Takis Fotopoulos : biography
Academia and afterwards
He was Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Polytechnic of North London from 1969 to 1989, until he started editing the journal Society & Nature, later Democracy & Nature and subsequently the online International Journal of Inclusive Democracy. He is also a columnist of Eleftherotypia, one of the most widely-circulated newspapers in Greece.
Fotopoulos was born on the Greek island of Chios and his family moved to Athens soon afterwards. After earning degrees in Economics and Political Science and in Law from the University of Athens, he moved to London in 1966 for postgraduate study at the London School of Economics on a Varvaressos scholarship from Athens University. He was a student syndicalist and activist in AthensHe was elected as a member of the Administrative Council of the Law students Union in 1958-59, following the first victory of a Left alliance in which he participated against EKOF, an extreme right wing student association controlled by the ‘deep’ Greek state , which a few years later, in 1963, was responsible for the murder of Left parliamentarian Grigoris Lambrakis and 4 years later of the military coup which led to the military dictatorship (1967-74). and then a political activist in London, taking an active part in the 1968 student protests in London, as well as in organisations of the revolutionary Greek Left during the struggle against the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. During this period, he was a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Groups in London, which published the newspaper Μαμή ("Midwife", from the Marxian dictum, "violence is the midwife of revolution"), for which he wrote several articles.As testified by the Left composer Lakis Karalis in an interview in the Athens newspaper Eleftherotypia (06/09/2008) and in an Arts web site .
- Takis Fotopoulos talk on the Multidimensional Crisis and Inclusive Democracy, Oxford University, November 2008. Google-video in 3 parts. , , .
- ] about Inclusive Democracy]. This is an interview with Takis Fotopoulos taken by Oliver Ressler for his video series "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies" on July 19, 2003, about the Inclusive Democracy project. English and Greek subtitles are available. In this video, Fotopoulos discusses the constituents of Inclusive Democracy: Political, Economic, democracy at the Social level and Ecological democracy. He is also offering a thorough analysis of the ID’ s proposed economic model for a market-less and money-less economy. Finally, he refers to the transitional strategy for the transformation to an autonomous society, for an Inclusive Democracy.
- A talk given by Takis Fotopoulos at the University of Vermont (US) in 1996, followed by a discussion in which Murray Bookchin, Dan Chodorkoff and others take part. Google Video in 3 parts , ,
Takis Fotopoulos developed the political project of Inclusive Democracy in 1997 (an exposition can be found in Towards An Inclusive Democracy). The first issue of Society & Nature declared that:
- "our ambition is to initiate an urgently needed dialogue on the crucial question of developing a new liberatory social project, at a moment in History when the Left has abandoned this traditional role."
and specified that the new project should be seen as the outcome of a synthesis of the democratic, libertarian socialist and radical Green traditions. @ Society and Nature/Democracy and Nature’s website Since then, a dialogue has followed in the pages of the journal, in which libertarian socialists like Cornelius Castoriadis, Social ecologists like Murray Bookchin, and Green activists and academics like Steven Best have taken part.
The starting point for Fotopoulos’s work is that the world faces a multi-dimensional crisis (economic, ecological, social, cultural and political) which is caused by the concentration of power in elites, as a result of the market economy, representative democracy and related forms of hierarchical structure. An inclusive democracy, which involves the equal distribution of power at all levels, is seen not as a utopia (in the negative sense of the word) or a "vision" but as perhaps the only way out of the present crisis, with trends towards its creation manifesting themselves today in many parts of the world. Fotopoulos is in favor of market abolitionism, although he would not identify himself as a market abolitionist as such because he considers market abolition as one aspect of an Inclusive Democracy which refers only to the Economic Democracy component of it. He proposes a model of economic democracy for a stateless, marketless and moneyless economy but he considers that the economic democracy component is equally significant to the other components of ID, i.e. Political or direct democracy, Economic democracy, Ecological Democracy and Democracy in the Social Realm. Fotopoulos’ work has been critically assessed by important activists, theorists and scholars.Jorge Camil, review of Hacia Una Democracia Inclusiva (in Spanish), La Jornada, Friday, 8 June 2001. Jean-Claude Richard, Le Monde Libertaire, no 1311, 13-19 Mars 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2012.Arran Gare, review of Towards an Inclusive Democracy, Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 34 (1), Winter 2002, p. 97-99.Michael Levin, review of Towards an Inclusive Democracy, Anarchist Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, October 1997.John Griffin, Dodgy Logic and the Olympians, Total Liberty, 1999-2000, p. 10-11.James Herod, review of Towards an Inclusive Democracy, Getting Free: Creating an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods, LucyParsonsCenter (first printing edition), May 2007.