- McJobs and Workers -

From each, to each, and self definition...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on December 02, 1998 at 19:42:10:

In Reply to: The path from here to there posted by Flint Jones on December 02, 1998 at 15:37:24:

: Red,
: You talk so much sense sometimes I almost forget your support a party. :)

Well, we all have our Faults. Our party is distinguished by only having one policy- Abolish Capitalism, NOW!

:However, I'm sure you must agree that an economy of worker-owned co-operatives would be closer to what we want

We also stand on a platform of no reforms, I doubt it would be any closer really, beccause it'd just be Worker Run capitalism, so I don't see why we should put the effort into building something we don't particularly want.

: 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.

Neither do we- Indeed, we always alter the old motto: 'From Each according to their self-defined abilities, to each according to their self defined Needs...

: 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.

Hmmm- but many, LETS for example, would just re-introduce primitive accumulation, and many are jst attempts to work within Capitalism, and alter it slightly. I can't see any room in a society of common ownership, without a wages system for a bit of paper that says I don or don't own something, which I already own.... ;)

: 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.

Campiagning for higher wages, and jobs protection, is not reformism- Indeed, several Comrades are IWW members, John Bisset and Ray Carr IIRC write for teh british Sections Magazine Bread and Roses. Personally I have a few doubts about industrial unionism, but...anyway, fighting teh class war is one thing, trying to reform capitalism (nationalise things, union protection.recognition laws. minum wages, etc.) will not work, will not benefit teh workers, only their organisation to abolish their status of workers will. until then Unions are defensive organisations (I know de Leon turned that the other way round, but....)

: 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.
No, I think we have to work hard to build up that Majority, and yes, we must emphasise unity, soldiarity and efnde our interests, but we can't try and use a state to do that (coz its their state), and any co-op or whatever we enter into we must recognise as a temporary thing, and not as a stepping stone to socialism...

{Mike and profits}
Unfortunately, under capitalism, and within a woder capitalist system, any alternative economic arrangements can only work within a niche space of the system, or else they effectively must enter the system,a nd mimick its behaviour- profits must be set aside to improve machinery, or you'll be cut up by teh competition, otherwise the only way to survive is through hippy tax and people paying for their conscience. We're far better off explaining point blank that capitalism just does not work, even for the vast majority of smnall owners and folk who think they're getting on, than by trying to suggest alternative ways of working within it.. ;)

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

Agreed: Capitalism is crap, we must get shot of the whole system and institute common ownership... ;)

: 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.
I agree, we must organise, but if we organize to build co-operatives we are:
1:Organising to compete with capitalists, which means we'll have to take on teh methods of their system.
2:Not organising for socialism.

: emancipation: yeah, freedom. liberty, equality, solidarity. Thats the stuff.
the Socialist League had 'Organise, Educate, Agitate' as their slogan, similar, but I think teh leagues three are oall geared around the last one, we have to agitate for emancipation, for socialism, not for a national minimum wage (which won't mean nowt). Yes, we must organise in our own defense, but trying to organise for reform is a dead end...

: 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".

Well, what it has to do with thier job, I'll say it plainly, is that, if they don't like their job, its not coz of a rotten boss, its not coz of a few bad apples or some evil coproate dudes, its because fo a rotten system, a class war, in which they ahve to fight back, and then organize to end teh war, to abolish teh wages system. you can't really seperate agitation for unions from political agitation (Though the SPGB does have a historic policy of holding unions and party seperate, as does the IWW, we get along well, DeLeon is in both our shadows!)

: 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.

I agree, we won't have socialism until we have a socialist majority. Organizng for improvement under capiatlism, both distracts, by drawing reform minded folk into teh movment which clouds issues, and it gives teh impression that capitalism can be reformed. It also wastes our energy fighting battles that are frankly irrelevent. Again, I re-iterate, fighting the class war is one thing, but trying to pass laws, or form worker co-operatives is only a way of living under capitalism, theya re not stepping stones, I've never yet heard a convincing reason for teh subjective break from reform mindedness to socialism mindedness through the stepping-stones policy.

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