Not long ago, the idea of directly empowering the people through a system of “Fighting Capitalism with Capitalism.” It was a great consideration.
In fact, one of Eugene V. Deb’s favorite books was “The Co-operative Common Wealth by Norman Edward Gronlund. The Co-operative Movement his book helped encourage.
Unions have failed in the past because they did not directly empower the people. In fact, they became Capitalist entities themselves, more or less becoming plant managers.
Political parties of the past failed because they also didn’t become “One” with the people. Now is the time to change all that.
I had an idea not long ago. Some intellectual socialists in DSOC, now the DSA, hated the idea.
I even expressed it in Hammer and Tongs – and now it is being done in Brazil and in short form-England. Revolutionary co-operatives.
Empowering the people, so they can take control of their lives and build a Socialist Movement.
Scott Wallace is a person with whom I came into contact. I brought up the notion of starting an International Co-operative Union/Co-op Knights of Labor. Which would have been a labor union, co-op development agency, and co-op franchise.
Scott is assisting in Brazil is creating what I desire for what should be done in the USA. He says of the Militante di Luta Socialista:
“The MLS is quite interesting. It is only about a year old. It was formed by a group of people who were kicked out of the PSTU, a Trotskyist party, but they have distanced themselves from what is
usually thought of as Leninism.”
Here is an excerpt from their manifesto:
“The victorious proletarian revolutions of this century demonstrate the viability of toppling bourgeois power, and they leave us an immense
theoretical wealth for use in present and future struggles.’
That, in my assessment, is profound. The very heart and soul of the future change from a capitalist economy to a co-operative economy. The
MLS is set up for the very purpose of actively involving in, among other things, setting up revolutionary cooperatives.
It is clear that in the past there were almost insurmountable obstacles for the exercise of direct democracy by the masses, but improvements
in the means of communication, and the possibilities for the reduction of the amount of labor time necessary for human social production, create the conditions for a new and revolutionary configuration of power. Increased free time, the Internet, robots, etc, leave no
doubt as to the existence of the material preconditions necessary for the exercise of direct democracy by the workers.
For a person who wants to start something similar in the USA and would like the American Labor Party and possibly create the ICU/CKL to do the same, we could build a brighter future for Democratic Socialism. Of course this would take money and long term planning, but perhaps the MLS, even though Marxist would be worth studying for our
Scott has related: “And this group is actively involved, among other things, in setting up revolutionary cooperatives. It is the first group
of Marxists I have ever encountered that was open minded enough to go that route. A route worth taking and something that should have been done 100 years ago.”
My assessment, as Scott’s, of these co-ops are:
* They would be democratic: Workers and
communities would control their workplaces; each affected person would have her rightful say.
* They would be equitable: All workers do their share of desirable and undesirable tasks, with pay in proportion to their effort and sacrifice.
Accidents of birth or luck are a fact of life. You may be helped or hurt by them, but, regardless, there is no good reason why they
should affect your pay, and in a just economy, they won’t.
* They would be pro-environment: Animals, plants, and the natural world would be protected, restored, and nurtured. The environment would get much better, not worse.
* They would be non-corporate: The wealthy elites and their private institutions of control -from their clubs and boardrooms, through their lobbyists and ad agencies, to the WTO, IMF and beyond – would lose their control of our working, civic, and personal lives.
* They would be compassionate: Those too young, old, disabled, or infirm to work would be supported like everyone else. Animals would be
cherished, not tortured and enslaved.
* They would be efficient: Goods and services that people need would be produced, in correct quantities, without the waste of alienated labor, advertising, overproduction, profiteering, and
In the United Kingdom-England, there is a co-operative that builds affordable housing, etc. They are Called Radical Routes. Radical Routes
grew from a small group of independent co-operatives which developed in the 1980’s.
These housed unemployed people interested in buying properties in which they could start other projects. In 1988 the network took the
name Radical Routes and started holding quarterly Taking Control Events [seminars on how to take control of housing and work by setting up
In 1991 we changed our status and became a secondary co-operative. This made it possible to raise investment centrally, through a national
investment scheme [previously each co-operative
had raised money itself and on a small scale]. By promoting the activities of all its member co-operatives Radical Routes became more
attractive to a larger number of investors.
Radical Routes is a network of independent primary co-operatives forming an independent secondary. No Radical Routes co-operative has been funded by
the state, so none were undermined when anti-co-operative policies took effect. While other primaries and secondary’s were being
dismantled, Radical Routes developed and grew.
The day to day operation of Radical Routes is funded by service payments from its member co-operatives and by donations. Money invested in Radical Routes is used to provide loans to its
members, the members being registered housing and worker co-operatives
actively working towards social change. Each co-operative participates in the running of the organization, each has one vote and is fully
involved in decision making.
Well, here we are — we can help people take control of their lives and be actively involved politically in their lives. Sounds like a way a
Party or Union can grow to me.