Thursday, April 24, 2008

What do we want?

A common complaint is that we spend a lot of time knocking capitalism and rival candidates - all well and good, people say, capitalism is terrible, but what are you saying should be done about it?

Thus, having spent the first few weeks of capmaigning concentrating on the failings of other parties, I'm going to spend the rest publishing excerpts from our literature on why we think socialism is the solution.

To begin with, and this is relevent to the comments on yesterday's post, an excerpt from Socialism as a Practical Alternative, on democracy.
Under capitalism, governments, through their control of the state machinery, lay down the law and impose it on the whole of society, if necessary by force.[...] With socialism this dominant feature of the structure will be immediately abolished. The power of the state, which operates from the concentration of centralized power in the hands of governments, will be replaced by a fully democratic system through which decisions will flow from the broadest possible social base to represent the views of the whole community.

A democratic system of decision-making would require that the basic unit of social organisation would be the local community which could elect is delegates to a local council which could be given the responsibility for local administration. If, for example, local communities in socialism began by operating from the basis of the existing structure of district councils in England, this would give 332 local communities. This would be a democratic development of the existing procedures for electing local councils which could become the basic means for dealing with day-to-day local issues. Then, regional councils could provide organisation through which decisions affecting wider populations could be made at the regional level. Similarly, global decisions could be made by delegates elected to a world council.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is how capitalism presents us with this false dichotomy between 'politics' and 'economics'. Marx had it right when he wrote of 'political economy'. It is only capitalism which has 'undemocratised' economic control and so concealed from the masses its true business (economy), and hence disenfranchised us. Production is controlled by private interests, ultimately a minority group of controlling private property interests, which means that for most people, production is slavery, rather than a social and democratic act. This social alienation from production is one of Marx's main themes, and it is evident in the way that politics is conducted, with its preoccupations of soap opera scandal and triviality. When our 'leaders' do get round to discussing the real issues, it quickly becomes apparent that they are totally reliant on the people pulling the strings - the 'leaders' of economics. It is they who are really running the country. Politics is just a show, designed to convince people they have a say when they don't. In the socialist system you speak of, the various democratic councils would presumably control production, and production decisions and resource allocation would become the main issues of discussions, as they ought to be, but cannot be, in the present system.