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Forum Post: An alternative to Capitalism: WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 11, 2012, 3:06 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
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81 Comments

81 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I don't see any real support for this idea anywhere in the country. Without majority support you can't simply take property from all the stockholders. Even what they did in Argentina was theft, unless the owners had given up all claim to their property.

I did think there was a little irony in the part about Spain where they abolished money then made up their own money and just called it vouchers.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Germany already has something halfway there, that has in fact served both shareholders and workers quite nicely, that has been around in vital industries such as coal and steel production since 1951-1952 (and has been a part of pretty much every business employing over 2000 people since the mid-1970s). From Wikipedia (yes, I know I'm being a bit lazy):

Co-determination in Germany operates on three organisational levels:

  1. Board of directors: Prior to 1976, German coal and steel producers employing more than 1,000 workers commonly maintained a board of directors composed of 11 members: five directors came from management, five were workers' representatives, with the eleventh member being neutral. (Note: Boards could be larger as long as the proportion of representation was maintained.) In 1976, the law's scope was expanded to cover firms employing more than 2,000 workers; there were also revisions to the board structure, which now had an equal number of management and worker representatives, with no neutral members. The new board's head would represent the firm's owners and had the right to cast the deciding vote in instances of stalemate.

  2. Management: A worker representative sits with management in the capacity of Director for Human Resources. Elected by a majority of the Board of Directors, the workers' representative sits on the Board and enjoys the full rights accorded to that position.

  3. Workers committees: The workers committee has two main functions: it elects representatives to the Board of Directors and serves as an advisory body to the trade union regarding plant-level working conditions, insurance, economic assistance and related issues. The committee is elected by all the workers employed in a plant.

Under this setup there is no actual taking of property from anyone; not only can the shareholders still receive dividends from what they put in they also retain the final say in the use of "their" property. The fact that shareholders possess the swing vote on the supervisory board means that they win a "party-line" confrontation every time, and if they remained 100% unified they could theoretically run the company with zero input or accountability.

Generally, though, that's not what happens. More often, employees under those conditions are willing to work longer and harder, get on board with long-term structural reforms that will benefit the company in the long term but cause some pain for employees in the short term, and even accept layoffs without striking in many cases. In return for this, employees under those circumstances tend to get very good pay, benefits, and working conditions, and tend to see themselves as having a personal investment in the firm (which doesn't sound like much but goes a long way).

Instead of having a purely adversarial relationship that often leads to only halfway useful stalemates when both sides are equal and then rampant abuse once the balance of power shifts to one side or the other, workers and owners under the codetermination model tend to have very similar long-term goals and are willing to sacrifice short-term gains that will come at the expense of both sides down the line.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

What you're describing sounds like a perfect approach. It's incremental, works within existing laws and gets a chance to prove itself without a total disruption of the existing society.

Struggleforfreedom80 seems to want it to be all at once and he wants workers to be able to confiscate property. His way requires constitutional changes or revolution, it doesn't seem like it could ever get much popular support.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Thanks; ideally, I'd like to see most medium and large businesses run entirely by their workers after the model of the Mondragon cooperative in Spain (which is also a thriving multinational firm) because I believe that directly tying the fortunes of corporations to the fortunes of the men and women for whom they work and the communities in which they operate is good for our economy and our people. That said, working toward German-style codetermination laws would be a great first step in that direction, and then depending on how well that works we might go farther or we might be able to let things sit.

If we were to try to go for full workplace democracy after giving the American people a decade or two to get accustomed to the German system, I'd do it by setting up a system of grants and incentives for people looking to start small businesses that would be contingent on them converting from a sole proprietorship or a partnership to a cooperative once they reach 50 or so employees, selectively lowering certain regulations for cooperative firms, and setting up some kind of buyout procedure in which workers may, with the consent of the shareholders, take full control of the company in exchange for paying out a given multiple of each shareholder's initial investment.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I don't know if you've read any of what struggleforfreedom80 has been saying to me below. His approach seems to harden me against the whole idea, your way actually has a chance to work here as it's apparently working in Germany.

on this too, he seems to think it's possible to turn the entire society over to majority rule over

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Like I said in my first response to you: I'm not suggesting that these ideas can replace capitalism in a couple of months or something, it's going to take time to create a really large scale society based on these ideas.

I'm open to different kind of smart solutions in a transition phase from today's system to a free society without capitalism.

I advocate real democracy; a society with democracy built and controlled from below, with more direct participation giving people control ocer their own lives. That shouldn't be controversial.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

There's just something about the way you present it that makes it seem undesirable. You make it controversial for me when you suggest simply taking property or not having a constitution to guarantee individual rights.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"There's just something about the way you present it that makes it seem undesirable."

I'm sorry to hear that. I'm advocating eventually dismantling an exploitative, immoral system that undermines democracy, and replacing it with a more direct participatory democracy. If you find this in any way undesirable, then that's sad.

"You make it controversial for me when you suggest simply taking property"

There’s nothing controversial about that. Current property rights are not graven in stone; they’re not some unchangeable laws of nature. They can be changed just like they were, a certain time ago, changed into the ones we have today. Just like the wealthy business owners have been given the right to own more and more of the economic institutions, including the means of productions others are using, other forms of rights can instead be implemented like f.ex giving the workers the right to control their own workplace democratically.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/property-rights/

These changes can only become reality when the people and the communities want it.

"or not having a constitution to guarantee individual rights."

I want people to have much more and better rights than they have today. I just think that it must be based on the people's wishes, and not dead slave owners let's say. I honestly don't see the controversy in that.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Yes property laws can be changed, by the amendment process. It's going to take a consensus, not a simple majority, that's the reality of it. I also believe that is far superior to a simple majority being able to change laws. You ignore the fears of the majority when you talk about removing the protections of a constitution for the rule of nothing but a simple majority.

What rights do you want people to have that they don't have today? List them and guarantee them. The impression you give me is that all we need to do is to let 51% decide things and they will be benevolent. That is not believable. The constitution we have wasn't put into effect by a simple majority of "slave owners". It required wider acceptance, a two thirds majority to be adopted.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

There are no 100% guarantees in any systems. I have mentioned what kind of system I want: Libertarian Socialism. If you study it you'll see what kind of rights I think people should have.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I see what it is but I also see it has as many if not more flaws then what our present government has. The theory is looks okay, but then in theory our present government looks just as good or better. In practice you need safeguards to protect groups in the minority. You give me no real reason to support any kind of change under your terms.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Libertarian Socialism would be the system that best supports minority rights (as explained earlier)

"In practice you need safeguards to protect groups in the minority"

And who decides the rights of the minority, and why; and with what legitimacy?

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I think I just answered that a little while ago. The rights of all people were decided by consensus, two thirds of the states had to ratify the Constitution before it became law.

Without securing an overwhelming majority no system could succeed for long anyhow. A libertarian socialist society would fail very quickly if 49% of the population were opposed to it, you could probably topple a government if even 30 or 35% worked against it.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"You keep going back to that idea of 51%, it isn't relevant."

Of course it's relevant. We've been discussing whether its' right or wrong to have a system in which a potential 49% can get their will over the 51%.

"It's not some point you can change through debate, It simply doesn't matter what you think is right or best or fair."

What? We're discussing the fact that a constitution can overrule a majority, and I'm presenting arguments as to why I think it's wrong. It's called debating.

"You have to deal with the facts as they are."

I'm dealing with the facts, but I disagree with the status quo, and I'm presenting arguments as to why things should change. jeez.

"I'd have to stay with the government we have now, as bad as it may be, I know where I stand with it."

If you want to support corporate-state domination, undemocratic hierarchies and a constitution undermining democracy, then that's your choice. I hope you'll change your mind in the future.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

You ask for too much faith with too little evidence your system could even work in the long run. You suggest we have to take private property from it's rightful owners. Then you don't like the mechanism we have for protecting those rights from government or a simple majority. You don't like to have a constitution to guarantee our rights. Sorry the more you say the more your system sounds like it could easily become a domineering tyrannical one. I'd rather place my efforts into improving the system we have.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"If you can't lock in our rights and get general agreement ahead of time on what they will be"

I want strong rights fro working people and minorities, but they must be decided thru democratic process. You have not given a sufficient answer as to why the 49% should get their will instead of the 51%.

"You're asking me to risk submitting to tyranny."

I'm not asking you to do anything; I am advocating a free classless society with democracy from below and strong rights for the population, all minorities included.

"The 51% could do whatever they want, I wouldn't risk it."

The 49% could potentially block whatever they want...

"You want to deny private property rights"

On the means of production, yes; and that would be more in the category of long term goals.

"the next question from people is likely going to be what rights will you want to take away next."

With the system I want the vast majority of the population would get more rights

"I'd want a written document guaranteeing my rights"

Write them down, fine, but it should be based on democratic process.

"not this vague thing about control from bottom"

It's not vague. By creating an Anarcho-Syndicalist/Libertarian SOcialist society democracy is controlled from below thru democratically run organizations, workplaces, and communities and so on, cooperating in networks with other communities. This way democratic say becomes proportional to how much you're affected by and are part of things.

"The 49% don't get to make laws, it takes a majority."

Not if the majority is 51%. If the majority is 51% then the 49% get their will by the laws being maintained.

"Taking away rights we've had for generations requires a broader consensus however"

It shouldn't be that way. It must be the people living today that should get to decide the laws they have to follow, nothing else.

Democracy is everybody having a say in the things that affect their lives. Sometimes the majority agrees with you, sometimes they don't - that's a logical consequence of living in a society with other people.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

You keep going back to that idea of 51%, it isn't relevant. The threshold for constitutional changes is two thirds of Congress and 75% of the states. That's a fact you have to deal with. It's not some point you can change through debate, It simply doesn't matter what you think is right or best or fair.

It also doesn't matter if you think requiring a two thirds majority for something is minority rule. Call it what you like, I don't see it the way you do. You have to deal with the facts as they are. You need greater agreement to take away rights, in this case property rights, then you need to pass laws, unless you plan revolution.

I don't see what the problem is in any event, 51 or 66% neither matter to you, you have another fact to deal with. Your support is nowhere near 1%. Personally you've got me believing turning government over to a mob without a constitution and having to worry about what rights a slim majority might or might not let me keep would be a big mistake. I'd have to stay with the government we have now, as bad as it may be, I know where I stand with it.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Libertarian Socialism would be a democracy controlled from below, making sure that individual rights were established and maintained.

"I think I just answered that a little while ago. The rights of all people were decided by consensus, two thirds of the states had to ratify the Constitution before it became law."

And what I asked is why the 49% (who agree with laws decided in the past) should get to undermine the 51%?

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

If you can't lock in our rights and get general agreement ahead of time on what they will be and how they could or could not be denied us in the future,then there is no way I could accept that form of rule. You're asking me to risk submitting to tyranny. The 51% could do whatever they want, I wouldn't risk it.

You want to deny private property rights, the next question from people is likely going to be what rights will you want to take away next. I wouldn't trust all my rights to a slim majority. I'd want a written document guaranteeing my rights, not this vague thing about control from bottom. That has no meaning for me and no force of law. You're asking me to have blind faith in people.

The 49% don't get to make laws, it takes a majority. Taking away rights we've had for generations requires a broader consensus however.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

The thing with struggleforfreedom80's approach is that there appears to be a fair amount of magical thinking involved there; he may well want to see the same endgame as I do, but he doesn't seem to have very many ideas about getting us there that don't involve large chunks of people "seeing the light" and simply upending parts of society as we know it in the process. I doubt that's going to happen, and I would consider banking on that to be silly and encouraging that sort of thing to be irresponsible.

What people who want massive amounts of change need to remember is that it doesn't all have to happen in one stroke; America looked quite different in 1962 than it does now, and (with certain major exceptions, namely civil rights) a great deal of the differences between then and now evolved gradually. That's generally quite typical for us; the only times in our history where that really hasn't been the case that I can think of offhand were the Civil War and the Great Depression, and while this latest crash is probably comparable in severity to the Great Depression it apparently hasn't hit home hard enough to convince people to rip up the manual and try something new.

Under those circumstances, a movement away from the path we're currently headed on back toward the things that I believe will make us great again (codetermination and workplace democracy among them) will probably start out with something far smaller and less ambitious and then slowly move toward the eventual goals, picking up speed as it goes. That's what I'd like to see, and if any change is going to happen I'll bet you it will happen in that manner.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"but he doesn't seem to have very many ideas about getting us there that don't involve large chunks of people "seeing the light"

Well, the ideas can only become reality if people change their minds and embrace the ideas. And I have presented some ideas though... :

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1321101669_the_transition_phase_.html

"it doesn't all have to happen in one stroke"

I don't disagree with that. Maggie is distorting my views by saying things like "Struggleforfreedom80 seems to want it to be all at once". In my first response I made it clear to her that abolishing capitalism might take a while. Either she forgot, or she's being dishonest.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I have two personal issues with the stuff on your blog. First of all, your plan of action only has one major strategy; that of protests, strikes, and similar direct actions. As far as I'm concerned that's a liability rather than an asset, because you're basically putting all your eggs in one basket and that basket can be rather rickety at times. Direct action by itself carries little if any guarantee of success; it would appear to me that the rise and fall of OWS as a protest movement demonstrated that quite nicely. If you disagree with that, just look at the fate of the Populist party, the fate of the Homestead strikers, and so on.

If you want to change an entire nation then you can't just rile up groups of workers and expect their actions to carry the day; you also have to be able to convince the American people at large that what you're doing is right and will in fact benefit them in the long run. You have to talk to them about things like the successes of Mondragon, the successes of the German codetermination laws, and so on, and then convince them that those successes will happen here if we adopt that model.

You then have to be prepared to fight for change on multiple fronts; sure, direct action is quite nice, and within the framework of a much larger movement it can be a very powerful tool (think of Dr. King and the Million Man March). That said, you'll need grass-roots organization of entire communities rather than just workers, and you'll need to be able to mobilize people on all fronts, and that includes the entrepreneurial and political sides of things as well. Furthermore, you'd be looking at several decades before this sort of transition would be halfway complete.

Second of all, I'm not completely comfortable with your fixation on the abolition of capitalism and I think it's going to hurt you here. Evolve it, alter it, augment it, abolish it if you will; I don't care as long as what comes out of that process serves the American people better than what we have now. Describing your ultimate goal as the abolition of capitalism rather than any number of other (equally true) terms has the effect of scaring off a lot of people and doesn't really net you anything.

While we're on that topic, I personally don't believe that abolishing capitalism is a particularly good idea. Properly regulated and maintained markets are an incredible asset to any given nation, and the profit motive is one of the most reliable motives we have; I see no reason to throw those away. I'd argue that the only real problem we have is that there is neither equity nor accountability within the institutions making use of our markets, and that reconnecting firms to their employees and their communities would be a major step forward.

My personal preference, then would be for democratic capitalism, in which markets remain semi-regulated and corporations are owned equally by all of their employees and directly accountable to the communities in which they reside. I'd make only a few other structural changes, and then wait to see how the system evolves (as it will) with that model in effect.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

You share some reasonable thoughts here, some of which I don't disagree with. Like I've said before, it's going to take time to dismantle this system we have now. We should all share our thoughts and learn from each other as to how to change the system we have now.

Which tactics and strategies that will be most effective and create the best result noone knows with certainty I stand by what I wrote in the article, though. I think direct action - at least as the main focus - is the best way to do things. That way democracy and solidarity can be built bit by bit from below.

I do think we should have a capitalist-free society as our goal because only then will we have real freedom. The only right thing to do in my view, is to work to create a society in which people are able to participate in the things they're a part of. That is done by creating a real participatory democracy built from below thru democratically run institutions and communities. The way I see it we can't maintain a system that undermines democracy and is exploitative in nature - regulated or non-regulated.

So, it's going to take time to change the system, and we must share our thoughts and learn from each other as to how we can create a better world.

[-] -1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I see his approach as counterproductive when seeing the light involves requires us to, as you put it, "rip up the manual and try something new". We don't have unrestrained capitalism any longer and our republic is slowly taking on more aspects of a socialist state. People just need time to adjust to change.

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I don't know if we're slowly becoming more socialist; the closest to that we ever came was during the 1960s when LBJ was pushing his vision of the Great Society. The relationship between government and big business right now is not that espoused by authoritarian socialism (in which the economy is partially planned by the state and corporations remain responsible for executing those plans), but rather more that of right-wing authoritarianism or Mussolini/Pinochet-style fascism, in which big business does as it pleases and then uses the government to bail it out and protect it. Thankfully, this isn't a true fascist regime, but I'd argue that the pendulum needs to start swinging the other way before America can properly be said to have turned toward socialism.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Not completely socialist politically, just government taking a bigger role in dealing with social problems. More like some of the European nations.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

the businesses own everything these days

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

How exacty is our republic taking on the aspects of a socialist state?

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

America taking on the aspects of a socialist state..what nonsense. That's gonna be an interesting elaboration.

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

That's basically what I said; the closest we ever came to that was LBJ's Great Society and we've been going the other way ever since.

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

It's a socialist paradise if you are a bank or a large corporation.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Not becoming socialist, as I said above to the others that commented on my statement. Just government slowly increasing its role in regulation of business and in providing assistance for individuals.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

There's no increasing, Maggie. Regulation has been more and more weakened.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Change doesn't happen on a smooth curve. There are groups that want some regulations modified or removed, there are some that want more regulation. Same with government social programs. The trend over time is still for government to do more for it's citizens then it did a century ago and much more then it did when it started.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Many different people want a lot of differetn things. we're not talking about what people want, but what really happened.

For a long time now, especially since Reagan, regulations on businesses have been gradually weakened. More and more power has been handed over to private enterprise thru tax cuts and deregulation. That's reality.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

No, you're talking about the last 30 years, I'm referring to the slow trend in the nation over the last two centuries. There are bound to be periods of regulation and then periods where those regulations are scaled back. Especially in a nation which doesn't tax it's people enough and over spends on its military.

Corporate welfare should certainly be eliminated, and the tax system overhauled. That goes to another problem, keeping your voters properly informed to make good decisions. Solve that problem and any parliamentary system or republic would work fine and no one would consider anarchy. Fail to solve it and anarchy is likely to be worse for people then what we have now.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

You gotta problem with Anarchism?

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

It's not an important point, I'm not even saying regulation of social programs are good or bad. We simply have more now then we did a century ago and people slowly over time come to consider them normal. It's that tendency of people to become accustomed to things over time I was thinking of when I said our government has acquired some characteristics of a socialist state. We don't have totally unrestrained capitalism, and we are not a nation of individuals all left to provide everything totally on our own.

At present some programs are under assault, yes. Others have been added or expanded a little. The EPA has the authority now to regulate CO2, the ACA gives health insurance to the poor and subsidizes policies for many. Unemployment has been extended beyond it's original limits. It works both ways over a long time period the trend is to expand these programs, but there are also times when budget concerns cause us to slide backwards.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"It's not an important point"

It's very important point. We're talking about the last 30 years, which policies have had amajor impact on many people.

You say "Just government slowly increasing its role in regulation of business" well it was a very long time ago since US was in that situation. It has nothing to do with recent events.

"It's that tendency of people to become accustomed to things over time I was thinking of when I said our government has acquired some characteristics of a socialist state."

Well, during the last 30 years people have certainly had to become accustumed to extreme corporate greed and dominance pretty fast.

"We don't have totally unrestrained capitalism, and we are not a nation of individuals all left to provide everything totally on our own."

The US has state-capitalism, which provides much more welfare to the rich than to the poor.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I don't see the government becoming socialist. By "taking on the aspects" I meant slowly adding social programs over the years and regulating business and people becoming comfortable with government taking that role.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Not to a large degree, but we have social programs. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, job programs, food stamps, meals for school children. These programs get accepted by the public and over time more are adopted. It's difficult to do here because of the fear and suspicion people have for that word socialism.

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Here's the thing; most if not all of the social assistance programs we have now are in fact well over forty years old and were adopted between 1933 and 1975. Since the 1980s, the focus has been on cutting public assistance programs, and the Ryan budget and the Ryan plan for Medicare are the culmination of that.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

The ACA opens the door for more government involvement in health care, but I know that too is under siege. I don't know if anything advances evenly, cuts may prompt a grassroots group to push for social spending and things will begin to progress again.

Ryan's plan, if he could somehow get the votes, doesn't change anything for people over 55, so there is a decade to work with at least.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"I don't see any real support for this idea anywhere in the country"

Attitudes can be changed. I'm not suggesting that these ideas can replace capitalism in a couple of months or something, it's going to take time to create a really large scale society based on these ideas. Co-ops are increasing in number, though, and hopefully more and more people will become found of the ideas of direct participatory democracy.

"seems to be groWithout majority support you can't simply take property from all the stockholders."

These ideas can only become reality if the people and communities want it. Today's property rights are not graven in stone, they can be changed:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/property-rights/

"I did think there was a little irony in the part about Spain where they abolished money then made up their own money and just called it vouchers."

Why would you think that? There are important differences between labor vouchers and money.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Hhmmm....eminent public/society/people domain?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Democracy and participation on all levels!

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

The way it should be. An educated critically thinking aware and involved population to maintain a healthy and robust society/world.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Jepp. A large scale society like that will not become reality right away, but it is what we should strive for.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

A healthy ideal/goal. Gotta have em if you want to make good plans.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Exactly :)

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

And that is what we should be trying to share with everyone. A healthy happy prosperous dream/ideal/goal to work for.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

It's important to get the message out there, absolutley. And we don't have a lot of time left. The destruction of the environment; the exploitation of humans and resourses; it's threatening decent survival of our species.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

All life on this planet is threatened by the pollution that is running rampant. Even if we save humanity for a while - what will we be saving humanity for if the planet is basically lifeless? How long can humanity survive in a world like that?

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Another good video - I have seen it - another good one to keep circulating.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Agreed. Serious and important stuff.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (26125) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

I have tweeted it before. I will probably do so again. got to get this stuff seen.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Sure attitudes can be changed, how long have anarchists been working on that idea and how is the process of changing attitudes working out so far? Similar question for property rights, how many people have been convinced in the past ten or twenty years? Spain was like 80 years ago. How much progress has there been?

Your link is interesting but it's simply an opinion. It's obvious you want property rights changed. How much support do you actually have? Not sure if a majority will ever go along with that, let alone enough to alter the constitution.

The video said many of the anarchists found the concept of money abhorrent, not just the government money of the time, the entire concept. Then they turn around and resort to using something to represent the hours of work done, it's essentially money. You hate it yet invent your own, I think that's a little ironic. Vouchers are more limited in their use I suppose, but the principle is about the same you do work and are given a form of payment that you trade for other things.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Anarchist ideas have been around for a long time. There have been some small successes along the way, which unfortunately got crushed pretty fast by opponents. So, no it hasn't worked out very well so far, but we must never give up. Thruout history many long-lasting unjust, and tyrannical systems have collapsed - it can happen again.

I don't see much irony. Vouchers are seen as a better alternative. Alos many anarchists (including the ones who participated in the Sp.revolution) see vouchers or money as a temporary solution before entering a libertarian communist society.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Seems like the ideas of your opponents have more support. Crushed is an interesting word choice though. It has an air of oppression or conspiracy about it for me. Maybe anarchy doesn't work out as well in practice. Maybe after thinking about it few people want to give up an individual right for a utopian promise. Maybe capitalism is working out well for a vast majority.

Too many people own businesses, own stock, or have a retirement that depends on stock. That's a lot of people invested in private ownership rights. That may be why you can't convince that many people that capitalism is bad. I know you can make arguments, but that's different from actually convincing them of anything.

The irony thing is my opinion, a personal observation, it's just how it struck me, your opinion is different, doesn't matter or change mine.

[-] -1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"Seems like the ideas of your opponents have more support"

There's has been a great deal of propaganda. I think if people were introduced to the actual ideas of Libertarian Socialism most of them would embrace them.

"Crushed is an interesting word choice though. It has an air of oppression or conspiracy about it for me."

I was referring to the small successes such as The Spanish Revolution fex, which was in fact crushed.

"Maybe the anarchy doesn't work out as well in practice."

Actually during the Sp.revolution what was accomplished worked very well - untill it got crushed.

"Maybe after thinking about it few people want to give up an individual right for a utopian promise."

Libertarian Socialism strongly favors individual rights - the rights of people to take part in and participate int the things they're a part of and affect them.

"Maybe capitalism is working out well for a vast majority."

It isn't. Capitalism is unsustainable, exploitative, dehumanizing, and undermines democracy - it has got to go.

"Too many people own businesses, own stock, or have a retirement that depends on stock."

..and by now the top 1% own almost 50% of inv.capital. Capitalism isn't sustainable, it must be replaced by asustainable and real participatory democracy.

"I know you can make arguments, but that's different from actually convincing them of anything."

I'm only expressing my opinions. What you think about what I present can only be up to you.

"The irony thing is my opinion, a personal observation, it's just how it struck me, your opinion is different, doesn't matter or change mine."

That's totally fine with me:) I just didn't see much irony, and told youwhy I didn't see it.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I think something would have to be around for a long time before you could say it worked. A generation at least, everything starts out good when people are motivated. Communism always looked good to it's supporters too but it hasn't done that well over time. People are always the problem, even if the system were perfect people aren't.

When you talk about libertarian socialism are you talking about it just in the work place or as a way to run a government too?

I'm not sure anything is sustainable if we allow our population to keep growing. Capitalism has worked well for a long time and in the US. It's put even the poorest person in the top 15% world wide. Taxation certainly needs to be fixed, but I'm not sure I'd ever vote to dismantle capitalism just for a theory.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"I think something would have to be around for a long time before you could say it worked."

That's not necessarily true. There are many examples wher things worked pretty well within a very short time.

"Communism always looked good to it's supporters too but it hasn't done that well over time"

Communism - that is a classless, stateless society - is a very good idea; the problem was that leninist models were tried as a transition. That was a big mistake. Leninism is awful. It is the workers and the communities themselves that have to be in control of dismantling capitalism.

"People are always the problem, even if the system were perfect people aren't."

It was the models used that was the problem.

"When you talk about libertarian socialism are you talking about it just in the work place or as a way to run a government too?"

Libertarian Socialism advocates a decentralized society controlled from below with democracy on all levels. So democratic workplaces/institutions, democratic communities and so on. It seeks to dismantle all concentration of power, not just capitalism but also, in long term perspective, government

Please watch these two for more info:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8J_UKKa-c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp

"I'm not sure anything is sustainable if we allow our population to keep growing."

I absolutley agree. Something must be done with the population growth at some point - as well as our unsustainable economic system.

"Capitalism has worked well for a long time and in the US."

Depend on what you mean with "working well". It has worked very well for the rich, yes. It has not worked well for the workers however, who's had their wages stagnate, it has not worked well for the poor with cuts in their welfare. There are lots of tyrannical systems that can work very well in terms of growth etc, but that doesn't make it right.

The only right thing to do is to create a society in which we share the wealth and where people are in control of their lives.

"It's put even the poorest person in the top 15% world wide."

It is not x's profitting on y that lifts people out of povrty. Also the gap between rich and poor - both worldwide and in the US - is increasing more and more.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

I think you're wrong about people not wanting more proof that the kind of changes you're talking about would work or are even necessary. This would take a total change to the constitution if it's going to be government and not just workers buying out the owners of businesses.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"I think you're wrong about people not wanting more proof that the kind of changes you're talking about would work or are even necessary."

Proof? Well, if they could do it, to a large extent in 1936, there's no reason to believe that we wouldn't be able to do it now. And do you really need proof that democracy will work? Shouldn't it be a matter of principle and morality that people should be able to control their own lives? LS is about creating a society in which people have a democratic say in the things they're a part of, and I think most people would embrace these ideas.

"This would take a total change to the constitution"

Yeah, probably a lot of changes. I'm personally not a big fan of constitutions. It must be the people living today that should get to decide what kind of soceity they should live in, not dead slave-owners.

"if it's going to be government and not just workers buying out the owners of businesses"

Not buying - taking.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

You're talking about something that will require amendments to the constitution, or possibly writing an entire new constitution. Yes you're going to need to offer up proof to people that whatever form of government you want to put in place will be better then what they have.

You're not a fan of constitutions? What establishes what our personal rights are and what the law of the land will be? You'll have to have something more then vague ideas, show a new constitution or something that guarantees people they will not loose any rights.

Taking? Violates the fifth amendment, you have to convince two thirds of Congress and three quarters of the States. That's a problem when you start out taking away rights. The more you say the bigger I think your burden is to prove it will work.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"You're talking about something that will require amendments to the constitution, or possibly writing an entire new constitution."

Sure. Or no constitution at all.

"Yes you're going to need to offer up proof to people that whatever form of government you want to put in place will be better then what they have."

Do you think the ones advocating parlamentary democracy in feudal times had to provide "proof" in order to end the tyranny...?

"What establishes what our personal rights are and what the law of the land will be"

Democracy.

"You'll have to have something more then vague ideas"

I have explained the core principles. I think many details should be decided by the ones creating this society.

"Taking? Violates the fifth amendment"

Well, I did just say that major changes in this document would have to be done.

"you have to convince two thirds of Congress and three quarters of the States."

That's the main problem right there. Minority rule. I can't stand it. I hope the population will put an end to these kinds of practices.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

It isn't minority rule when a majority agree to the laws we have at this time. We, the majority agree with the constitution. Presently you are in the minority, you want the change, the burden to prove your new society is worth the effort or even workable is on you.

Saying that the law will be democracy isn't enough, in fact if that's all you say it kills the idea before you even start to explain things. Does democracy mean if the majority believe slavery is good for society then it will be permitted? Can we imprison or kill minority groups or those that disagree politically if the majority think it hurts society? You need something better then just saying we're going to have democracy.

Your idea involves illegally taking what is considered private property today and you don't like a constitution that offers guarantees that people won't loose other rights. You're never going to be able to sell this to very many people.

Look up above at what ARod1993 said to my original post. That has a chance of working and convincing people to change. I don't see you ever being able to convince a majority. You'd need a revolution, but I seriously doubt you could convince enough people to have an impressive demonstration, so forget a successful revolution.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"You're going to have a difficult time convincing many people that concept is a bad one."

I think it's unreasonable that the majority should be undermined by a minority. If many don't agreewith this, then we just have to try to convince people.

"That isn't minority rule"

If 51% of the population wants x but are not allowed, then that means that the 49% get ther will.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Doesn't matter what you think, you're stuck with the reality of the constitution and the attachment people have to it. If all you have is to throw it out and tell them to just trust the majority to do the right thing you've got a longer way to go then you realize.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"We are a society made up of minorities, there have to be limits on the power any coalition would have that simply manages to reach a little over 50%."

But then questions arise: Who should decide what kind of rights the minorities should have? The people, or a minority of some kind, and if so what kind of minority, and with what legitimacy?

The only reasonable way to organize society is thru democracy; and by establishing a democracy controlled from below the chances of immoral laws being established are down to the minimum.

"The amendment process is what we have, it requires a greater consensus then 51%, that isn't minority rule"

It is if 51% wishes to change that system

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

The rights all the people have been set down and agreed to by a consensus. In the case of the US Constitution it was two thirds of the states at the time of signing. New laws that do not conflict with the Constitution can be passed by a simple majority. Minority groups can not make changes to the constitution nor can they make law.

Taking away rights that we've had for over two centuries is another matter. To alter the original Constitution does require a two thirds majority and three quarters of the states to agree to the change. You're going to have a difficult time convincing many people that concept is a bad one. That isn't minority rule, I see it as protecting everyone from a tyrannical mob.

It doesn't matter how anyone feels about it personally or how they evaluate it. The Constitution, by design is difficult to change. That brings us back to the same two options, convince a two thirds majority to do away with property rights or any other right that you think would get in the way of utopia, or gather up enough followers for a revolution.

Either way I don't see how you're going to convince people to change to a new method of governing if you can't guarantee them their personal rights in some way that is difficult to change by a simple majority.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"You brought up parliamentary democracy saying no one had to prove it worked. Parliamentary government didn't come into being fully developed."

No, I don't think a free participatory democracy will do that either.

"It started with a document though"

Just so we're clear. It's not so much the documents I have a problem with, it's limitations on democracy - the people's will - that are my main concerns.

"The way you propose your vision or democracy, without a constitution or any protections for the minority is unsettling to say the least."

I strongly favor rights for minorities. But these rights must come to be thru a civilized, solidaric democratic society.

"I see it as tyranny by the majority."

Real democracy should be built and controlled from below; in a society without hierarchies and concentrated power, there'd be no forms of tyranny.

"A simple majority doesn't meet the stipulations for making amendments under the constitution we have."

And as I pointed out, that's minority rule. That's not how we should organize society.

[-] 1 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

We are a society made up of minorities, there have to be limits on the power any coalition would have that simply manages to reach a little over 50%. A constitution should limit what a simple majority can do and strive for a broader consensus before major changes are made.

Sorry I see your idea of simple majority rule without constitutional limits on the power of the majority as dangerous. I don't believe humans, in general, are so enlightened as to allow minority groups or minority opinions to unmolested.

The amendment process is what we have, it requires a greater consensus then 51%, that isn't minority rule, the minority didn't make the law in the first place and the minority can't change it. You have to deal with it, convince a broader majority or try revolution, there isn't a third option as far as I can see.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"Parliamentary democracy might be a good historical lesson for you. It didn't pop into being fully developed, and it began with a document setting down the rights people would have under it"

You have to stop it with the strawmen. Did I say PD popped into existence right away?

A constitution can also suggest oppressing minority groups.

It boils down to the very reasonable suggestion that it must be the people living today that should get to decide what kind of society they should live in. Anything else is tyranny.

"You referred to the amendment process as minority rule, it isn't. It's a process that was agreed to by the majority when the constitution was adopted"

What about if 51% no longer wanted this process..?

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

No I didn't mean to imply you used the word popped, it's the impression you gave me. You brought up parliamentary democracy saying no one had to prove it worked. Parliamentary government didn't come into being fully developed. It started with a document though, not simply throwing out everything that had come before. There were incremental movements toward a more democratic society.

The way you propose your vision or democracy, without a constitution or any protections for the minority is unsettling to say the least. The proposal for a new society has to offer more protections then just simple majority rule. To borrow a phrase, I see it as tyranny by the majority.

A simple majority doesn't meet the stipulations for making amendments under the constitution we have. As citizens we are bound by the laws agreed to by our predecessors. Whatever society you are in you have two choices, revolution or legal change. Fifty one percent might pull off revolution. It isn't enough of a majority to alter the constitution. Not liking the law isn't relevant. You still have only two options follow the law or rebel.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"It isn't minority rule when a majority agree to the laws we have at this time."

I've never said that either.

"We, the majority agree with the constitution."

Again, attitudes can change.

"Saying that the law will be democracy isn't enough"

No,laws must come about thru democratic prosess

"Does democracy mean if the majority believe slavery is good for society then it will be permitted?"

That will never happen in a civilized participatory democracy. If a constitution said that slavery is good for society should thatl be permitted?

"You need something better then just saying we're going to have democracy."

No, it must be the people living today that should get to decide what kind of society they should live in, nothing else.

"Your idea involves illegally taking what is considered private property today"

Today's property rights are not graven in stone. Property rights can be changed:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/property-rights/

"and you don't like a constitution that offers guarantees that people won't loose other rights."

I want people to have moore rights; but they must be decided democratically.

[-] 0 points by Maggie22 (107) 2 years ago

Parliamentary democracy might be a good historical lesson for you. It didn't pop into being fully developed, and it began with a document setting down the rights people would have under it.

Slavery was just an extreme example that came to me, but without a constitution setting down what our rights are a majority could do anything it wanted to minority groups. No constitution, means no protection and that will lose you a lot of support, this country is made up of almost nothing but minority groups.

You referred to the amendment process as minority rule, it isn't. It's a process that was agreed to by the majority when the constitution was adopted. True no rights are written in stone, but the laws we have have a procedure for changing them, it doesn't happen at the whim of a mob, which is what your idea sounds like. Attitudes are not going to change when you leave individual rights up in the air with nothing set in writing guaranteeing our freedoms.

[-] 0 points by rpc972 (628) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Unite and Win!

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

The only solution is world revolution! :)