Community-Wealth

April 2024 Forums General discussion Community-Wealth

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  • #82454
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Not sure if the link has been provided but this is part of the "radical alternative" we are up against in arguing for socialism. Along with Richard Wolff who we have reviewed in the Standard, Gar Alperovitz is a popular proponent of co-ops etc etc. 

    http://community-wealth.org/

     A supportive article describes their aspiration:

    "Marx praised the federation of worker cooperatives under the 1871 Paris Commune as a vision of "'possible' communism," which was strikingly similar to CommonBound’s vision of a decentralized, worker-owned economy facilitated by friendly municipal and state governments."

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/24276-commonbound-a-revolution-needing-a-spirit

    Lets be honest, our prescence, much less our influence, is severely lacking in these "new economy" movements.

    Should we endeavour to heighten the awareness of WSM by more interaction as we tried with TZM? Or let these sort of movements die their natural lingering slow death as all the previous incarnations of them did in the past being organisations that fail to emphasise we need the agency for change…a politically conscious working class. And if they did posses that, there would be no need to stop at half-measures. 

     A lengthy analysis and rebuttal online (a print pamphlet would soon be outdated when the academic professor proponents disappear) but couched in sympathetic language required? A simple webpage to link to when people meet these and similar re-constructs.  

    But once again i refer to other posts and how this can be related to the new left unity parties springing up and re-appraisal of how to campaign and what to demand. Shame it seems only you and me ALB (and a few others) who are interested in seeing how the workers' movement is evolving and adapting – but not changing at all and often regressing. 

    But again my big problem is the difficulty i have in developing a counter strategy…

    One thing we could do is actually focus our aim on specific trends we detect taking place and concentrate our resouces upon them.

    People are seeking some sort of vision for the future but are being content to accept supposed achievable aspirations that simply are not going to be won. For all the talk of class war too many reformists don't realise what it actually means. Some objectives of workers cannot be met by the capitalist class without them abolishing themselves …and that won't happen…It will be workers who will need to overthrow them and their system. 

    Another rambling mssage 

    #102087
    ALB
    Keymaster

    "Community-Wealth" sounds like a possible alternative name for "socialism" (if we need one), but "World-Community-Wealth" would be better as "community" has become associated with local communities rather than a world community. Anyway, workers coops (or even co-ops) are a dead-end.

    #102088
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster
    ALB wrote:
    "Community-Wealth" sounds like a possible alternative name for "socialism" (if we need one)

    10 minutes ago i just did a draft blog that said :-"…The socialist movement has felt obliged to abandon the use of an important word because it had become too corrupt. After the First World War, ‘Social-democrat’ became a dirty word, and as a self-description was dropped. Many socialist who would have been quite happy to call themselves ‘Communists’ in the days of Marx or Morris, would now be reluctant to do so. When these words were abandoned as favourable descriptions,  it was not just a matter of changing a label, but of establishing the identity of a valid idea, which would otherwise be confused with a degenerate idea. The same procedure may well have to be adopted again if we cannot reclaim the terms socialist/socialism, if its social vision cannot be assimilated as one coherent piece into the body of a modern social protest…." 

    #102089
    twc
    Participant

    What dangerous game are you playing?You countenance relinquishing the term “socialism” on the grounds that we’ve lost its original meaning to others.  The others have never held our meaning.  The party has kept the original meaning of “socialism” alive for a century against worse odds than now.  Nothing of genuine substance has changed today.You suggest that the party give up the term “socialism” for some alternative in order to “establish the identity of a valid idea”, in the false hope that the new alternative term we adopt in its place won’t eventually be “stolen” and besmirched also.Rest assured, if our new alternative differentiating terminology is successful, a stronger capitalism will steal, and aneasthetize it, as a stronger capitalism has so far succeeded in emasculating every other term that threatens its interests.Just consider any of our traditional terminology.  It expresses technical content, or specialist categories of thought like “value”, “exploitation”, etc.  None of it is common usage.Take some of our terminology that is in common usage:“Political Reform” was once exclusively used to imply pro-working class change.  It has been stolen by the avowed bourgeoisie to mean the exact opposite.“Capital” has always meant, in common usage, something other than what Marx meant by it, e.g. currently by the ignorant Piketty; or in bogus bourgeois terminology like “human capital”, “intellectual capital”, etc.  Do you recommend we give up the term “capital”, and thereby cede its meaning to common [mis]usage?Now Marx wrote about capital and socialism.  A party based on Marx has no choice but to tread in his footsteps and defend his terminology from bourgeois corruption.  It is the only terminology that makes the party case meaningful.  The party cannot relinquish its technical terms to its opponents without relinquishing itself.To change terminology, as you suggest, merely to differentiate the original from the misappropriators is a mug’s game.  The only justifiable terminology is that which adequately describes content.  To chuck away a century’s usage of terminology to describe our content, is to signal abject capitulation to one’s opponents—submission to the bourgeoisie—which of course it could only be if the party were so foolhardy as to adopt such a populist pandering suggestion.A revolutionary party that is not prepared to fight for its own established terminology has already joined the ranks of all the rest of the weathercock swinging political panderers.  Except that a revolutionary party instantly transforms itself, quite unmistakably, into a political laughing stock.  Such a party may as well cede its theory that exemplifies its terminology to them as well.Yesterday you recommended relaxing the hostility clause, and earlier you strongly defended altering the DOP as a worthwhile intellectual exercise.  How much more demoralization?While in the mood of terminological re-examination, you might reconsider own Web signature.  It celebrates anti-socialist Debs’s French bourgeois-revolutionary term “citizen” (Citoyen), whose original revolutionary meaning has long since been lost.  By the way, I for one do take offence at your parading Debs’s dubious phrase on a world-socialist site.  This now almost meaningless, egotistical, phrase of a politico is in frequent common usage today by equally  suspect members of any world-wide anti-socialist cause.  Surely your signature has also lost its original meaning to bourgeois others.  If anything should be changed on a world-socialist site, it is your anti-socialist’s signature.

    #102090
    steve colborn
    Participant

    It is the intent/meaning of Alans sign off signature, that is important. I would not disagree with it's sentiment. As for the rest i, I understand where you are coming from, however, I believe Alan is throwing ideas into the "melting pot", to see if anything useful floats to the surface. We, as a movement and a Party, have to examine and test everything, in our attempt to hit upon that one or two possibly useful ideas/techniques, that would make getting our core ideas across, easier. If something comes of discussion/debate, great! If not, we move on until we hit that "sweet spot", that makes our "job" so much easier.

    #102091
    rodshaw
    Participant

    "World-Community-Wealth" sounds like the kind of thing an advertising agency might dream up for a major bank.It's all a question of definition. People outside the party would understand many different things by the word socialism, depending on who you ask. Our definition is now a minority one but it's still the best label there is for what we stand for and we should continue to push it.We have a whole baggage of terms we have a unique meaning for. It would be a bit tricky to ditch them all. “Working class” immediately comes to mind. How many people outside the WSM think there's no middle class? “Class struggle” – sounds pretty pompous. “Wage slave” – does that really include managers on £50k a year?Some terms, which have variously been suggested from time to time as substitutions for the party name, are equally dubious.“Free Access” – freedom for immigrants to enter the country? No government secrets? No charge for using an ATM? “World Without Money” – everyone to share poverty, or maybe a comment on the state of the majority? And so on.

    #102092
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    TWC, to use my two examples, in conversation when did you last call yourself a social-democrat…how often do you describe youself as a communist…? Free access, rod, is i believe our own invention…try a google and see how often it crops up outside our usein a socialist context…particularly historically. "The terms anarchist, socialist, communist should be so "mixed" together, that no muddlehead could tell which is which. Language serves not only the purpose of distinguishing things but also of uniting them- for it is dialectic." June 9, 1886, Joseph Dietzgen i believe my signature origins is even older than Debs and is indeed non-socialist origins. As for my signature, needless to say many appropriate phrases from non-socialists to express ideas"À chacun selon ses besoins, de chacun selon ses facultés" Louis Blanc But i think you miss the purpose , although Steve didn't,  that we should be looking at what we do politically in our campaigning and critiiques and how we do it to explain our failures and what we can possibly do to be more effective….or do you suggest we have been successful The DOP itself now carries a caveat,  "because it is also an important historical document dating from the formation of the party in 1904, its original language has been retained."

    #102093
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Sorry, TWC,  i was distracted by the kick off the England game to realise that you said communism or social democracy "never held our meaning" so my question is a bit superfluous. As for your other comments upon my anti-socialist actions and  casting doubt upon the purity of our party-canon , "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. For these and all the sins of my past life I am truly sorry" I happily await charges of action detrimental to the interests of the Party, if that is what it takes so that we can have a full exchange and debate upon the Socialist Party's interaction with the working class, the class struggle and the Party's means of doing so and the language and imagery it uses. These questions has been my explicit aim posting several links and comments while you have busied yourself with Lbird on the Meaning of Life.But note, one of our most successful expression of the party case does not even use the word socialism. As i said and what is really demoralising is doing the exact same things over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome…Some things i grant need repeating…but what exactly…Again apologies for using a sign-off description that goes beyond "bourgeois" and has its origins in the chattel slavery society of Greece…shame on me for endorsing such philosophers. 

    #102094
    twc
    Participant

    It’s the author I find politically offensive.  We politically oppose a “one world” based on IWW or Debsian “principles” (if such there be).You express concern that our opponents steal our phrases and reinterpret them politically against us. Plastering Debs’s name across our forum is a perfect way of, unintentionally, validating our opponents’ political re-interpretations against us on our own site.We attribute Louis Blanc’s political slogan to Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program, where Marx forever stamped a world-socialist seal upon it. Blanc’s interpretation is the last thing we and Marx would politically endorse.  We therefore never attribute it to Blanc, because he meant by it something we oppose.If you want Debs’s content without his political slant, do likewise—skip academic niceties and drop reference to the fellow.  That then would be something we all agree on politically.

    #102095
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I was toying with the idea of replacing the Deb's quote, actually. I was thinking of having this in its stead. “The great appear great to us, only because we are on our knees: Let us rise" – James Connolly  

    #102096
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Of course, i am not alone in my admiration of Debs in the SPGB or quote him…. "Although a member of the reformist socialist Party of America, in his speeches and articles he came nearer to the socialist position of the SPGB than any other prominent political orator in America…His speeches endeared him to socialists everywhere and are still quoted today with telling effect."http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1980s/1985/no-975-november-1985/trade-unionist-extraordinary-eugene-debs(anybody any idea who was the author?) i also much prefer Debs style of writing to De Leon's. Bit it should be mentioned that early members of the party were less enthusiastic about Debs and called him a wobbler (rather than a wobbly!) http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1910s/1919/no-181-september-1919/struggle-usa

    #102097
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    “The great appear great to us, only because we are on our knees: Let us rise" – James Connolly  

    Although Connolly used the slogan I don't think he invented it or even claimed to. I think it goes back to the French Revolution which Connolly would have found when reading about it.It seems also to have been appropriated by Irish Nationalists (to whom the Debs quote would be anathema):http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/politics/2009/06/

    #102098
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    You are correct. Demoulins, i believe used it.But i think you know i was just on the wind-up. 

    #102099
    ALB
    Keymaster

    And doesn't the Debs quote go back to Tom Paine (who also took part in the French Revolution)?

    #102100
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Goes as far back as to Greece…as i mentioned…i'm not an AthenIan or a Greek but citizen of the world" – Socrates…and Diogenes said something similar it too…..Demothenes as well…But i think Debs variant is better…but i would fight for it!

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