J. evolutionary socialism (Eduard Bernstein, pronounced Ēd′-wǎrd Běrn′-shtǎyn as in this MP3 audio file): This dissident socialist approach—which was referred to as evolutionary socialism by Bernstein (1850-1932)—is frequently called Bernsteinism, reformism, or, a bit less kindly, revisionism. To many communists, Bersteinism—which replaces revolution with evolution—is highly problematic. That is to say, although Bernstein accepted some of Marx’s positions, he was a gradualist. Bernstein claimed that socialism could be established developmentally and through democratic reform. Two interesting related websites are: The Next System Project and The Democracy Collaborative: Building Community Wealth. Please note that not all of entries under this section are necessarily inspired by Bernstein’s work.
By asserting that a revolution was unnecessary, Bernstein, arguably, repudiated the revolutionary heart of Marxism. In my view, world socialism can never be established via the medium of electoral politics. Therefore, anyone who supports the implementation of radical systemic change, through spontaneous or organized uprisings of the subaltern, will oppose evolutionary socialism. Still, notwithstanding my personal perspective, Bernstein’s system will be addressed fairly.
Early in the 20th century, Bernstein’s revisionary program morphed into an evolutionary socialism divided. Bernsteinist democratic socialists, many of whom avoid making any Marxian arguments, have continued advocating for evolutionary socialism. Social democracy, the second faction of evolutionary socialism, supports the “welfare state” as a supposedly more humane form of capitalism. Social democrats have, by and large, rejected Marxism, neo-Marxism, and socialism entirely. Well, differences aside, in the U.S., both branches of Bernsteinism are commonly described as progressivism.
Although U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders—an ultimately unsuccessful 2016 Democratic presidential contender—refers to himself as a democratic socialist, his positions place him, arguably, closer to European–style social democracy or American Keynesianism with the New Deal. Either way, an evolutionary socialist president, in the capitalist and imperialist U.S., would spend his tenure locked in permanent gridlock, even political warfare, with Congress. Aside from issuing executive orders, his presidency, or at least his agenda, would be a failure. Ultimately, Bernie Sanders inaccurately designated a presidential election as a revolution. Even if unwittingly, he was setting up his supporters for disappointment. Elections are, by definition, non-revolutionary and gradualist.
As American–based capitalism continues down its road toward a star–spangled implosion, a revolution will, I think, occur at some point. When that time arrives, such a revolution will surely involve considerable warfare and bloodshed, not voting for one’s favorite candidate. Perhaps revolutions could be relatively peaceful in some parts of the world, but doubtfully so in the U.S.—the most violent country in the Western world.
“Opponents of socialism declared it [this book] to be the most crushing testimony of the unsoundness of the socialist theory, and criticism of capitalist society and socialist writers….
“… the views put forward in the book have received the bye-name of Revisionism, and although some of those who are called Revisionists in German social democracy hold on several points views different from mine, the book can, all in all, be regarded as an exposition of the theoretical and political tendencies of the German social democratic revisionists….
“Unable to believe in finalities at all, I cannot believe in a final aim of socialism. But I strongly believe in the socialist movement, in the march forward of the working classes, who step by step must work out their emancipation by changing society from the domain of a commercial landholding oligarchy to a real democracy which in all its departments is guided by the interests of those who work and create.”
“The theory which the Communist Manifesto sets forth of the evolution of modern society was correct as far as it characterised the general tendencies of that evolution. But it was mistaken in several special deductions, above all in the estimate of the time the evolution would take. The last has been unreservedly acknowledged by Friedrich Engels, the joint author with Marx of the Manifesto, in his preface to the Class War in France. But it is evident that if social evolution takes a much greater period of time than was assumed, it must also take upon itself forms and lead to forms that were not foreseen and could not be foreseen then.” [Eduard Bernstein. Evolutionary Socialism: The Classic Statement of Democratic Socialism. Edith C. Harvey, translator. New York: Schocken Books. 1961. Page xxiv.]
“What are the differences between social democracy, liberalism and conservatism? The search for socio-political ideal models and their discussion is more urgent than ever in a period of global economic and financial crisis. The consequences of market failure have seldom been so obvious and the calls for an active and effective state so strong as they are today. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and its consequences have not only brought the largest national economies in the world to their knees, but have also put to the test many political principles and dogmas which not so long ago were deemed self-evident. Centuries-old fundamental questions facing democratic polities have suddenly become topical again: How can social justice be achieved in an age of globalisation? How can the tension be resolved between self-interest and solidarity in today’s societies?
What is the meaning of freedom and equality in the face of current socio-political realities? And what is the role of the state in implementing these principles?” [Christiane Kesper, “Foreward to the International Edition.” Social Democracy Reader 1: Foundations of Social Democracy. Julia Bläsius, Tobias Gombert, Christian Krell, and Martin Timpe, editors. Berlin, Germany: Division for International Development Cooperation. November, 2009. Page 6. Retrieved on September 20th, 2015.]
“This paper questions how liberal democracy has come to symbolize an ideal, or a universal set of values ready to be exported elsewhere in the world. It critically assesses the EU’s [European Union’s] almost messianic mission to promote its successful project of liberal democracy, and the ways in which the EU seeks to teach others about its meaning while refusing to aspect learn about alternative forms of political organization in different contexts. It discusses the implications of such a narrow framing of EU conceptions of liberal democracy, drawing on extensive fieldwork carried out in Palestine and Egypt in September 2007 and March 2008, respectively. The paper argues for a new framing of political transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. It concludes by employing Aletta Norval’s notion of Aversive Democracy to highlight the need for recognition of crucial aspects of political change that stem from what is emerging in the Middle East.” [Michelle Pace. Liberal or Social Democracy?: Aspects of the EU’s Democracy Promotion Agenda in the Middle East. Abstract. Stockholm, Sweden: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 2009. Page 3. Retrieved on September 20th, 2015.]
“The … economic liberal, vision of a society in which the problems of risk, insecurity and public good provision are dealt with by a combination of markets and contracts has proved unsustainable. Financial markets, which were supposed to supplant the social democratic state, are now calling on that same state for protection. Bankruptcy, the first state intervention to deal with failed contracts, is now being called upon on an unprecedented scale, and many other rescue measures are needed.
“Social democrats have long stressed the argument that we have the capacity to share and manage risks more effectively as a society than as individuals. The set of policies traditionally associated with social democracy may be regarded as responses to a range of risks facing individuals, from health risks to uncertain life chances.”
[John Quiggin. An agenda for social democracy. Penrith, New South Wales, Australia: Witlam Institute of Western Sydney University. April, 2009. Page 4. Retrieved on September 20th, 2015.]
“Over the last quarter-century, we have witnessed a sea-change in the nature of leftist activism. Formerly grassroots or nationally focused social movements, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other collectivities are increasingly sharing information, networking, coordinating action, launching campaigns, petitioning, lobbying, protesting, and framing their claims, targets, and visions at the transnational level of contention. These emerging, cross-border networks have even forged a unique and autonomous space, the World Social Forum (WSF) along with a web of regional and local offshoots.” [Ruth Reitan. Global Activism. London and New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa PLC business. 2007. Page 1.]
“Some years ago, shortly after Frederick [Friedrich] Engels died, Mr. Eduard Bernstein, one of the most prominent members of the Marxist community, astonished his colleagues with some noteworthy discoveries. Bernstein made public his misgivings about the accuracy of the materialist interpretation of history, and of the Marxist theory of surplus value and the concentration of capital. He went so far as to attack the dialectical method and concluded that talk of a critical socialism was impossible. A cautious man, Bernstein kept his discoveries to himself until after the death of the aged Engels; only then did he make them public, to the consequent horror of the Marxist priesthood. But not even this precaution could save him, for he was assailed from every direction. [Karl] Kautsky wrote a book against his heresy, and at the Hanover congress poor Eduard was obliged to declare that he was a frail, mortal sinner and that he would submit to the decision of the scientific majority.
“For all that, Bernstein had not come up with any new revelations. The reasoning he put up against the foundations of the marxist teaching had already been in existence when he was still a faithful apostle of the marxist church. The arguments in question had been looted from anarchist literature and the only thing worthy of note was that one of the best known social democrats was to employ them for the first time. No sensible person would deny that Bernstein’s criticism failed to make an unforgettable impression in the marxist camp: Bernstein had struck at the most important foundations of the metaphysical economics of Karl Marx, and it is not surprising that the most respectable representatives of orthodox marxism became agitated.”
[Rudolf Rocker. Marx and Anarchism. Berkeley, California: The Anarchist Library imprint of Open Guild Organization. 1925. Page 3.]
“While it is true that in the history of democratic Socialism there was never the same ideological uniformity as in the Communist parties, anti-Communism became a unifying force among the European Socialists in the 1950s. The Socialist International (SI) was reconstituted on this basis in 1951. However, the liberalisation of the Southern European Communist Parties in the 1960s, and the fact that they were bigger and electorally stronger parties than the Socialist parties in Latin Europe, facilitated the different ideological evolutions of the Socialist parties in the North of Europe in the South from the mid-1960s onwards.” [Alan Granadino. Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy?: The Influence of the British Labour Party and the Parti Socialiste Français in the Ideological Transformation of the Partido Socialista Português and the Partido Socialista Obrero Español in the mid-1970s. Doctor of History and Civilization thesis (U.S. English, dissertation). European University Institute. Fiesole, Italy. May, 2016. Page 57.]
“Briefly, [Eduard] Bernstein’s position within the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was that the Marxist premises concerning the deepening of the class struggle and the collapse of the capitalist system were not taking place in the concrete reality of Germany. Within that context, according to Bernstein, a steady advance through reform was more likely than a catastrophic crash of capitalism. Thus, the SPD’s relative importance would dramatically increase if it ‘could find the courage to emancipate itself from a phraseology which is actually outworn and if it would make up its mind to appear what it is in reality: a democratic, socialist party of reform.’” [Ignacio Walker, “Democratic Socialism in Comparative Perspective.” Comparative Politics. Volume 23, number 4, July 1991. Pages 439-458.]
“… there is indeed much more common ground between [John] Rawls’s ultimate position and democratic socialism than socialists (and liberals) typically recognize. These positions are cousins, and so progressives should recognize their differences as minor enough to warrant establishing a normative united front against the neoliberal institutions they commonly oppose.” [Tom Malleson, “Rawls, Property-Owning Democracy, and Democratic Socialism.” Journal of Social Philosophy. Volume 25, number 2, summer 2014. Pages 228-251.]
Numerous contemporary examples of evolutionary socialism, and topics related to the subject, are enumerated below.
deep socialism (Peter Wilberg): In this type of democratic socialism, which incorporates both social democracy and economic socialism, differences in hourly wages would not be based on the substance of a individual’s work but, rather, on its method and quality.
“Deep socialism is democratic socialism, based on the principle of social democracy and economic socialism. Democracy is based on the principle that each person’s vote carries equal weight irrespective of their wealth or status: On equality of rights. Socialism economics is based on the principle that each person’s labour has the same basic value as every other person’s irrespective of its nature: On equality of labour. Why should a corporate boss earn hundreds more per hour than a hard-working secretary, cleaner or assembly-line worker?… Hourly pay differentials would be based not on what people did, but on how they did it. Not on the nature of their work but on its quality…
“The establishment of a democratic, planned economy and the phasing out of money in favour of labour time-and-quality credits recorded on smart cards would take advantage of the enormous developments in information and communications technology brought about by computers and microchips. In this way, the basic Marxist theory of social development and transformation would be fulfilled; namely that is is development in the technology of production that makes changes in the economic structure of society both necessary and possible.”
[Peter Wilberg. Deep Socialism: A New Manifesto of Marxist Ethics and Economics. London: New Gnosis Publications. 2003. Pages 14-15.]
“The aim of socialism is deep value fulfillment, a society in which ‘the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.’ The association of market capitalism with individualism is fundamentally false, for capitalism thrives only on proving symbolic value fulfillment….
“Marketing translates deep values into symbolic ones, thus making them into commodities. Advertising and promotion use symbols to attach deep values to commodities, thus transforming them into purely symbolic values….
“When an individual sells their labour power as a commodity, the individual qualities they embody and materialize in their work become merely the material embodiment of their symbolic value, cultural and economic.”
[Peter Wilberg. Deep Socialism: A New Manifesto of Marxist Ethics and Economics. London: New Gnosis Publications. 2003. Pages 82-83.]
Our Revolution (Bernie Sanders and others): This organization was started by supporters of Senator Sanders after his unsuccessful run for the presidential nomination of the U.S. Democratic Party in 2016. Although Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist, his approach comes closer to social democracy.
“Frankly, … [the] lack of political consciousness is exactly what the ruling class of this country wants. The Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions to elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful. They understand the importance of politics. Meanwhile, people who work for low wages, have no health insurance, and live in inadequate housing don’t see a connection between the reality of their lives and what government does or does not do. Showing people that connection is a very big part of what a progressive political movement has to do. How can we bring about real social change in this country if people in need are not involved in the political process? We need a political revolution. We need to get people involved. We need to get people voting.” [Bernie Sanders. Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. New York: Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC. 2016. Ebooks.com edition.]
“… let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that; ‘This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.’ It builds on the success of many other countries around the world that have done a far better job than we have in protecting the needs of their working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.
“Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.
“Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.”
[Bernie Sanders, “What is a Socialist?: I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal. I believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America instead of shipping jobs and profits overseas.” Vital Speeches of the Day. Volume 81, number 1, January 2016. Pages 25-30.]
“Political campaigns open and break hearts, then disappear. In the end, signs come down, campaign offices empty out, voter and volunteer lists coated with coffee and sweat are shredded. The moment and the movement dissolve.
“But in this most important election year, Bernie Sanders and his passionate supporters aim to break that pattern. Sanders’s call for a ‘political revolution’ ignited a fierce urgency that had been percolating under the surface of America’s stultifying politics—and initiatives such as Our Revolution and Brand New Congress, and smaller ‘Berniecrat’ clubs and networks sprouting from the grassroots, are carving new pathways for progressive reform.
“The passion of the post-Bernie movement is undeniable. Within days of Sanders’s first public mention of Our Revolution in late June, 24,000 people expressed interest in joining. The group’s August 24 launch inspired more than 2,600 house parties around the country, and more than 240,000 viewers on Facebook Live alone. Brand New Congress, meanwhile, is touring the country to build support for running more than 400 reform candidates in 2018.
“This revolution-in-progress confronts many challenges.”
[Christopher D. Cook, “What’s Next for Bernie’s Revolution?” The Progressive. Volume 80, number 9, October 2016. Pages 14-17.]
“In spite of how some on the Left might portray him, Bernie Sanders did not just wake up one day and say we need a political revolution, nor was his decision to run as a Democrat an incidental mistake. Sanders has long played a role as a false alternative from the Democratic Party, the primary run being only the most recent blatant shattering of his myth, although many supporters still cling to the pieces of ‘independence.’ Bernie Sanders became involved in third party politics beginning in 1971, with his membership in the anti-war Liberty Union Party and his candidacy under their name for various statewide Vermont political positions from 1972 to 1976, before leaving the Party and orientating towards local elections. On the national level, the exit from LUP [Liberty Union Party] was underpinned by Sander’s support for Democratic presidential candidates—Jimmy Carter beginning in 1976, and campaigning for Walter Mondale in ’84.” [Jordan Martinez, “Their Socialism and Ours: On Sanders.” The North Star. January 25th, 2016. Web. No pagination.]
“[Bernie] Sanders, it turns out, represents a more wholesome phenomenon, a ‘left-wing egalitarianism’—perhaps, who knows, a ‘reinvention of Social Democracy.’” [Marco D’Eramo, “They, the People.” New Left Review. Series II, number 103, January–February 2017. Pages 129-138.]
“We’re a team of former Bernie Sanders staffers, delegates and supervolunteers working to draft Bernie to a new people’s party. Join us and let’s finish what we started on the Bernie campaign!” [Editor, “Our Plan.” Draft Bernie. 2017. Retrieved on February 20th, 2017.]
“There are a number of rising progressive politicians disenchanted with the two-party system who might be very attracted to a new party with Bernie as a leader: Tulsi Gabbard and Nina Turner, for example. Other progressive leaders also might be receptive, such as well-known movement figures like Cornell West and Michelle Alexander. The new party could also attract into politics many ordinary people who don’t see hope in the current government or in either of the major two parties.…
“The Green Party has made some gains in the three decades since its founding. It has also raised critical issues and arguably paved the way for progressive challenges to duopoly in the 21ˢᵗ century. Yet its growth in recent years has been weak, and its popular appeal seems limited. Perhaps that will change at some point. But a strong case can be made that a different progressive party is also needed now–one that has a clearer populist message, a larger audience, and leaders who are better known and more widely respected. In other words, we need a party that is capable of gaining much more public support and thereby competing for power more effectively. Draft Bernie for a People’s Party has the potential to create that party. It initially could draw support from a huge base of Bernie supporters, most of whom have so far resisted joining any existing progressive third party. That could enable the People’s Party to make substantial election breakthroughs fairly quickly, unlike similar parties with a much smaller base.”
[Editor, “FAQ.” Draft Bernie. 2017. Retrieved on February 20th, 2017.]
“Washington D.C. — (2/12/17) The Draft Bernie campaign was pleased to see Sen. Bernie Sanders leave the door open to starting a new people’s party in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press this morning.…
“Far from rejecting a new party, Sanders kept it on the table, as he has done many times before. For instance, in a C-SPAN interview in June of last year, Sanders told Steve Scully, ‘The action is going to be in the Democratic Party, or perhaps a third party. But the goal right now is to open up the Democratic Party to millions of people.’ He reiterated this position in an interview with Amy Goodman [of Democracy Now!] in late November .”
“The Progressive Independent Party is an evolutionary necessity given the corrupt political system we as Americans have been mired in for generations. We recognize that a fundamental shift in the way we approach our governance will not be a stroll through the park on a pleasant evening. For this reason we are calling upon Americans of every political stripe to join us in a unified voice. We will no longer tolerate or accept those conditions upon which the notion has been sold to us that what we have come to accept is simply ‘the way things are.’
“Our first and most challenging step is to find common ground amongst many splintered factions of the left and independents. For far too long, we’ve been discussing how best to remove a speck of dirt in the corner of the house while ignoring that the entire structure is full of garbage. Putting aside old grievances over policy in order to rally around a common cause has ever been the deciding factor in every victory— political or personal. Recognizing that there are many more things that bring us together than divide us is paramount to this philosophy.…
“The Progressive Independent Party, like Senator Bernie Sanders, knows that a fundamental change in our political system will not happen overnight or alone. That is why we are calling on people to join us in order to mandate this change. Not through simple rhetoric or a single campaign, but through a concerted effort on local, state, and national levels who share our vision and our ideals. This is a people-based movement— first and foremost. We need your voices, your hearts, your minds, and your convictions.”
[Editor, “Mission.” Progressive Independent Party. Undated. Retrieved on February 24th, 2017.]
Justice Democrats (Secular Talk from Kyle Kulinski and The Young Turks from Cenk Uygur as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): This movement is attempting to move the U.S. Democratic Party toward social democracy and away from neoliberalism. A number of people who worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign are now involved with the Justice Democrats.
“It’s time to face the facts: the Democratic Party is broken and the corporate, establishment wing of the party is responsible. Republicans now hold most state legislatures, most governorships, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. So in 2018, hundreds of Justice Democrats will run a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress and rebuild the party from scratch.” [Editor, “Platform.” Justice Democrats. 2017.]
“Cenk Uygur, founder of the Young Turks video network that has become virally popular among progressive voters, is launching a project called Justice Democrats to defeat members of the Democratic Party who have cast votes seen as unacceptable.
“‘The aim in 2018 is to put a significant number of Justice Democrats in the Congress. The aim for 2020 is to more significantly take over the Democratic Party,” Uygur said. “If they’re going to continue to be corporate Democrats, that’s doomed for failure for the rest of time.’…
“Justice Democrats cohered after the 2016 election, when Uygur began talking to veterans of the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I[Independent]-Vt. [Vermont]) about ways to challenge Democrats from the left. The Justice Democrats project counts Saikat Chakrabarti [Bengali/Bāṅāli/Bānlā, সৈকত চক্রবর্তী, Saikata Cakrabartī] and Zack Exley, two tech veterans of the Sanders campaign, among its founders; their first goal was to provide the infrastructure and resources for progressives who wanted to challenge ‘corporate Democrats.’”
Brand New Congress: This movement for social democracy in the U.S. is working in an alliance with Justice Democrats.
“Our goal is to gain a majority in Congress in order to radically rebuild this country’s economy, completely recreate our criminal justice system, get to 100% renewable energy in 10 years, lift millions out of poverty, and protect the least protected in our society.
“Basically, we want to do what we have to do as a country and remove ‘politically impossible’ as a reason not to do it. It will take at least until 2020 to achieve all of that, but the first step is to achieve a majority in the House and win as many of the 33 seats up for re-election in the Senate as possible in 2018.
“Our plan to accomplish this is to recruit over 400 extraordinary ordinary Americans to challenge both Democrats and Republicans in congressional primary races across the country in order to replace almost all of Congress in one fell swoop. These will be people who have track records of integrity and service in their communities and who are not all career politicians – we’re looking for nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists, factory workers, and so on. They will represent not just all the various professions in our country (unlike our current Congress which represents mostly lawyers), but also be representative of our population’s demographics – more than half of them will be women and we will have just representation for people of color. Every candidate we recruit, regardless of party, will be a firm believer in the Brand New Congress platform and pledge to work to enact it once elected to office.”
[Editor, “The Plan.” Brand New Congress. 2016. Retrieved on February 12th, 2017.]
ʾal-Ḥizb ʾal-Baʿṯ ʾal-Dīmuqrāṭiyy ʾal-ʿArabiyy ʾal-ʾIštirākiyy (Arabic/ʿArabiyyaẗ, الحِزْب البَعْث الدِيمُقْرَاطِيّ العَرَبِيّ الاِشْتِرَاكِيّ) is the Baath (literally, “the Awakening”) Party of Arab Democratic Socialists. Its roots are in the Syrian, not the Iraqi, version of Baathism. The headquarters of the party are in Paris, France.
Democratic Socialists of America (Joseph Schwartz, Jason Schulman, and many others): This organization aims to establish socialism through a democratic process in the U.S.
“Democratic socialists believe that the individuality of each human being can only be developed in a society embodying the values of liberty, equality, and solidarity. These beliefs do not entail a crude conception of equality that conceives of human beings as equal in all respects. Rather, if human beings are to develop their distinct capacities they must be accorded equal respect and opportunities denied them by the inequalities of capitalist society, in which the life opportunities of a child born in the inner city are starkly less than that of a child born in an affluent suburb. A democratic community committed to the equal moral worth of each citizen will socially provide the cultural and economic necessities—food, housing, quality education, healthcare, childcare—for the development of human individuality.” [Joseph Schwartz and Jason Schulman. Towards Freedom: Democratic Socialist Theory and Practice. New York: Democratic Socialists of America. 2012. Page 1.]
“As democratic socialists, we share a profound belief that a better world is possible. We are committed to working towards greater economic and social justice so that the needs of everyone can be met, as opposed to the further enrichment of a privileged few. In order to achieve a truly just and democratic society in which ordinary people assume control over their own lives, the economy and many government institutions must be radically transformed. Only by joining together in collective action are we able to bring about the progressive changes our world so desperately needs. Activists who share our commitment to the ideals of democratic socialism have a vital role to play in building these movements for change.” [Editor. Organizing for Justice: A DSA Resource for Effective Community Organizing. New York: Democratic Socialists of America. 2012. Page 2.]
“Our vision of democratic socialism is necessarily partial and speculative, and is in no way intended to be a blueprint for a democratic socialist society. To the contrary, the specific contours of the future to which we aspire will be democratically determined not by us, but rather by those who live it. Further, DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] members will — and should — disagree on specific aspects of this vision. Nonetheless, we put forth such a vision, in part to put to rest misconceptions people may have about how our vision of socialism differs from failed models of the past, in part to spark the passion and imagination of potential DSA members wondering what separates our vision from those of liberals and progressives and in part to help expand the terms of our national political discourse in the face of the often overwhelming logic of ‘there is no alternative.’” [Editor. Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution. New York: Democratic Socialists of America. 2016. Page 5.]
struggle for Marxism in the United States (Tim Wohlforth): He describes the meandering path taken by American Trotskyism. Formerly a Trotskyist, he is currently a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
“While the first five years of the Trotskyist movement were extremely difficult ones, with severe limits set by the objective situation, the next seven years were to be marked by continual and growing opportunities for the growth and development of the movement. Thus the objective conditions for the solution of the very deep problems of the movement were certainly present. It is one thing to struggle for Marxist clarity under conditions of deep isolation from the masses and quite another to struggle for Marxist clarity under conditions of serious involvement in the mass movement.
“The openings for the organisation began with the debacle of the Comintern’s policies in Germany in 1933 and with the rise of [Adolf] Hitler to power. Soon after this negative vindication of [Leon] Trotsky’s line came a number of openings to our comrades in the mass movement. Combined with the growing involvement of the party in the mass movement were the serious leftward-moving trends in centrist circles in the United States. Thus the party had the opportunity to simultaneously deepen its work in the class and win over already radicalised forces. The winning over of these radical forces would both strengthen its trade union work and add new intellectual forces to the party.
“The most important development of all in the class struggle was the leadership given by Trotskyists to the great Minneapolis teamsters’ strike in 1934. This important class action played an important role in preparing the American working class for its next great step – the organisation of the industrial working class in the United States in the CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations]. Just as importantly, it showed in the concrete the kind of leadership revolutionaries could give to the class struggle and raised the prestige of the Trotskyist movement in the eyes of the American workers and radicals. The ability of the American organisation to carry out this great action can be attributed to its heritage of American radicalism and what it learned from Trotsky in the preceding five years. It was a tribute to all that was healthy in American Trotskyism and in the [James P.] Cannon section of the party in particular.…
“At the same time the work of the party among the youth was also developing. The youth organisation, called the Spartacist Youth League, had begun on a modest scale in 1932 and by 1934 was showing real signs of growth. In the beginning its orientation was almost totally towards the members of the Young Communist League. By 1934 it was devoting more attention to student work and to centrist and social-democratic youth.”
[Tim Wohlforth. The Struggle for Marxism in the United States: A History of American Trotskyism. New York: Labor Publications Inc. 1971. Creative Commons. Ebook edition.]
“We stand for a mass socialist party, the aim of which will be to bring about the end of capitalism and its replacement by socialism.
“Under capitalism, production is carried out solely to make a profit for the few, regardless of the needs of society or damage to the environment. Capitalism does not and cannot be made to work in the interests of the majority. Its state and institutions will have to be replaced by ones that act in the interests of the majority.
“Socialism means complete political, social and economic democracy. It requires a fundamental breach with capitalism. It means a society in which the wealth and the means of production are no longer in private hands but are owned in common. Everyone will have the right to participate in deciding how the wealth of society is used and how production is planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the natural world on which we depend. We reject the idea that the undemocratic regimes that existed in the former Soviet Union and other countries were socialist.
“The mass socialist party will oppose all oppression and discrimination, whether on the basis of gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion or sexual orientation and aim to create a society in which such oppression and discrimination no longer exist.
“Socialism has to be international. The interests of the working class are the same everywhere. The mass socialist party will oppose all imperialist wars and military interventions. It will reject the idea that there is a national solution to the problems of capitalism. It will stand for the maximum solidarity and cooperation between the working class in Britain and elsewhere. It will work with others across Europe to replace the European Union with a voluntary European federation of socialist societies.”
Socialist Party USA: This American democratic socialist party advocates taking political action outside of the Democratic and Republican parties.
“The Socialist Party is a democratic socialist organization. We see socialism as a new social and economic order in which workers and consumers control production and community residents control their neighborhoods, homes and school and the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not the private profit of a few.
“We see the working class as in a key and central position to fight back against the ruling class and its power. The working class is the major force worldwide that can lead the way to a socialist future – to a real radical democracy from below.
“We stand in opposition to all forms of oppression including but not limited to racism, sexism and homophobia.
“We are a ‘multi-tendency’ organization. We orient ourselves around our principles and develop a common program, but our members have various underlying philosophies and views of the world. Therefore we reject vanguardism and democratic centralism.
“We advocate for independent political action outside the Democratic and Republican parties.
“Our tactics in the struggle for radical democratic change reflects our ultimate goal of a society founded on principles of egalitarian, non-exploitative and non-violent relations among all people and between all peoples.”
[Editor. Socialism as radical Democracy: Statement of Principles of the Socialist Party USA. Undated pamphlet. No pagination. Retrieved on February 10th, 2017.]
participatory socialism (Michael Walzer, Robert Michels, and others): These authors propose a tendency which, they say, is grounded in democracy and participation.
“Ours is a ‘participatory’ socialism, and so the story we have to tell is about parties, unions, movements, associations, and nongovernmental organizations of many different sorts and about their activists and militants, who are politically engaged on the Left. But the full impact of that story requires another—about the political world that we actually inhabit. I argued that democracy, regulation, and welfare are now conventional in the West. But that also means that they are subject to a certain kind of adverse pressure, which is not so much conventional as it is ‘natural.’ In every political organization and in every state and society, there is a steady tendency toward authoritarianism and hierarchy. Robert Michels wrote about this tendency long ago, at roughly the same time as [Eduard] Bernstein was writing and with reference to the same historical events and political experience.” [Michael Walzer, “Which Socialism?” Dissent. Volume 57, number 3, summer 2010. Pages 37-43.]
“As the party bureaucracy increases, two elements which constitute the essential pillars of every socialist conception undergo an inevitable weakening: an understanding of the wider and more ideal cultural aims of socialism, and an understanding of the international multiplicity of its manifestations. Mechanism becomes an end in itself. The capacity for an accurate grasp of the peculiarities and the conditions of existence of the labour movement in other countries diminishes in proportion as the individual national organizations are fully developed. This is plain from a study of the mutual international criticisms of the socialist press.” [Robert Michels. Political Parties. Eden and Ceder Paul, translators. New York: Hearst’s International Library Co. 1915. Page 187.]
“As long as the struggle on behalf of the oppressed brings to those engaged in it nothing more than a crown of thorns, those members of the bourgeoisie who adhere to socialism must fulfil functions in the party exacting great personal disinterestedness. Bourgeois adherents do not become a danger to socialism until the labour movement, abandoning its principles, enters the slippery paths of a policy of compromise.” [Robert Michels. Political Parties. Eden and Ceder Paul, translators. New York: Hearst’s International Library Co. 1915. Page 213.]
“The problem of socialism is not merely a problem in economics. In other words, socialism does not seek merely to determine to what extent it is possible to realize a distribution of wealth which shall be at once just and economically productive. Socialism is also an administrative problem, a problem of democracy, and this not in the technical and administrative sphere alone, but also in the sphere of psychology.” [Robert Michels. Political Parties. Eden and Ceder Paul, translators. New York: Hearst’s International Library Co. 1915. Page 386.]
“The refusal of the worker to participate in the collective life of his class cannot fail to entail disastrous consequences. In respect of culture and of economic, physical, and physiological conditions, the proletarian is the weakest element of our society. In fact, the isolated member of the working classes is defenceless in the hands of those who are economically stronger. It is only by combination to form a structural aggregate that the proletarians can acquire the faculty of political resistance and attain to a social dignity.” [Robert Michels. Political Parties. Eden and Ceder Paul, translators. New York: Hearst’s International Library Co. 1915. Page 22.]
“In certain country districts of Germany no blame attaches to the young couple if a child is born while they are living together. We see the same thing in Italy, where, in certain parts, prematrimonial relationships are regarded by the peasantry as a kind of socialist demonstration against the prejudices of capitalist society. In other districts, again, the free union is simply the outcome of poverty; the young people do not marry, because they wish to avoid the expenses attached to the ceremony, or they wish to obtain from the public funds a support for their children on the ground that they are illegitimate.” [Robert Michels. Sexual Ethics: A Study of Borderland Questions. Eden and Ceder Paul, translators. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1914. Page 58.]
“Capitalism is a world-system, and it has created an increasingly interconnected world. The problems it has created are global in scope. A de-facto system of institutions of global government already exists, such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the World Bank among others. These organizations, unelected and unaccountable to popular control, help to manage the affairs of the world in the interests of Capital. This requires their replacement by institutions of global democracy. These should be organized on principles of federalism, in which smaller units combine to create larger organizations with limited power. This world government will pursue the tasks of global nuclear disarmament and peacekeeping, addressing the international effects of the environmental crisis, and the fostering of participatory socialism globally. Resistance to the concept of world government on the part of portions of the world-left is due only to attachment to the outdated features of 19ᵗʰ century leftist ideologies incapable of dealing with the real world problems of 21ˢᵗ century society.” [R. Burke, “Proposals for Antiproductivist and Participatory Socialism.” Synthesis/Regeneration. Volume 52, spring 2010. Pages 39-41.]
craft unionism and revolutionary unionism (Eugene “Gene” Victor Debs): Debs’ multi–tendency approach to socialism placed an emphasis on union organizing. He was one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies).
“There is but one hope and that is in the economic and political solidarity of the working class; one revolutionary union, and one revolutionary party. It is for this reason that the Industrial Workers, an economic organization, has been launched and now makes its appeal to you as wage-slaves aspiring to be free. You cannot be satisfied to live and die as beasts of burden; to toil unceasingly to enrich masters who hold you in contempt; to be dependent upon these masters for your jobs and crawl like sycophants at their feet. You may not be satisfied, even though you have sufficient food and clothing and shelter. You are a human, not a hog; a man, not a mere animal. You have a manhood to sustain; you have your freedom to achieve, and you have an intellect to develop; and these questions will appeal to you with ever-increasing force and compel an accounting at last, if you have the pith and purpose of a typical, self-respecting workingman.
“In the capitalist system you workers are simply merchandise; your master can at his own will sentence you to idleness, your wife to want and your child, perhaps, to a brothel. You cannot be satisfied with such a slavish lot and now is the time to make up your mind to change it. In your heart you will feel the thrill of a new-born joy. You will join the Industrial Workers, the one international labor union that proposes to unite all workers, that all of them may act together in har monious co-operation for the good of all; a union that recognizes no aristocracy, but the whole working class; that insists that each member shall have all the rights that are accorded every other; a union built upon the class struggle, appealing to all workers to get together on the right side of that struggle and achieve the emancipation of their class.”
[Eugene V. Debs, “Craft Unionism.” Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches—With a Department of Appreciations. Bruce Rogers, apparent editor. Girard, Kansas: The Appeal to Reason. 1908. Pages 375-399.]
“The unity of labor, economic and political, upon the basis of the class struggle, is at this time the supreme need of the work ing class. The prevailing lack of unity implies lack of class consciousness; that is to say, enlightened self-interest; and this can, must and will be overcome by revolutionary education and organization. Experience, long, painful and dearly bought, has taught some of us that craft division is fatal to class unity. To accomplish its mission the working class must be united. They must act together; they must assert their combined power, and when they do this upon the basis of the class struggle, then and then only will they break the fetters of wage slavery.
“We are engaged today in a class war; and why? For the simple reason that in the evolution of the capitalist system in which we live, society has been mainly divided into two eco nomic classes—a small class of capitalists who own the tools with which work is done and wealth is produced, and a great mass of workers who are compelled to use those tools. Be tween these two classes there is an irrepressible economic con flict. Unfortunately for himself, the workingman does not yet understand the nature of this conflict, and for this reason has hitherto failed to accomplish any effective unity of his class.…
“There are those wage workers who feel their economic dependence, who know that the capitalist for whom they work is the owner of their job, and therefore the master of their fate, who are still vainly seeking by individual effort and through waning craft unions to harmonize the conflicting interests of the exploiting capitalist and the exploited wage slave. They are engaged in a vain and hopeless task. They are wasting time and energy worthy of a better cause. These interests never can and never will be harmonized permanently, and when they are adjusted even temporarily it is always at the expense of the working class.”
[Eugene V. Debs, “Revolutionary Unionism: Speech at Chicago, November 25, 1905.” Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches—With a Department of Appreciations. Bruce Rogers, apparent editor. Girard, Kansas: The Appeal to Reason. 1908. Pages 427-443.]
“The fully developed labor-unionist uses both his economic and political power in the interest of his class. He understands that the struggle between between labor and capital is a class struggle; that the working class are in a great majority, but di vided, some in trades-unions and some out of them, some in one political party and some in another; that because they are divided they are helpless and must submit to being robbed of what their labor produces, and treated with contempt; that they must unite their class in the trades-union on the one hand and in the socialist party on the other hand; that in dustrially and politically they must act together as a class against the capitalist class and that this struggle is a class struggle, and that any workingman who deserts his union in a strike and goes to the other side is a scab, and any workingman who deserts his party on election day and goes over to the enemy is a betrayer of his class and an enemy of his fellowman.” [Eugene V. Debs. Unionism and Socialism. Terre Haute, Indiana: Standard Publishing Co. 1904. Page 24.]
“Jesus taught that the earth and the air and the sea and sky and all the beauty and fulness thereof were for all the children of men; that they should all equally enjoy the riches of nature and dwell to gether in peace, bear one another’s burdens and love one another, and that is what socialism teaches and why the rich thieves who have laid hold of the earth and its bounties would crucify the socialists as those other robbers of the poor crucified Jesus two thousand years ago.
“Now let us see what message the Socialist party has for the children and why all children should be socialists and help to speed the day when the brotherhood of socialism shall prevail throughout the earth.
“But first let me say that the Socialist party has reason to know that the children have great influ ence when they become interested in a given work and set their hearts on doing that work. The Socialist party knows better than to ignore the children as if they were china dolls or stuffed teddy bears, as all the other parties do, for it knows by what they have already done that when once they get fairly started they will make the air hum like swarms of bees with the glad tidings of socialism.”
[Eugene V. Debs. Labor and Freedom: The Voice and Pen of Eugene V. Debs. St. Louis, Missouri: Phil Wagner. 1916. Pages 80-81.]
“As the fight progressed the leaders of the miners made one concession after another until they had finally surrendered everything. But the operators were not satisfied. They had come with love in their hearts and a made-to-order, warranted to-fit reduction of wages in their grips, just because they were all in the same economic class and their interests were there fore identical, and to prove it they permitted their own leaders to scale down the bulging wages of the opulent coal diggers.” [Eugene V. Debs. Reply to John Mitchell. Terre Haute, Indiana: Standard Publishing Co. 1904. Page 8.]
“The IWW [Industrial Workers’ of the World] is described as a ‘rank and file run union.’ This means that we have eliminated the need of bosses inside our own union. In other words, you will not have a paid ‘organizer’ or ‘business agent’ telling you what to do, but rather the experience and advice of all the other workers in the union backing you up, who may fill some of the job duties of the high pay positions in other unions.
“We have officers in our union, but they are only allowed to carry out what the membership will allow. If a union officer oversteps those bounds, there is a process for recall and replacement, without having to wait for the next election cycle. All union wide policies are decided by voting, and the administration of the international office is run by a General Executive Board and a General Secretary/Treasurer, who are elected every year. Even the union newspaper editor is elected. All officers in your own local industrial union are elected, and not appointed from above. The same is true for all General Membership Branches in areas where industrial union branches have not been established.
“No one in the union is allowed to negotiate with your boss without your consent, and so all terms of the contract come from all the workers that it will affect. You may even want all negotiations to come from you and your co-workers, which is the best possible situation; this way all of your issues are discussed. With all of this comes a responsibility; as a member, it is important to stay informed of the union as a whole, so that you will have a well reasoned voice in changing something that you think is wrong.”
[Anonymous. You Are the Union – Membership in the IWW. Berkeley, California: The Anarchist Library imprint of Open Guild Organization. 2017. Pages 2-3.]
coöperative model (Wei-Ching Chang [常伟经, Cháng-Wěi-Jīng as pronounced in this MP3 audio file] and Joy H. Fraser): They propose a model which includes the establishment of coöperatives.
“The role of competition and cooperation in relation to the goal of health equity is examined in this paper. The authors explain why the win-lose mentality associated with avoidable competition is ethically questionable and less effective than cooperation in achieving positive outcomes, particularly as it relates to health and health equity. Competition, which differentiates winners from losers, often with the winner-takes-all reward system, inevitably leads to a few winners and many losers, resulting in social inequality, which, in turn, engenders and perpetuates health inequity.
“Competitive market-driven approaches to healthcare—brought about by capitalism, neo-liberalization, and globalization, based primarily on a competitive framework—are shown to have contributed to growing inequities with respect to the social determinants of health, and have undermined equal opportunity to access health care and achieve health equity. It is possible to redistribute income and wealth to reduce social inequality, but globalization poses increasing challenges to policy makers. John Stuart Mill provided a passionate, philosophical defense of cooperatives, followed by Karl Polanyi who offered an insightful critique of both state socialism and especially the self-regulating market, thereby opening up the cooperative way of shaping the future. We cite Hannah Arendt’s ‘the banality of evil’ to characterize the tragic concept of ‘ethical fading’ witnessed in business and everyday life all over the world, often committed (without thinking and reflecting) by ordinary people under competitive pressures.…
“To promote equity in health for all, we recommend the adoption of a radically new cooperation paradigm, applied whenever possible, to everything in our daily lives.…
“Cooperatives … call for the practice of democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Cooperatives also embrace the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Through their commitment to servicing the poor and underserved, financial cooperatives are helping to lessen the burden of poverty by providing, e.g., microfinance and medical emergencies to them.…
“Some may claim that the aforementioned extreme concentration of wealth need not have happened were we to enact just tax policies, redistributing incomes from the wealthy to the poor. In the following sections, therefore, we will address the questions: 1) Can we make competition more constructive within a competitive paradigm? 2) Should the competition paradigm be defended? 3) How can we move more toward a cooperative paradigm? …
“That the cooperative model is superior to other business modes in promoting social justice and equity is beyond question.”
[Wei-Ching Chang and Joy H. Fraser, “Cooperate! A paradigm shift for health equity.” International Journal for Equity in Health. Volume 16, number 12, 2017. Creative Commons. Pages 1-13.]
Bahroism (Rudolf Bahro as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): The one–time East German dissident proposed, at first, an anti–Soviet—yet a Marxist–Leninist—approach to communism and “a new and higher civilization.” He then migrated to a version of utopian socialism which focused upon ancient Asian religions.
“The question of peace, which ultimately governs the overall relations between people, will form the key to a new political alignment. It is the nucleus of the political structure that will supersede the aggressive industrial system of capitalism. It assumes a truly metaphysical importance: will people in the wealthy nations be capable of breaking with the general class-based system and pattern of their habits in which exterminism has its roots? The decision to live without armaments, for example, cannot be derived from information emanating from the grey sepulchres which house the hierarchies or from the intellectual somersaults performed by the experts in nuclear balance and deterrence. In this respect the most advanced insights into the modern dilemma meet up with age-old subconscious intuitions about the ultimate futility of every counter-aggression. More enlightened than earlier millenial movements, but with a comparable intensity, the search has begun for a new order of internal and external peace which cuts across the existing social structures and which will overcome them by peaceful means. More people than ever before have resolved to refuse to play the old games ever again.” [Rudolf Bahro, “The SPD and the Peace Movement.” New Left Review. Series I, number 131, January–February 1982. Pages 20-31.]
“… socialist perspectives … must be understood in a more general sense, as a return to utopian socialism, to William Morris rather than Karl Marx.…
“… We must reconstruct historical materialism, partly by constructive criticism of [Karl] Marx, from the point of view of ecology, of natural relations and what happens to human nature in them. It seems to me that the basic problem may already have been raised in [Friedrich] Engels’ famous essay on the role of labour in the anthropogenesis of the ape, i.e., whether the deepest sort of historical contradiction is not present in the idea of using up more nature, producing more from it while treating it as inanimate, entropic matter awaiting use in the cause of human progress. Marx never asked himself what it meant to have a finite earth but increasing population, spiralling needs and a growing burden upon nature.…
“The religions I am interested in are the Asiatic ones, which are pre-industrial and occur before the essential ‘great transformation’ of [Karl] Polanyi. Man has realized himself in western civilisation far more via objects, through the kneading of objects and the making of things, but it is not biologically necessary that the species do things this way. Up to capitalist industrialization the means of production still had the character of being subordinate to the process of social life, of being applied by the individual and of depending on him in some sense at least. But the Big Machine has completely changed this. Even the people who construct the machine are now in reality functionaries of the industrial system, of the great machine, not its masters.…
“The importance of the religious point of departure becomes clear when you think of the material reality with which religion has reckoned, with the reality of frustrated and restricted talents which exist in man. What man really aims for is happiness. Happiness does not mean more than being able to satisfy needs which have developed historically. And in a society which works more or less (and such times have existed: for instance, the high middle ages in Germany where the peasants were free from starvation and intense exploitation), it is not basic material needs but social needs which interest people: that you are not lost or isolated from your neighbour, that you can communicate with someone, that you are recognized, that you can find a sexual partner and many other such things, in other words, that you can express yourself as the individual you have become.…
“I think that violent strategies of coming to power have sufficiently proven their counter-revolutionary character by now, and that the commitment to non-violence is only an expression of reason. During the Russian revolution such violations were supposed to hurt only the capitalists and landowners, but it soon turned out that the next stratum was persecuted along with them, and soon everyone was a kulak [Russian Cyrillic, кула́к, kulák, ‘fist,’ i.e., an affluent peasant] who kept his farm in proper shape. This process has a logic of its own, and even setting aside its terrible results, we can see that the so-called kulak will understand beforehand, so that we will never achieve any consensus. The nonviolent strategy is also the most powerful one from the strategic point of view. Our problem is not, after all, what we can gain when we demonstrate against [Ronald] Reagan while the majority of the population is in favour of the Americans. The problem is to change the consensus; what [Antonio] Gramsci taught us is that this is a problem of hegemony on a cultural level. This problem can only be solved in a non-violent way, by seeing the power structure as being in the wrong through its behaviour. Without regarding [Mahatma] Gandhi’s strategy as directly applicable here, I think his basic motivation is not only ethically ideal but also required by reason in these circumstances.”
[Rudolf Bahro, “Socialism, Ecology and Utopia: An Interview with Rudolf Bahro.” History Workshop. Number 16, autumn 1983. Pages 91-99.]
“It is precisely because of the extremely broad spectrum it is bringing together at its foundation that the Green party is going to be an important experiment worth the most careful attention, and not just in West Germany. Only in this way does it offer the chance of establishing in the long run a fruitful new constellation of forces in opposition to the ossified pattern of existing party politics. Political forces in this country are ‘wrongly arranged.’ A new grouping has arrived on the scene, a grouping focused on new criteria rather than a new division within the old model. Is the Green party going to make a contribution to this? How clear are we about the extraordinariness of this concept? …
“If I have not taken a stand in favour of an organisationally separate socialist alternative, it is because I believe that a Green party which practices within itself the historic compromise that is needed would in West German condition be the best long-run solution, and something really new. We socialists plan to press our claims openly, in the spirit of a dialogue in which each partner seriously seeks to understand the other. But considerations of principle will not lead us to pursue the fruitless and illusory course of painting the green cause red. The Greens are not a left or socialist auxiliary.”
[Rudolf Bahro. Socialism and Survival (articles, essays and talks 1979-1982). London: Heretic Books. 1982. Pages 56-57.]
“The first part of the book is concerned with the phenomenon of the non-capitalist road to industrial society. Our actually existing socialism is a fundamentally different social organization from that outlined in [Karl] Marx’s socialist theory.… We must try and do justice to the historical character of the Stalinist structure of domination. The political history of the Soviet Union is not one of abandonment of the ‘subjective factor’, but rather of its transformation, by the task that it had to undertake of industrializing Russia. It is the new tasks of today that demonstrate the anachronistic character of the old-style party, and not just certain principles of political morality.
“In the second part, I deal with the structure of actually existing socialism, as opposed to its historical treatment in the first part: its bureaucratic centralist organization of labour, its character as a stratified society, the marked impotence of the immediate producers, its relatively weak impulse towards raising productivity, its political-ideological organization as a quasi-theocratic state. The essence of actually existing socialism is conceived as one of socialization in the alienated forms of stratification, this being based on a traditional division labour which has not yet been driven to the critical point at which it topples over.”
[Rudolf Bahro. The Alternative in Eastern Europe. David Fernbach, translator. London: New Left Books. 1978. Pages 13-14.]
“Socialism once meant the promise to create a new and higher civilization, to solve the basic problems of mankind in such a way that the individual would be at the same time both satisfied and liberated. When the movement first took shape it spoke of general human liberation, and not just of this moderate welfare, devoid of prospects, in which we vainly seek to outbid late capitalism.…
“… the aim of the conception of cultural revolution, in its first stage, is that the greatest possible amount of psychic energy should be drawn off from the complex of compensatory modes of behaviour; and that this energy should then be applied towards a radical reconstruction of the structure of needs.… In the second place, this free and rich individuality is also bound up with the all-round nature of the individual’s activities and relations. We therefore have to realize the conditions for emancipation from the vertical division of labour altogether, and from as many as possible of the restrictions of the horizontal division of labour.
“In order to reshape the objective conditions for the development of human subjectivity in this sense, the cultural revolution must above all set in motion a redistribution of labour, according to the principle that everyone will have an equal share in activities at the different levels of functioning, and that the equal social validity of the individuals carrying on all the necessary labour will be anchored in the only possible way: no one will any longer be confined to the function of a specific, restricted or subordinate activity. All monopolization of activities favourable to self-development must cease, if we are to overcome its counterpart, the pre-programmed underdevelopment of other individuals—and thereby bring to an end the last form of exploitation.…
“The communist alternative aims at a transformation down to the deepest levels of the culture.”
[Rudolf Bahro, “The Alternative in Eastern Europe.” David Fernbach and Ben Fowkes, translators. New Left Review. Series I, number 106, November–December 1977. Pages 3-37.]
“Clearly, there are parallels between [Rudolf] Bahro’s vision of a spiritual element in the process of soc1al and political transformation and the Reformation itself. Indeed, some authors have considered Bahro’s position as analogous to that of Luther. Such similarities clearly exist, for example, between Bahro’s allusion to Beethoven’s preference for direct divine communication in opposition to the institutionalized nature of Church dogma, and his own disavowal of the dogmatic form which the socialist credo has come to assume. Indeed, Bahro will go on to advocate that what the Communist Parties of Eastern Europe require is a reformation comparable to that which shook the foundations of the Church in the sixteenth century.” [Gordon W. Smith. The major works of Rudolf Bahro. Ph.D. thesis (U.S. English, dissertation). Loughborough University. Loughborough, England. June, 1990. Page 49.]
“‘Under capitalism, we had the exploitation of man by man: under socialism, we have the reverse.’ [Rudolf] Bahro opens his study with the counterpart in theory to this classic joke from Eastern Europe. His attempt to re-construct Marxism and the socialist idea begins with a moral and intellectual salto mortale [Italian for ‘deadly leap’], the frank admission of Marxism’s most spectacular apparent weakness – the failure to achieve, anywhere. the society which [Karl] Marx envisaged. Ranging freely from Marx’s early manuscripts to [Vladimir] Lenin’s writings on the state, Bahro summarizes the original program of the communist movement: the emancipation of the personality as the goal of social production; the end of human labour as toil and its rebirth as pleasure for the body and imagination; the shedding of the fateful inequalities and antagonisms which had wracked humanity since civilization, between the exploiting and exploited classes, rulers and ruled on the one hand, and, perhaps equally venerable and pernicious, between physical and intellectual labour, and the work of men and women, on the other. On this basis, society could shed its previous characteristics of subordination and compulsion, and assume those of free association. This was socialism; and, contrary to an appellation standard in East and West, it exists nowhere in Eastern Europe.” [Paul Peters, “Rudolf Bahro: The Alternative in Eastern Europe.” Studies in Political Economy. Volume 8, 1982. Pages 115-126.]
“It is … important to recognise that many of the aspects that we associate with the rise of post-material and post-modern values and the eco-libertarian left are also attractive to major sectors of the neo-libertarian right with their insistence on a return to an individualist economic doctrine, their putative ‘antibureaucratic’ rejection of socialist or even traditional organicist conservative collective values and their ‘post-modernist’ denial of the specific collective nature of human society. A prime example of this overlapping of left and right ecolibertarian thinking underpinned by a significant degree of Nietzschean social Darwinism can be found in the more recent ideas of Rudolf Bahro.…
“… It is not entirely flippant to regard the oriental-mystical management practices of Japanese and South Korean capitalism with their famed emphasis on team-work and company loyalty in return for absolute obedience as the flip side of the Bahroist adherence to wolf-pack communality and unquestioning capitulation to ‘Gaia.’”
[Peter Thompson, “Progress, Reason and the End of History.” History of European Ideas. Volume 18, number 3, 1994. Pages 361-371.]
“… we are first of all committed to both democracy and socialism. In fact, the path to socialism in our time is largely one of winning battles for democracy in the here and now—in politics, in social and cultural life, and in the workplace and the economy. Nor does it stop there. A socialism of the 21ˢᵗ century will widen participation and public citizenship beyond even democracy’s best practices today. We are a unique group that is at once Marxist and pluralist. We use [Karl] Marx’s analysis and method to understand economics and make political assessments, but we have many traditions and schools of thought within that context. Diversity is a strength fueling our creativity.” [“About Us.” Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. 2015. Retrieved on September 14th, 2015.]
“The Committees of Correspondence (CofC) is an organization of women and men of all ages who seek a society based on community, human equality, economic and social rights, and respect for the natural environment. We believe that a society of social justice is inseparable from a world in which relations between peoples are governed by the principles of peace and disarmament, economic development and the equality and sovereignty of nations, and striving to live in harmony with nature. We believe that to achieve such a society and world requires a joint struggle to democratically transform our present society, to end the existing vast inequalities of wealth, power and conditions. We welcome and join with all people involved in day-to-day efforts to enhance the quality of life. We view socialism as the struggle for democracy carried to its logical conclusion. We commit ourselves to an open dialogue with others about the way forward and to joint action on all shared goals. Toward these ends, we establish an organization based on openness, effective rule by membership, pluralism of opinion, mutual respect and support, and solidarity in the struggle for justice.” [“Bylaws.” Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. 2015. Retrieved on September 14th, 2015.]
“We’re looking for committed activists to fight for peace, equality, jobs and justice—all within the wider context of winning the battles for democracy and getting us to 21ˢᵗ century socialism.” [“Join CCDS!” CCDS-Discussion: Organizing for a Progressive Majority. 2015. Retrieved on September 14th, 2015.]
“Within … [the] ‘revisionist’ camp [of Marxism], two distinct strands of thinking emerged. The first was revolutionary and epitomized by the work of Georges Sorel. For Sorel, a radical and perhaps violent overthrow of the existing order seemed the surest path to a better future. Socialism, in this view, would emerge from ‘active combat that would destroy the existing state of things.’ The second strand of revisionism was democratic and epitomized by the work of Eduard Bernstein. Like Sorel, Bernstein believed that socialism would emerge from an active struggle for a better world, but unlike Sorel he thought this struggle could and should take a democratic and evolutionary form. Where Sorel’s work would help lay the groundwork for fascism, Bernstein’s would help lay the groundwork for social democracy.
“Bernstein attacked the two main pillars of orthodox Marxism—historical materialism and class struggle—and argued for an alternative based on the primacy of politics and cross class cooperation. His observations about capitalism led him to believe that it was not leading to an increasing concentration of wealth and the immiseration of society, but rather was becoming increasingly complex and adaptable. Instead of waiting until capitalism collapsed for socialism to emerge, therefore, he favored trying to actively reform the existing system. In his view the prospects for socialism depended ‘not on the decrease but on the increase of … wealth,’ and on the ability of socialists to come up with ‘positive suggestions for reform’ capable of spurring fundamental change.”
[Sheri Berman, “Understanding Social Democracy.” Presented at: What’s Left of the Left: Liberalism and Social Democracy in a Globalized World: A Conference at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University. Pages 1-38. May 9th–10th, 2008. Social Democrats USA. Retrieved on September 20th, 2015.]
“The SDUSA [Social Democrats USA] opposes extending the [George W.] Bush Era’s $700 billion worth of tax cuts for the upper one or two percent of America’s richest people. We believe a great deal of hypocrisy exists in the Republican mantra that the US deficits can only be ended by making gigantic budgetary slashes which will only hurt poor, middle, and working class citizens. Contrary to Republican dogma taxes are needed to make government work. It is no original sin for government to raise moderate amounts of tax revenue to balance governmental budgets or to increase governmental spending to deal with economic meltdowns such as the [Barack] Obama administration faced at the beginning of its term.” [Editor, “Seven Point Domestic Agenda.” Social Democrats USA. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. November, 2010. Pages 1-3.]
Progressive Democrats of America: This social democratic movement originated in the U.S. Democratic presidential campaign of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
“It is a moral outrage for a country as wealthy as ours to leave 60 million people with no reliable access to health care and tens of millions more with inadequate or overly expensive coverage. In addition, despite spending nearly twice as much as other developed nations on health care, our system performs poorly, because the private U.S. insurance bureaucracy soaks up as much as one-third of all the money and pharmaceutical interests overburden America by avoiding price competition.…
“Time and again, whether we are seeking sensible healthcare, environmental, economic, or foreign policy—supported by a majority of Americans—we hit a barrier, because corporate lobbyists and donors have managed to get between our legislators and us. National and local media is right-wing and true journalism has suffered.…
“No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming. Greed and corporate power dominate the public good, and impose nearsighted focus on short term profits instead of serving our long-term needs and the welfare of future generations.…
“The U.S. election system is in crisis. Big-money interests dominate U.S. politics in ways unknown in other industrialized countries, with social and environmental progress often blocked by officials who cater to big donors to insure re-election funds. Incumbents are unfairly insulated by district gerrymandering and rules, which obstruct independent candidates and parties.…
“The enormous wealth disparity between the top 1% and the rest of America is an unsustainable economic and social injustice. We are committed to an economic recovery that employs all those willing and able, that houses all those needing shelter, and that imposes the cost based on the ability to pay.”
[Editor, “Our Issues.” Progressive Democrats of America. 2017. Retrieved on February 12th, 2017.]
new coöperative economy (Guy Dauncey): He develops a twelve–zone approach for establishing a new economic order.
“Only at our peril do we ignore the ecological wealth that undergirds the economy, the trust that makes all good relationships possible, the cultural wealth that allows knowledge to grow, and the community wealth that supports each generation. The new cooperative economy will need to appreciate and nourish all eight dimensions of wealth.…
“The new cooperative economy is being constructed in twelve zones. In each, the work is experimental, but people are learning from each other, sharing results and seeing their efforts expand.…
“Construction Zone One: Restoring Democracy ….
“Construction Zone Two: New National Goals and Indicators ….
“Construction Zone Three: Social Business ….
“Construction Zone Four: Cooperative Regional Economies ….
“Construction Zone Five: Sovereign Money ….
“Construction Zone Six: Social Money ….
“Construction Zone Seven: Extending Economic Democracy ….
“Construction Zone Eight: Where Nature Matters ….
“Construction Zone Nine: Fulfilling Work for All ….
“Construction Zone Ten: Ending Poverty and Inequality ….
“Construction Zone Eleven: The Partner State ….
“Construction Zone Twelve: A World without War ….”
[Guy Dauncey. A New Cooperative Economy. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. April, 2017. Pages 3, 16-18, 21, 33, 37, 40-41, 44, 46, and 48-49.]
“The move towards economic democracy must happen at the global, as well as the domestic level. The drive to open new markets and secure supplies of natural resources dominates current international relationships to such an extent that concerns about trade and economics are impeding other crucial intergovernmental negotiations, such as those on climate change and biodiversity.…
“… There is a big debate around the use of fossil fuels to fight poverty because some believe the use of these fuels locks economies into system that makes democracy, equality and sustainability harder to achieve in the long-term. Indeed, progress is a result of on-going struggles between social movements, organised workers and governments. But what has been achieved in this part of the world is proof that international relationships need not succumb to the neoliberal dynamic of competition, self-interest and unsustainable resource extraction. By working together across borders, countries can create new, mutually beneficial relationships that mean a better deal for ordinary people and the environment.…
“Free market proponents have always promised that wealth would ‘trickle down.’ They have even managed to rebrand the process of the rich getting richer as something that sounds positive for all of us – economic growth.…
“Rather than being geared towards profit and the interests of big business in the name of ‘growth.’ we need an economy that works to meet our needs and aspirations – an economy that supports good lives for all while respecting the environment we all rely upon.”
[Editor. Another economy is possible: From corporate control to economic democracy. London: World Development Movement of the Economic Justice Project. September, 2014. Pages 12-14.]
reprogramming democratic socialism (William E. Paterson): He distinguishes between democratic socialist policies in Britain and on the European mainland.
“This view of socialism [reprogramming democratic socialism] … was regarded as a curious British joke by democratic socialists on the European mainland. There, programmes and programmatic activity have been at the centre of party life and activity since the foundation of socialist parties in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.…
“The programmatic orientation that characterised the continental social democrats was never really adopted by the British Labour Party. Identity in the Labour Party was defined organisationally rather than theoretically. The key test was not whether a member accepted some specific statement of socialism but the absence of membership in some other political organisation. In that sense it bore a striking resemblance to the Anglican Church which has never emphasised doctrinal purity. Theoretical questions were transformed into organisational questions and the characteristic leadership response to a challenge was not to engage in a theoretical debate but to expel the dissidents, a response still very marked in the Militant episodes of the 1980s.”
[William E. Paterson, “Reprogramming democratic socialism.” West European Politics. Volume 16, number 1, 1993. Pages 1-4.]
solidarist syndicalism (David «Émile» Durkheim as pronounced in this MP3 audio file and J. E. S. Hayward): To Hayward, Durkheim’s “reformist” approach to syndicalist socialism was based upon the concept of social solidarity. Although Durkheim was a socialist, he was not an anarchist. The book, Socialism and Saint-Simon, is the title of the English–language translation of Durkheim’s Le Socialisme (MP3 audio file).
“It is not merely a matter of increasing the exchanges of goods and services, but of seeing that they are done by rules that are more just; it is not simply that everyone should have access to rich supplies of food and drink. Rather, it is that each one should be treated as he deserves, each be freed from an unjust and humiliating tutelage, and that, in holding to his fellows and his group, a man should not sacrifice his individuality. And the agency on which this special responsibility lies is the State. So the State does not inevitably become either simply a spectator of social life (as the economists would have it), in which it intervenes only in a negative way, or (as the socialists would have it), simply a cog in the economic machine. It is above all, supremely the organ of moral discipline. It plays this part at the present time as it did formerly, although the discipline has changed. (Here we see the error of the socialists.)” [Émile Durkheim. Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Cornelia Brookfield, translator. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press. 1958. Pages 71-72.]
“Socialism … is entirely oriented toward the future. It is above all a plan for the reconstruction of societies, a program for a collective life which does not exist as yet or in the way it is dreamed of, and which is proposed to men as worthy of their preference. It is an ideal. It concerns itself much less with what is or was than what ought to be. Undoubtedly, even under its most utopian forms it never disdained the support of facts, and has even, in more recent times, increasingly affected a certain scientific turn of phrase. It is indisputable that it has thus rendered social science more services perhaps than it received from it. For it has aroused reflection, it has stimulated scientific activity, it has instigated research, posed problems, so that in more than one way its history blends with the very history of sociology. Yet, how can one fail to note the enormous disparity between the rare and meager data it borrows from science and the extent of the practical conclusions that it draws, and which are, nevertheless, the heart of the system? It aspires to a complete remolding of the social order. But in order to know what the family, property, political, moral, juridical, and economic organization of the European peoples can and ought to be, even in the near future, it is indispensable to have studied this multitude of institutions and practices in the past, to have searched for the ways in which they varied in history, and for the principle conditions which have determined these variations. And only then will it be possible to ask oneself rationally what they ought to be now—under the present conditions of our collective existence. But all this research is still in its infancy. Several are hardly going enterprises; the most advanced have not yet passed beyond a very rudimentary phase. Since each of these problems is a world in itself, the solution cannot be found in an instant, merely because the need is felt. The bases for a rigorous prediction about the future, especially one of such breadth, are not established. It is necessary that the theoretician himself construct them. Socialism has not taken the time; perhaps one could even say, it did not have the time.” [Émile Durkheim. Socialism and Saint-Simon. Charlotte Sattler, translator. London and New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa PLC business. 2009. Pages 4-5.]
“The study of solidarity thus grows out of sociology. It is a social fact we can know only through the intermediary of social effects. If so many moralists and psychologists have been able to treat the question without following this procedure, it has been by circumventing the difficulty. They have eliminated from the phenomenon all that is peculiarly social in order to retain only the psychological germ whence it developed. It is surely true that solidarity, while being a social fact of the first order, depends on the individual organism. In order to exist, it must be contained in our physical and psychic constitution. One can thus rigorously limit oneself to studying this aspect. But, in that case, one sees only the most indistinct and least special aspect. It is not even solidarity properly speaking, but rather what makes it possible.” [Émile Durkheim. The Division of Labor In Society. George Simpson, translator. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press. 1960. Page 67.]
“… [A] change of the affective state can only be a temporary one, for while the ceremonies of mourning result from it, they also put an end to it. Little by little, they neutralize the very causes which have given rise to them. The foundation of mourning is the impression of a loss which the group feels when it loses one of its members. But this very impression results in bringing individuals together, in putting them into closer relations with one another, in associating them all in the same mental state, and therefore in disengaging a sensation of comfort which compensates the original loss. Since they weep together, they hold to one another and the group is not weakened, in spite of the blow which has fallen upon it. Of course they have only sad emotions in common, but communicating in sorrow is still communicating, and every communion of mind, in whatever form it may be made, raises the social vitality. The exceptional violence of the manifestations by which the common pain is necessarily and obligatorily expressed even testifies to the fact that at this moment, the society is more alive and active than ever. In fact, whenever the social sentiment is painfully wounded, it reacts with greater force than ordinarily: one never holds so closely to his family as when it has just suffered. This surplus energy effaces the more completely the effects of the interruption which was felt at first, and thus dissipates the feeling of coldness which death always brings with it. The group feels its strength gradually returning to it; it begins to hope and to live again. Presently one stops mourning, and he does so owing to the mourning itself. But as the idea formed of the soul reflects the moral state of the society, this idea should change as this state changes. When one is in the period of dejection and agony, he represents the soul with the traits of an evil being, whose sole occupation is to persecute men. But when he feels himself confident and secure once more, he must admit that it has retaken its former nature and its former sentiments of tenderness and solidarity. Thus we explain the very different ways in which it is conceived at different moments of its existence.” [Émile Durkheim. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Joseph Ward Swain, translator. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1915. Pages 401-402.]
“In place of the class-struggle and economic crises which were the symptoms of capitalism’s inability to reconcile the needs of the individual and the prevailing social order, [David ‘Émile’] Durkheim advocated a reformist syndicalism. This is not to be confused with the revolutionary syndicalism of a [Georges] Sorel, [Hubert] Lagardelle or [Émile] Pouget which substituted an exclusively proletarian solidarity of hate for the social solidarity of reccmciliation through social justice envisaged by Durkheim. Nor should it be confused with die fossilised medieval corporaticms too closely linked with ‘segmental,’ economic semi-self-suffidency to which the Sodal Catholics harked back. Durkheim looked to the professional associations rather than the state to provide the economic oganisation necessary to post-Industrial Revolution civilisation because, like [Pierre-Joseph] Proudhon, he regarded econcomic life as too vast, complex and extensive to be dealt with by a centralised bureaucracy. He preferred to rely on the functional, piecemeal economic democracy of professional organisations to provide the new foundation of social solidarity, rather than, with the orthodox economists, to abandon all hope of effective social regulation. He looked to the professional associations to regulate wages and conditions of work, provide pensions and welfare services in diverse ways appropriate to die conditions prevailing in each profession.” [J. E. S. Hayward, “Solidarist Syndicalism: Durkheim and Duguit, Part I.” The Sociological Review. Volume 8, number 1, July 1960. Pages 17-36.]
“The deterministic, Durkheimian conception of syndicalist solidarity envisaged by [Joseph] Paul-Boncour is made explicit in the following statement: ‘A professional community creates between its members an interdependence, a real and positive solidarity, analogous to that engendered by a territorial community. This positive solidarity may be defined, we believe, the phenomenon by which the act of an individual member of a group afffecs the other members of his group, thereby creating between all its members a reciprocal dependence.’ Whilst aware of the oppressive potentialities of professional solidarity based upon ‘closed shop’ principles, Paul-Boncour was convinced that provided complete freedom of entry into the profession was guaranteed by the state, a resurgence of neo-medieval, closed corporations could be avoided. This would be achieved without depriving the trade unions of the unity and comprehensiveness essential if collective bargaining with employers was to be conducted on equal terms and if those who enjoyed the rights won by trade union action were also to submit to its duties.” [J. E. S. Hayward, “Solidarist Syndicalism: Durkheim and Duguit, Part II.” The Sociological Review. Volume 8, number 2, December 1960. Pages 185-202.]
“The role of the protean idea of solidarity in nineteenth-century French social thought has not received the attention which its significance warrants. From the early decades, it was invoked by such varied thinkers as the social theologists [Joseph] de Maistre and [Pierre-Simon] Ballanche, the Social Catholics [Hugues Felicité Robert de] Lamennais and [Philippe] Buchez; the pioneer sociologists [Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de] Saint-Simon and [Auguste] Comte, the so-called ‘Utopian’ Socialists [Charles] Fourier and [Pierre] Leroux, [Constantin] Pecqueur and Louis Blanc, the political economists [Jean Charles Léonard de] Sismondi and [Charlies] Dupont-White. In the late nineteenth century it achieved its apotheosis in the Solidarism of the Radical leader Léon Bourgeois and the Co-operativism of Charles Gide, the Social Protestantism of [M. Eugene] Secretan and the Social Economics of [Léon] Walras, the Sociology of Émile Durkheim and the Syndicalism of Léon Duguit. In the work of these thinkers, it played a key part in the attempt to reconstruct on new foundations the social cohesion disrupted by the industrial, political and intellectual revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century. Within this process, the Revolution of 1848 constitutes both a milestone and a signpost.” [J. E. S. Hayward, “‘Solidarity’ and the Reformist Sociology of Alfred Fouillée, I.” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Volume 22, number 1, January 1963. Pages 205-222.]
“The eminent French sociologist Professor [Georges] Gurvitch has significantly affirmed that ‘the coming of the school of juridical objectivism was foreshadowed in France by certain thinkers who, for the most part, without appealing directly to [Pierre-Joseph] Proudhon, tended like him more or less consciously to conceive society as an anti-hierarchical, immanent and egalitarian totality, as moral and social integration, equally opposed both to subordination and to individualistic atomism. It was the term solidarity, with its multiplicity of meanings, that in France connoted this approach to the problem.’ Of this group of ‘solidarist’ thinkers, [Alfred] Fouillée was the one, apart from [Auguste] Comte and [David ‘Émile’] Durkheim, whose thought most clearly anticipated that of the leading juridical objectivist, Léon Duguit.” [J. E. S. Hayward, “‘Solidarity’ and the Reformist Sociology of Alfred Fouillée, II.” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Volume 22, number 2, April 1963. Pages 303-312.]
“… the focus of solidarist ideas was no longer in Socialism but in Radicalism — or as it increasingly (and significantly) came to be called, Radical-Socialism — which sought to unite the working and middle classes around a programme of social progress for all; which, while not — at least in the short run — threatening the ‘fundamental rights’ of the latter, secured substantial and immediate improvements in the condition of the former and created the pre-conditions for a more searching reform of the social system subsequently. It is to this transitional, liberal-socialist phase in the fortunes of the idea of solidarity that the contributions of [Charles Bernard] Renouvier, [M. Eugene] Secretan, [Léon] Walras, [André] Gide, [Alfred] Fouillée, [David ‘Émile’] Durkheim and [Léon] Duguit belong. Louis Blanc and [Pierre-Joseph] Proudhon are respectively the primarily constructive and critical links with the pre-solidarists prior to 1848.” [J. E. S. Hayward, “Solidarity: The Social History of an Idea in Nineteenth Century France.” International Review of Social History. Volume 4, issue 2, August 1959. Pages 261-284.]
“Joseph Paul-Boncour, later a French prime minister, argued that the history of professional or occupational associations showed that in all ages and countries such groups had arisen spontaneously and had in time become a decisive force in their industry or occupation. Émile Durkheim, the great French sociologist, was, like Paul-Boncour, something of a ‘corporatist’ in that he believed in the sociologically natural causes and psychologically desirable effects of a network of occupationally organized associations, and wanted a system of government in which such groups played a much larger role.” [Mancur Olson. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1971. Page 113.]
“… it may be said that treaties themselves have no greater force than the consideration of the respect due to the rights of man, or the rights of groups of men, in the projects or in the enterprises in which the diplomacies of force rival each other. And all these diplomatic combinations, all these efforts to secure the equilibrium of antagonistic forces, instead of increasing the sense of security, result curiously only in increasing the unrest of public opinion. It is known, in fact, that in Europe, where so many combinations inter mingle, a conflict could not be localized, and that, through the play of alliances, ententes, secret treaties, a fire kindled at any point of the continent would be in danger of ending in a general conflagration which would compromise the whole-of civilization. Is not the proof of this danger found in the incessant struggle for the increase of armaments on land and sea, which is each year becoming more acute? Does not each one of the states, by imposing upon itself daily ever greater sacrifices, show that it has no confidence in the solidarity of this diplomacy of the balance of power? Does not public opinion see that all this is like a vast scaffold without solid foundations, and that, if only one of the supports by which its weak ness is artificially maintained should give way, the whole edifice of civilization would run the the risk of collapsing.” [Léon Bourgeois, “The Conditions of Peace.” The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920). Volume 71, number 11, December 1909. Pages 253-255.]
coming to terms of Western European socialism with the institutions of representative democracy (Ignacio Walker): He examines the four elements which relate to this accommodation.
“This paper deals with the way that political parties rooted in the Marxist tradition accommodate themselves to the institutions of representative democracy, in both developed and undeveloped countries. It aims at providing some explanation of that process from a comparative perspective.…
“… I shall deal with western European socialism and the process of accommodation to the institutions of representative democracy.…
“My central hypothesis concerning this process is that the coming to terms of western European socialism with the institutions of representative democracy may be explained as a result of four basic elements: (1) the contradictions between the premises of Marxism and the reality of western European capitalist development, (2) the impact of authoritarianism leading to a new appreciation of political democracy, (3) the dynamics of party and electoral competition, and (4) the international context, in which the reality of political-military blocs and the crisis of eastern Communism (authoritarian socialism) merit special attention.”
[Ignacio Walker, “Democratic Socialism in Comparative Perspective.” Comparative Politics. Volume 23, number 4, July 1991. Pages 439-458.]
social democratic ideology (Stephen Mennell): He considers the principles and values of social democrats.
“Ideology in this sense means a set of general principles about which members of the party share a considerable measure of agreement – beliefs about the nature of present society, about the kind of society they want to create, about individuals in relation to society, and about the general values which they hold to be important. Because these beliefs are pitched at a fairly abstract level, they may not appear to have direct practical application, but they enter as high-level propositions into chains of deductive reasoning that have practical policies as their outcome. Even though these chains of reasoning may usually be at best semiconscious, 1 some measure of agreement on ideological fundamentals has the function of giving a degree of internal consistency to a party’s various policies as it evolves them in opposition and, even more importantly, to its decisions when in government.” [Stephen Mennell. On Social Democratic Ideology. Rugby, Warwickshire, England: The Tawney Society. Page 1.]
“It must be made clear, however, that when Social Democrats speak of democratic control, they by no means always mean state control. The equation of democratic control with state regulation so often made by the Labour Party in recent decades is a symptom of intellectual laziness on its part, and a distortion of the main thrust of the early socialist and social democratic tradition.… The state must obviously retain a major role in economic management; its leading part in the establishment of an effective forum for the development of a measure of consensus on wages, prices and economic prospects is unavoidable. But Social Democrats (like Liberals, and like a now largely submerged element in the socialist tradition) are convinced decentralisers of power and control.” [Stephen Mennell. On Social Democratic Ideology. Rugby, Warwickshire, England: The Tawney Society. Pages 8-9.]
Hebrew humanism (Martin “Mordechai” Buber [Hebrew/ʿIḇəriyṯ, מָרְטִין ”מָרְדֳּכַי“ בּוּבֶּר, Mārəṭīn “Mọrədŏḵạy” Būbẹr]): Buber’s socialist approach to Judaism also included considerations of philosophy and spirituality. “Mordechai” was Buber’s Jewish name.
“In the first place …, Hebrew humanism means the return to the linguistic tradition of our own classical antiquity, the return to the Bible; in the second place, it means reception of the Bible, not because of its literary, historical, and national values, important though these may be, but because of the normative value of the human patterns demonstrated in the Bible; thirdly, distinguishing between what is conditioned by the times and what is timeless, in order to make the reception achieve its purpose; and fourthly, setting the human living patterns thus obtained before the eyes of our time with its special conditions, tasks, and possibilities, for only in terms of special conditions can we translate the content we have received into reality.” [Martin Buber, “Hebrew Humanism.” Israel and the World: Essays in a Time of Crisis. New York: Schocken Books. 1963. Pages 240-252.]
“By opposing Hebrew humanism to a nationalism which is nothing but empty self-assertion, I wish to indicate that, at this juncture, the Zionist movement must decide either for national egoism or national humanism. If it decides in favor of national egoism, it too will suffer the fate which will soon befall all shallow nationalism, that is, nationalism which does not set the nation a true supernational task. If it decides in favor of Hebrew humanism, it will be strong and effective long after shallow nationalism has lost all meaning and justification, for it will have something to say and to bring to mankind.” [Martin Buber, “Hebrew Humanism.” (Different essay.) The Writings of Martin Buber. Will Herberg, editor. Cleveland, Ohio: Meridian Books imprint of the World Publishing Company. 1956. Pages 293-299.]
“The social system of modern socialism or communism has, like eschatology, the character of an annunciation or of a proclamation. It is true that Plato was moved by the desire to establish a reality proportioned to the Idea, and it is true that he also sought, to the end of his days and with unflagging passion, for the human tools of its realization; but only with the modern social systems did there arise this fierce interplay of doctrine and action, planning and experiment.…
“The polemics of [Karl] Marx and [Friedrich] Engels have resulted in the term ‘utopian’ becoming used, both within Marxism and without, for a socialism which appeals to reason, to justice, to the will of man to remedy the maladjustments of society, instead of his merely acquiring an active awareness of what is ‘dialectically’ brewing in the womb of industrialism. All voluntaristic socialism is rated ‘utopian.’”
[Martin Buber. Paths in Utopia. R. F. C. Hull, translator. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. 1958. Page 9.]
“The world of It is set in the context of space and time. The world of Thou is not set in the context of either of these.
“Its context is in the Centre, where the extended lines of relations meet—in the eternal Thou. In the great privilege of pure relation the privileges of the world of It are abolished. By virtue of this privilege there exists the unbroken world of Thou: the isolated moments of relations are bound up in a life of world solidarity. By virtue of this privilege formative power belongs to the world of Thou: spirit can penetrate and transform the world of It. By virtue of this privilege we are not given up to alienation from the world and the loss of reality by the I—to domination by the ghostly. Reversal is the recognition of the Centre and the act of turning again to it. In this act of the being the buried relational power of man rises again, the wave that carries all the spheres of relation swells in living streams to give new life to our world.
“Perhaps not to our world alone. For this double movement, of estrangement from the primal Source, in virtue of which the universe is sustained in the process of becoming, and of turning towards the primal Source, in virtue of which the universe is released in being, may be perceived as the metacosmical primal form that dwells in the world as a whole in its relation to that which is not the world—form whose twofold nature is represented among men by the twofold nature of their attitudes, their primary words, and their aspects of the world. Both parts of this movement develop, fraught with destiny, in time, and are compassed by grace in the timeless creation that is, incomprehensibly, at once emancipation and preservation, release and binding. Our knowledge of twofold nature is silent before the paradox of the primal mystery.”
[Martin Buber. I and Thou. Ronald Gregor Smith, translator. Edinburgh, Scotland: T. & T. Clark. 1947. Pages 99-100.]
“… just as the idea of an inner duality is Jewish, so is the idea of redemption from it. True, juxtaposed against it is the Indian idea of redemption, purer and more unconditional; but this idea signifies not a liberation from the soul’s duality, but a liberation from its entanglement in the world. Indian redemption means an awakening; Jewish redemption, a transformation. Indian redemption means a divesting of all appearance; Jewish redemption, a grasping of truth. Indian redempion means negation; Jewish redemption, affirmation. Indian redemption progresses into timelessness; Jewish redemption means the way of mankind. Like all historical views, it has less substance but more mobility. It alone can speak as Job does, “I know that my redeemer liveth” …, and, with the psalmist, “Renew a steadfast spirit within me” …. The redemption idea of the Jew Jesus is rooted in it. The Messianic ideal of Judaism took its human aspect from it. And when, in Jewish mysticism, the original character of the God-idea changed, when the dualistic view was carried over into the very concept of God, the Jewish idea of redemption attained the high plane of the Indian: it grew into the idea of the redemption of God, the idea of the reunion of God’s being (which is separated from things) with God’s indwelling, which—wandering, erring about, dispersed—abides with things. It became the idea of God’s redemption through the creature: through every soul’s progress from duality to unity, through every soul’s becoming one within itself, God becomes One within Himself.
“It is this striving for unity that has made the Jew creative. Striving to evolve unity out of the division of his I, he conceived the idea of the unitary God. Striving to evolve unity out of the division of the human community, he conceived the idea of universal justice. Striving to evolve unity out of the division of all living matter, he conceived the idea of universal love. Striving to evolve unity out of the division of the world, he created the Messianic ideal, which later, again under the guiding participation of Jews, was reduced in scope, made finite, and called socialism.”
[Martin Buber. On Judaism. New York: Schocken Books Inc. 1995. Pages 56-57.]
“… a stern silence ruled in the … twilit room. Then the man with the shepherd’s face raised his heavy lids, which had been lowered the whole time, and said slowly and impressively, ‘You are right.’
“I sat in front of him dismayed. What had I done? I had led the man to the threshold beyond which there sat enthroned the majestic image which the great physicist, the great man of faith, [Blaise] Pascal, called the God of the Philosophers. Had I wished for that? Had I not rather wished to lead him to the other, Him whom Pascal called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Him to whom one can say Thou?
“It grew dusk, it was late. On the next day I had to depart. I could not remain, as I now ought to do; I could not enter into the factory where the man worked, become his comrade, live with him, win his trust through real life-relationship, help him to walk with me the way of the creature who accepts the creation. I could only return his gaze.”
[Martin Buber. Eclipse of God: Studies in the Relation between Religion and Philosophy. (“Hebrew Humanism.”) Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 2016. Pages 30-31.]
“What brought the Socialist [Moses] Hess to the glorification of nation and land in their relation to one another? And how was it that in this work he reached a power of expression which he never achieved in his Socialist writings? Georg Lukács, a leading Marxist thinker of our times, describes Hess as ‘an absolutely foundered predecessor of [Karl] Marx, whose fate was all the more tragic because he was not only personally an absolutely honest revolutionary but also, of all the idealist dialecticians, approximated most closely to Marxian dialectics.’ Lukács accounts for Hess’ ‘failure’ on the grounds that ‘he was wrecked as a theoretician through coming into contact with Dialectical Materialism.’” [Martin Buber, “Moses Hess.” Jewish Social Studies. Volume 7, number 2, April 1945. Pages 137-148.]
“Religious socialism, [Martin] Buber taught, is in consonance with the spirit of authentic or primal Judaism (Urjudentum)—echoes of which are found in the pansacramentalism of Hasidism, but its pristine expression is found in what Buber referred to as the Hebrew humanism of the Bible. ‘The men of the Bible are sinners like ourselves, but there is one sin they do not commit, our arch-sin: they do not dare confine God to a circumscribed space or division of life, to “religion.” They have not the insolence to draw boundaries around God’s commandments and say to him: “Up to this point, you are sovereign, but beyond these bounds begins the sovereignty of science or society or the state”’ ….” [Paul Mendes-Flohr, “Nationalism as a Spiritual Sensibility: The Philosophical Suppositions of Buber’s Hebrew Humanism.” The Journal of Religion. Volume 69, number 2, April 1989. Pages 155-168.]
“In 1933, many of his [Martin Buber’s] thoughts received renewed formulation in an essay entitled ‘Biblical Humanism.’ Much as ‘humanism moves from the mystery of language to the mystery of the human person,’ so that ‘the reality of language , … [will] become operative in man’s spirit’ and its ‘truth … itself prove in the persons existence,’ ‘Biblical humanism moves from the mystery of the Hebrew language to the mystery of the Hebrew being.’ Through attentiveness to the Biblical word, an ‘ordering and directing word,’ the primal forces of the Jewish people would be reborn. The response to this word would be the ‘ordering of the directing deed’ from which ‘the archetype of this people [first] sprung.’” [Michael Fishbane, “Martin Buber as an Interpreter of the Bible.” Judaism. Volume 27, issue 2, spring 1978. Pages 184-195.]
“The mature expression of [Martin] Buber’s concern with realizing the divine through true community is the religious socialism which he developed in the period immediately after the First World War. This development was decisively influenced by the socialism of Buber’s friend Gustav Landauer, the social anarchism of Michael Kropotkin, and the distinction between ‘community’ and ‘association’ in Ferdinand Tonnies’s work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887).” [Maurice S. Friedman. Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue. New York: Harper Torchbooks imprint of Harper & Row, Publishers. 1960. Page 45.]
“As a result of the stimulus provided by the creative communal experiments in Israel and in response to the need to focus his thinking along the lines dictated by his position as professor of social philosophy, Buber wrote Paths in Utopia, a history of socialistic thinking and a statement of his own position. This book represents the fruits of almost fifty years of study and reflection in the area.” [Malcolm L. Diamond. Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist. New York: Oxford University Press. 1960. Pages 13-14.]
21ˢᵗ century democracy (Kevin O’Leary): He proposes the establishment of “local legislative assemblies” with “uniform rules for economic development and commerce.”
“Local legislative assemblies would extend legislative participation to the local level by granting formal institutional status to one local public. The idea is to create local assemblies composed of 50 people in each Congressional district. Thus, there would be one local assembly for roughly every 600,000 people. While each House member would continue to represent the entire district, each delegate to the local assembly would represent approximately 12,000 people. In a nation of 260 million, we currently have 535 federal legislators (100 Senators and 435 House members). This reform would expand the number of people having a vote on federal legislation from a tiny 535 to a larger cross section of 22,285. Fifty persons per Congressional district is a large enough number to involve significant participation from the community, yet small enough for face-to-face debate and discussion. It fits the idea of deliberative democracy by striking a balance between mass partici pation and regular representative democracy.…
“Today, we can move toward the republican idea of local assemblies because the problems that vexed [President James] Madison’s generation have been solved. Today, we accept our national identity over the states. Hardly anyone would now choose to fight for Virginia against the Union as General Lee did in the Civil War. Today, we have a strong federal government and a strong national economy. Local assemblies will not sabotage the Federalist goal of a strong central government that can provide uniform rules for economic development and commerce.”
[Kevin O’Leary, “21ˢᵗ Century Democracy: Local Legislative Assemblies.” The Good Society. Volume 6, number 3, fall 1996. Pages 28-34.]
holistic socialism (Marinella Correggia as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Correggia makes a democratic socialist, as contrasted with a social democratic, argument for “nonviolent agriculture.”
“… the Indian critics of globalization are well aware of the danger inherent in the proliferation of the factory farm. In the West, amid the indifference of the left, animal advocates have managed to conquer bits and pieces of animal welfare. And here we must make an important distinction between animal welfare, or lesser harm (a few more inches of room for caged battery hens, anesthesia for animals undergoing vivisection) and animal rights, based on the concept that nonhuman animals should not be brought into this world so they can be fattened and dispatched to the slaughterhouse, and whose objective is to lessen the suffering in the world. Mutatis mutandis [Late Latin, mūtātīs mūtandīs, ‘once the necessary changes have been made’], it’s the same difference between social democratic ideals and socialism.…
“It’s undeniable there has to be a huge transformation in the way we produce and consume if we are to create an agricultural model for animal welfare and, even more so, if we want to grant animals rights. There would be benefits in terms of human health and the environment, as well as in a fairer distribution of the world’s food supply, without ruining the balance of payments. We would have to provide billions of lire in subsidies to the farmers. That money exists, but it is being spent on emergency mad cow measures and enabling Cremonini & Co. (Cremonini, McDonald’s supplier, runs Italy’s, and perhaps Europe’s, largest meat production operation) to sell their sickening products at bargain prices. Nonviolent agriculture should be part of holistic socialism.”
[Marinella Correggia, “Where Reds Meet Greens—Comrade Animals.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. Volume 12, number 4, December 2001. Pages 137-140.]
structure of the capitalist systems (Adam Przeworski as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): He examines the twentieth–century social democratic movement.
“… the structure of the capitalist systems built by social democrats turned out to be the following: (1) the state operates those activities which are unprofitable for private firms but necessary for the economy as a whole; (2) the state regulates, particularly by pursuing anti-cyclical policies, the operation of the private sector; and (3) the state mitigates, through welfare measures, the distributional effects of the operation of the market.
“The regulatory activities of the state are based on the belief that private capitalists can be induced to allocate resources in a manner desired by citizens and expressed at the polls. The basic notion is that in a capitalistic democracy resources are allocated by two mechanisms: the ‘market’, in which the weight of preferences of decision-makers is proportional to the resources they control, and the state, in which the weight of preferences is distributed equally to persons qua citizens. The essence of contemporary social democracy is the conviction that the market can be directed to those allocations of any good, public or private, that are preferred by citizens and that by gradually rationalizing the economy the state can turn capitalists into private functionaries of the public without altering the juridical status of private property.”
[Adam Przeworski, “Social Democracy as a Historical Phenomenon.” New Left Review. Series I, number 122, July–August 1980. Pages 27-58.]
electronic commons (Peter Levine): Levine and others have developed an Internet coöperative called the “Public Telecommunications Service.”
“… the Internet now needs a voluntary, democratic organization that can demand something of its members and take collective action on their behalf. This association should articu late a clear definition of the ‘commons’ and defend its evolving principles against anarchist and corporate alternatives. It should strengthen networks among people who are interested in the commons idea, by bringing activists from various communities into face-to-face contact, and by sponsoring interchanges among grassroots activists, software experts, leaders of major nonprofits, and public-interest lobbyists. A first meeting of this kind, held in June 2001, generated a focused debate about core principles and strategies.
“This association (which we are calling the Public Telecommunications Service) should raise money from its own members, foundations, and local partners and use these funds to provide its affiliates with training and open source software. Already, our colleagues at Wisconsin are developing two important software products. One program will allow grassroots groups to map assets and networks within their community and to display the results in highly usable forms on the Internet. In particular, this software will address the challenge of depicting human, civic networks along with geospacial information in revealing ways. The other program will guide young people through the stages of researching and writing news stories according to the ideals of public journalism. At the last stage, this software will generate Web-ready articles.”
[Peter Levine, “Building the Electronic Commons.” The Good Society. Volume 11, number 3, 2002. Pages 1 and 4-9.]
global solidarity (John Stirling): He considers “effective global unionization” in light of “the global restructuring of capital.”
“This article takes as its theme the global restructuring of capital and its impact on worker organization. It argues for a reassertion of class in any analysis of global solidarity, and assesses the opportunities and barriers to effective global unionization. Rooted in the UK experience, the article analyzes the impact of the European social dimension on trade unions, before taking the discussion into a global dimension. It concludes by suggesting that there are reasons for cautious optimism in terms of solidarity building, despite difficult historical legacies and the common replacement of action with rhetoric.…
“What emerges, then, for trade unionism is a restructured global economic and political system that challenges the essentially local and national basis of their power, particularly in the economies of the northern hemisphere; exclusion from the new loci of decision-making; the emergence of alternative channels of representation; and an urgent need to apply new strategies within old structures.…
“… The endless conflict of capital and labour may be played out on a wider stage, but the exploitative class relations remain, and are often brought into sharper focus. The national antagonisms equally remain in place as multinational capital shifts relentlessly around the globe and workers compete for jobs through their own exploitation. The response to this, equally, returns us to the necessity of embedding a clear politics into union campaigns. Global solidarity is not just a new tactic but a political necessity, and one that needs to join trade unions with other social movements if it is to have any chance of developing successful campaigns.”
[John Stirling, “Global unions: Chasing the dream or building the reality?” Capital & Class. Volume 34, number 1, 2010. Pages 107-114.]
new economic and social paradigm in America (A. J. Elwood): He discusses various aspects of implementing a system of democratic socialism.
“Creating a new economic and social paradigm in America is not just about income inequality or immigration reform, but a movement that reaches into the future of America as we know it. At stake is the very existence of the American experiment and the lives and fates of billions of people worldwide who yearn to live free and lead lives beyond [Henry David] Thoreau’s, ‘quiet desperation.’
“Transforming America is about social change, but not in the sense of abandoning our values, or turning our backs on the laws and institutions that have made us a beacon of hope to the world. Instead, social change in this context is about questioning the sacred cows where the seeds of prejudice, greed, and hate take root, beginning with these seven basic tenets of democratic socialism in America:
“Work cooperatively to ensure social justice and to improve one another’s lives.
“Disavow the exploitation of all peoples and uphold the principles of equality.
“Respect the environment and use our natural resources in a sustainable manner.
“Facilitate free and open elections, elections, where each citizen has a voice and a vested interest in his or her government.
“Provide free education to all to ensure equal opportunity and the free flow of ideas, opinions, and information.
“Protect and assist the disadvantaged using surplus from both public and privately owned enterprise.
“Deliver quality health care to all citizens, regardless of their needs or socio-economic status.
“Simply put, democratic socialism embraces the democratic process and legislative reform using a strategy strategy of gradualism over revolution to resolve social injustices and secure the rights and freedoms of all. In contrast, capitalism in its purest form is defined as the use of capital to create more capital—at the expense of everything else, leading to many of the social and environmental injustices we see today ….”
[A. J. Elwood. The Rise of Democratic Socialism in America. Seattle, Washington: Amazon Digital Services LLC. 2015. Kindle editon.]
Christian socialism (Mark D. Chapman, John Spargo, Paul D. Bolster, and others): They approach the subject of Christian socialism from various perspectives.
“To speak of ‘Christian Socialism’ in the singular seems to me to be quite improper: instead the forms of Christianity on offer are as different as the varieties of socialism, and they all have radically different implications for policy. I will argue that the main problem confronting both Christians and socialists today is not so much that of the frequently rehearsed breakdown of community, as that of the maintenance of freedom and its concomitant of pluralism. If pluralism is to be taken seriously, and if it is to be seen as a Christian value or even the dominant Christian value, then this requires a radical reorientation of the doctrines of sovereignty and the state.… I argue, the defence of pluralism seems crucial as a safeguard for the protection of diversity, difference and tolerance, values which seem to me to rest at the heart of the Christian religion. Indeed, I will claim, it is only a fonn of Christian socialism that is based on the central Christian value of pluralism and which consequently resists any tendency towards statism or moralism, which can satisfy the needs of contemporary Britain.” [Mark D. Chapman, “Pluralism, Welfare And The ‘Common Good’: Three Varieties Of Christian Socialism.” Political Theology. Volume 1, number 2, May 2000. Pages 33-56.]
“England is the classic home of so-called Christian socialism. Little more is implied by the term, in England, than a philan- thropic attitude toward the poor and the oppressed. Among the members of the various Christian-socialistic organizations there are many earnest and sincere men and women who accept the full political programme without reserve and loyally support it. But most of the members do not. They content themselves with preaching an ethical propaganda of human brotherhood, and, on the practical side, with reform movements, such as co-operative trading, anti-sweating crusades, relief colonies for the unemployed, and the promotion of the use of leadless-glaze pottery—all very commendable works, but not fundamentally related to socialism as that term is rightly understood.” [John Spargo, “Christian Socialism in America.” American Journal of Sociology. Volume 15, number 1, July 1909. Pages 16-20.]
“Commonwealth [the Christian Commonwealth Colony] began with the broad intent of revolutionizing American capitalistic society. But in concrete areas of social concern such as the institution of the family, education, labor unions, charity, race relations or more trivially, dancing, drinking, or playing cards, Commonwealth shed much of its revolutionary clothing. Commonwealth showed its concern for the maintenance of social order in its attitude towards the family and unions. In its dislike of charity it reflected the general attitude of society that handouts make bums. Certainly the continuous good will of neighbors and townspeople indicated a lack of revolutionary aims regarding the mores of the immediate geographic locality. Commonwealth’s revolutionary aims excluded areas of immediate social significance. In the struggle over the practical issues of survival, Commonwealth lost much of its religious fervor. The revolutionary nature of Christian socialism at Commonwealth remained only in its economic and religious theories. On concrete social questions it drifted along with mainstream America.” [Paul D. Bolster, “Christian Socialism Comes to Georgia: The Christian Commonwealth Colony.” The Georgia Review. Volume 26, number 1, spring 1972. Pages 60-70.]
socialist steady–state economy (Minqi Li [Chinese, 李敏奇, Lǐ-Mǐn-qí as pronounced in this MP3 audio file]): Li proposes a socialist planned economy which, he argues, would effectively neutralize the climate crisis.
“… the world has reached an advanced stage of proletarianization. [Karl] Marx famously predicted that the proletariat would become the grave diggers of capitalism.…
“Under the conception of classical Marxism, the post-capitalist economic system is to be based on social ownership of the means of production and society-wide planning.…
“… To achieve meaningful climate stabilization, the most basic requirement for any future economic system is that it has to be based on the commitment to a steady-state economy. That is, the economy must operate with zero economic growth, and with levels of material consumption consistent with the normal operations of the ecological system.
“Capitalism clearly fails to meet this requirement.…
“Even though there has been no precedent of a socialist steady-state economy, given the general understanding of the operational mechanism of a socialist planned economy, it is not difficult to imagine how socialism can achieve a steady-state economy. To achieve zero economic growth, the planning authority could simply decide to use society’s surplus product for social consumption (such as education, health care, science, and culture) rather than accumulation. Alternatively, the planning authority could decide to reduce the working time for every social member so that the size of the surplus product is reduced to a level consistent with zero economic growth.”
[Minqi Li, “The 21ˢᵗ Century Crisis: Climate Catastrophe or Socialism.” Review of Radical Political Economics. Volume 43, number 3, January 2011. Pages 289-301.]
“If we do not want to undermine the ecological conditions that support civilization, what else can accomplish these goals other than socialism with public ownership of the means of production and democratic planning?
“So-called ‘market socialism’ is not an option. Both theory and historical experience have demonstrated that ‘market socialism’ inevitably leads to capitalism. Those who object to socialist planning might argue that the experience of historical socialisms suggested that socialist planning would be ‘inefficient.’
“… The real question is: can socialism provide food, education, and health care to everyone on the earth? We know that historical socialisms were able to, and Cuba is still able to accomplish this with quite limited material resources.”
[Minqi Li, “Climate Change, Limits to Growth, and the Imperative for Socialism.” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine. Volume 60, number 3, July/August 2008. Pages 51-67.]
“Because of the climate change crisis, relentless capitalist accumulation on a global scale is now in fundamental conflict with the survival of human civilization. In this context, the historical task of socialism is no longer about how to successfully compete against capitalism within the capitalist world system. Instead, as capitalism ceases to be a viable historical system, socialism may prove to be the only viable solution to the fundamental crisis confronting humanity in the 21ˢᵗ century.…
“The historical socialist states were committed to the pursuit of economic growth. But this was because these states were a part of the capitalist world system and had to compete against capitalist states in economic and military terms. Sustained economic growth is an essential condition for any nation state to survive in the capitalist world system. In a future post-capitalist world, there is no reason why socialist society-wide planning cannot be used to organize an economic system committed to zero economic growth.…
“Only with public ownership and society-wide planning, could society undertake the massive infrastructure transformation within the relatively short period of time required for rapid reductions of emission intensity.”
[Minqi Li, “The 21ˢᵗ Century: Is There An Alternative (to Socialism)?” Science & Society. Volume 77, number 1, January 2013. Pages 10-43.]
“Capitalism is distinguished from the previous social systems by the dominance of market relations in production and exchange. Under the dominance of market relations, capitalists are compelled to compete against one another for market share and power. Those who fail in competition will become bankrupt and cease to be capitalists. To prevail in market competition, capitalists are both motivated and pressured to use a large portion of their profits to make investment in expanded reproduction and new technology, accumulating capital on increasingly larger scales.” [Minqi Li, “Endless Accumulation, Limits to Growth, and the Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall.” World Review of Political Economy. Volume 7, number 2, summer 2016. Pages 162-181.]
popular movements toward socialism (Samir Amin): He considers two types of these movements.
“The following reflections deal with a permanent and fundamental challenge that has confronted, and continues to confront, all popular movements struggling against capitalism. By this I mean both those of movements whose explicit radical aim is to abolish the system based on private proprietorship over the modern means of production (capital) in order to replace it with a system based on workers’ social proprietorship, and those of movements which, without going so far, involve mobilization aimed at real and significant transformation of the relations between labor (‘employed by capital’) and capital (‘which employs the workers’). Both sorts of movements can contribute, in varying degree, to calling capitalism into question; but they also might merely create the illusion of movement in that direction, although in fact only forcing capital to make the transformations it would need to co-opt a given set of working-class demands. We are well aware that it is not always easy to draw the boundary between efficacy and impotence in regard to the strategies resorted to by these movements, no more so than to determine whether their strategic aims are clashing with their tactical situation.” [Samir Amin, “Popular Movements Toward Socialism.” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine. Volume 66, issue 2, June 2014. Pages 1-32.]
experimental socialism (Axel Honneth as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): In The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal, Honneth also refers to his perspective as “renewed socialism” and “revised socialism.” This evolutionary approach to socialism should, he believes, be open to a variety of mechanisms of coordination. The objective is human freedom.
“… a renewed version of socialism would have to leave it up to experimentation whether the market, civil society or the democratic constitutional state represents the most appropriate steering principle when it comes to realizing social freedom in the economic sphere.” [Axel Honneth. The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal. Joseph Ganahl, translator. Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. 2017. Page 65.]
“… experimental socialism will also have to maintain an overview of current explorations of alternative economic forms. Perhaps it would be even more appropriate to say that it would have to assign itself the task of moral advocate wherever there are possibilities of testing the expansion of social freedom within the economic sector. There are a surprising number of current economic practices in social reality that meet the requirements of such experiments under real conditions.… there are a number of economic initiatives – from the cooperatives in the Basque town of Mondragón to worker ‘solidarity funds’ in Canada – that are committed to the spirit of experimental socialism.” [Axel Honneth. The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal. Joseph Ganahl, translator. Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. 2017. Page 75.]
“… a consummately democratic form of life … resolves the issue of whom renewed socialism must call upon to carry on the struggle to expand our social freedoms by means of experimental explorations. The citizens assembled in the democratic public sphere are the only ones who can be convinced to tear down existing limitations and blockages cautiously in order to enable free cooperation in all major social spheres.” [Axel Honneth. The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal. Joseph Ganahl, translator. Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. 2017. Page 101.]
“There no longer seems to be any hope that capitalism will eventually bring about its own demise, nor that the working class bears within itself the seed of the new society. Yet, those who see this as a reason to cast doubt on my proposal of a revised socialism will have to ask themselves whether their insistence on clinging to their illusions will in fact cause them to miss what is perhaps their last chance to restore some hope in the realizability of their own project.” [Axel Honneth. The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal. Joseph Ganahl, translator. Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. 2017. Page 108.]
“The idea of socialism, as it is originally conceived, is rooted in the notion that it will be possible in the future to fashion societies in their entirety after this model of a fraternal community. This is a way of swiftly if somewhat forcibly unifying into one single principle the three demands issued by the French Revolution, which were otherwise seen to be standing in tension with each other. Socialism is the idea to allow individual freedom to flourish in such a way that it becomes congruent with a form of life in solidarity – that is the communitarism elements in all forms of socialism …. Individual freedom is interpreted as consisting in finding one’s complement in the other, so that it properly coincides with the requirements of equality and fraternity. This holist idea, which conceived of freedom as something realizable not by any individual but only by the fraternal community itself, was the point of departure for the socialist movement. All the measures later taken by its adherents to remedy existing evils – both the beneficial and the harmful measures – were ultimately guided by the aim of creating such a community whose members would mutually complement each other and would treat each other as equals. It was this close link with the demands of the Great Revolution that from the very beginning made it difficult for bourgeois critics of socialism to simply reject the aims of the movement as unjustified. After all, the socialists were appealing to the very same normative principles under whose banner the bourgeois had once been fighting for a democratically organized state. To this day, the charges that socialism is guilty of collectivism or of a romanticization of community therefore leave a strange aftertaste, insofar as they seem like attempts to deny the fact that the basic principles of legitimacy of present-day societies include not only liberty but also solidarity and equality.” [Axel Honneth, “The Idea of Social Freedom: On the Intellectual Roots of Socialism.” Presented at the Dartmouth College Department of Philosophy’s 2014 Critical Theory Roundtable. September 19th, 2014. Pages 1-23. Retrieved on April 14th, 2017.]
“Of all the ethical values prevailing and competing for dominance in modern society, only one has been capable of leaving a truly lasting impression on our institutional order: freedom, i.e. the autonomy of the individual. Of course, other conceptions of the good, from the deism of the natural order to romantic expressionism, have lent new accents to our experience of the self and its relation to others for over two centuries. But in terms of their social impact, once these values go beyond the narrow circle of an aesthetic or philosophical avant-garde and inspire imaginations within the lifeworld, they are quickly subsumed under the notion of autonomy, to which they ultimately only manage to add new layers. Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is nearly impossible to articulate one of these other values of modernity without immediately grasping them as facets of the constitutive idea of individual autonomy. Whether it is a matter of invoking a natural order, idealizing an inner voice, upholding the value of community or authenticity, these are all but mere additional elements of what we mean by individual self-determination. As if by magical attraction, all modern ethical ideals have been placed under the spell of freedom; sometimes they infuse this idea with greater depth or add new accents, but they never manage to posit an independent, stand-alone alternative.” [Axel Honneth. Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life. Joseph Ganahl, translator. Cambridge, England: Polity Press. 2014. Page 19.]
“Today, when one talks about the task of a further democratization within the context of the highly developed countries of the West, then one is referring to the question as to how democratic participation in the process of formation of a political consciousness can be widened and enhanced within the framework of the established political institutions of a parliamentary democracy. The time is long since gone in which the optimism of the Left, sustained by a philosophy of history, allowed them to see decisive solutions to this problem simply in a democratization of the economic sector. The same can be said for those years in which increased participation and parliamentary control of the political process on the part of the general public was limited to initiatives and movements which lay outside the parliamentary sphere.” [Axel Honneth, “Conceptions of ‘Civil Society.’” Radical Philosophy: Philosophical Journal of the Independent Left. Number 63, summer 1993. Pages 19-22.]
“Demands for material redistribution arise out of the epistemological conception of a democratic ethics that I am proposing here from two sources. On the one hand, from the normative implications of equality before the law, that promises equal treatment by the law, for all members of a democratic polity. This shows that the granting of social rights, and the accompanying redistribution, fulfil the normative function of giving each citizen the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of the public formation of a community based on the law. Demands for redistribution arise also from the normative idea, that each member of a democratic society must have the chance to be socially esteemed for his or her individual achievements.” [Axel Honneth, “Recognition or Redistribution?: Changing Perspectives on the Moral Order of Society.” Theory, Culture & Society. Volume 18, numbers 2–3, June 2001. Pages 43-55.]
social democratic theory of the state (Philip Pettit): He contrasts such a theory with “liberal democratic philosophies.”
“The social democratic approach is impatient of the theoretical conceits favoured by liberal democratic philosophies. It is an abstraction to think of all individuals as equal partners in the organization of social and political life and to consider what institutions they might approve, for example, in a hypothetical state of nature. The social democrat rejects this sort of idealization. His starting point is the actual historical condition within which the state is already a potent reality.
“Given the difference of starting point, the social democrat adopts quite a different perspective on the shared ideal of a society in which individuals enjoy maximum equal respect. He does not ask what equally respect-able individuals should require of the institutions under which they live, and in particular of the state, if they are to enjoy equal respect. He asks rather what the state should do in the world as it is now in order to promote this ideal.
“It is a matter of uncontestable fact that individuals do not equally command respect in the actual world. lnequalities of information, influence and the like ensure this. People may be equally respect-able in the higher-order sense that they each have the capacity to perform in a manner, and with an effect, which is as worthy of respect as anyone else’s performance. But they are not equally respect-able in the sense of actually performing to that standard or with such an effect.”
[Philip Pettit, “Towards a Social Democratic Theory of the State.” Political Studies. Volume 35, 1987. Pages 537-551.]
radical approach to the reform of capitalism (Donald A. R. George): He proposes a social–democratic approach to reforming capitalism.
“The possibility emerges of a radical approach to the reform of capitalism which
“introduces democracy from the political to the economic sphere, giving workers power over their working lives and improving the quality of working life;
“increases productivity by economising on monitoring costs and reducing the disutility of work;
“unbundles capitalist property rights, assigning ‘users’ ownership’ to workers and ‘basic ownership’ to a potentially wide range of agents, including wage-earners’ investment funds – this re-assignment of property rights would create a system of ownership different from ‘private’ and ‘public’ ownership, as at present understood;
“retains or even strengthens the role of markets;
“strengthens the pensions system, thus helping to deal with the so-called ‘pensions crisis’;
“allows workers some degree of influence over capital accumulation and other policy objectives such as regional or environmental policy.”
[Donald A. R. George, “Workers’ Savings and the Right to Manage.” Journal of Economic Surveys. Volume 21, number 1, July 2007. Pages 534-552.]
general democratic theory of labor–managed systems (Radoslav Selucký as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Selucký develops a democratic socialist theory of the labor–managed economy.
“If I now summarise the results of my analysis, I may finally formulate a general democratic theory of labour-managed systems which is aimed at maximising (1) social welfare, (2) negative freedom, and (3) positive freedom. (A theory may deal with maximisation only. Whether maximisation evolves into optimisation depends on the chosen economic and social policies.)…
“All other things being equal, maximisation of social welfare depends on the amount of available goods, services and utilities, leisure included. Consequently, the level of productivity (efficiency) of labour, land and capital is decisive. While the most efficient instrument of rational economic allocation and use of scarce resources, goods and services is the market, the most efficient device for adjusting market regulation to welfare priorities is macroeconomic (central) planning. A synthesis of the plan and the market is indispensable. Of all known types of planning, only an indirect (indicative) social planning is compatible with both the market and labour self-management.…
“Since only certain structurally compatible combinations of the (economic and political) subsystems are possible within the system, the pluralistic, decentralized and voluntarily co-ordinated labour-managed economy creates all the necessary conditions for similar political structure with analogous checks and balances maximising NL1 [‘the absence of coercion by men’] (freedom from coercion by the state).”
[Radoslav Selucký. Marxism, Socialism, Freedom: Towards a General Democratic Theory of Labour-Managed Systems. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd. 1979. Pages 208-209.]
“The suggested model of democratic socialism provides for a functional combination of community/society structures; for a direct control of the socially owned means of production by the producers; for a combination of the market and central (indicative) planning; for a (multi-)party system within the society and a non-party system within the work communities; for a combination of participation with representation; for an elimination of class inequalities and privileges; for a symbiosis of individualism and collectivism. I admit that the model is structurally more complex than that based on the one factory, one nation concept. Thanks to the former’s complexity, however, the structural cleavage characteristic of the latter has been eliminated.” [Radoslav Selucký. Marxism, Socialism, Freedom: Towards a General Democratic Theory of Labour-Managed Systems. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd. 1979. Page 189.]
“Unlike [Karl] Marx who has always maintained that ‘the emancipation of the working class must be done by the working class itself’ and that the working class as the class for itself must become the ruling class, [Vladimir] Lenin has taken the most elitist stand by suggesting that the proletariat is unable to reach anything more than a trade union level of class consciousness; that the working class has to be led by its revolutionary vanguard party whose core consists of professional revolutionaries; that the party is organised strongly along the principles of hierarchy and iron discipline; that it relies on centralism rather than on autonomism, on bureaucracy rather than on democracy; that all other organisations of the working class have to be led and supervised by the party; that after the victorious socialist revolution, the same principle applies also to other organisations, be it the state or associations of peasants, intelligentsia, youth, women, etc.; that within the party, the higher bodies are superior to lower bodies; that all decisions of the high bodies are binding on subordinated party organs, etc.” [Radoslav Selucký. Marxism, Socialism, Freedom: Towards a General Democratic Theory of Labour-Managed Systems. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd. 1979. Pages 98-99.]
“In capitalist countries (which was also true of bourgeois Czechoslovakia), industry arises predominantly in the areas where greatest profits can be made. Socialist society, on the contrary, takes a far broader view of the effectiveness of investments. Be sides immediate profit, which obviously must be borne in mind, too, the socialist state recognizes long- term national economic advantages, understood from the higher standpoint of the needs of the people. This lies in the fact that the advantage of industrialization in underdeveloped regions is not measured only by the immediate monetary profit, but also by the benefit. The benefit accruing to all of society cannot be seen in one or two years but only after a considerably longer period, when factories built in rural districts begin to produce, and to create year by year more use values and to contribute an increasing share to national income.” [Radoslav Selucký, “The Economic Equalization of Slovakia with the Czech Lands.” Eastern European Economics. Volume 4, number 1, August 1965. Pages 42-59.]
society of friends (John Wilson): He argues that friendship would be the dominant value of any democratic socialist society.
“We can, however, describe … a [democratic socialist] society with even greater accuracy and still not be accused of seeking to lay down a blueprint for the future. It could be said that in such a society there would have to be a dominant social value: that value which generally governs human relationships in the society and which is the summation of the leading social values of the society. How should it be characterized? Again, there are clearly a number of different ways in which this question might be answered, but paying due attention to the line of reasoning which led to the idea of an ethic of community it might be said that the dominant social value of a socialist society would be friendship. We could say this because we can say that it is likely that a pattern of behaviour which reflected an ethic of community could only be sustained if the dominant social value were something like friendship. Since it has been argued that only a pattern of behaviour which reflected an ethic of community could guarantee the absence of those features of contemporary society which we find objectionable, it may now be argued that only a dominant social value of friendship could sustain a socialist society – that is to say, a society whose hallmark was the absence of the kinds of behaviour which we find most unacceptable in capitalist society.
“In a socialist society, I am arguing, that genuine community feeling which exists between real friends would be generalized throughout the whole of the society, amongst all members of the society. That is what is meant by the notion of a dominant social value: it is that value which typifies the kinds of relationships which exist between people generally. The dominant value of friendship, sustaining and sustained by the dominant pattern of behaviour – which it has been suggested would reflect an ethic of community – would be regarded in such a society as natural; which is to say that people would be thought of as behaving in this way irrespective of external compulsion. To put the point in another way we could say that in such a society it would be said that it was ‘human nature’ for people to be friendly, just as today it is often said to be ‘human nature’ for people to be selfish.”
[John Wilson, “Towards a Society of Friends: Some Reflections on the Meaning of Democratic Socialism.” Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique. Volume 3, number 4, December 1970. Pages 628-654.]
post–Kleinian psychoanalysis (Michael Rustin): He develops a democratic socialist perspective on the work of Austrian–British psychoanalyst Melanie Reizes Klein (MP3 audio file), 1882–1960, and British psychoanalyst Wilfred Ruprecht Bion, 1897–1979.
“In a number of papers written in the early 1980s, I attempted to explore the social and political affiliations of Kleinian psychoanalysis in Britain.… The purpose was partly to explore these connections as matters of fact and explanation, but also to establish the positive values of these psychoanalytic ideas for a democratic socialist vision.…
“… What I want to do in this article is to characterize the development of a ‘post-Kleinian’ body of psychoanalytic ideas, suggest some affinities this shares with the wider post-modernist climate of thought, and to raise some questions about its potential political and cultural linkages, these being still to a degree undetermined and dependent on choices yet to be made.…
“… I argued in ‘A Socialist Consideration of Kleinian Psychoanalysis’ that Melanie Klein’s investigations of the mental states of infancy gave rise to an intensely social view of the origins of the self.…
“A second characteristic of Kleinian analysis was its emphasis on the ethical. Kleinian theory makes the development of moral capacities in the infant a criterion of normal personality development.…
“… A teleological vision was the common background assumption of a wide variety of more-or-less humanist theories, from the Kleinian view of individual development, to both liberal and socialist ideas of social improvement.…
“The central figure in the development of ‘post-Kleinian’ psychoanalysis was Wilfred Bion, though his work forms part of a broader evolution to which many other analysts have contributed.…
“… The imperative to nurture the capacities for expression, task-solving, and engagement with the new, follows from this, as do the institutions, roles and skills which make this possible. Post-Kleinian psychoanalysis has contributed an understanding of the roots of these capacities in infancy, and of the states of feeling and relationship which are their precondition. This is to define socialism as in part a cultural project.”
[Michael Rustin, “Post-Kleinian Psychoanalysis and the Post-Modern.” New Left Review. Series I, number 173, January–February 1989. Pages 109-128.]
“There is always a biological or natural substratum formed and structured by social arrangements, just as there are the properties of matter with which men must cope through their labour. The relevance of Kleinian ‘object-relations’ theory to socialists is, I shall argue, the contribution it makes to the understanding of these natural needs and capacities of men.…
“… Kleinian theory is impregnated with moral categories, and its developmental concepts—especially those of paranoid-schizoid and depressive ‘positions’—incorporate moral capabilities (notably of concern for the well-being of other persons) into their theoretical definition.… [Sigmund] Freud’s superego is conceived as having a repressive and persecutory function, and Freudian analysis could therefore be understood as an emancipation from guilt, especially sexual guilt. In contrast, guilt in [Melanie] Klein’s ‘depressive position’ is understood to arise from the recognition of the pain suffered by or inflicted on others, and as an essential part of relatedness. Capacity for moral feeling, therefore, in its more and less benign forms, is seen as a definable attribute which links human beings, rather than as an unfortunate external constraint upon them.”
[Michael Rustin, “A Socialist Consideration of Kleinian Psychoanalysis.” New Left Review. Series I, number 131, January–February 1982. Pages 71-96.]
“A proposal to institutionalize a universal ‘right to work’ may have the merit of connecting with beliefs which enjoy wide support and not only on the political left. It is obvious that the absence of work represents a massive waste for society in the products and services not made or provided. It represents a loss for each individual deprived of work, and with the existing levels of unemployment in Britain there can be few without first-hand acquaintance with many people beset by this catastrophic experience. Reciprocity of giving and receiving is a natural social condition, and there is a need to contribute to the well-being of others as well as to be cared for by them.…
“I have offered some theoretical justifications for this view in ‘A Socialist Consideration of Kleinian Psychoanalysis’ ….”
[Michael Rustin, “A Statutory Right to Work.” New Left Review. Series I, number 1, January–February 1983. Pages 48-67.]
“[Melanie] Klein added to [Sigmund] Freud’s view her idea that anxieties arose also, and especially strongly, from destructive impulses within the self, which she held were present from the very earliest days of life. She took up [Karl] Abraham’s idea of the infant’s phantasies of cannibalistic attacks on mother’s breast, and developed this in her account of infantile greed and aggression towards the mother. She also held that the infant’s phantasied oedipal attacks on the parents (and indeed siblings) occurred much earlier than Freud believed.” [Michael Rustin, “Anxieties and Defences: Normal and Abnormal.” Organisational & Social Dynamics. Volume 15, number 2, 2015. Pages 233-247.]
“The post-Kleinian theory of narcissism … identifies an organisation of the personality through which the self is able to avoid the polar positions of depressive and paranoid-schizoid states, since each in its different way is liable to generate intolerable levels of anxiety. Instead, in this ‘borderline’ state, a posture of emotional neutrality or indifference is adopted. The self learns to survive and even prosper in a world in which relations with objects cannot be depended on, adopting strategies of prudent self-reliance to cope with what is felt to be at root an untrustworthy and unfriendly world.” [Michael Rustin, “Belonging to oneself alone: The spirit of neoliberalism.” Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. Volume 19, issue 2, June 2014. Pages 145-160.]
“Two of the contributors to this issue … have close links with feminist intellectual traditions, and the Tavistock tradition which is the topic of a third article owes much to the female-centred revision of [Sigmund] Freud’s psychoanalytic theory by Melanie Klein and her collaborators. Although this work did not define itself as feminist, it represented a different kind of gender challenge to patriarchal orthodoxies.” [Michael Rustin, “Emotional labour and learning about emotions.” European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. Volume 6, issue 3, September 2003. Pages 167-174.]
“Women’s increased involvement in the labour market may therefore increase moral resistance to the norms of economic calculation and punitive discipline, even though women will also pursue the opportunities for self-development and economic advancement which paid work provides. Clearly, new modes of consumption, and changed demands on social services (child-care for working mothers, paid or community care of the aged) are also bound up with these changes in forms of production.” [Michael Rustin, “The Politics of Post-Fordism: or, The Trouble with ‘New Times.’” New Left Review. Series I, number 275, May–June 1979. Pages 54-77.]
“Where greed and envy are not excessive, even an ambitious person finds satisfaction in helping others to make their contribution. Here we have one of the attitudes underlying successful leadership. Again, to some extent, this is already observable in the nursery. An older child may take pride in the achievements of a younger brother or sister and do everything to help them. Some children even have an integrating effect on the whole family life; by being predominantly friendly and helpful they improve the family atmosphere. I have seen that mothers who were very impatient and intolerant of difficulties have improved through the influence of such a child. The same applies to school life where sometimes only as few as one or two children have a beneficial effect on the attitude of all the others by a kind of moral leadership which is based on a friendly and co-operative relation to the other children without any attempt to make them feel inferior.” [Melanie Klein. Envy And Gratitude And Other Works: 1946-1963. London: Vintage Books imprint of Random House. 1997. Page 261.]
“… [The] view that the super-ego is more strongly operative in women than in men seems at first sight to be out of keeping with the fact that, compared to men, women are often more dependent upon their objects, more easily influenced by the outer world and more variable in their moral standards—that is, apparently less guided by the requirements of a super-ego. But I think that their greater dependence upon objects is actually closely related to a greater efficacy of the super-ego. Both characteristics have a common origin in the greater propensity women have to introject their object and set it up in themselves, so that they erect a more powerful super-ego there. This propensity, moreover, is increased precisely by their greater dependence upon their super-ego and their greater fear of it. The girl’s most profound anxiety, which is that some unascertainable damage has been done to her inside by her internalized objects, impels her, as we have already seen, to be continually testing her fears by means of her relations to real objects. It impels her, that is, to reinforce her introjective tendencies in a secondary way. Again, it would seem that her mechanisms of projection are stronger than the man’s, in conformity with her stronger sense of the omnipotence of her excrements and thoughts; and this is another factor which induces her to have stronger relations with the outer world and with objects in reality, partly for the purpose of controlling them by magical means.” [Melanie Klein. The Psychoanalysis of Children. Alix Strachey, translator. New York: Evergreen imprint of Grove Press, Inc. 1960. Pages 316-317.]
“Working-through was one of the essential demands that [Sigmund] Freud made on an analysis. The necessity to work through is again and again proved in our day-to-day experience: for instance, we see that patients, who at some stage have gained insight, repudiate this very insight in the following sessions and sometimes even seem to have forgotten that they had ever accepted it. It is only by drawing our conclusions from the material as it reappears in different contexts, and is interpreted accordingly, that we gradually help the patient to acquire insight in a more lasting way. The process of adequately working-through includes bringing about changes in the character and strength of the manifold splitting processes which we meet with even in neurotic patients, as well as the consistent analysis of paranoid and depressive anxieties. Ultimately this leads to greater integration.” [Melanie Klein, “Narrative of a Child Analysis: The Conduct of the Psycho-Analysis of Children as seen in the Treatment of a Ten year old Boy.” The International Psycho-Analytical Library. Volume 55, 1961. Pages 1-536.]
“I asked Dr. [Wilfred R.] Bion if he considered himself a ‘Kleinian’ and received the answer, ‘Not specifically in a way excepting this; that I feel extremely indebted to Melanie Klein, because I went to her for analysis … and I felt she opened up possibilities which seemed me to be very much to the point.’ In addition to gratitude to Melanie Klein he feels a strong admiration for her. ‘The extraordinary thing that an ordinary human being like that is able to have these intuitions and is able to maintain them in spite of a great deal of hostility. People don’t like this further expansion of knowledge or experience.’ Again saw the theme of expansion, growth, development, and the resistances, hostilities, and restrictions into which it runs.” [John S. Peck, “An Interview with Wilfred Bion.” Group. Volume 2, number 1, spring 1978. Pages 54-59.]
“I owe my clarification of the obscurity that pervades the whole of a psychotic analysis mainly to three pieces of work. As they are crucial for understanding what follows I shall remind you of them. First: [Sigmund] Freud’s description, referred to by me in my paper to the London Congress of 1953, of the mental apparatus called intoactivity by the demands of the reality principle and in particular of that part of it which is concerned with the consciousness attached to the senseorgans. Second: Melanie Klein’s description of the phantasied sadistic attacks that the infant makes on the breast during the paranoid-schizoid phase, and third: her discovery of projective identification. By this mechanism the patient splits off a part of his personality and projects it into the object where it becomes installed, sometimes as a persecutor, leaving the psyche, from which it has been split off, correspondingly impoverished.” [W. R. Bion, “Differentiation of the Psychotic from the Non-Psychotic Personalities.” International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Volume 38, 1957. Pages 266-275.]
“I have found theories of acting-out enlightening, but not enlightening enough; none of the theories known to me ‘contains’ the ‘facts’ by which I seek to be enlightened. My ‘facts’ gird against the framework of definition and theory that I seek to erect around them. The patient who is acting out cannot be ‘contained’ within existing formulations.” [Wilfred Bion, “Container and Contained.” Group Relations Reader. A. D. Colman and W. H. Bexton, editors. Jupiter, Florida: A. K. Rice Institute. 1985. Pages 127-133.]
“A Good place to start in the evolution of thought on autism and psychoanalysis is Melanie Klein’s first account of one of her cases, that of a child called Dick.… This essay is important from two points of view. In it she consolidates her understanding of the early development of the ego and she also opens up an area that was to become particularly fruitful for her followers; the study of psychosis.
“This essay was presented prior to the publication of Kanner’s work on infantile autism, at a time, therefore, when the distinct clinical entity of autism had not yet been described. This accounts for Klein’s diagnosis of Dick as psychotic, probably schizophrenic. Nowadays he would probably be diagnosed as autistic.”
[Caroline Noone, “Autism and Psychoanalysis: Strange Bedfellows?” The Letter: Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Issue 28, summer 2003. Pages 47-79.]
“The loyal disciples of Melanie Klein accept [Wilfred R.] Bion’s early work but are distrustful of his later work.… The question to which we now address ourselves is: why was the later Bion not acceptable to some Kleinians?
“We believe the first reason was his introduction of ‘O’ ….
“I shall use the sign O to denote that which is the ultimate reality represented by terms such as ultimate reality, absolute truth, the godhead, the infinite, the thing-in-itself. [quotation from Bion]
“O, then, has a metaphysical and religious meaning. Melanie Klein was indifferent to religion and philosophy, though not opposed to them …. Certain of her close followers, however, have, like [Sigmund] Freud, been definitely anti-religious and almost fanatically opposed to any philosophical position which has any whiff of religion. They stand firmly in Freud’s atheistic shoes and are pledged with him to positivism.…
“Bion was closer to the Klein school than any other and many of his key concepts have been directly assimilated from Klein – projective identification, splitting, death instinct, paranoidschizoid and depressive positions – but he used them in the service of a different outlook, a new metapsychology.…
“… Klein was more focused on the process of mental development and its disruption by forces like greed and envy. Bion’s approach was more positive.”
[Joan and Neville Symington. The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion. London and New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa PLC business. 2002. Pages 10-12.]
“I have outlined what I believe to be a Kleinian psychoanalytic sociology of racism.… [Melanie] Klein makes a clear distinction between envy, jealousy and greed. Jealousy excludes another from good; destructiveness is a byproduct of exclusion and usually involves a second party. Greed operates similarly by taking the whole of the good, regardless of the consequences that others may suffer, again destructiveness is a by-product of the process. In other words, what makes envy so destructive or dangerous is that its attempts to destroy good rather than bad.…
“In order to understand the role that depressive anxiety plays in the explanation of racism it is necessary to return to Klein’s notion of positions. The paranoid schizoid position is characterised by a splitting of difference. Good and bad objects are split, the good introjected, the bad projected outward into someone or something else. Think of this as a state of mind in which we perceive things to be very clear cut, good or bad.”
[Simon Clarke, “Psychoanalytic Sociology and the Interpretation of Emotion.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Volume 33, issue 2, 2003. Pages 145-163.]
“Starting from [Sigmund] Freud’s assumption that anxiety is the central point around which the psychic mind evolves, she [Melanie Klein] proposes the notions of projective identification, of unconscious fantasies and her viewpoints on the symbolic development of the mind, taking some of Freud’s ideas far ahead.…
“As [Wilfred R.] Bion’s thinking evolved, he seemed to be able to create his own theoretical and clinical framework, where some of both Klein’s and Freud’s ideas are visible and identifiable, but in Bion’s own way. Bion is not a Freudian author, but neither is he a Kleinian; strictly speaking, Bion is Bion. His work is original, and I think that he is an author who clearly developed a truly psychoanalytic perspective.
“For Bion, mental development is a complicated process which must be structured at each step. It cannot be compared to biological development. For Bion, the development of the mind is in a certain sense autonomous. The mind is constructed bit by bit by digesting experiences.”
[Ana Maria Andrade de Azevedo, “Substantive unconscious and adjective unconscious: the contribution of Wilfred Dion.” Journal of Analytical Psychology. Volume 45, number 1, January 2000. Pages 75-91.]
global and ecologically–based socialist order (David Mowbray): He discusses the necessity of coming to terms with “human ecological problems” through a “global ecology.”
“… human ecological problems … are ones socialists and marxists must come to grips with. Any solution to global ecological problems is of course complex. However, such a solution must be global and holistic taking into account all factors — biological, political, economic, social and cultural — interacting together ….
“… can we have a more equitable distribution of resources in a system that tolerates, indeed propagates, imperialism? Furthermore, a no-growth capitalist economics is a contradiction.…
“I believe that any solution must entail an end to the capitalist economy and to growth orientated socialism and imperialism, and an equitable distribution of the world’s resources. As has been stated elsewhere, ‘economics plus ecology equals socialism.’ Any solution would mean the creation of a global and ecologically-based socialist order.”
[David Mowbray, “Global Ecology.” Australian Left Review. Volume 1, issue 36, July 1972. Pages 14-20.]
democratic eco–socialist world system (Hans A. Baer as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): He proposes a fusion of democratic socialism with ecosocialism.
“The concept of democratic eco-socialism constitutes a merger of the earlier existing concepts of democratic socialism and eco-socialism. It is imperative that progressives reinvent the notion of socialism by recognizing that we live on a planet with limited resources that must be more or less equitably distributed to provide everyone with enough, but not too much.…
“Democratic eco-socialism rejects a statist, growth-oriented, productivist ethic and recognizes that humans live on an ecologically fragile planet with limited resources that must be sustained and renewed as much as possible for future generations.…
“Anti-systemic movements are sure to be a permanent feature of the world’s political landscape so long as capitalism remains a hegemonic political-economic system.…
“The transition toward a democratic eco-socialist world system is not guaranteed and will require a tedious, even convoluted path that anti-systemic movements will have to play a central role in creating. Marx viewed blueprints as a distraction from the political tasks that needed to be undertaken in the present moment and, indeed, pressing issues are paramount. But history tells us that there always will be immediate struggles that must be addressed. I often find that when people ask me what it would take to make a transition to a democratic eco-socialist world system, they are seeking some basic guidelines on how to move forward beyond merely bumbling along haphazardly a step at a time.”
[Hans A. Baer. Toward Democratic Eco-socialism as the Next World System. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. 2016. Pages 5-8.]
dynamic coöperative economy (Wilfred I. Ukpere): The South African scholar argues for a revitalization of capitalism through “positive socialist variants.”
“Socialism has failed and capitalism has failed woefully. Hence, the only hope that is left, is a renaissance of positive socialist variants, in order to resuscitate capitalism. Therefore, a cooperative economic ideological order is urgently required within the current global crisis. It is only determined government action, which is orchestrated by a strong sense of true nationalism that can put a limit to the worst effects of the current global economic meltdown. Therefore, the state cannot continue to be a passive onlooker of economic mismanagement and industrial cacophony, because humans, in search of peace and progress, have surrendered their sovereign identity to the state. The state is, indeed, a fine product of human civilisation, and should be an authoritative supreme power – the actual sovereign, which has to formulate and execute the will of the people, while stimulating private initiatives toward the realisation of a dynamic cooperative economy.” [Wilfred I. Ukpere, “Demise of a single orthodoxy and the possibility of a cooperative economy.” International Journal of Social Economics. Volume 37, number 1, 2010. Pages 239-253.]
“… as opposed to neo-liberal views, history has just begun, and the positive aspects of socialism can neither be ignored nor proclaimed to be dead and buried, because to bury socialism in its entirety, would mean to bury unionism; to bury socialism would be to bury industrial democracy and economic empowerment; to bury socialism would be to bury government regulation and interventions; to bury socialism would be to bury harmonious industrial relations; to bury socialism would in fact be to bury all alternatives to the present world of exploitation, poverty, inequality, squalor and disease, unnecessary deaths and hopelessness. In that sense, socialism is neither dead nor buried, but lurks in every corner of our societal being. In fact, socialism is still very much alive in Cuba and has brought a huge academic developmentalism to that part of the world, to the extent that even the United States of America sources doctors from Cuba.” [Wilfred I. Ukpere, “End of an Orthodoxy and Resurgence of a Complementary Economic Pattern: A Position Paper.” Alternation. Special edition, volume 5, 2012. Pages 3-26.]
coöperatives through dialogue (Benjamin F. Galbraith): He developes a Bohmian dialogical approach to establishing coöperatives.
“My question has simply been ‘how do I start a worker cooperative?’ The answer has turned out to be ‘to get a …group of people aspiring to become a worker cooperative” to engage in what organizational development people call “dialogue.”’ But this then raises the questions about what I mean when I say ‘dialogue’ and ‘worker cooperative.’
“First, by ‘dialogue’ I mean ‘dialogue as defined by David Bohm … in the book On dialogue.’ Dialogue is a conversation in a group where that group does not have to make any decisions or take any actions. Dialogue is therefore a conversation in which the parties involved voluntarily decide not to defend their respective positions.
“‘Consensus’ is a group of people making a decision by way of ‘unanimous decision’ (rather than by ‘majority rule.’) In groups where individuals are very empowered, the group whole does not necessarily need to come to consensus on every decision, so much as have conversations deep enough for the individual members to be able to decide for themselves what they need to do in the best interest of the group. This depth of conversation can easily be avoided by the group thinking that it needs to make a decision, since then group members take positions and sides, and the conversation is then spent at that shallow defensive level. Dialog instead moves on to new appropriate possibilities created by participants building on each others ideas.
“Second, by ‘worker cooperative,’ I mean a business that is collectively owned and managed by its workers. An organization must meet the following four requirements in order to be a ‘worker cooperative’:
“First and foremost, the organization must be controlled by those who work in that organization, in order to be a worker cooperative. A business owned by its workers but not controlled by those same workers is not a worker cooperative.
“The organization must be owned by those who work in that organization, in order to be a worker cooperative. A business that is managed but not owned by those same workers is not a worker cooperative.
“The organization must be managed only by its workers, and owned only by its workers. A business collectively owned and/or managed by its customers is not a worker cooperative. That would be a consumer cooperative.
“The organization must be a business in order to be a worker cooperative. An organization that is controlled and owned by its workers but is not actually a business is not a worker cooperative.
“In this thesis I am not debating as to whether or not a worker cooperative is a ‘good thing.’ I am assuming that we are already interested in starting worker cooperatives.”
“I give a meaning to the word ‘dialogue’ that is somewhat different from what is commonly used. The derivations of words often help to suggest a deeper meaning. ‘Dialogue’ comes from the Greek word dialogos [Ancient Greek/A̓rchaía Hellēniká, διάλογος, diálogos]. Logos [Ancient Greek/A̓rchaía Hellēniká, λόγος, lógos] means ‘the word,’ or in our case we would think of the ‘meaning of the word.’ And dia [Ancient Greek/A̓rchaía Hellēniká, διά, diá] means ‘through’—it doesn’t mean ‘two.’ A dialogue can be among any number of people, not just two. Even one person can have a sense of dialogue within himself, if the spirit of the dialogue is present. The picture or image that this derivation suggests is of a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us. This will make possible a flow of meaning in the whole group, out of which may emerge some new understanding. It’s something new, which may not have been in the starting point at all. It’s something creative. And this shared meaning is the ‘glue’ or ‘cement’ that holds people and societies together.” [David Bohm. On Dialogue. Lee Nichol, editor. London and New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa PLC business. 2003. Page 6.]
coöperative society (Émile George Nadeau as pronounced in this MP3 audio file and others): They examine the possibilities of making the transition to a new democratic form of societal organization. Visit the associated website.
“The cooperative society is a potential new stage of human history, characterized by economic and political democracy, cooperative international relations and a symbiotic relationship with nature. The cooperative society would replace our current stage of history, which is characterized by a small number of large, for-profit corporations that dominate the world economy; a mix of authoritarian and democratic governments; a low quality of life for many of us; a high level of conflict-based interaction within and among nations; and a destructive relationship with the environment.…
“If such a transition is occurring:
“This emerging society would be a major paradigm shift, on a scale that has occurred only a few times since we evolved as a species over 200,000 years ago.
“For the first time in over 5,000 years, we would have a society that is not dominated by religious, military, political and/or economic elites.
“Our society would be based on cooperation and democracy rather than conflict, control by the few and extreme inequality.…
“From the perspective of economic activities, the major stages of human history can be classified as: hunting and gathering, simple agriculture and an age of increasingly complex and diversified economic activity.”
[E. G. Nadeau and Luc Nadeau. The Cooperative Society: The next stage of human history. Madison, Wisconsin: E. G. Nadeau and Luc Nadeau. 2016. Pages 1-2.]
“What does … [an] analysis of the abuses of concentrated economic power in the United States and of the recent recession have to do with cooperatives?
“The answer is that cooperatives rarely engage in the kind of self-serving behavior that leads to these economic crises. Because they are democratically controlled and because their primary goal is to provide services to their members, they don’t create the kind of havoc described above. Thus, it makes sense to look at cooperative forms of business ownership as means to create a pattern of growth in the United States that is not subject to the ‘bipolar disorders’ of our current economic system.”
[E. G. Nadeau. The Cooperative Solution: How the United States can tame recessions, reduce inequality, and protect the environment. Madison, Wisconsin: E. G. Nadeau. August, 2012. Page 22.]
“Pick a specific issue on which to cooperate. Cooperation is just an abstraction until we identify something to cooperate about If we’re going to make the world a more cooperative place, we need to do it one project at a time. Maybe there’s something happening in your neighborhood that has become a bother to you and to others who live nearby. For example, a group of middle-school kids are hanging out when they should be in school, and you suspect them of some petty thievery and vandalism. Getting together with a group of neighbors to explore solutions to this problem is a cooperative activity, one which may lead to some constructive ideas about what to do with these budding juvenile delinquents. Perhaps the neighborhood meeting, in turn, might lead to a cooperatively oriented project between the neighborhood and the school, in which curricular and extracurricular changes are made to help these kids develop a greater sense of purpose (for example, Common Wealth’s middle-school business mentoring program). This project may become a model for other neighborhoods and schools in your community. And so on.” [E. G. Nadeau and David J. Thompson. Cooperation Works!: How People Are Using Cooperative Action to Rebuild Communities and Revitalize the Economy. Rochester, Minnesota: Loan Oak Press, Ltd. 1996. Page 180.]
“The concept of landowner cooperation holds tremendous promise. People working together creates a synergy – landowners sharing solutions, pooling resources, hiring expertise, developing markets, and accomplishing work that might be impossible alone. Private cooperative efforts can offer alternative land management systems that may provide a better fit for an individual’s interests than can be found in the general marketplace for forestry services. Landowner cooperation can more easily leverage resources available from public funding and can organize volunteers with a deep ethical commitment to sustainable land use to assist with one-time projects. Cooperation also helps landowners to look beyond their own boundaries and consider larger regional and landscape-scale issues. Private landowner cooperation may also appeal to many people who are reluctant to become involved in traditional governmental programs.” [E. G. Nadeau, Isaac Nadeau, Mary E. Myers, Jody Padgham, Philip Guillery, and Kathryn Fernholz. Balancing Ecology and Economics: A Start-up Guide for Forest Owner Cooperation. Revised second edition. Madison, Wisconsin: Cooperative Development Services. October, 2002. Pages viii-ix.]
“Farmer and forest owner cooperatives have a unique ability to aggregate large numbers of members and the acreage that they own in order to create economies of scale for land management services and for marketing forestry products and ecosystem services. During the next decade, we will see whether these co-ops can realize their potential to provide improved forest management and improved ecological services on a large scale in the United States.” [E. G. Nadeau. Forest Owner Cooperation in the Upper Midwest: Overview and Lessons Learned, 1998-2012. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. January, 2013. Page 28.]
“… the major breakthrough in successful rural cooperatives did not occur until the period from 1910-1930. It was during this time that the federal government began to provide legal and financial support to farmers and to rural co-ops. In particular, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 opened up sources of credit to farmers and lengthened the terms of credit. The system of Federal Land Banks created by this legislation inspired the development of the Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, Production Credit Corporations, and Banks for Cooperatives, which in 1933 all merged into the Farm Credit Administration. The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 supported the creation of rural electric cooperatives and significantly increased access to electricity outside of urban areas.” [E. G. Nadeau and Elisabeth Howard, “Mutual Wealth in Rural America.” Working paper. Center for Social Development. Washington University in St. Louis. St. Louis, Missouri. 2005. Pages 1-27.]
“The purpose of this paper is to present a strategic analysis of how forestry cooperatives can play an important role in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in both developing and developed countries. The paper makes the case that, over the next 20 years, forestry cooperatives could become the primary means by which the world’s carbon emissions from deforestation are reduced and the storage of carbon in forests is increased. The underlying contention of the paper is that forestry co-ops have a unique ability to efficiently aggregate and mobilize large numbers of people and resources at the community level in order to increase net forest carbon sequestration.” [E. G. Nadeau, “The Role of Forestry Cooperatives in Climate Change Mitigation.” Masters in Management in Cooperatives and Credit Unions Program. St. Mary’s University. Halifax, Nova Scotia. August, 2011. Pages 1-21.]
“Simply put, forest owner cooperation refers to owners of non-industrial private forestland who work together to improve management practices on their land. A range of organizational models is possible, depending on the goals of the group. Some may focus on information sharing. Others may want to cooperate on management planning or joint marketing of raw timber or stumpage. Some may be concerned about resource protection or controlling the spread of development. Others still may have interest in economic activities like value-added processing and marketing of wood and other forest products.” [E. G. Nadeau and Paul Pingrey, “What’s new in Forest Owner Cooperation?” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Madison, Wisconsin. July, 2001. No pagination.]
“The key issue that I will focus on in my comments is how … to institutionalize a periodic, global census on cooperatives.
“The big questions that I think need to be addressed are:
“Where should the world co-op census be housed?
“When should the next co-op census occur? How often should it occur?
“What variables should be added to the census in the future, and how should they be determined?
“What should the annual budget of the census office be?
“How should it be funded?
“How should the results be publicized?
“What’s the next step in moving toward an institutionalized global census?
[E. G. Nadeau, “Discussant Comments on Dave Grace’s Presentation on the Global Census on Cooperatives 2014.” International Cooperative Research Group of the US Overseas Cooperative Development Council. Washington, D.C. December 8th, 2014. No pagination.]
“The authors of Cooperation Works utilize 50 vignettes divided among three parts, and 12 chapters to demonstrate the practical importance of cooperative models for vitalizing independent businesses (including farms) meeting human needs, and rebuilding communities. Most of the cooperative models presented are formally organized cooperatives, though not all. Some are more loosely organized groups, and others are local governments that work along the lines of the principles of cooperation, but explicitly for the purposes of social change, not as cooperative businesses. An organizing theme throughout the work, though not explicitly stated, is empowerment. In this work, the empowerment process is seen as proceeding via cooperative action, or ‘through people working together in a democratic manner toward shared goals.’” [Thomas W. Gray, “Cooperation Works!: How People Are Using Cooperative Action to Rebuild Communities and Revitalize the Economy.” Rural Sociology. Volume 63, number 1, March 1998. Pages 173-177.]
“… Cooperation Works! undermines its own message by listing ‘The 100 Largest Cooperatives in the U.S.A.,’ with a combined annual revenue of almost $100 billion, but a quick review of the lists shows a lot of large companies, which I admit I did not know were cooperatives, and which treat their workers no better than the average large company in the US. But at the same time, the book lists many smaller cooperatives that are actively trying to improve lives.” [Lyman Tower Sargent, “Cooperation and Utopianism.” Utopian Studies. Volume 12, number 2, 2001. Pages 246-250.]
“The Global Labour Institute is a labour service organisation established in 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Its purpose is to support the efforts of the labour movement to deal with the globalization of the world economy and its social and political consequences and, to this end, to strengthen links and networks between trade unions and other civil society organizations with similar or converging interests, particularly in the defense of human and democratic rights and social justice in all its aspects. It is guided by the principles and values of democratic socialism.”
“In 1997, Dan Gallin founded the Global Labour Institute in Geneva. In the founding statement was a commitment to organise a Summer School as soon as resources were available. Fifteen years later, as this aspiration finally became a reality, Gallin identifies a dual crisis afflicting the labour movement. On the one hand, there is a crisis of trade unionism. On the other, there is a crisis of socialism. The connections between these two crises must be untangled and explored, he said.
“Unlike some commentators, Gallin does not believe that the ‘violent onslaught of corporate power and conservative governments’ is the sole cause for the crisis of trade unionism. Although these factors are very real, the problem is also the ‘passivity’ of trade unions in the face of this onslaught.
“This passivity has its roots in the Second World War. Organised labour had provided a valuable ally to national war efforts in Europe and the USA. Once the war ended, unions continued to work with governments, becoming reliant upon the state as the vehicle of change. The vision of a new society which had characterised pre-war trade unionism was lost. According to Gallin, these developments undermined the labour movement’s ‘capacity to act as an effective force’ for social transformation.”
[Celia Mather, “The Big Picture: How Did We Arrive Here?” The Political Agenda of the International Trade Union Movement: Discussions from the GLI International Summer School—9-13 July 2012, Northern College, UK. Celia Mather, editor. Manchester, England: Global Labour Institute. November, 2012. Pages 9-22.]
pluralist, coöperative commonwealth (John Restakis [Greek/Hellēniká, Γιάννης Ρεστάκης, Giánnēs Restákēs as pronounced in this MP3 audio file]): Restakis focuses upon “the principle of economic democracy in service to the common good.” He also examines the various stages through which the coöperative movement has progressed.
“The form of political economy that I advocate is a pluralist, cooperative commonwealth based on the principle of economic democracy in service to the common good. Its purpose is to reinforce and reward human solidarity, to care for the planet, to nurture community, and to support the fullest realization of one’s aspirations as a social being.…
“Cooperative commonwealth is not a new idea. It has been expounded for over 150 years and its theorists and practitioners have set out in detail how such an economic system might work, in the context of their own times. From the ideas of Robert Owen and William Thompson in the early years of the cooperative movement, to the guild socialists of the interwar years, to current theorists of peer-to-peer production networks and the commons, an economy based on collectively owned, democratically organized, and self-governing cooperative enterprises and institutions has been a central pillar of the socialist alternative to capitalism. But there are many brands of socialism.
“What I propose is a form of civil socialism wherein democratically structured civil institutions are the organizational basis of the economy, as opposed to forms of state socialism, which are organized around centrally planned systems controlled by the state. In both cases socialism, in which economies are meant to serve the common interest, provides the primary ideological counterweight to capitalism, in which capital controls economies in the service of private interests.”
[John Restakis. Cooperative Commonwealth & the Partner State. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. December, 2016. Pages 4-5.]
“[Karl] Marx and [Friedrich] Engels initially saw the co-operative experiment as a practical and realistic step toward the realization of a socialist society. What they criticized was the absence of a class dimension to co-operativism. In its time, they thought, the cooperative idea was appropriate because the conditions for a class-based strategy for revolution were not fully developed. Once they were, by the time they wrote the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels considered Owen’s co-operative vision obsolete.” [John Restakis. Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers. 2010. Page 36.]
“The co-operative model, and the movement more generally, has always been in a state of evolution, adapting and transforming according to the conditions and contexts in which it finds itself. In its first stage, lasting from 1817–1840, co-operation was at the heart of a visionary social impulse. Philosophers and activists struggled to develop the co-operative ideal of the good society and to put this ideal into practice. It was a period when many were persuaded that co-operation was the gateway to a new millennium, a kind of paradise on earth. To this end, hundreds of co-operative communities were established in a grand social experiment spanning countries and continents to discover a model for a just and humane society. Robert Owen was one of these pioneers and his own efforts to create a functioning co-operative community became the model for others that followed in the United Kingdom, France and other parts of Europe, and the United States. Most of these efforts failed.
“The second stage of the movement was marked by a shift from the ideal to the pragmatic and by the successful application of the cooperative idea directly to the market by groups like the Rochdale Society of Pioneers.…
“The third stage of the movement was the period from World War I to the 1960s when the co-op model took root in countries the world over and expanded to fuel the creation of thousands of co-operatives in every sector of national economies.…
“In most countries, the consumer co-op remained the most influential form of the model, followed by agricultural co-ops, credit unions and worker co-ops. As the cooperative movements grew, however, and the co-op form became more and more adapted to the market realities of specific industries, the original vision of a cooperative community and the creation of a co-operative commonwealth became marginalized by the main currents of co-operative development.”
[John Restakis. Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers. 2010. Page 41.]
“… the historical roots of the social economy lie within the thought and work of the utopian socialists and the early attempts to create alternative communitarian responses to the mainstream capitalist economy through the use of the co-operative model. This early history framed later definitions that retained the emphasis on an alternative paradigm that challenged the classical understanding of capitalist economics, including the control of capital.
“Very quickly the concept came to be used to refer to collective enterprises and associations guided by ethical and moral considerations, not just material gain.”
“Co-operative alternatives challenge governments to address the issue of performance and public accountability in ways that go beyond mere contractual agreements and improved reporting mechanisms. This applies both to internal governance structures involving employee/employer relations, and the manner in which bureaucracies relate to citizens.
“Secondly, co-operative alternatives affirm the central role of civil society in the creation of public goods and services. They offer a mechanism for engaging citizens and communities in the restructuring of public services, and a means through which governments can invest in the creation of social capital. Co-operatives highlight the fact that the success of ASD [alternative service delivery] is in large measure dependent on a strong civil society capable of playing a role which is often assumed, but rarely articulated or developed in practice.”
[John Restakis, “Government Restructuring and Implications for Civil Society.” International Co-operative Review. Volume 91, number 1, 1998. Pages 73-83.]
“Reciprocity is a key for understanding how the institutions of society work. But it is also an economic principle with wholly distinct characteristics that embody social as opposed to merely commercial attributes. And while social economy organizations also engage in market exchanges these exchanges are conditioned, and set within, a set of social relations whose purpose is social value not private accumulation. This is true, for example, in the case of co-operatives – many of which are engaged in activities such as manufacturing and retailing that are outwardly same as those of their capitalist competitors. What distinguish them is their shared collective and mutualist character and aims.” [John Restakis and Margie Mendell, “Public Policy for a Social Economy.” Working paper. FLOK Society. Quito, Ecuador. June 30th, 2014. Pages 1-20.]
“Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital is an interesting, insightful, and informative book that shows how cooperative models for economic and social development can create a more equitable, just, and humane future. The book is well written, persuasive, and consistent; and the author’s claims are well supported by evidence from all over the world. Humanizing the Economy is a recommended reading for researchers, activists, practitioners, policymakers, and students across a wide range of disciplines who are interested in the reform of economics, globalization, and social justice. The author holds the reader’s attention and interest from the beginning to the end of the book in a manner that is both intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking.” [Durdana Islam, “Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital.” Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research/Revue canadienne de recherche sur les OSBL et l’économie sociale. Volume 2, number 1, spring 2011. Pages 106-107.]
globalization from below (George Cheney and Richard C. Williams): They present a global and bottom–up approach to the coöperative movement.
“The perspective embodied in this book, and being advocated elsewhere, has been called ‘globalization from below’ …. This term gives a label to a diverse set of movements, organizations and groups that are attempting to reconfigure the economy in socially just terms while connecting with one another across regional and national boundaries.… That is to say, the motley collection of organizations which call themselves cooperatives differ in origin, structure, governance, degree of participation, ultimate objectives, and of course economic focus. Yet they tend to share allegiance to certain principles that would make commercial enterprise truly democratic.…
“The cooperative movement—if we may call it that—traces its inspiration and examples to the so-called Utopian communities of Britain and the United States during the nineteenth century, and especially to the enterprises of Scottish industrialist Robert Owen. This lineage is important not only because of the values that are invoked (such as collective ownership at the level of the firm) but also because it makes clear the complexities of any particular case. That is, despite the celebrated autonomy of the cooperatives founded by Owen and his allies, these worker co-ops were neither autonomous with respect to the financial vicissitudes of the market nor with regard to the individual employee being relatively free of over-the-shoulder monitoring at work …
“On the practical level, scholars, activists, and practitioners identify a broad movement of ‘cooperativism,’ which features worker-owned-and-managed cooperatives alongside producer and consumer co-ops.”
[George Cheney, “Preface,” in Richard C. Williams. The Cooperative Movement: Globalization from Below. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company. 2007. Pages xiii-xx.]
“Although essentially local, cooperatives can form legal alliances and networks across regions, nations, and even globally. Since the bottom line of cooperatives is to distribute goods and services more equitably among all its members, not to accumulate wealth for owners and share holders, they represent a more ideal, democratic, and functional globalization than has been experienced so far—a kind of ‘globalization from below.’” [Richard C. Williams. The Cooperative Movement: Globalization from Below. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company. 2007. Page 34.]
“The possibilities for the ‘marketization’ of social values in and around the cooperatives needed to be considered on three levels: (a) washing over or. floating above, a comparatively superficial change in which discourses of global management and the market are adopted in official communications, but most social and cultural practices inside and outside organizations remain untouched; (b) co-optation, in which the same popular business and economic discourses and ideologies are adopted by organizations and communities but in ways that conform significantly to local knowledge, preference, and practice; and (c) transformation, in which the changes being undertaken in the light of the importation of global discourses by managers, workers, and consumers are fundamental in terms of impact on worldview and social practice ….” [George Cheney, “Thinking Differently about Organizational Communication.” Management Communication Quarterly. Volume 14, number 1, August 2000. Pages 132-141.]
“… there has been renewed interest in participative values, cultures, and everyday practices of organizations as they operate in an increasingly competitive global market …. In many countries, participation is more and more being considered a fundamental social right of people in the workplace that has value in and of itself …. This movement derives energy from such things as (a) disenchantment with bureaucracy, (b) the desire to support employee security and autonomy, (c) reactions to worker displacement and corporate outsourcing, (d) new appreciation for the human side of enterprise, (e) the uneven effects of globalization, and (f) the full-scale application of democratic values to work and organizations. Furthermore, there has been a significant increase in alternative organizational forms, including feminist organizations, worker owned and managed cooperatives, local economies, and alternative trade organizations (ATOs). In these and other cases, the benefits of participation for individual workers (in contrast to the organization) have also been emphasized.” [Cynthia Stohl and George Cheney, “Participatory processes/paradoxical practices.” Management Communication Quarterly. Volume 14, number 3, February 2001. Pages 349-407.]
organization democracy among labor–managed firms (John Teta Luhman): He examines these firms and distinguishes them from capital–managed firms.
“A labor-managed firm is an economic organization where those who perform the work (i.e. the members of the firm) also hold the legal rights of ‘residual claimant’ (essentially rights over profits), and thus exercise control over the production process. In contrast, the dominant capitalist economic organization, what is called a ‘capital-managed firm,’ determines the legal right of residual claimant through the property ownership of capital assets. With these firms the capital owners exercise direct or indirect control over the production process. Labor-managed firms (hereafter LMFs) can either have ‘individual equity’ in which residuals are the property of the individual member, or they can have ‘social property’ in which residuals are the property of the collective of members …. LMFs are also guided by a set of core principles such as: open and voluntary membership; democratic control (i.e. each member has one vote irrespective of capital or labor input); all economic surplus belongs to the members and should be distributed in an equitable way; some manner of social responsibility, and efforts to educate members and the public about cooperative principles ….” [John Teta Luhman, “A Contradiction of Organization Democracy Among Labor-Managed Firms.” Tamara: Journal of Postmodern Organization Science. Volume 4, issue 4.4, January 2005. Pages 162-178.]
“Labor-managed firm s (hereafter LMFs) are economic organizations in which those who perform the work hold the legal rights as residual claimants and theoretical control over the production process. Promoters of LMFs assume that the legal control over the firm by workers allows for the practice of a concept described as ‘organizational democracy.’ The purpose of this research is to discover the actual management practices of firms owned by the workers, and to determine if these practices may be described as ‘democratic.’” [John Tuta Luhman. Labor-Managed Firms: A Narrative Study of the Literature. Ph.D. dissertation. New Mexico State University. Las Cruces, New Mexico. December, 2000. Page ix.]
SASH (Ed Whitfield): This acronym stands for Spirit, Arts, Sciences, and Habits.
“We think of democracy as requiring the adoption of a certain Spirit along with the Arts, Sciences and Habits of standing with the whole and being in the community, for the community. We call that ‘SASH.’ In the absence of any one of those components, the democratic project is likely to falter. Democratizing wealth requires a thoughtful and intentional approach to the question of how to balance the community’s interests with those of the individual and/or the corporation. This is among our greatest challenges.
“If we are to be able to democratize wealth, we think that it is necessary to build concrete examples of useful, sustainable economic enterprises as existence proofs, to show that new ways of approaching democratic ownership are possible. We do this in recognition of the need to unleash the imagination and energy of those of us who don’t even dream of other realities different from the exploitative hierarchical relationships that exist now.”
[Ed Whitfield, “Democratizing Wealth: A Next System Model for the US South and Beyond. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. Page 6.]
“The AGS [Alliance for Green Socialism] rejects capitalism because it exploits workers, consumers and environment. We need a radical transformation to a society that values both people and the natural ecology on which people depend for life. The capitalist drive for endless growth, endless consumption and huge inequality will destroy our ecosystem and our society. Green socialism would mean a better, fairer, happier life for all of us – and the chance of a future for our children.” [Editor, “Alliance for Green Socialism.” Main page. Leeds, England: Alliance for Green Socialism. Undated. Retrieved on June 16th, 2017.]
“A Green Socialist economy will be about production for need, not production for profit. It will aim to support our real quality of life, not increase ‘Gross National Product.’ Meaningful, useful and fairly paid employment should be available for everyone who is able and wants to work. Very large scale enterprises will be publicly owned and democratically accountable. Local production will be encouraged and unnecessary transport discouraged.…
“The global power of money must be countered at national and inter-national levels. This will need real democracy with real power, including the creation of new democratically controlled institutions. We must ensure that ordinary people’s needs are put ahead of those of the global financial elite. Democracy must always come before corporate power. The media should be open and objective.”
[Editor. Alliance for Green Socialism: General Election Manifesto 2017. Leeds, England: Alliance for Green Socialism. May, 2017. Pages 9 and 11.]
libertarian egalitarianism (Nien-hê Hsieh as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): The article examines possible modifications to capitalism in order to accommodate workplace democracy.
“This article points to areas of further inquiry if we are to understand fully what liberal egalitarian justice requires in the realm of economic production. One task is to articulate more fully what qualifies as work that fails to meet the standard of meaningful work in the context of liberal egalitarianism. Another task is to articulate what qualifies as an adequate opportunity for meaningful work or for work that is democratically governed. It also remains to investigate the empirical claims that underlie the formative arguments for meaningful work and workplace democracy. With respect to the collective control of the means of production, the article suggests that liberal egalitarians cannot afford to ignore investigating what restrictions on the use of private capital are required to maintain the fair value of political liberties. In short, much work remains to be done if justice is to be sought not only in distribution, but also in production.” [Nien-hê Hsieh, “Survey Article: Justice in Production.” The Journal of Political Philosophy. Volume 16, number 1, March 2008. Pages 72-100.]
IRB/PUC model (Richard A. Rosen): He proposes a democratic socialist economy for the twenty–first century.
“The IRB/PUC [Industrial Review Board/public utility commission] model would work in the following way: Whenever a business of significant size wanted to invest more than a specified minimum sum of money (e.g. $10 million) in a new production facility for an existing product type, or to create a new product or service, they would apply to their industry IRB for approval of this investment. If the investment proposal were large and/or controversial, the IRB would determine that formal legal hearings should be held. This would involve a full-scale review of the evidentiary and policy issues relevant to whether or not the proposal should be approved, with or without modification. The review would involve administrative judicial proceedings that would allow for formal intervenor status for a variety of stakeholders to ensure that stakeholders likely to be affected by the product or service would play a central role in deliberation and decision making. It is important to note here that generally the initiative to invest would come from the relevant regulated private or public corporation, and not from the regulatory body or the government. Thus, typically, no government agency would require that any new investment be made by corporations. However, in other situations, a particular industry IRB might have legal responsibilities to achieve social goals, such as keeping the electricity system reliable. In such a case, the IRB might need to find an existing appropriate public or private corporation that would be willing and able to make the relevant investments to achieve that social goal. If no existing corporation were willing to do so, a new public corporation might need to be established with government financial support to enable this social goal to be achieved. Finally, whether or not major new investments or new products and services are in the public interest should be the guiding bottom-line criterion upon which all regulatory decisions by IRBs are ultimately based.” [Richard A. Rosen. A Socialist Economy for the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. 2016. Page 8.]
“… the world will need to evolve democratic governance mechanisms at global and regional levels. At sub-global levels, sustainable development plans need to be created, implemented, and enforced by powerful governmental ministries. Nothing less will do in any region of the globe. How these coordinated sustainable development plans are implemented, and what precise values they embody, will differ from region to region, as people struggle to find solutions to pressing problems and to meet their global obligations. Regional successes and failures will doubtless be closely monitored for new ‘lessons learned,’ so that subsequent planning can be steadily improved.
“We can no longer pretend that the current ‘emperor’ has clothes. Measured against the goals of sustainability, equity, peace, and quality-of-life, neoliberal capitalism has failed. We cannot continue down that road. Time is too short, and our human and ecological needs are too great. Major structural changes are required. As we have seen in this paper, we can lay out the broad contours of alternative economic institutions for a different path to the future.”
[Richard Rosen and David Schweickart. Visions of Regional Economies in a Great Transition World. Boston, Massachusetts: Tellus Institute. 2006. Page 31.]
good society project (Henning Meyer as pronounced in this MP3 audio file, Robert Perrucci, Carolyn C. Perrucci, Neal Lawson, and Ken Spours): They propose approaches to social democracy.
“… not all is gloomy. Clarity about the task ahead helps addressing it. A group of thinkers and practitioners from all over Europe have worked on a new social democratic politics for several years now. What has been developed under the concept of the ‘Good Society’ is a new social democratic narrative that takes a thorough value-driven analysis of our current economic and political problems as a starting point to craft a new politics. The underlying idea is to develop a political vision that provides direction. The goal is to define the ‘Good Society’ to make a ‘better society’ possible and sketch the political way towards it. Such a value-driven political compass provides an important tool to navigate the stormy political seas we are currently facing and is a useful starting point from which to address wider challenges.
“The idea of a Good Society is based on democracy, community and pluralism. It is democratic because only the free participation of every citizen can guarantee true freedom and progress. The Good Society is based on a community approach because it recognizes our mutual interdependencies and joint interests. And it is pluralistic because it draws vitality out of the diversity of political institutions, economic activities and cultural identities.”
“Most people are now open to the suggestion that inequality is not the fair outcome of different levels of performance but, moreover, the result of a distributive system that is fundamentally flawed and designed to favour a few people at the top. From this new point of view the empiric evidence is also seen in a rather different light.…
“Even though inequality is back at an all-time high and its perception has changed, we have yet to see a major political reaction on either side of the Atlantic. But the more empiric evidence becomes available the more entrenched the perception of unfairness is likely to become. The genie is out of the bottle and it will be difficult to put it back.”
[Henning Meyer, “Inequality and Work in the Second Machine Age.” SE Journal: The Worker Institute. Number 4, December 2014. Pages 1-9.]
“A group of thinkers and practitioners from all over Europe has been working on a new social democratic politics for several years now. What has been developed under the concept of the Good Society is a new social democratic narrative that takes a thorough, value-driven analysis of our current economic and political problems as a starting point to craft a new politics. The underlying idea is to develop a political vision that provides direction. The goal is to define the Good Society in order to make a ‘better society’ possible and sketch the political way towards it. Such a value-driven political compass provides an important tool to navigate the stormy political seas we are currently facing, and is a useful starting point from which to address wider challenges.
“The idea of a Good Society is based on democracy, community, and pluralism. It is democratic because only the free participation of every citizen can guarantee true freedom and progress. The Good Society is based on a community approach because it recognizes our mutual interdependencies and joint interests. And it is pluralistic because it draws vitality out of the diversity of political institutions, economic activities, and cultural identities.”
[Henning Meyer. The Good Society. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. 2016. Page 5.]
“Implementing the ideas that embody the good society project will require an organizational structure to oversee and evaluate all the programs and activities of the project. It will require a governing board that should be a consortium of wealthy Americans and Fortune 500 companies that wish to join the project, that we will call the TOP [targeted opportunity philanthropy] Consortium. The initial goals of the Consortium are to work on developing three overriding goals and a staff structure to achieve those goals. The initial goals are as follows:
“Develop a list of TOPs that will be eligible for obtaining funds from donors, such as tuition assistance for eligible students, and support and assistance for single-mother families.
“When federal agencies and programs already exist in the areas of TOP projects, the Consortium would devise mechanisms to supplement existing federal funding. When existing federal agencies do not exist, the TOP Consortium will devise a plan for inviting proposals from for-profit or not-for-profit organizations at the state and local levels for providing on-the-ground services to individuals, families, schools, and so forth, which are eligible for TOP funding. The Consortium would provide start-up money in the form of loans and grants to the new businesses.
“Develop a ‘new projects’ unit in the Consortium to receive proposals from potential wealthy donors who wish to include another project among those already identified as TOPs. Additional projects should be considered if they have sufficient financial backing and are focused on redistribution projects aimed at targets of great need for assistance and great potential individual and social benefits.
“Communities across the country would develop Good Society Committees that would provide feedback to the TOP Consortium about how existing projects are working and make proposals for new TOP projects. These committees could also develop proposals for projects that would be supported by the local community.”
[Robert Perrucci and Carolyn C. Perrucci, “The Good Society: Core Social Values, Social Norms, and Public Policy.” Sociological Forum. Volume 29, number 1, March 2014. Pages 245-258.]
“The Left has suffered a huge defeat. No not the defeat and the election of the Conservative-led Coalition Government in 2010 but the intellectual and hegemonic defeat of over 30 years ago. That defeat transformed education into a battleground for the soul of our young people and their teachers and parents. What sort of people do we as a society want to create? What is our vision of humanity? In the face of such immense questions and the onslaughts of the Right, the Left crumbled. New Labour did some good things about school investment and standards, but its purpose was almost entirely neo-liberal – to better create a workforce fit for free market fundamentalism. This enlightened neo-liberal approach was better than its crude Thatcherite alternative, but has allowed Gove and Cameron to slip into its jet stream and continue the same lineage of reforms based on break-up, individualisation and commercialisation. While these reforms need to be fought and resisted there is a deeper struggle to be engaged in. The Right won because they dared to dream of a different world – and they made their dream a reality. The Left will only set the terms of debate again once we have a vision of the world we want to create and understand the role of education in pre-figuring, making and sustaining that world. This is the Good Society project.” [Neal Lawson and Ken Spours, “Education for the Good Society: The values and principles of a new comprehensive vision.” Education for the Good Society: The Values and Principles of a New Democratic Vision. Neal Lawson and Ken Spours, editors. London: Compass − Direction for the Democratic Left Ltd. October, 2011. Pages 8-13.]
Nordic model: This term refers to the versions of social democracy which have been developed in the Nordic countries and in Switzerland.
“In this paper, I posit that the Nordic countries were able to ensure good standards of equality for its citizens, while at the same time ensuring decent levels of economic growth. This can be attributed to the Nordic countries’ more holistic approach towards social spending and their focus on uplifting the skill levels of its workforce. Thus, the notion that must be a trade-off between economic performance and a more aggressive welfare regime should be examined more thoroughly. The debate for policy makers should perhaps be framed with regard to where the balance should be between growth and equity rather than a trade-off.” [Xiong Jieru, “Learning from the Nordic welfare model: what and how?” Working paper 16, September 2013. The EU Centre in Singapore. Pages 1-23.]
“The Nordic economies have a number of structural characteristics that motivates the talk of a Nordic model. Although there are differences, a common trait is the flexicurity focus on facilitating adjustment in the labour market through active labour market programmes and fairly low employment protection. The Nordics are also characterised by high trade union membership and high coverage of collective agreements, although they do not form any group distinct from other comparable European countries in the latter respect (coverage is higher in several other countries).” [Lars Calmfors, “How well is the Nordic model doing? Recent performance and future challenges.” The Nordic model – challenged but capable of reform. Tarmo Valkonen and Vesa Vihriälä, editors. Copenhagen, Denmark: Nordic Council of Ministers. 2014. Pages 17-89.]
“The Nordic model faces serious challenges and many proposed solutions do not stand up to scrutiny. Not surprisingly, there are no easy solutions for maintaining a large redistributive welfare state in an environment of ageing populations and intensified global competition. Yet, in order to secure continued political support for free trade and open markets we believe that the core of the Nordic model can and should be preserved. By the core we refer to the comprehensive and mostly mandatory systems for pooling and sharing labour market and other risks. We are in this sense not advocating radical change or an overhaul of the whole system. However, we do see a need for significant reform, including actions for which it may be difficult to get the required political backing. Above we already underlined the importance of an effective wage bargaining process and the potential for enhancing efficiency in the provision of public services.” [Torben M. Andersen, Bengt Holmström, Seppo Honkapohja, Sixten Korkman, Hans Tson Söderström, and Juhana Vartiainen. The Nordic Model: Embracing globalization and sharing risks. Helsinki, Finland: Taloustieto Oy. 2007. Page 26.]
“The Nordic bank resolution is widely regarded as among the most successful in history. In all three countries, the final net cost of assistance to the banks (net of liquidation of assets and including appreciation in the value of government shares) was far smaller than the initial cost—for Sweden and Norway, near zero, for Finland, an eventual 5.3 percent of 1997 GDP [gross domestic product] versus initial outlays of 9 percent of GDP.” [Richard G. Anderson, “Resolving a Banking Crisis, the Nordic Way.” Economic Synopses: short essays and reports on the economic issues of the day. Number 10, 2009. Pages 1-2.]
“… if we assume that the citizens of the Nordic countries are on the whole similar to other human beings in their passions, both good and bad, other factors come into play: the social practices, the long-term institutions and historical experiences that underpin Nordic capitalism. This is not to imply that there is a free-floating Nordic model that can be applied to other countries. But it does mean that some aspects of Nordic capitalism might be relevant in addressing the problems of globalization, social fragmentation and the instability of modern finance capitalism.” [Henrik Berggren and Lars Trägårdh, “Social trust and radical individualism.” The Nordic Way. December, 2010. Pages 12-27.]
“Renowned for their regional co-operation on energy, a sophisticated joint electricity market, and a profound and consistent commitment to renewable energy, the Nordic countries are now considering the future of their energy co-operation. The Nordic Council of Ministers has commissioned former Nokia executive Jorma Ollila to carry out a strategic review of the co-operation and identify which collaborative measures should be initiated over the next five to ten years to strengthen co-operation on energy policy.” [Páll Tómas Finnsson, “Former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila to lay the foundation for future Nordic energy co-operation.” The Nordic Way. Number 20, June 2016. Pages 4-6.]
“One of the key differences between the negotiations in 2009 and now is that all countries involved have committed to delivering their own emission-reduction targets – the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The EU [European Union] countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland, have pledged to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% by 2030 relative to 1990 levels. Iceland and Norway have aligned themselves with the EU targets.” [Páll Tómas Finnsson, “Nordic countries reach out to advance international climate negotiations.” The Nordic Way. Number 16, September 2015. Pages 4-6.]
“The egalitarianism of Nordic society is, of course, an often noted feature of social and political life in these societies. This is also true of the prominence of gender equality. It has been noted in comparative research that both equality and gender equality are correlated with a number of other social virtues and collective goods, including social trust, happiness, and economic development. What is less noted, since equality in the academic literature is often linked to social engineering and collectivist politics, is that equality in the Nordic context is inseparable from individualism and the value of autonomy.” [Henrik Berggren and Lars Trägårdh, “Social Trust and Radical Individualism: The Paradox at the Heart of Nordic Capitalism.” The Nordic Way. February, 2012. Pages 13-29.]
“Nordic engagement abroad has been characterized from the beginning by a blend of realism and idealism. Their status as small advanced welfare states permeates the external relations of the Nordic countries across foreign policy, trade policy and development policy. They are well established multilateralists, supportive of the UN and international institution building, and fundamentally defensive in their military policies. In development aid and social and ecological issues, however, they are more willing to take an offensive lead, in line with political expectations at home.” [Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Atle Midttun, and Asle Toje, “The Nordic Model Abroad.” The Nordic Model: Is it Sustainable and Exportable? Atle Midttun and Nina Witoszek, editors. Oslo, Norway: University of Oslo. 2011. Pages 22-25.]
“What effects green bonds have on the market is much harder to answer. From an environmental point of view, it is positive that some funds are earmarked for investing in environmental projects and that these can be verified by third parties. However, until very recently, all environmental projects were financed using funds from conventional sources such as own funds of companies and municipalities as well as bank loans and bonds without the specific green label on the use of proceeds. So, the natural question is of course whether the specific green label has changed the conditions of the funds for green projects or whether that is going to happen in the future, if and when the market for green bonds expands.” [Dagfinn Høybråten et al. Green Financing – The Nordic Way. Copenhagen, Denmark: Nordic Council of Ministers. 2016. Page 27.]
“It is therefore important for Nordic cooperation to find an answer as to how the model can be developed further. The politicians cannot afford not to cooperate on good solutions or to be cowardly when it comes to using new solution models. The Nordic model was from the outset a courageous project, an innovative departure that combines efficiency with active employment policy, social insurance systems, unrestricted mobility, family policy and ambitious redistribution policy. The same drive as shown by the politicians of the post-war period is needed once more in order to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow.” [Gerd Vidje et al. The Nordic Welfare Model. Stockholm, Sweden: Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues Sweden. 2013. Page 6.]
“In all Nordic countries the state has a special position. Sweden and Norway have been social democracies since the 1930s and political tensions are generally low key. The trade unions and the employers’ organizations have traditionally worked well together. In comparison with many other regions the number of strikes and other conflicts has been low. The state is normally viewed as a representative of the people. It is usually perceived as an institution that benefits the population by providing schooling, public health, and security. There has been a recent neoconservative wind, but the effects, especially on the privatization of public services, have generally been less dramatic than in many other European states.” [Lars Korsell and Paul Larsson, “Organized Crime the Nordic Way.” Crime and Justice. Volume 40, number 1, August 2011. Pages 519-554.]
“The Nordic countries have decentralised the decision-making and deliverance of welfare services in order to secure the effectiveness and flexibility of the public sector. The local governments in the three countries collect and spend a higher proportion of the total government revenue than in other developed countries, and they have a constitutionally guaranteed autonomy with the right to levy taxes. The local government, however, is not free to fail. In Denmark and Sweden it is tested legal practice, and in Finland it is stated in the law, that local governments cannot go into bankruptcy.” [Søren Høgenhaven, Pekka Averio, and Tomas Werngren. The Nordic Model: Local Government, Global Competitiveness in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Copenhagen, Denmark: KommuneKredit. 2012. Page 10.]
The Working Families Party (Dan Cantor, National Director): They are a progressive party which is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. The party runs the #ResistTrump website.
Progressive Change Campaign Committee: “The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is a million-member grassroots organization building power at the local, state, and federal levels. We advocate for economic populist priorities like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and the public option. We’re the Elizabeth Warren wing of American politics!” [Editor, “About Us.” Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Undated. Web. Retrieved on July 28th, 2017.]
The Labour Party: This British party has various factions, including some supporting social democracy or even democratic socialism.
The Socialist Network: This network—based in Stockholm, Sweden—describes itself as “a global community for the democratic socialist transformation of society.
American Labor Party (Jason Schulman): He inquires as to why a “labor party” has not been established in the U.S. Actually, there is such a party, The Labor Party, but it appears to be rather small. See also the Kansas City Labor Party.
“Ironically, it was avowed Marxists who took a ‘pure-and-simple’ unionist perspective that saw establishing a labor party ‘as an overt or covert attempt to undermine the unions.’ Personal recriminations, deep distrust of opponents, and dogmatic certainty characterized both sides, but Archer claims that it was the paradoxical strength of a sectarian version of Marxism — which opposed the independent working-class political action that Marx himself supported — that helped undermine the possibility of an American labor party.…
“Over the past few decades, organized labor’s size and influence has steadily declined. The dominant, business-backed wing of the Democratic Party does almost nothing that could be construed as pro-labor. And even though Bernie Sanders ran a staunchly pro-labor campaign on the Democratic ticket [in 2016], the majority of national union leaders refused to support his primary bid, endorsing the ‘inevitable” winner Hillary Clinton instead.’”
[Jason Schulman, “Where Is Our Labor Party?: Over the years, efforts of US workers to build a party that represents their interests have come up short. Why?” Jacobin: Reason in Revolt. Issue 23, fall 2016. Pages 95-99.]
“From our very beginning—when the organization was founded by visionaries such as Charles Halpern, long-time president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and a young state senator named Barack Obama—Dēmos knew that empowering voters was at the heart of improving our democracy.…
“One of the first things Dēmos did was launch an initiative for same-day registration. When people are able to register and vote on the same day, it increases turnout by more than 10%, particularly among people of color, low-income people and youth.
“Our first effort, in 2001, focused on California. By 2008, same-day registration laws were in effect in nine states and helped more than a million people cast a ballot. By 2015, Demos had helped make same-day registration the law in 15 states and the District of Columbia, covering 28% of the voting age population.
“To achieve this, we provided expert advice to advocates and testimony to legislators, created potent research reports, and placed opinion pieces and articles. We also helped block attacks against existing same-day registration laws in states such as Maine, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.”
[Editor. Dēmos Impact Report 2000-2016: An Equal Say And An Equal Chance For All. New York: Dēmos. 2016. Page 02.]
The Fabian Society: It is a non–Marxist, evolutionary socialist organization in the UK.
“While in theory the Fabians and Labour leaders asserted their socialist faith, in practice they were accepting the real and the obvious. They were satisfied with what is described as ‘municipal socialism’ which meant state (precisely, the County Council) intervention in ‘the supply of water, milk, gas, electric light, the establishment of markets, slaughter-houses, tramways, steam-boats, baths, washhouses, cemeteries, harbours, libraries, bands, art galleries, museums, open spaces, gymnasia, allotments, the building of workmen’s dwellings, etc.’ None of this was socialism, as they defined it, yet they saw in it ‘the influence of Socialistic principles in our municipal administration.’ This could only be and was, indeed, called ‘municipal socialism’ for want of a better phrase.” [M. M. Sankhdher, “Democratic Socialism: Its Fabian Version.” The Indian Journal of Political Science. Volume 26, number 4, October–December 1965. Pages 16-20.]
Fatah: This democratic socialist party (Arabic/ʿArabiyyaẗ, فَتْح, Fatḥ, “opening” or “beginning”) was previously called the Palestinian National Liberation Movement.
The American Progressive Party: This party operates a Facebook page.
“We of The American Progressive Party seek government accountability, an end to wars of aggression, a vibrant economy including living wage jobs, sustainable environments, social justice and constitutional rights for all.” [Editor, “About.” The American Progressive Party. 2009. Web. Retrieved on April 2nd, 2017.]
culture of democratic organization (Chris Doucouliagos): He proposes a “culture” of labor–managed firms for a type of democratic socialism.
“LMFs [labor-managed firms] are often proposed as micro building blocks for democratic socialist economies ….
“Degeneration basically sterns from a failure to reproduce democratic labor management.…
“Capitalist firms reproduce capitalist social relations of production For LMFs to survive and prosper, they have to constantly reproduce democratic practices and a culture of democratic organization. This requires education in the widest sense, democratic organizational design and government structures, and more importantly the constant maintenance of democratic governance. Actual management power and control over decision-making may be greater than organization structure suggests, as is the case in Yugoslav self-managed firms ….
“Worker solidarity is vital to the reproduction of a democratic culture and to the success of LMFs …. If LMFs are formed solely for financial considerations (e.g., to replace ailing capitalist firms or to improve productivity), then they are prone to failure. If, however, solidarity within the firm is also emphasized and developed, then LMFs have a greater chance of survival.… The use of professional management need not ruin LMFs. Solidarity, worker commitment to the principles of labor management and the maintenance of democratic decision-making, all neutralize management power.…
“… Producer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, worker-managed and self-managed firms are all alternative forms of labor-management.”
[Chris Doucouliagos, “Why Capitalist Firms Outnumber Labor-Managed Firms.” Review of Radical Political Economics. Volume 22, number 4, December 1990. Pages 44-67.]
democratic self–managed market socialism (Thomas E. Weisskopf): Weisskopf proposes an approach to democratic and market socialism. He argues, however, that the prospects for establishing this type of socialism are better in long–established democratic societies than in Eastern Europe.
“For at least the major sectors and/or the most important enterprises in the economy, market socialists propose some form of social ownership of enterprises.…
“A liberal democratic political framework, under which government (at all levels) is accountable to citizens via regular democratic elections in a context of civil rights and civil liberties, and participatory democratic mechanisms are promoted at local levels where direct participation is feasible.
“Social rights to the control and the income of enterprises (above a modest size), with these rights to be divided between communities of citizens and communities of workers according to pragmatic criteria.
“Markets as the predominant mechanism for resource allocation, providing informational and incentive benefits as well as freedom of choice, with the opportunities for exit afforded by markets complementing the opportunities for voice afforded by participatory democracy in local politics and enterprise self-management.
“A significant economic and social policy role for the state, whereby the market is rendered the servant rather than the master of society: the national government formulates and implements overall macroeconomic policy, influencing but not controlling the rate and pattern of investment, and also undertakes microeconomic intervention as needed to achieve important goals – not only via taxes and subsidies but also by directly providing certain goods and services (e.g., capital or consumption goods with strong public good characteristics), by assuring general social security (to maintain economic welfare for all), and by pursuing active labor market policies (to keep unemployment down).”
[Thomas E. Weisskopf, “Toward a Socialism for the Future, in the Wake of the Demise of the Socialism of the Past.” Review of Radical Political Economics. Volume 24, numbers 3 and 4, September 1992. Pages 1-28.]
“My conclusions about the prospects for democratic market socialism in the East [Eastern Europe] are very pessimistic indeed – especially for those (myself included) who believe in the kind of social rationality, responsibility and justice reflected in contemporary models of market socialism. The realities of the Eastern environment appear to be at least as inhospitable to the preferred models of the Left as they are to the preferred models of the Right. Indeed, because contemporary models of market socialism involve more ambitious goals with respect to democratic decision-making, they face even more daunting obstacles in the chaos of post-communist societies.…
“I would … suggest that, if democratic market socialism is to have a future anywhere, it is most likely to be in those parts of the world where democratic and market institutions and cultures have already been well established. Here the critical missing ingredient is the socialist commitment to greater egalitarianism (and more profound democracy). To be sure, recent political and economic trends in the developed capitalist countries of the world do not suggest any movement in this direction – quite the contrary. Political circumstances have a way of changing over time, however, and they surely change more readily than institutions and culture. It seems to me, therefore, that the long-run prospects for democratic market socialism are best where history has prepared at least some of the institutional and cultural grounds for its successful operation.”
[Thomas E. Weisskopf, “The Prospects for Democratic Market Socialism in the East.” Equal Shares: Making Market Socialism Work—The Real Utopias Project, Volume II. Erik Olin Wright, editor. London and New York: Verso Books imprint of New Left Books. 1996. Pages 277-289.]
Economic Democracy (David Schweickart): Under this model of social ownership and “optimal socialism,” neither workers, the state, nor citizen-shareholders are the owners of particular enterprises. Schweickart’s democratic socialist model is a market economy based upon his reformist “successor–system theory.”
“The model to be elaborated here and defended in subsequent chapters does not originate simply from economic theory, nor is it a stylized economic structure of some particular country or region. The model is a synthesis of theory and practice. What we are calling ‘Economic Democracy’ is a model whose form has been shaped by the theoretical debates that have taken place over the past half century concerning comparative economic systems, by the empirical studies of modes of workplace organization, and by the records of various historical ‘experiments’ of the twentieth century, notably the Soviet Union, postwar Japan, [Maršal] Tito’s Yugoslavia, China before and after [Chairman] Mao, and (smaller in scale, but extremely important) a most unusual ‘cooperative corporation’ in the Basque region of Spain.
“The model also derives from an analysis of two sources of felt discontent with capitalism, discontent already acute in many quarters and likely to intensify. Both sources may be regarded as ‘democratic deficits’—lack of democratic control over conditions that affect us profoundly.
“The first concerns workplace democracy. It is a striking anomaly of modern capitalist societies that ordinary people are deemed competent enough to select their political leaders—but not their bosses.…
“The other disconcerting feature of contemporary capitalism is capital’s current ‘hypermobility.’ The bulk of capital in a capitalist society belongs to private individuals. Because it is theirs, they can do with it whatever they want. They can invest it anywhere and in anything they choose, or not invest it at all if profit prospects are dim.”
[David Schweickart. After Capitalism. Second edition. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2011. Pages 47-48.]
“Let us imagine an economic system, which we will call Economic Democracy, that keeps the first set of institutions in place, i.e., competitive markets for goods and services, but a) replaces (most) wage labor with cooperative labor and b) replaces those out-of-control financial markets with a more democratic mechanism for handling investment.
“… Here we are considering a model for a different system, perhaps the ‘next system.’
“A brief elaboration of each of these key institutions:
“Historical experience makes it clear that markets are a necessary component of a viable socialism.…
“Enterprises in Economic Democracy are regarded, not as entities to be bought or sold, but as communities.…
“Some sort of democratic control of investment is essential if an economy is to develop rationally.”
[David Schweickart. Economic Democracy: An Ethically Desirable Socialism That Is Economically Viable. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. 2015. Pages 2-3.]
“… ‘Economic Democracy’ … [is] the term I use to designate the key element of what I call ‘successor-system theory.’ …
“… Successor-system theory may be viewed as a supplement to [Karl] Marx’s famous historical materialism.…
“I do not fault Marx for this lack. He was trying to be ‘scientific,’ and there was little data to go by.…
“At the heart of successor-system theory is an economic model, one that can be cogently defended to professional economists and ordinary citizens alike as being both economically viable and ethically superior to capitalism. Among other things, this model is intended to clarify our understanding of the various economic reforms for which progressive parties and movements are currently struggling, and be suggestive of additional reform possibilities.…
“Economic Democracy is a market economy, but that market is quite restricted. It embraces most goods and services, but not labor or capital. It is committed to the proposition that some forms of competition are desirable, but not all forms.”
[David Schweickart, “An Economic Democracy Reform Agenda.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. Volume 11, number 1, 2012. Pages 244-257.]
“We need a new economic system, a socialist alternative. Let me propose an alternative to the current capitalist system that would be as efficient as capitalism, but not suffer its deep irrationalities. Let us call it Economic Democracy.…
“Let us give our new socialism its appropriate name: Economic Democracy. The point is to extend democracy into areas of life hitherto considered off-limits. Here are our slogans:
“Democratize democracy …
“Economic Democracy, unlike the classic models of socialism, retains competitive markets for goods and services, which are, in fact—as defenders of capitalism never tire of pointing out—a form of democracy.”
[David Schweickart, “Yes Virginia, There Is an Alternative.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. Volume 10, number 1, 2011. Pages 173-193.]
“Democratic socialists recognize the need for economic incentives, to encourage people to develop their talents and to employ them productively.…
“Let us imagine a form of socialism, which we will call Economic Democracy, that keeps the first set of institutions, i.e., competitive markets for goods and services, but a) replaces (most) wage labor, by cooperative labor, and b) replaces those out-of-control financial markets with democratic allocation of investment. Let us add c) the government as employer-of-last-resort, and d) public provision of basic education, health care, and pensions. Thus our new economy would be:
“a competitive market economy, with
“transparent public banks, answerable to their communities, that allocate investment funds in accordance with long-term development needs,
“basic human needs guaranteed.
“Such a socialism would be economically viable, and would not suffer the massive evils of capitalism.”
[David Schweickart, “Tired of Capitalism?: How about Something Better?” Philosophic Exchange. Volume 43, number 1, article 4, 2012–2013. Pages 1-16.]
“Without workplace democracy there is no mix of plan and market that will produce an optimally feasible, desirable democratic economy.…
“To think about market reforms and market socialism correctly, i.e., within a democratic framework, it is useful to have before us a model of this optimally feasible, optimally desirable democratic economy.
“… will present a simple sketch of what I take to be the optimal model.…
“… An optimally viable, desirable socialism must be a market socialism.…
“… [A] basic institution of an optimal socialism is social control of investments.…
“Having settled the question of wage labor, a democratic socialist society must face the issue of asset ownership. Who should own the capital assets of the cooperative enterprise? Among the possible candidates: those who work there, the state, citizen-shareholders, society at large. Our model has implicitly endorsed the latter.…
“This social ownership manifests itself in certain feaster of our model. Since neither workers nor the state nor citizen-shareholders own the enterprise, none of these agents may sell it. Nor may workers allow the value of the assets under their control to deteriorate in value. Workers are required by law to maintain depreciation reserves.… In the event that a firm goes bankrupt, the net assets, if there are any, revert to the community. Movable capital can be sold, the proceeds added to the local investment fund. Buildings can be turned over to other existing or potential firms, which, of course, must pay the use-tax.
“I have made explicit the ownership relations implicit in our model, but the normative question remains. Our model precludes worker or citizen ownership of enterprise assets.”
[David Schweickart, “Socialism, Democracy, Market, Planning: Putting the Pieces Together.” Review of Radical Political Economics. Volume 24, numbers 3 and 4, September 1992. Pages 29-45.]
“Cooperative labour as opposed to wage labour is not the sole defining feature of Economic Democracy. It has another feature at least as important to environmental sustainability. If capital is defamed as privately held funds that can be profitably invested capital does not exist in Economic Democracy. Investment under Economic Democracy is socialized.
“Society’s investment fund under Economic Democracy is not generated as it is under capitalism from private savings. It is generated by taxation. Each enterprise pays a flat-rate tax on the capital assets under its control. This tax may be thought of as a ‘rent’ the enterprise pays society for its use of public property in lieu of the dividends it would have to pay stockholders or the interest it would have to pay to financial institutions for its use of private capital. Functionally this tax serves as an interest rate, with the interest payments going to the state rather than to private individuals.”
[David Schweickart, “Not with a Bang but a Whimper: Capitalism/Ecology/Economic Democracy.” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory. Number 95, June 2000. Pages 1-33.]
“Consider ‘Economic Democracy.’ Like most socialist alternatives articulated these days, it is a form of ‘market socialism.’ Competitive markets are retained, but democracy is extended to the workplace and to the financial sector. Lack of space precludes spelling out the details or providing an adequate defense here, but if I am right, we could create a viable democratic alternative to capitalism here at home by
“Democratizing our publicly traded corporations, having management answerable, not to stockholders, but to the employees, who elect a board of directors on the basis of one-person, one-vote, and
“Generating the bulk of society’s investment fund, not from the private savings of wealthy individuals but from a flat-rate capital assets tax on all business enterprises, then allocating these funds to regions, to be loaned out by public investment banks to existing business wanting to expand production or upgrade their technologies or to entrepreneurial individuals or collectives wanting to start new businesses.
“That is to say, Economic Democracy replaces the two key functions of the capitalist class, namely monitoring corporate management and providing capital for investment, with more democratic mechanisms—thus rendering that class functionally obsolete. Notice, Economic Democracy remains a competitive market economy. It also allows small businesses to exist as they do now. It even retains space for an entrepreneurial capitalist sector. But the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy have been democratized.”
[David Schweickart, “Global Poverty: Alternative Perspectives on What We Should Do—and Why.” Journal of Social Philosophy. Volume 39, number 4, winter 2008. Pages 471-491.]
“… [There has been a] division between ‘social democrats’ and democratic socialists. The former had made peace with capitalism, and concentrated on humanizing the system. Social democrats supported and tried to strengthen the basic institutions of the welfare state—pensions for all, public health care, public education, unemployment insurance. They supported and tried to strengthen the labor movement. The latter, as socialists, argued that capitalism could never be sufficiently humanized, and that trying to suppress the economic contradictions in one area would only see them emerge in a different guise elsewhere ….” [David Schweickart, “Democratic Socialism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. Volume I. Gary L. Anderson and Kathryn G. Herr, editors. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc. 2007. Pages 445-448.]
democratic market socialist economy (Melissa A. Padilla): Padilla proposes “a nonpartisan hybrid of direct and representative parliamentarian democracy with a democratic market socialist economy.”
“… [I propose] a nonpartisan hybrid of direct and representative parliamentarian democracy with a democratic market socialist economy. Its political and economic institutions, described and analyzed below, will help recreate a new world order that values community, justice, and peace above all.…
“Economic and political institutions are not mutually exclusive, so the economic systems set in place within a new society are crucial to maintaining democracy and social justice. But though many Americans adamantly defend the power of free markets and the invisible hand, under capitalism’s umbrella our current system is plagued by inequality, poverty, massive unemployment, exploitation, environmental destruction, and the degradation of democracy. Clearly, it is time to accept that our current economic structure is creating more harm than good. Going forward, the most suitable economic institution in relation to a nonpartisan, hybrid direct and representative parliamentary democracy is a democratic market socialist economy.
“… a democratic market socialist economy is just as susceptible and just as responsive to market forces. Its competitive markets allow it to efficiently allocate resources and respond to consumer demands. In a democratic market socialist economy, inessential businesses will go bankrupt if they don’t turn a profit or appeal to consumers. In both systems, market mechanisms ensure that that all businesses in the system are working efficiently.…
“Although homemaking and child care are often uncompensated in today’s economy, in a democratic market socialist economy, unemployed parents of children less than five-years-old will receive a monthly stipend (with the amount determined by democratic processes) for their work after registering their status within any social service-related government office.”
[Melissa A. Padilla. New Visions: Society Reimagined. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. April, 2017. Pages 2, 18, and 20.]
participatory mode of action and collective decision–making (Leo Gabriel as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Gabriel, who is associated with the (reformist) Social Democratic Party of Austria, argues in favor of a socialism for the twenty–first century.
“Even if the participatory decision making process (PDMP) invests a particular person with the capacity to speak on behalf of a common decision, it does not delegate to that person the power to make decisions. This is also the reason why in the indigenous communities (but not only there) the principle of consensus generally prevails over the principle of majority, for a majority decision theoretically implies the existence of two spokespersons: one who reflects the majority and the other the minority in order to prevent deviant opinions from simply being neglected and ignored.…
“… The ultimate goal of such participatory processes is to guarantee a maximum degree of autonomy in decision-making, which means avoiding, as far as possible, dependency on outside factors. Self-reliance and social responsibility are the key concepts which should inform the assembly in any stage of its development, from proposals to conclusions.…
“Hugo Chávez was one of the first who dared to use this symbolic metaphor but because democracy is at stake and it must be of a different sort than the one used and misused by the neoliberal governments and its transnational actors. To imagine that it is today enough to bring about change simply by waiting for the next elections is as much an historical mistake as Mikhail Gorbachov’s idea that he could save socialism simply by installing mechanisms of Western European and US-American representative democracy. If we talk about Socialism of the 21ˢᵗ Century we must go back to the roots. And these roots are not just the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Illich Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and others; they are found far beyond the 19ᵗʰ century and far beyond European history. They grow wherever people and peoples gather to resist the existing unjust and undemocratic (dis)order dominated by a handful of central powers. We must learn this lesson of resistance from those who are deeply rooted in their culture and history.…
“The participatory mode of action and collective decision-making suddenly became very important for the development of a political strategy …
[Leo Gabriel, “Building a ‘Socialism of the 21ˢᵗ Century.’” Transform! European Journal for Alternative Thinking and Political Dialogue. Issue 2, February 2008. Pages 112-119.]
economy for the people (Jonathan White and others): They make several concrete proposals for establishing democratic socialism—including social ownership, public ownership, public stakes, or mutualization—in the UK.
“How does a progressive government ensure that it can deliver on its objectives in the face of opposition from these entrenched and powerful interests?
“Ultimately, we suggest, the answer is through grasping the issue of ownership. At the core of our book is the argument that social ownership, variously conceived as public ownership, public stakes and mutualisation, is vital to give governments and the people the levers to control and rebuild the economy. This is not simply a return to a ‘big state’ in the economy as caricatured in current political discourse. The question of ownership is a political question about democracy. That is why any alternative economic strategy must also be a political strategy. The aim of an alternative strategy must be not only to rebuild the economy to meet the needs of the people but to have a political arm aimed at substantial democratisation of political, economic and social life – the multiplication of the number and range of levers by which people can exercise real control.
“We suggest that an alternative economic and political strategy must be based on a set of mutually reinforcing policies which aim to achieve related goals:
“To address the immediate needs of the people, especially the most vulnerable in our society.
“To reduce dependence on financial services and re-gear the economy to serve the needs of the British people.
“To insulate the population, especially the poorest, from dependence on and vulnerability to volatile financial markets.
“To put in place new levers of democratic control over economic and social life.
“To lay the basis for institutions on which new ideas of social solidarity can arise and thrive.
[Mark Baimbridge, Brian Burkitt, Mary Davis, John Foster, Marjorie Mayo, Jonathan Michie, Seumas Milne, Andrew Murray, Roger Seifert, Prem Sikka, Jonathan White, and Philip Whyman. Building an economy for the people: an alternative economic and political strategy for 21ˢᵗ century Britain. Jonathan White, editor. Croydon, England: Manifesto Press. 2012. Pages 6-7.]
coupon socialism (John E. Roemer): Roemer develops an approach to a “market–socialist economy” which includes “coupons.” The term “coupon socialism” is adopted from Erik Olin Wright.
“In my proposal, firms … [can be] financed by loans from public banks, which are responsible for monitoring firm management. The profits of firms, however, are distributed to individual shareholders. Initially, the government distributes a fixed number of coupons or vouchers to all adult citizens, who use them to purchase the stock of firms, denominated not in regular currency but in coupons.… Owning a share of a firm entitles the citizen to a share of the firm’s profits. More realistically, citizens may invest their coupons in shares of mutual funds, which purchase shares of firms. One cannot purchase shares or coupons with money. People, however, can trade shares in firms for shares in other firms, at coupon prices. Thus, prices on the coupon stock market will oscillate as they do on a regular stock market.
“Because money cannot be used on the coupon stock market, the small class of wealthy citizens will not end up owning the majority of shares. And because of concentration of ownership of firms in a small class is thereby prevented, I argue that economic policy in such an economy would be significantly different from capitalist economic policy, even if the capitalist economy began also with an equal division of shares of firms. Furthermore, the coupon stock market should provide the same discipline over firm management as a capitalist stock market does. When banks see the coupon share of a firm falling, that is a sign that investors think the firm is performing poorly, and the banks would step in to monitor closely the management. Everyone’s coupon portfolio would be returned to the public treasury at death, and allocations of coupons would continually be made to the new generation of adults. Thus, the coupon system is a mechanism for giving people a share of the economy’s total profits during their lifetimes while also harnassing what good properties the stock market has as a device for risk-bearing and monitoring of firms.”
[John E. Roemer. A Future for Socialism. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1994. Pages 49-50.]
“Every adult citizen would receive from the state treasury an equal endowment of coupons, that can be used only to purchase shares of mutual funds. Only coupons can be used to purchase shares of mutual funds, not money. Only mutual funds can purchase shares of public firms, using coupons. Prices of corporate shares and mutual funds are, hence, denominated in coupons; they will oscillate depending on the supply of and demand for shares. Citizens are free to sell their mutual fund shares for coupons, and to reinvest the coupons in other mutual funds. Finally, firms may exchange coupons with the state treasury for investment funds, and may purchase coupons from the treasury with money. This is the only point at which coupons exchange for money. These investment funds play the role of equity in the firm.…
“The model I shall describe in this section is not intended to be a complete description of a market-socialist economy. A number of matters are ignored, such as investment planning by the state and the monitoring of firms. The purpose of the present model is to analyse one question only, the difference in the level of welfare of citizens that would come about as a consequence of different ways of defining property rights in firms, when profit-inducing public bads exist.
“As late as December 15, 1990, surveys taken in the United States showed that the great majority of people were opposed to starting a war. One can take this as evidence that they were willing to trade off the possibility of a somewhat higher price for oil and a somewhat higher rate of unemployment for not going to war. Yet President Bush decided to go to war, and he probably had support from ‘important people’ in doing so. These important people were ones who derive huge amounts of wealth from profits of firms; for them, the fall in profits that would ensue from higher oil prices made the alternative of war a preferable one. Now suppose, in a market-socialist economy, no one received more than roughly a per capita share of total profits. A rise in the price of oil would, of course, hurt profits and wages, but, arguably, no class of ‘important people’ would have such an overwhelming interest in keeping oil prices low. Almost everyone might prefer to take the chance of higher oil prices to avoid having to fight a war.”
[John E. Roemer, “A Future for Socialism.” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory. Number 85, May 1995. Pages 17-46.]
“The most obvious effect of coupon socialism is on inequality, since the profits of firms will now be distributed relatively equally in the population. However, this probably would not have as big an impact on overall inequality as one might expect, since labour-market earnings, the major source of income inequality in developed capitalist societies, and interest payments on savings, would not be equalized. In [John E.] Roemer’s estimates, an equal distribution of profits would only amount, in the USA, to a few thousand dollars per capita per year. Nevertheless, the equalization of profit income would have an impact on inequality, and would certainly make a meaningful difference in the standard of living of the poor.…
“… it seems likely that the democratic state in a coupon socialism would have considerably enhanced capacities for taxation since it would not face the threat of disinvestment and capital flight in the face of rising tax rates. Among other things, this means that the level of egalitarian programmes such as basic income that the state could sustain is also likely to be higher.”
[Erik Olin Wright, “Coupon Socialism and Socialist Values.” New Left Review. Series I, number 210, March–April 1995. Pages 153-160.]
inclusive economy (Melissa Hoover, Hilary Abell, Marjorie Kelly, Violeta Duncan, and others): For further information on this social democratic perspective, see the Democracy at Work Institute.
“Worker cooperatives provide an inclusive, place-based community economic development strategy that improves job quality and wealth-building opportunities for low- and moderate-income workers. Cooperatives are businesses owned and controlled by their members, who rely on them to meet shared community needs—for goods and services, housing, or jobs. Cooperative business forms have long been key to community economic development in other parts of the world and have been used as a self-help strategy in urban, rural, Black, white and immigrant communities going back centuries in the United States. In recent decades, worker co-op development has emerged as a strategy to leverage the well-known benefits of local business ownership for a broader and deeper impact in U.S. communities. Worker cooperatives, which may have provided earlier generations with an alternative to mainstream employment, are now largely being used as vehicle for those locked out of good jobs not to exit the economy but to enter it.” [Melissa Hoover and Hilary Abell. The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem: Inclusive Economic Development in Action. Oakland, California: Democracy at Work Institute. 2016. Page 10.]
“It is clear that community wealth building approaches centered in broadbased ownership of business are poised to grow and can be important tools for addressing the economic inequality challenges that we face. Finance cannot do it alone. Yet it is an essential partner, and potentially a powerful force in leading this work. The models highlighted here—be they cooperatives, ESOPs [employee stock ownership plans], social enterprise, benefit corporations, or municipal enterprise— shine light on diverse ways to build the partnerships between development and finance. And, by forging these connections, finance and community development can work together effectively to build community wealth and a truly inclusive economy.” [Marjorie Kelly, Violeta Duncan, and Steve Dubb with Oscar Perry Abello and Corey Rosen. Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy. Takoma Park, Maryland: The Democracy Collaborative. 2016. Page 56.]
“Once a successful model was created in a few cities, it could be widely replicated. This could enable nonprofits, banks, loan funds, business schools, and city economic development to work together to create a powerful new model for inclusive cities. A national network to enable a large-scale transition to employee ownership is being created, with The Democracy Collaborative and the Democracy at Work Institute playing leading roles.” [Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb, and Violeta Duncan. Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation & Community Development: A guide to how community development is using broad-based ownership models to help low- and moderate-income communities. Takoma Park, Maryland: The Democracy Collaborative. 2016. Page 11.]
Next System Project (James Gustave Speth and others): Speth—the co–chair of the project—and others lay out some of its contours.
“The Next System Project has much to build on. Many concrete examples and theoretical models for how we might move toward a just, sustainable, and democratic future already exist. These include, for example, campaigns to make the renewable energy transition impactful at many levels of society, including—but not limited to—public or community ownership of the new sector. Such ownership forms would not only inject some much-needed democracy into our system, but could also contribute to social and economic revitalization. As many are already doing, we need to bring the future into the present, starting in our own communities.” [James Gustave Speth. Getting to the Next System: Guideposts on the Way to a New Political Economy. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. October, 2015. Page 4.]
“The Next System Project is an ambitious multiyear initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a ‘next system,’ on the map. Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists, and activists, we seek to launch a national debate on the nature of ‘the next system’ using the best research, understanding, and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models that are dierent in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and capable of delivering superior social, economic, and ecological outcomes. By defining issues systemically, we believe we can begin to move the political conversation beyond current limits with the aim of catalyzing a substantive debate about the need for a radically different system and how we might go about its construction. Despite the scale of the difficulties, a cautious and paradoxical optimism is warranted. There are real alternatives. Arising from the unforgiving logic of dead ends, the steadily building array of promising new proposals and alternative institutions and experiments, together with an explosion of ideas and new activism, offer a powerful basis for hope.”
“The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a ‘next system,’ on the map. Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists, and activists, we seek to launch a national debate on the nature of ‘the next system’ using the best research, understanding, and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models that are different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and capable of delivering superior social, economic, and ecological outcomes.” [Gar Alperovitz, James Gustave Speth, and Joe Guinan. The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C.: The Next System Project. March, 2015. Page 2.]
“Socioeconomic Democracy … can be viewed as engaging in (among other things) Transformational Politics, that is, an Evolutionary Politics that consciously, openly, honestly, forthrightly, publicly, thoughtfully and successfully works to realize significant synergetic inclusive societal improvement.
“On the other hand, or rather likewise, Socioeconomic Democracy can be viewed as engaging in Transformational Economics, that is, an Evolutionary Economics that is dedicated to unabashedly maximizing the overall well being of all humanity. This implies and requires, at a minimum, a fully understood and appreciated concept and practice of Sustainable Development for All, which in turn implies and requires Bounded Inequality of Essentials for All. In a democratic society, such decisions are made democratically.
“Similarly, SeD [Socioeconomic Democracy] can also be viewed as engaging in Transformational Sociology or Evolutionary Sociology, as well as Transformational Psychology or Evolutionary Psychology. The latter perspective may ultimately prove to be the most descriptive and productive.…
“Socioeconomic Democracy (SeD) is a theoretical and practical socioeconomic system wherein there exist both some form and amount of Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGI) and some form and amount of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all participants of a democratic society.”
[Robley E. George. A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform in Search of a Democratic Political Party. Manhattan Beach, California: Center for the Study of Democratic Societies. 2008. Pages 6-7.]
“… SeD [Socioeconomic Democracy] reduces the societal problems caused by presently motivated technology as well as provides incentive for the redirection of technological development toward greater satisfaction of societal, that is, individual needs. That is to say, SeD would help realize the desirable but unrealized promise of technology, as well as reduce and help eliminate the undesirable but unfortunately realized potentials of technology.…
“The ramifications of Socioeconomic Democracy described are admittedly only brief sketches of portions of the impact of a democratic socioeconomic system on a few of society’s many serious but unnecessary problems.… However, the interested reader is urged to develop and extend for herself the ramifications in those areas of particular personal interest. Contemporary socioeconomic systems are truly prolific so far as producing problems; much work remains to be done. Then, of course, there is the whole new realm of desirable future possibilities that beckons and begs to be explored. It would appear humanity need only be realistic about the present and its potential; if it is, it can only be optimistic about the future.”
[Robley E. George. Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers. 2002. Pages 267-268.]
“A good part of [Robley E.] George’s book [Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System] is devoted to discussing the conceptions and forms of historical variance of three necessary parts of socioeconomic democracy: First, there is ‘universal guaranteed personal income’ (UGI), which, ‘in the idealized state of the model,’ would provide each member of society, ‘regardless of what he or she did or did not do, a democratically determined universal guaranteed income.’ Second, George advocates ‘maximum allowable personal wealth’ (MAW) where again, in the idealized model, personal wealth ‘above the democratically determined allowable amount’ would be transferred out of the control of its owners ‘by the democratically designed and implemented laws of the land.’” [Richard Westra, “Economic Life beyond Capital.” Review of Radical Political Economics. Volume 40, number 3, summer 2008. Pages 354-362.]
“… I was interested to see if [Robley E.] George had an alternative to offer to our existing economic systems.
“Unfortunately, the reading has proven to be a chore for a multitude of reasons beginning with aspects of the writing that are more than just annoying; to what seem to me be fundamental and obvious flaws in the author’s logic. Stylistically, the book is about one third extended quotes of other people’s works, one third class hatred and malice directed against successful people combined with other patronizing commentary, and possibly one third George’s own on-topic contributions. Two more-or-less random examples what has pretensions to be a textbook suffice to make the points.”
[William P. Hall, “Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System.” Emergence: Complexity and Organization. Review article. September 30th, 2007. Pages 1-4.]
capital in the twenty–first century (Thomas Piketty as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Piketty proposes progressive taxation and a tax on capital to address the issue of global economic inequality. He advocates democratizing capitalism, not revolutionary socialism or communism. This re-imagining of Marx’s Capital, for all of Piketty’s strategizing, is pure social democratic revisionism.
“Modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have made it possible to avoid the Marxist apocalypse but have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality—or in any case not as much as one might have imagined in the optimistic decades following World War II. When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based. There are nevertheless ways democracy can regain control over capitalism and ensure that the general interest takes precedence over private interests, while preserving economic openness and avoiding
protectionist and nationalist reactions. The policy recommendations I propose … tend in this direction.” [Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Arthur Goldhammer, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014. Pages 1-2.]
“… it is not difficult to think of mechanisms that would lead to a distribution of wealth more egalitarian than the distribution of income from labor. For example, suppose that at a given point in time, labor incomes reflect not only permanent wage inequalities among different groups of workers (based on the skill level and hierarchical position of each group) but also short-term shocks (for instance: wages and working hours in different sectors might fluctuate considerably from year to year or over the course of an individual’s career). Labor incomes would then be highly unequal in the short run, although this inequality would diminish if measured over a long period (say ten years rather than one, or even over the lifetime of an individual, although this is rarely done because of the lack of long-term data). A longer-term perspective would be ideal for studying the true inequalities of opportunity and status … but are unfortunately often quite difficult to measure.” [Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Arthur Goldhammer, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014. Page 250.]
“If the world were a single global democratic community, an ideal capital tax would redistribute petroleum rents in an equitable manner. National laws sometimes do this by declaring natural resources to be common property. Such laws of course vary from country to country. It is to be hoped that democratic deliberation will point in the right direction. For example, if, tomorrow, someone were to find in her backyard a treasure greater than all of her country’s existing wealth combined, it is likely that a way would be found to amend the law to share that wealth in a reasonable manner (or so one hopes).” [Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Arthur Goldhammer, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014. Page 542.]
“… it is important, I think, to insist that one of the most important issues in coming years will be the development of new forms of property and democratic control of capital.” [Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Arthur Goldhammer, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014. Page 576.]
“… if we are to regain control of capitalism, we must bet everything on democracy—and in Europe, democracy on a European scale.” [Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Arthur Goldhammer, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014. Page 579.]
“[Thomas] Piketty’s book [Capital in the Twenty-First Century] looks like many editions of [Karl] Marx’s, from the cover typography to the heft. His dust jacket photo suggests a youthful élan [energy], and the blackboard behind him is covered with econometric math, conveying a positivist subtext just as Marx did with his scientific socialism. He laments that Marx did not test his propositions with ‘data.’ Trained as a bourgeois economist, Piketty does not recognize that Marx was a dialectical empiricist, viewing ‘facts’ as frozen history that reveals the past and, through progressive unfolding, can become something other – the very promise of utopia. Piketty is no utopian, but only a fixer.” [Ben Agger and Timothy W. Luke, “Blockbuster Marxism.” Critical Sociology. Volume 41, number 2, 2015. Pages 335-348.]
Constructive Socialism (Herbert George “H. G.” Wells): He develops an approach to democratic socialism which is opposed to Marxism.
“The whole trend and purpose of this book from the outset has been to insist upon the mental quality of Socialism, to maintain that it is a business of conventions about property and plans of reorganization, that is to say, of changes and expansions of the ideas of men, changes and expansions of their spirit of action and their habitual circles of ideas. Unless you can change men’s minds you cannot effect Socialism, and when you have made clear and universal certain broad understandings, Socialism becomes a mere matter of science and devices and applied intelligence. That is the constructive Socialist’s position. Logically, therefore, he declares the teacher master of the situation. Ultimately the Socialist movement is teaching, and the most important people in the world from the Socialist’s point of view are those who teach—I mean of course not simply those who teach in schools, but those who teach in pulpits, in books, in the press, in universities and lecture-theatres, in parliaments and councils, in discussions and associations and experiments of every sort, and, last in my list but most important of all, those mothers and motherly women who teach little children in their earliest years. Every one, too, who enunciates a new and valid idea, or works out a new contrivance, is a teacher in this sense.…
“I am naturally preoccupied with the Mind of that Civilized State we seek to make; because my work lies in this department. But while the writer, the publisher and printer, the bookseller and librarian, and teacher and preacher must chiefly direct himself to developing this great organized mind and intention in the world, other sorts of men will be concerned with parallel aspects of the Socialist synthesis. The medical worker or the medical investigator will be building up the body of a new generation, the Body of the Civilized State, and he will be doing all he can not simply as an individual, but as a citizen, to organize his services of cure and prevention, of hygiene and selection. And the specialized man of science—he will be concerned with his own special synthesis, the Knowledge of the Civilized State, whether he measure crystals or stain microtome sections or count stars. A great and growing multitude of men will be working out the Apparatus of the Civilized State; the students of transit and housing, the engineers in their incessantly increasing variety, the miners and geologists estimating the world’s resources in metals and minerals, the mechanical inventors perpetually economizing force. The scientific agriculturist, again, will be studying the food supply of the world as a whole, and how it may be increased and distributed and economized. And to the student of law comes the task of rephrasing his intricate and often quite beautiful science in relation to the new social assumptions we have laid down. All these and a hundred other aspects are integral to the wide project of Constructive Socialism as it shapes itself now.”
[H. G. Wells. New Worlds for Old: A Plain Account of Modern Socialism. London: Constable & Company Ltd. 1912. Ebook edition.]
“As the collectivist idea has developed out of the original propositions of socialism, the more lucid thinkers have put this age-long bitterness of the Haves and the Have-nots into its proper place as part, as the most distressing part, but still only as part, of the vast wastage of human resources that their disorderly exploitation entailed. In the light of current events they have come to realise more and more clearly that the need and possibility of arresting this waste by a world-wide collectivisation is becoming continually more possible and at the same time imperative. They have had no delusions about the education and liberation that is necessary to gain that end. They have been moved less by moral impulses and sentimental pity and so forth, admirable but futile motives, as by the intense intellectual irritation of living in a foolish and destructive system. They are revolutionaries not because the present way of living is a hard and tyrannous way of living, but because it is from top to bottom exasperatingly stupid.
“… [The] new and complete Revolution we contemplate can be defined in a very few words. It is (a) outright world-socialism, scientifically planned and directed, PLUS (b) a sustained insistence upon law, law based on a fuller, more jealously conceived restatement of the personal Rights of Man, PLUS (c) the completest freedom of speech, criticism and publication, and sedulous expansion of the educational organisation to the ever-growing demands of the new order. What we may call the eastern or Bolshevik Collectivism, the Revolution of the Internationale, has failed to achieve even the first of these three items and it has never even attempted the other two.”
[H. G. Wells. The New World Order. Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: The University of Adelaide Library. 2014. Ebook edition.]
“… the production of staple necessities presents a series of problems altogether less distressful than those of the present scramble for possessions and selfindulgence on the part of the successful, and for work and a bare living on the part of the masses. With the increase of population unrestrained, there was, as the end of the economic process, no practical alternative to a multitudinous equality at the level of bare subsistence, except through such an inequality of economic arrangements as allowed a minority to maintain a higher standard of life by withholding whatever surplus of production it could grasp, from consumption in mere proletarian breeding. In the past and at present, what is called the capitalist system, that is to say the unsystematic exploitation of production by private owners under the protection of the law, has, on the whole, in spite of much waste and conflict, worked beneficially by checking that gravitation to a universal low-grade consumption which would have been the inevitable outcome of a socialism oblivious of biological processes. With effective restraint upon the increase of population, however, entirely new possibilities open out before mankind.” [H. G. Wells. The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. 1933. Ebook edition.]
“In theory I am a Socialist, and were I theorising about some nation in the air I would say that all the great productive activities and all the means of communication should be national concerns and be run as national services. But our State is peculiarly incapable of such functions; at the present time it cannot even produce a postage stamp that will stick; and the type of official it would probably evolve for industrial organisation, slowly but unsurely, would be a maddening combination of the district visitor and the boy clerk. It is to the independent people of some leisure and resource in the community that one has at last to appeal for such large efforts and understandings as our present situation demands. In the default of our public services, there opens an immense opportunity for voluntary effort. Deference to our official leaders is absurd; it is a time when men must, as the phrase goes, ‘come forward.’” [H. G. Wells. An Englishman Looks at the World: Being a Series of Unrestrained Remarks upon Contemporary Matters. London and New York: Cassell and Company, Ltd. 1914. Page 73.]
“Social theory in its first crude form of Democratic Socialism gripped my intelligence more and more powerfully. I argued in the laboratory with the man who shared my bench until we quarreled and did not speak and also I fell in love.” [H. G. Wells, “Tono-Bungay (1908).” H. G. Wells: complete works. Privately published ebook.]
“I am not pretending humility. What I mean is that I try to see the world through the eyes of the common man, and not as a party politician or a responsible administrator. My visit to the United States excited my mind. The old financial world is collapsing; the economic life of the country is being reorganised on new lines. [Vladimir] Lenin said: ‘We must learn to do business,’ learn this from the capitalists. Today the capitalists have to learn from you, to grasp the spirit of Socialism. It seems to me that what is taking place in the United States is a profound reorganisation, the creation of planned, that is, Socialist, economy. You and [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt begin from two different starting points. But is there not a relation in ideas, a kinship of ideas, between Moscow and Washington?” [H. G. Wells, “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr Stalin.” New Statesman. April 18th–May 1st, 2014. Pages 48-55.]
“By 1928, Wells writes, ‘American industries no longer have any practical justification for protection, American finance would be happier without it,’ but without the success of the Open Conspirators, this protectionism will simply go on and on.” [Michele Steinberg, “H. G. Wells Plots The World Empire.” Executive Intelligence Review. March 24th, 2006. Pages 11-13.]
distributive state (Richard Henry “R. H.” Tawney): To Tawney, socialism is the prerequisite for establishing a “distributive state.”
“In so far as the community tolerates functionless property it makes difficult, if not impossible, the restoration of the small master in agriculture or in industry, who cannot easily hold his own in a world dominated by great estates or capitalist finance. In so far as it abolishes those kinds of property which are merely parasitic, it facilitates the restoration of the small property-owner in those kinds of industry for which small ownership is adapted. A socialistic policy towards the former is not antagonistic to the ‘distributive state’ but, in modern economic conditions, a necessary preliminary to it, and if by ‘Property’ is meant the personal possessions which the word suggests to nine-tenths of the population, the object of socialists is not to undermine property but to protect and increase it. The boundary be tween large scale and small scale production will always be uncertain and fluctuating, depending, as it does, on technical conditions which cannot be foreseen: a cheapening of electrical power, for example, might result in the decentralization of manufactures, as steam resulted in their concentration. The fundamental issue, how ever, is not between different scales of ownership, but between ownership of different kinds, not between the large farmer or master and the small, but between prop erty which is used for work and property which yields income without it. The Irish landlord was abolished, not because he owned a large scale, but because he was an owner and nothing more; if, and when English landownership has been equally attenuated, as in towns it already has been, it will deserve to meet the same fate. Once the issue of the character of ownership has been settled, the question of the size of the economic unit can be left to settle itself.
“The first step, then, towards the organization of economic life for the performance of function is to abolish those types of private property in return for which no function is performed. The man who lives by awning without working is necessarily supported by the industry of some one else, and is, therefore, too expensive a luxury to be encouraged. Though he deserves to be treated with the leniency which ought to be, and usually is not, shown to those who have been brought up from infancy to any other disreputable trade, indulgence to individuals must not condone the institution of which both they and their neighbors are the victims. Judged by this standard, certain kinds of property are obviously anti-social. The rights in virtue of which the owner of the surface is entitled to levy a tax, called a royalty, on every ton of coal which the miner brings to the surface, to levy another tax, called a way-leave, on every ton of coal transported under the surface of his land though its amenity and value may be quite unaffected, to distort, if he pleases, the development of a whole district by refusing access to the minerals except upon his own terms, and to cause some 3,500 to 4,000 million tons to be wasted in barriers between different proper ties, while he in the meantime contributes to a chorus of lamentation over the wickedness of the miners in not producing more tons of coal for the public and inciden tally more private taxes for himself—all this adds an agreeable touch of humor to the drab quality of our in dustrial civilization for which mineral owners deserve perhaps some recognition, though not the $400,000 odd a year which is paid to each of the four leading players, or the $24,000,000 a year which is distributed among the crowd.”
[R. H. Tawney. The Acquisitive Society. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. 1921. Pages 86-88.]
Universal Community of Rational Religionists (Robert Owen): Owen (1771–1858), the Welsh founder of the New Harmony community in Indiana, was an advocate of utopian socialism and coöperativism.
“Instructions to the Missionaries of the Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists, established to introduce, and maintain, Charity, in principle and practice, over the world ….
“Hitherto, as a preliminary to prepare mankind for the great change which we advocate, you have been Missionaries of the ‘Association of all Classes of all Nations,’ and of the ‘National Community Friendly Society,’ now united into one Society under your new designation of the ‘Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists.’ These preliminary missions were necessary as exercise for your own minds, and asa rough ploughing-up of the deep-rooted and longfixed prejudices early imbibed and much cherished by our immediate ancestors, and by their predecessors for unknown thousands of years—prejudices which, during the whole period, have brought forth errors sad evils abundantly; and hitherto made man the most irrational of all animals.…
“You are now in your new character, as Missionaries of the ‘Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,’ appointed to advocate this entire change in the principles and practices of the world; but to advocate this, the greatest change that has yet occurred in the history of man, in the genuine spirit of our religion of charity and kindness, aud of sympathy and compassion for the errors which all men, in all countries, have been compelled to receive from their birth, each according to his receptive localities. For hitherto, through error, all have been compelled to be come mere localized animals. You will, therefore, in future, never attack the details of any of the religions of the world, all of them having been based on the same fundamental errors: and all the individuals who have been forced to receive these mysteries as divine truths, and to remain conscientious believers in them, having been thereby, rendered too irrational to reason as rational beings respecting them.”
[Robert Owen, “Mr. Owen to the Social Missionaries.” New Moral World: Or Gazette of the Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists. Volume 6, number 38, July 1838. Pages 593-597.]
“Mr. Owen had at New Lanark the entire charge of the proceedings; he had the population to work upon, and the measures he employed for their reform were spread over several years for we must ever remember that the habits formed by years of indulgence, require also time to eradicate; he also possessed full power to carry his plans into execution, and skilful individuals in the various departments to superintend them. In addition to this, the individuals operated upon were all of one class in life, nearly equal in mind and character. It was the same with [George] Rapp, from whom Mr. Owen purchased New Harmony; and whose signal success had fully demonstrated the value and beneficial effects of the principle of co-operation.” [Editor, “Objections, and Answers.” New Moral World: Or Gazette of the Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists. Volume 6, number 51, October 1839. Pages 801-802.]
“To civilize the human race, to make all permanently prosperous, truly virtuous, rational and happly, these fundamental errors must be now openly abandoned by all governments and people, society must be rebased on demonstrably true and unchanging laws of nature. It must be reorganized on a knowledge of those laws, and in a spirit of universal charity, which can alone emanate from a knowledge of those laws.
“It must be reclassified according to age, in accordance with those laws.
“It must be reconstructed in all its parts, to be in unison with the principles upon which this new order of society is based: that it may form one consistent whole, and at all times and under all circumstances work harmoniously, from the centre, which will be every where, to the circumference, which will, an every case, extend from each centre to the utter-most parts of the earth; ultimately forming, among all men, one language, one code of simplified laws, one interest, one currency, one spirit, and one general superior mind, and conduct over the globe.
“But thus to rebase, reorganize, reclassify and reconstruct society, it is also necessary that the character of every one, as soon as practicable, should be, from birth, recreated through a new creation and arrangement of superior external circumstances, and a new spirit thereby within it of charity, kindness, and love. Thus, through a correct knowledge of the eternal laws of humanity, and how to apply them to practice, this divine spirit may be made to pervade the whole being in all his feelings, thoughts and conduct, not only to all his fellow men, but, as far as compatible with the happiness of the human race, to all sensitive life upon the earth. And thus gradually, with out violence or injustice or misery of any kind, a terrestrial paradise may be formed for all; contention of every kind may be made to cease among men and nations, and sound practical wisdom, united with activity of mind and body, may be made to pervade the human race, and thus insure permanent, high, rational enjoyment to every son of man.”
[Robert Owen. Manifesto of Robert Owen, Addressed to All Governments and People who Desire to Become Civilized, and to Improve Permanently the Condition of All Classes in All Countries. Washington, D.C.: The Globe Office. 1844. Page 4.]
“… to the question, What Socialism is? I reply, that the Social System, or that which 1 have always called it, the Rational System of Society, is derived solely from nature; that is, from facts which have) never yet been known to change, and therefore from the undoubted) words or language of the Great Spirit of the Universe.
“These facts form a new association, or language of ideas, in perfect harmony among themselves; and also with all that is known respecting human nature. And this unison, or harmony of facts and ideas, is the sole criterion of truth. For truth is always consistent with itself and with all facts.
“From these facts, so united, two Sciences have been formed, 1ˢᵗ, of Human Nature, and 2ⁿᵈ, of Society; sciences, that as soon as the passions and prejudices of men can be calmed, so as to admit of sound reflection; and accurate reasoning upon these subjects, will be found to be productive of more practical good and permanent happiness to the human race, than all the physical sciences that have yet been discovered.”
[Robert Owen in Robert Owen and John Brindley. What is Socialism and What Would be Its Practical Effects upon Society?: A Correct Report of the Public Discussion Held Between Robert Owen and Mr. John Brindley. London: The Home Colonization Society. 1841. Page 5.]
“… if every known fact connected with … [a certain] subject proves that, from the day in which man first saw light to that in which the sun now shines, the old collectively have taught the young collectively the sentiments and habits which the young have acquired; and that the present generation, and every following generation, must in like manner instruct their successors; then do we say, with a confidence founded on certainty itself, that even much more shall come to pass than has yet been foretold, or promised. When these principles, derived from the unchangeable laws of nature, and equally revealed to all men, shall, as they soon will, be publicly established in the world, no conceivable obstacle can re main to prevent a sincere and cordial union and co-operation for every wise and good purpose, not only among all the members of the same state, but also among the rulers of those kingdoms and empires whose enmity and rancour against each other have been carried to the utmost stretch of melancholy folly, and even occasionally to a high degree of madness.” [Robert Owen. A New View of Society: or, Essays on the Formation of Human Character Preparatory to the Development of a Plan for gradually ameliorating the Condition of Mankind. Third edition. London: R. and A. Taylor. 1817. Pages 165-166.]
“Nature’s laws require that the physical, mental, and moral feelings should be satisfied or exercised, up to the point of temperance, and if arrangements were made for this practice to be universal among man kind, (and the experienced know that these arrangements could be easily effected,) then there would not be two wills or motives to action, but one will; and harmony would obtain throughout the human race. It is the erroneous supposition that the will is free, and not necessarily the result of the physical or mental feelings, or both united, that creates these two apparent wills in every individual, or makes him the sport of two opposite sets of motives; and this irrational state of human existence is produced by the want of knowledge relative to the mode of guiding and directing the physical and mental feelings, as they in crease from birth to maturity, and change from that period to dissolution; for the physical feelings are excellent in themselves, and although so much decried, by those trained in religious mysteries and errors, are as essential to health and happiness as the mental feelings. The germs, only, of the physical feelings, or the powers of feeling, exist at birth; but these are capable of being made to produce either only evil and misery continually, or to become the source of daily and hourly benefit and pleasure to the possessor and to society. The individual, however, is at the mercy of society for the guidance of these physical feelings; and upon the ignorance or intelligence of governments or of public opinion, relative to the formation of character and the science of society, will depend the right or wrong direction which shall be given to these feelings.” [Robert Owen. The Book of the New Moral World, Containing the Rational System of Society Founded on Demonstrable Facts, Developing the Constitution and Laws of Human Nature and of Society. Glasgow, Scotland: H. Robinson & Co. 1840. Page 9.]
“It [a rational government] will ascertain what Human Nature is;–what are the laws of its organization and of its existence, from birth to death;—what is necessary for the happiness of a being so formed and matured;—and what are the best means by which to attain those requisites, and to secure them permanently for all the governed.
“It will devise and execute the arrangements by which the condition essential to human happiness shall be fully and permanently obtained for all the governed; and its laws will be few, easily understood by all the governed, and perfectly in unison with the laws of human nature.”
[Robert Owen. Outline of the Rational System of Society, Founded on Demonstrable Facts, Developing the First Principles of the Science of Human Nature: Being the Only Effectual Remedy for the Evils Experienced by the Population of the World; the Gradual Adoption of which would Tranquilize the Present Agitated State of Scoiety, and Relieve It from Moral and Physical Evils, by Removing the Causes which Produce Them. London: Home Colonization Society. 1841. Page 10.]
Icaria (Étienne Cabet as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Icaria (MP3 audio file) is the name of a fictional communist society—a version of utopian socialism—conceived by Cabet. The name, Icaria is apparently taken from the Ancient Greek/A̓rchaía Hellēniká, Ἰκαρία, I̓karía, a word with an unknown etymology.
“Icaria is a great country, like France, and was originally organized like it; but when it regenerated itself, it transformed its former social organization into a Community. It isn’t a monastery, a convent, a small Community like that of the Essenes or the Moravian Brothers, but a great community: civilized, rich, agricultural, and industrial such as has never before existed. And in all its details this great Community is organized using all the progressive elements of current civilization, i.e., its organization is communitarian in all its aspects: territories, provinces, cities, villages and farms; roads and railroads, canals and rivers; agriculture, industry and labor; education, health, and medicine, food and clothing, and housing and furniture; marriage and family; the sciences and the arts, the pleasures of society, of spectacles and feasts; powers either sovereign or constituent, legislative and executive, administrative and judicial, etc. etc.
“And this Community of Icaria, what is it? Is it, as the anti-communists claim, despotism and slavery, ignorance and brutishness, the abolition of the family and bestiality? No, no! It is a real association, a true society in which all its members are associated and act in solidarity for their common interest. And that communitarian association has as its basis the sovereignty of the people, freedom, equality, fraternity, and unity.
“The Community of Icaria has as its basis the sovereignty of the people, for in no other system does democracy have more reality, more force and activity, since all citizens are voters and members of the popular assemblies; since these assemblies are extremely frequent and regular; since all precautions are taken so that everyone has the education necessary for the perfect knowledge of his duties and his rights, with all the independence and all the facilities needed to fulfill and exercise them without ever missing civic meetings; finally, since it is the entire people that prepares, discusses and adopts its constitution and its laws.
“The Community of Icaria has liberty as its basis, for everything is ruled by the law, which is truly the expression of the general will. Every citizen cooperates in its making and only obeys the laws he has made. And these laws, discussed by a well-informed people, are always the work of the national intelligence and reason, and always made in the interests of the people themselves. No other system is capable of presenting a more real and perfect liberty.
“The Icarian Community has equality as its basis, but not mathematical and absolute equality, but equality proportional to needs and means: equality of rights and duties, real equality. Equality in everything: in education, food, clothing, housing, in the ability to marry; in labor, eligibility for office, etc.
“It has fraternity as its basis, the love preached by the gospels and by Christianity, fraternity that doesn’t allow rivalry with one’s brothers or the desire, for privileges or a better lot; fraternity in action; fraternity imbedded and living in all its laws, all its institutions, in all its customs, in all the acts of social life.
“It is based on unity in everything, unity in territory or property, on unity in the nation or people; on unity in education common for all; on unity in industry (all industries forming but one great industry); on unity in agriculture (all the territory forming but one domain and one field).
“The Community of Icaria is thus the realization of all that the human spirit has imagined under the names of society, or association, public or general interest, democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity, and unity.
“And that community also takes as its basis marriage and the family, purified and perfected, without celibacy, without domesticity. It develops human intelligence to its ultimate limits; it admits the fine arts and the joys of civilization without any limits but reason and equality; it admits an infinite number of machines and proposes as its goal the reducing of the labor of man to that of the labor of intelligence, to the labor of a creator and director of machines. It extirpates all vices and crimes either through education or by removing their reason or cause; it realizes order and concord. Finally, opening the way to progress it leads humanity to the destiny that a beneficent nature promised the intelligence of the most noble of its creatures.
“This, in substance and summary, is Icarian Communism or the community of Icaria. All the reticence or the alterations of critics can neither change nor arrange things so that M. Bastard de l’Estang didn’t call it a SEDUCTIVE system.
“This system is doubtless far from being perfect, and wouldn’t it be an unheard of feat if it were? But its perfecting will be the work of time and the future, of philosophical writings, of the people arranging their constitution, and of future generations improving and ceaselessly perfecting it through the progress of experience and reason. Let those who find defects in communism point them out and demonstrate them seriously, loyally, and philosophically, recognizing the good and frontally attacking the bad, without avoiding any true questions or real difficulties. It’s their right and their duty towards humanity; it’s a service that deserves the esteem and the recognition of the people. But it is slandered, falsified, twisted. What good are the ruses, the suppositions, the omissions, the alterations? Are not all these miserable methods just so much puerility unworthy of philosophy? And if the Community of Icaria is nothing but an ERROR, would not honesty, logic, and truth suffice to pulverize it? And if it is the TRUTH, could lies, slander, insults, sarcasm, affected disdain, sophistry, disputatiousness, persecution or anything in the world have the power to prevent its more or less imminent triumph through the irresistible force of public opinion?
[Étienne Cabet. Icarian Communism, or the Community of Icaria. Pacifica, California: Marxists Internet Archive (Marxists.org) ebook edition. 2005. Online publication. No pagination.]
law of freedom (Gerrard Winstanley): Winstanley (1609–1676), an English reformer, proposed his own version of utopian socialism.
“The spirit of the whole creation (who is God) is about the reformation of the world, and he will go forward in his work. For if he would not spare kings who have sat so long at his right hand governing the world, neither will he regard you, unless your ways be found more righteous than the King’s.
“You have the eyes of the people all the land over, nay I think I may say all neighbouring nations over, waiting to see what you will do. And the eyes of your oppressed friends who lie yet under kingly power are waiting to have the possession given them of that freedom in the land which was promised by you, if in case you prevailed. Lose not your crown; take it up and wear it. But know that it is no crown of honour, till promises and engagements made by you be performed to your friends. He that continues to the end shall receive the crown. Now you do not see the end of your work unless the kingly law and power be removed as well as his person.…
“The gourd is that power which covers you, which will be established to you by giving the people their true freedoms, and not otherwise.…
“… in parishes where commons lie, the rich Norman freeholders, or the new (more covetous) gentry, over-stock the commons with sheep and cattle; so that inferior tenants and poor labourers can hardly keep a cow, but half starve her. So that the poor are kept poor still, and the common freedom of the earth is kept from them, and the poor have no more relief than they had when the king (or conqueror) was in power.…
“… I being sensible hereof was moved in my self to present this platform of commonwealth’s government unto you, wherein I have declared a full commonwealth’s freedom, according to the rule of righteousness, which is God’s Word. It was intended for your view above two years ago, but the disorder of the times caused me to lay it aside, with a thought never to bring it to light, etc. Likewise I hearing that Mr Peters and some others propounded this request, that the Word of God might be consulted with to find out a healing government,* which I liked well and waited to see such a rule come forth, for there are good rules in the Scripture if they were obeyed and practised.…
“And now I have set the candle at your door, for you have power in your hand, in this other added opportunity, to act for common freedom if you will: I have no power.…
“But though you do take away tithes and the power of lords of manors, yet there will be no want to them, for they have the freedom of the common stock, they may send to the store-houses for what they want, and live more free than now they do; for now they are in care and vexation by servants, by casualties, by being cheated in buying and selling and many other encumbrances, but then they will be free from all, for the common store-houses is every man’s riches, not any one’s.…
“When the earth was first bought and sold, many gave no consent: as when our crown lands and bishops’ lands were sold, some foolish soldiers yielded, and covetous officers were active in it, to advance themselves above their brethren; but many who paid taxes and free-quarter for the purchase of it gave no consent but declared against it as an unrighteous thing, depriving posterity of their birthrights and freedoms.
“Therefore this buying and selling did bring in, and still doth bring in, discontent and wars, which have plagued mankind sufficiently for so doing. And the nations of the world will never learn to beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and leave off warring, until this cheating device of buying and selling be cast out among the rubbish of kingly power.…
“No man can be rich, but he must be rich either by his own labours, or by the labours of other men helping him. If a man have no help from his neighbour, he shall never gather an estate of hundreds and thousands a year. If other men help him to work, then are those riches his neighbours’ as well as his; for they may be the fruit of other men’s labours as well as his own.”
[Gerrard Winstanley, “The Law of Freedom in a Platform: Or, True Magistracy Restored.” The Law of Freedom and other Writings. Christopher Hill, editor. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 1983. Pages 273-389.]
socialist economy (Albert Einstein as pronounced in this MP3 audio file): Einstein argues for a planned socialist economy which, he says, would eliminate the “grave evils” of capitalism. The article quoted directly below originally appeared in the first issue of Monthly Review (May, 1949).
“Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an ‘army of unemployed’ almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence.… Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals ….
“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”
[Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism?” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine. Volume 61, issue 1, May 2009. Pages 55-61.]
“It is characteristic that the animals were expressly included in the command to keep holy the Sabbath day, so strong was the feeling that the ideal demands the solidarity of all living things. The insistence on the solidarity of all human beings finds still stronger expression, and it is no mere chance that the demands of Socialism were for the most part first raised by Jews.” [Albert Einstein. The World as I See It. New York: Citadel Press imprint of Kensington Books. 2006. Ebook edition.]
socialist democracy (George Orwell): Democratic socialist Orwell, influenced by both Trotskyism (though never a Trotskyist) and anarchism (though never an anarchist either), distinguishes “the ‘mystique’ of Socialism” from the state socialism of Stalinism.
“Socialism is usually defined as ‘common ownership of the means of production.’ Crudely: the State, representing the whole nation, owns everything, and everyone is a State employee. This does not mean that people are stripped of private possessions such as clothes and furniture, but it does mean that all productive goods, such as land, mines, ships and machinery, are the property of the State. The State is the sole large-scale producer. It is not certain that Socialism is in all ways superior to capitalism, but it is certain that, unlike capitalism, it can solve the problems of production and consumption. At normal times a capitalist economy can never consume all that it produces, so that there is always a wasted surplus (wheat burned in furnaces, herrings dumped back into the sea etc. etc.) and always unemployment. In time of war, on the other hand, it has difficulty in producing all that it needs, because nothing is produced unless someone sees his way to making a profit out of it.
“In a Socialist economy these problems do not exist. The State simply calculates what goods will be needed and does its best to produce them. Production is only limited by the amount of labour and raw materials. Money, for internal purposes, ceases to be a mysterious all-powerful thing and becomes a sort of coupon or ration-ticket, issued in sufficient quantities to buy up such consumption goods as may be available at the moment.”
[George Orwell. The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius. London: Secker and Warburg. 1941. Pages 74-75.]
“The general tendency of this [socialist] programme is unmistakable. It aims quite frankly at turning this war into a revolutionary war and England into a Socialist democracy. I have deliberately included in it nothing that the simplest person could not understand and see the reason for.” [George Orwell. The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius. London: Secker and Warburg. 1941. Pages 104-105.]
“There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life — snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc. — had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money — tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master. Of course such a state of affairs could not last. It was simply a temporary and local phase in an enormous game that is being played over the whole surface of the earth. But it lasted long enough to have its effect upon anyone who experienced it. However much one cursed at the time, one realized afterwards that one had been in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality. I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy ‘proving’ that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of Socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men to Socialism and makes them willing to risk their skins for it, the ‘mystique’ of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all. And it was here that those few months in the militia were valuable to me.” [George Orwell. Homage to Catalonia. Berkeley, California: The Anarchist Library imprint of Open Guild Organization. 1938. Page 53.]
“The so-called ‘abolition of private propery’ which took place m the middle years of the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before but with this difference, that the new owners were a group instead of a mass of individuals. Individually, no member of the Party owns anything, except petty personal belongings. Collectively, the Party owns everything in Oceania, because it controls everything, and disposes of the products as it thinks fit. In the years following the Revolution it was able to step into this commanding position almost unopposed, because the whole process was represented as an act of collectivization. It had always been assumed that if the capitalist class were expropriated, Socialism must follow and unquestionably the capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses, transport—everything had been taken away from them and since these things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be public property. Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier socialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main Item in the socialist programme, with the result, foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic equality be been made permanent.
“But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go deeper than this. There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.”
[George Orwell, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” in George Orwell. George Orwell: Animal Farm, Burmese Days, a Clergyman’s Daughter, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Complete and unabridged. London: Martin Secker & Warburg Limited. 1976. Pages 738-925.]
“In any serious emergency the contradiction implied in the Popular Front is bound to make itself felt. For even when the worker and the bourgeois are both fighting against Fascism, they are not fighting for the same things; the bourgeois is fighting for bourgeois democracy, i.e. capitalism, the worker, in so far as he understands the issue, for Socialism. And in the early days of the revolution the Spanish workers understood the issue very well. In the areas where Fascism was defeated they did not content themselves with driving the rebellious troops out of the towns; they also took the opportunity of seizing land and factories and setting up the rough beginnings of a workers’ government by means of local committees, workers’ militias, police forces, and so forth. They made the mistake, however (possibly because most of the active revolutionaries were Anarchists with a mistrust of all parliaments), of leaving the Republican Government in nominal control. And, in spite of various changes in personnel, every subsequent Government had been of approximately the same bourgeois-reformist character. At the beginning this seemed not to matter, because the Government, especially in Catalonia, was almost powerless and the bourgeoisie had to lie low or even (this was still happening when I reached Spain in December) to disguise themselves as workers. Later, as power slipped from the hands of the Anarchists into the hands of the Communists and rightwing Socialists, the Government was able to reassert itself, the bourgeoisie came out of hiding and the old division of society into rich and poor reappeared, not much modified. Henceforward every move, except a few dictated by military emergency, was directed towards undoing the work of the first few months of revolution. Out of the many illustrations I could choose, I will cite only one, the breaking-up of the old workers’ militias, which were organized on a genuinely democratic system, with officers and men receiving the same pay and mingling on terms of complete equality, and the substitution of the Popular Army (once again, in Communist jargon, ‘People’s Army’), modelled as far as possible on an ordinary bourgeois army, with a privileged officer-caste, immense differences of pay, etc. etc. Needless to say, this is given out as a military necessity, and almost certainly it does make for military efficiency, at least for a short period. But the undoubted purpose of the change was to strike a blow at equalitarianism. In every department the same policy has been followed, with the result that only a year after the outbreak of war and revolution you get what is in effect an ordinary bourgeois State, with, in addition, a reign of terror to preserve the status quo.” [George Orwell, “Spilling the Spanish Beans (1937),” in George Orwell. Collected Essays by George Orwell. Adelaide, Australia: Bookyards. 2004. Ebook edition.]
“The seizure of the Barcelona Telephone Exchange was simply one incident in a long process. Since the previous year direct power had been gradually manoeuvred out of the hands of the syndicates, and the general movement was away from working-class control and towards centralized control, leading on to State capitalism or, possibly, towards the reintroduction of private capitalism. The fact that at this point there was resistance probably slowed the process down. A year after the outbreak of war the Catalan workers had lost much of their power, but their position was still comparatively favourable. It might have been much less so if they had made it clear that they would lie down under no matter what provocation. There are occasions when it pays better to fight and be beaten than not to fight at all. Thirdly, what purpose,” [George Orwell. Homage to Catalonia. Berkeley, California: The Anarchist Library imprint of Open Guild Organization. 1938. Pages 77.]
“If the intellectual liberty which without a doubt has been one of the distinguishing marks of western civilisation means anything at all, it means that everyone shall have the right to say and to print what he believes to be the truth, provided only that it does not harm the rest of the community in some quite unmistakable way. Both capitalist democracy and the western versions of Socialism have till recently taken that principle for granted. Our government, as I have already pointed out, still makes some show of respecting it. The ordinary people in the street—partly, perhaps, because they are not sufficiently interested in ideas to be intolerant about them—still vaguely hold that ‘I suppose everyone’s got a right to their own opinion.’ It is only, or at any rate it is chiefly, the literary and scientific intelligentsia, the very people who ought to be the guardians of liberty, who are beginning to despise it, in theory as well as in practice.” [George Orwell, “The freedom of the press.” New Statesman & Society. Volume 8, number 366, August 1995. Pages 11+.]
“However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ [Adolf] Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation ‘Greatest happiness of the greatest number’ is a good slogan, but at this moment ‘Better an end with horror than a horror without end’ is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.” [George Orwell, “Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.” Military Review. Volume 96, number 1, January–February 2016. Pages 119+.]
“Clearly [George] Orwell was a socialist. He declared that his support socialist principles dated from at least 1936, the year he fought the Spanish Civil ….
“… Orwell understood socialism inconsistently and contingently, focused always on one basic principle: egalitarianism. Regardless of the specific subjects Orwell wrote about—most commonly class-equality, anti-imperialism, and economic fair play—egalitarianism was his ultimate value. Orwell’s is thus a strongly political rather than economic definition of socialism, concerned more with social relations than with economic reorganization. Ultimately, Orwell’s attempt to join socialist economic practice to liberal political ideals can be seen to limit his understanding of socialism’s meaning and effect.”
[Lane Crothers, “George Orwell and the Failure of Democratic Socialism: The Problem of Political Power.” Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Volume 77, number 3/4, fall/winter 1994. Pages 389-407.]
“[George] Orwell was very interested in the Paris Commune, which he discussed in his Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Despite the conflicts between Marxists and anarchists, which go back to the conflicts between Karl Marx and Michael Bakunin and their differences over the role of the state and electoral politics, when Marx writes about the Paris Commune of 1871 he sounds like an anarchist. The picture Marx paints of the Commune is similar to what Orwell reports about the anarcho-syndicalist revolution in Barcelona. Marx’s writings about the Paris Commune are perhaps his best writings. Marx referred to the Commune as putting an end to the state. He wrote of how heroically the people of Paris died in defense of the Paris Commune.…
“Orwell was one of the first non-anarchists to bear witness to the accomplishments of the anarchosyndicalist society in large areas of Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War. Rudolf Rocker wrote about the anarcho-syndicalist revolution, but Rocker was an anarcho-syndicalist. Emma Goldman wrote about Spain’s revolution, but Emma was the world’s quintessential anarchist.”
[Raymond S. Solomon. The Anarcho-Syndicalist Genesis of Orwell’s Revolutionary Years. Berkeley, California: The Anarchist Library imprint of Open Guild Organization. 2016. Pages 5-6.]
“The intricacies of deception and betrayal, and of the deliberate confusion of truth and lies, are at this point so great that it is futile to ask which version [George] Orwell intended readers to believe. What matters much more is that the extracts are there—whatever the plausibility of their use in an already complete trap—because Orwell wanted to set out, in a consecutive argument, his ideas of how the world was going and could go. The narrative status of the Book becomes important only when we compare his fictional projections, in the extracts and in the more general story, with what he was writing in the same years without these special problems of form.” [Raymond Williams, “Afterward: Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1984.” George Orwell’s 1984. Updated edition. Harold Bloom, editor. New York: Chelsea House Publishers imprint of Infobase Publishing. 2007. Pages 9-30.]
“There are many writers who could be described as ‘ethical socialists,’ including Robert Owen, [Pierre-Joseph] Proudhon, [Charles] Fourier, [Eduard] Bernstein, R. H. Tawney, and the novelist George Orwell, who is the specific focus of this paper. In opposition to the adherents of vulgar Marxism, one thing they all have in common is their rejection of the historical inevitability of socialism. For Orwell and all the others, socialism is morally necessary since it is the most obvious manifestation of freedom, justice, and equality. However, socialism is not historically necessary—as Orwell puts it, the triumph of [Adolf] Hitler proved that nothing is historically inevitable—and this absence of necessity means that the success or failure of socialism must be more closely tied to the moral character and policies of those who support it ….” [Richard White, “George Orwell: Socialism and Utopia.” Utopian Studies. Volume 19, number 1, 2008. Pages 73-95.]
“… [George] Orwell persuasively puts forward a view of democratic socialism as the ‘natural’ alternative to the bloody ideologies of the time. Many of his views were indisputably radical: he felt that free market capitalism was a failed system, pernicious in its effects on English society. He was remarkably consistent in his opinions and opposed atrocities and imperialist actions all over the world, even when they were committed in the name of freedom. But before getting into the details of his writings, I would like to present a brief biographical account of his life to put his writings in proper perspectives.” [Braja Kishore Sahoo, “George Orwell in Our Time.” Language In India. Volume 16, number 6, June 2016. Pages 145-156.]