- McJobs and Workers -

The path from here to there

Posted by: Flint Jones ( IWW, U$A ) on December 02, 1998 at 15:37:24:

In Reply to: SYSTEM!!!!!! posted by Red Deathy on December 01, 1998 at 00:37:20:

You talk so much sense sometimes I almost forget your support a party. :) Your criticism of both worker co-operatives and various theories of economic exchange are correct. We do need to get rid of most of the trappings of capital, along with that oh so annoying theft by the top 10%. However, I'm sure you must agree that an economy of worker-owned co-operatives would be closer to what we want, production based on use and not profit. Likewise, we also want to maintain a free society and not reduce the world to some uniform sameness in the name of equality; or any kind of command soviet style economy. While there is quite a bit of work in the field, ranging on alterations on things like co-ops and communes, experiments with LETS, paraeconomics, the old single-taxers ala Henry George, syndicates federated, etc... I think in any free society many models will be tried, and many will work.

The question, "What is to be done?" to get us from where we are to where we want to go. Yes, we must stress cooperation, instead of competition. In many ways we need to remind people of their options. Personally, the appeal to industrial unionism is the solidarity it is capable of building. For all the contradictions involved in the immediate reformist goals (Better wages) of a revolutionary union (an end to the wage system), I think it is one of the many vehicles to help bring it about.

Do you really think your going to get people to suddenly change everything in the world overnight? Ofcourse you don't... but its like pulling teeth just to get your fellow workers to admit that working fast food is bad, and that it would be less bad if they could organize together to improve their situation.

Though it only seem like Mike (who works at a bank) is the only one even trying to defend profit, and doing a fairly poor job at it I think. He's devolved into equating my arguments as "get-rich-quick" television ads. He won't address my specific points. He continues to confuse "success of a business, its growing and thriving" with the ability of an owner to squeeze more profit (make money). He also confuses profits with savings. Certainly some profit can be used to help any enterprise during lean periods, but cooperatives are quite capable of saving. The Mondragon Cooperatives (not an ideal model surely) were able to do quite well during Spain's recession, better than most capitalist firms. He sees the only motivator as money.

Alot of workers who should know better, agree with Mike's idea. However, once they realize its not in their interest to think that way, what do you do? It comes down to those old three steps:

education: in talking to your fellow workers and giving them other perspectives.

organization: taking those new ideas and putting them into practice. Practice without theory is running in circles. Theory without practice is looking very clearly to your goal but never moving. The two compliment each other. If workers can organize their own union to fight for better conditiosn, or create their own cooperative business, they are much closer to the next goal.

emancipation: yeah, freedom. liberty, equality, solidarity. Thats the stuff.

I think this discussion is getting into the place where it should move over to the "Capitalism and the Alternatives" room, but its so full of old commies, fascists, and capitalists it feels like a morgue. I could imagine trying to explain Stoller's behaviorism theories to anyone in here and getting the "what the hell does that have to do with my job".

I think the appeal towards free society has to be made as both a pragmatic improvement in inmproving our lives in the here and now, along with using tactics that don't conflict with how we would like to see the ideal organized. Its the long road, but I think its the only one to where we want to go. People have to free themselves, as much from what they percieve as their own limitations, as from those who force their will ulitmately through violence.

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