. Landless Workers Movement from Brazil, the struggle for land, Agrarian Reform, and a fairer society. María Carballo.Anthropologist and member of the MST Support Committee of Barcelona since 1996.

-13.45. General debate and conclusions 
 

Satruday 24th April – Evening. Nowadays experiences (II): Argentina, Venezuela and Greece

-4p.m. From crisis to self-management: origins and perspectives of the recovery of firms in Argentina. Luis Buendía. Economist and pre-doctoral researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), and member of the Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences (ICEA).

-5.15p.m. Imperialism, social reform and popular power in Venezuela. Luis Baños. Libertarian militant active in organizational, education and popular struggle processes in the rural environment and the city. Historian and member of the Institute of Economic and Self-management Sciences (ICEA).

-6.30p.m. Tracking down social antagonism and anarchist-antiauthoritarian movements in Greece. Anarchist companions from Greece.

-7.45p.m. General debate and conclusions

-8.15p.m. End of the program. CNT Barcelona

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Social Movements

INTERFACE – A JOURNAL FOR AND ABOUT SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

Interface – A Journal For and About Social Movements

Call for papers – Issue 3: CRISES, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND REVOLUTIONARY TRANSFORMATIONS

Interface is a new journal produced twice yearly by activists and academics around the world in response to the development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years – and the immense amount of knowledge generated in this process. This knowledge is created across the globe, and in many contexts and a variety of ways, and it constitutes an incredibly valuable resource for the further development of social movements. Interface responds to this need, as a tool to help our movements learn from each other’s struggles, by developing analyses and knowledge that allow lessons to be learned from specific movement processes and experiences and translated into a form useful for other movements.

We welcome contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research. Our goal is to include material that can be used in a range of ways by movements – in terms of its content, its language, its purpose and its form. We are seeking work in a range of different formats, such as conventional articles, review essays, facilitated discussions and interviews, action notes, teaching notes, key documents and analysis, book reviews – and beyond. Both activist and academic peers review research contributions, and other material is sympathetically edited by peers. The editorial process generally will be geared towards assisting authors to find ways of expressing their understanding, so that we all can be heard across geographical, social and political distances.

Our third issue, to be published in May 2010, will have space for general articles on all aspects of understanding social movements, as well as a special themed section on crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations.

CRISES, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND REVOLUTIONARY TRANSFORMATIONS

“In every country the process is different, although the content is the same. And the content is the crisis of the ruling class’s hegemony, which occurs either because the ruling class has failed in some major political undertaking, for which it has requested, or forcibly extracted, the consent of broad masses … or because huge masses … have passed suddenly from a state of political passivity to a certain activity, and put forward demands which taken together, albeit not organically formulated, add up to a revolution. A “crisis of authority” is spoken of: this is precisely the crisis of hegemony, or general crisis of the state”

So wrote the Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci from behind the walls of Mussolini’s prison, in his famous notes on “State and Civil Society”. His words aptly describe the trajectory of crises in modern history – these are periods when the wheels of economic growth and expansion grind to a halt, when traditional political loyalties melt away, and, crucially, when ruling classes find themselves confronted with popular movements that no longer accept the terms of their rule, and that seek to create alternative social orders.

The clashes between elite projects and popular movements that are at the heart of any “crisis of hegemony” generate thoroughgoing processes of economic, social and political change – these may be reforms that bear the imprint of popular demands, and they may also be changes that reflect the implementation of elite designs. Most importantly, however, crises are typically also those moments when social movements and subaltern groups are able to push the limits of what they previously thought it was possible to achieve in terms of effecting progressive change – it is this dynamic which lies at the heart of revolutionary transformations.

Gramsci himself witnessed, organised within and wrote during the breakdown of liberal capitalism and bourgeois democracy in the 1910s through to the 1930s. This was a conjuncture when tendencies towards stagnation in capitalist accumulation generated the horrors of the First World War and the Great Depression. Movements of workers and colonized peoples threatened the rule of capital and empires, old and new, and elites turned to repressive strategies like fascism in an attempt to secure the continuation of their dominance.

Today social movements are once again having to do their organizing and mobilizing work in the context of economic crisis, one that is arguably of similar proportions to that witnessed by Gramsci, and a political crisis that runs just as deep. The current crisis emerged from the collapse of the US housing market, revealing an intricate web of unsustainable debt and “toxic assets” whose tentacles reached every corner of the global economy. More than just a destruction of “fictitious capital”, the crisis has propelled a breakdown of world industrial production and trade, driving millions of working families to the brink and beyond. And, far from being a one-off, this crisis is the latest and worst in a series of collapses starting with the stock market crash of 1987, the chronic stagnation of the once all-powerful Japanese economy, the Asian financial meltdown of 1997 and the bursting of the dot.com bubble.

The current conjuncture throws into question the fundamentals of the neoliberal project that has been pursued by global elites and transnational institutions over the past three decades. Taking aim at reversing the victories won by popular movements in the aftermath of the Second World War, neoliberalism transferred wealth from popular classes to global elites on a grand scale. The neoliberal project of privatizing the public sector and commodifying public goods, rolling back the welfare states, promoting tax cuts for the rich, manipulating economic crises in the global South and deregulating the world’s financial markets continued unabated through the 1980s and 1990s.

As presaged by Gramsci, neoliberal policies have whittled away the material concessions that underpinned social consensus. Ours is a conjuncture in which global political elites have failed in an undertaking for which they sought popular consent, and as a consequence, popular masses have passed from political passivity to a certain activity.

Since the middle of the 1990s, we have seen the development of large-scale popular movements in several parts of the globe, along with a series of revolutionary situations or transformations in various countries, as well as unprecedented levels of international coordination and alliance-building between movements and direct challenges not only to national but to global power structures. The first stirrings of this activity were in the rise of the Zapatistas in Mexico, the water wars in Bolivia, and the protests on the streets of Seattle. On a global scale we saw dissent explode in the form of opposition to the wars waged by the US on Afghanistan and Iraq. In terms of sheer numbers, the mobilisation of against the latter invasion was the largest political protest ever undertaken, leading the New York Times to call the anti-war movement the world’s “second superpower”.

Each country has had its own movements, and a particular character to how they have moved against the neoliberal project. And for some time many have observed that these campaigns, initiatives and movements are not isolated occurrences, but part of a wider global movement for justice in the face of the neoliberal project. An explosion of analysis looking at these events and movements has occurred in the academic world, matched only by extensive argument and debate within the movements themselves.

In this issue of Interface, we encourage submissions that explore the relationship between crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations in general and the character of the current crisis and how social movements across different regions have related and responded to it in particular. Some of the questions we want to explore are as follows:

– What are the characteristics of the current economic and political crisis, what roles do social movements – from above and below – play in its dynamics, and how does it compare to the political economy of previous cycles of crises and struggle?

– What has been the role played by social movements in moments of crisis in modern history, and what lessons can contemporary popular movements learn from these experiences?

– What kinds of qualitative/quantitative shift in popular mobilisation we might expect to see in a “revolutionary wave”?

– Are crises – and in particular our current crisis – characterized by substantial competitions between different kinds of movements from below? How does such a dynamic affect the capacity to effect radical change?

– What goals do social movements set themselves in context of crisis and what kinds of movement are theoretically or historically capable of bringing about a transformed society?

– What are the criteria of success that activists operate with in terms of the forms of change social movements can achieve in the current conjuncture?

– Is revolutionary transformation a feasible option at present? Is revolution a goal among contemporary social movements?

– What are the characteristic features of elite deployment of coercive strategies when their hegemony is unravelling?

– How have global elites responded to the current crisis in terms of resort to coercion and consent? Have neoliberal elites been successful in trying to reestablish their legitimacy and delegitimizing opponents?

– Are we witnessing any bids for hegemony from elite groups outside the domain of Atlantic neoliberalism?

– How is coercion in its various forms impacting on contemporary social movements and the politics of global justice?

The deadline for contributions for the third issue is January 1, 2010.

Please contact the appropriate editor if you are thinking of submitting an article. You can access the journal and get further details at: http://www.interfacejournal.net/.

Interface is programmatically multilingual: at present we can accept and review submissions in Afrikaans, Catalan, Croatian, Danish, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Maltese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Zulu. We are also willing to try and find suitable referees for submissions in other languages, but cannot guarantee that at this point.

We are also very much looking for activists or academics interested in becoming part of Interface, particularly with the African, South Asian, Spanish-speaking Latin American, East and Central European, Mediterranean, Oceanian and North American groups.

Editorial contacts

Interface is not a traditional, centralised journal with a single key editor! Because we are a global journal, and movements (and their relationships to academia) are organised so differently in different parts of the world, the basic structure of the journal is as a network of regional or linguistically-defined groups, each of which organises its own editorial processes and tries to find an appropriate way of working with its own local realities. Articles and queries should go to the contact person listed below for the relevant region:

Movements in Africa: Please submit papers in Zulu, Afrikaans or English to Richard Pithouse indianocean77@gmail.com; in English to Mammo Muchie mammo@ihis.aau.dk; and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves anamargarida.esteves@gmail.com.

Movements in the Arab world: Please submit papers in Arabic or English to Rana Barakat barakat.rana@gmail.com or Abdul-Rahim al-Shaikh aalshaikh@birzeit.edu; or in Arabic, English, German or Hebrew to Magid Shihade mshihade@gmail.com.

Movements in Central and South America: Please submit papers in Spanish to Sara Motta saracatherinem@googlemail.com or Adriana Causa acausa@gmail.com and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves anamargarida.esteves@gmail.com.

Movements in Eastern Europe: Please submit papers in Croatian, English, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian or Turkish to Steffen Böhm steffen@essex.ac.uk or Andrejs Berdnikovs aberdnikovs@gmail.com.

Movements in North America: Please submit papers in English to Ray Sin raysin@ku.edu or Lesley Wood ljwood@yorku.ca.

Movements in South Asia: Please submit papers in English to Alf Nilsen alfgunvald@gmail.com . We are currently looking for another regional editor to work with Alf.

Movements in Southeast Asia and Oceania: Please submit papers in English to Elizabeth Humphrys lizhumphrys@gmail.com, in Spanish to Cristina Flesher Fominaya flesherfomi@gmail.com and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves anamargarida.esteves@gmail.com.

Movements in Western Europe:
Please submit papers:
* in English to Cristina Flesher Fominaya flesherfomi@gmail.com or Laurence Cox laurence.cox@nuim.ie or
* in French or Italian to Laurence Cox laurence.cox@nuim.ie or
* in German to Steffen Böhm steffen@essex.ac.uk or Laurence Cox laurence.cox@nuim.ie
* in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves anamargarida.esteves@gmail.com
* in Spanish to Cristina Flesher Fominaya flesherfomi@gmail.com
* We can also accept papers in Catalan, Maltese and Norwegian: please contact Laurence Cox laurence.cox@nuim.ie in relation to these.

Transnational Movements:
Please submit papers in English, Dutch, French and Spanish or with special reference to labour or social forums, to Peter Waterman pwaterma@gmail.com; in English, with special reference to dialogue-based movements, to Richard Moore rkm@quaylargo.com; in Arabic, English, German or Hebrew to Magid Shihade mshihade@gmail.com; or in English, French, Italian or German to Laurence Cox laurence.cox@nuim.ie.

Book reviews: In English: please contact Aileen O’Carroll Aileen.OCarroll@nuim.ie.

Movements in Central Asia and East Asia: We are hoping to expand our intellectual and linguistic capacity to include these areas, but at present do not have sufficient editorial expertise to review papers on movements in these regions. Expressions of interest from potential regional editors, willing to help assemble a regional subgroup of academics and activists to review papers on movements in any of these regions, are very welcome.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk