Friday, July 18, 2014

Co-operative Socialism - preferable to Anarcho-syndicalism . . .


John Courtneidge 18 July 2014






California's worst drought in 400 years has forced residents to conserve their water use, but Nestle is extracting and bottling millions of gallons from a Native American reservation to export it out of state.

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Photo: California's worst drought in 400 years has forced residents to conserve their water use, but Nestle is extracting and bottling millions of gallons from a Native American reservation to export it out of state.  

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On 'my' Facebook time line https://www.facebook.com/john.courtneidge I posted:

Ah, capitalism . . .

Or Co-operative Socialism anyone?!


To which:

Kurtis McCartney replied:
Coop Socialism suffers from the same issues with corruption.

How about we live in the moment, clear out the excess and do it in a way that affords opportunity without all of the social justice warrior language.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

On Fiona McMurran's Time line is a thread, to which I've posted:

^Thx Kurtis for the above.

by coincidence we used that Wikipedia page for part of our Bromley Co-operative Party meeting last Monday - both the introductory explanation of what Anarcho-syndicalism is and its history; including the lovely quote from George Orwell's beautiful 'Homage to Catalonia' :

"

I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragón one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilised life– snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.– had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.
—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, ch. VII
"

(Incidentally, it was reading that book which confirmed me in my democratic socialism at the age of about 14 - and lead to my reading of Hugh Thomas's History of the Spanish Civil War and Laurie Lee's equally-beautiful 'As I walked out one Midsummer's Day'.

If it turns out to be possible, I'll add a photograph of the organisational diagram in that article - which shows a vertical, hierarchical structure (the diagrammatic hierarchical nature being, doubtless, an unintended artifact of capitalist 'cultural' conditioning.

It does, however, highlight the false resistance that anarchists have to Co-operative (ie de-centralised, equalitarian) socialism. And that is the question of subsidiarity and the role of a geographical entity that we presently-call 'The State'.

Photo: On Fiona McMurran's Time line is a thread, to which I've posted:

^Thx Kurtis for the above.

by coincidence we used that Wikipedia page for part of our Bromley Co-operative Party meeting last Monday - both the introductory explanation of what Anarcho-syndicalism is and its history; including the lovely quote from George Orwell's beautiful 'Homage to Catalonia' :

"

    I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragón one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilised life– snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.– had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.
    —George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, ch. VII
"

(Incidentally, it was reading that book which confirmed me in my democratic socialism at the age of about 14 - and lead to my reading of Hugh Thomas's History of the Spanish Civil War and Laurie Lee's equally-beautiful 'As I walked out one Midsummer's Day'.

If it turns out to be possible, I'll add a photograph of the organisational diagram in that article - which shows a vertical, hierarchical structure (the diagrammatic hierarchical nature being, doubtless, an unintended artifact of capitalist 'cultural' conditioning.

It does, however, highlight the false resistance that anarchists have to Co-operative (ie de-centralised, equalitarian) socialism.  And that is the question of subsidiarity and the role of a geographical entity that we presently-call 'The State'.

The theory and practice of the co-operative movement is that 'Primary Co-operatives' operate at the most local level possible, then there are secondary and tertiary co-operatives, with co-operatives that (As Kurtis points out), as with these other 'levels' become corrupted into a (power) hierarchy - with the 'higher' levels being most esteemed (and captured by) megalomaniacs.

This is where both language, diagramming and - especially in view of the evidence in The Spirit Level - see www.equalitytrust.org.uk -  pay and perks are so important.

Put simply: social-decision-making at the geographical dimension of (say) the islands of Ireland or Britain would be best done by all the people of, in one case, Ireland and in the other Britain (England, Scotland, Wales and the associated islands as two 'National Co-operative Commonweals' which may voluntarily associate ('Federate') to a European Co-operative Commonweal an, ultimately a Global Co-operative Commonweal (I have an unpublished article for the magazine 'Chartist' on these lines).

Thus, I don't see Proudhon's Anarchist Confederation of Peasant Smallholdings as enough for sustainability, solidarity and sociability - whereas a global society operating according to the Co-operative Values and Principles in the Statement on The Co-operative Identity (As published after periodic review by co-operators world-wide) - see www .ica.coop and in thepapers at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk - 'The New Vision of Society' (to share Robert Owen's phrasing.

Finally, I'll log this inthe blog www.sustainabilitynotcapitalism.blogspot.com which (along with the IfM site) is an evolving archive.

Hope this helps!

Best - equally! - for all!

john

**********


The theory and practice of the co-operative movement is that 'Primary Co-operatives' operate at the most local level possible, then there are secondary and tertiary co-operatives, with co-operatives that (As Kurtis points out), as with these other 'levels' become corrupted into a (power) hierarchy - with the 'higher' levels being most esteemed (and captured by) megalomaniacs.

This is where both language, diagramming and - especially in view of the evidence in The Spirit Level - see www.equalitytrust.org.uk - pay and perks are so important.

Put simply: social-decision-making at the geographical dimension of (say) the islands of Ireland or Britain would be best done by all the people of, in one case, Ireland and in the other Britain (England, Scotland, Wales and the associated islands as two 'National Co-operative Commonweals' which may voluntarily associate ('Federate') to a European Co-operative Commonweal an, ultimately a Global Co-operative Commonweal (I have an unpublished article for the magazine 'Chartist' on these lines).

Thus, I don't see Proudhon's Anarchist Confederation of Peasant Smallholdings as enough for sustainability, solidarity and sociability - whereas a global society operating according to the Co-operative Values and Principles in the Statement on The Co-operative Identity (As published after periodic review by co-operators world-wide) - see www .ica.coop and in thepapers at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk - 'The New Vision of Society' (to share Robert Owen's phrasing.

Finally, I'll log this inthe blog www.sustainabilitynotcapitalism.blogspot.com which (along with the IfM site) is an evolving archive.

Hope this helps!

Best - equally! - for all!

john

**********

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All interest charging, receiving and paying is, both wrong and unnecessary:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, 6 July 2014

Dear London LSX Occupy EWG friends


I will not be present on Saturday (19th July 2014, Mayday Rooms, Fleet Street, London) for the specially-called meeting to consider interest-charging, paying and receiving.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My offerings are in the papers section at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk

 - please see the Essay, 'Solving the World's Problems', in particular.

In synopsis:

All interest charging, receiving and paying is, both,

  - wrong: they, both, exacerbate income inequality (ie power inequality) and constitute one of the four contributory drivers (rent, interest, profit-concentrated-as-'private' dividends, uneuql-pay-for-work: these being all time-related 'returns on capital employed') that exacerbate war and other forms of environmental non-sustainability,

and,

  - unnecessary: free-at-the-point-of-use lending systems - such as Public Lending Libraries work quite well as debt-but-not-interest-charging public goods.

I hope therefore that the EWG will issue a statement that interest-charging, -paying and -receiving should be made illegal.

Best - for all! - equally!

john

**********

Friday, July 11, 2014

The conundrum of the moment

Why Occupy is making no progress at present


Re - from my friends:

> Thanks Frank
>
> Great clarification: "rentier capitalism" sums it up. Not just making
> money from money itself but from land, resources and the commons (human
> created and natural), the value of which should be shared communally.
>
> Regards
>
> Clive

But "rentier capitalism" = capitalism

In fact, all [adjective of choice] capitalism[s] = capitalism

Just as red apples = green apples = red-and-green apples = apples.

So:

If you check your dictionary definition for 'capitalism', the short-form can be expanded through observation:

Thus::

capitalism =

  selfish ('private') ownership (Theft) of economic resources (land, law, knowledge, position of power)

+

  use of same for selfishness ('private gain'): to give, respectively  Rent, Interest, Profit, Unequal, higher-than-avergage/median/mean Pay-for work: usually paid from taxes levied on workers

Hence, the Capitalism = TRIP-Up acronym:

         Capitalism = Theft, Rent, Interest, Profit and Unequal-pay for work

ps Each of the capitalists (the land/building owners, law-/bank-owners, knowledge-/business-/workplace-owners, position-owners/often-taxation-paid parasites/P-artists) hate the others): a house divided, not a class in solidarity.

   . . . Until they, as exploiters, are faced by the exploitees (the people as workers, consumers, tax-payers).

   . . . At which point, the capitalists unite together quicker than one individual in the exploited group who says:

          - "But, I! disagree, I! like my (part of the) TRIP-Up income*."

*Be that a small rental income, or a bit of savings-interest, or a little share-income, or other pay-off perk.

At which point Occupy is blocked and co-opted - into another, unreported,  rally, march, sit-in, protest stunt, what-ever.

For each solution to each part of the TRIP-Up set, there is, at present, one Occupy LSX EWG member who is blocking progress: and why the Occupy movement (in London and elsewhere?) is not a movement but, for now, a grumy squatters' sit-down.

That's our present conundrum.

Best - for all! - equally!

john

*************

Tuesday, July 8, 2014



If not Capitalist Corporations - then What?


From a thread at Occupy Economics (6th July) on the non-legality of the (capitalist) for-profit corporation in the US - including a description of its replacement

https://www.facebook.com/groups/372946956055502/918697174813808/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

--------------------

This is all helpful, Robert (Robert Burns),  and thank-you for it. 

Part of the plan for Co-operative Socialism (see in the papers' section at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk) is the proposal that all corporate entities be converted into appropriate co-operatives: worker co-operatives in the creative/competitive-to-be-of-best-service/market sector and community co-operatives in the non-market sector.

(Noting that all these co-operatives have to annually, explicitly demonstrate their co-operative identities by showing themselves to be in compliance with the Co-operative values and Principle in the Statement on the Co-operative Identity from the International Co-operative Alliance - as updated by the Co-operative Movement form time-to-time: the Statement, being a living document - note the 'on' not 'of -' is effectively a democratic Wiki )

(Second note: It is my understanding that, in the Canadian Province of Quebec, these constitute l'economie social and l'economie solidaire sectors, respectively, of the sector that may be termed, l'economie cooperative: Quebec is this parasitised by a capitalist sector, but l'economie cooperative acts as a powerful equalising influence.

This last is the key objective of the plan for Co-operative Socialism - the creation of an economy that is peaceful and ecological - because it is generative of (greater) income equality: since the evidence (completely enunciated in the key book, The Spirit Level, and at explained at The Equality Trust web-site,  www.equalitytrust.org.uk) is that (greater) income equality is generative of all goods - public and private - such as peace and sustainability.

The corporate transformation within the plan for Co-operative Socialism, thus, requires the application of the repeal of the social-acceptance/social-permission of the for-profit (capitalist, etc) corporate form - just as Robert Burns is saying should already be the ase in a fully-Constitutionally-compliant USA . . .

Friday, June 6, 2014

Responsible Economics*

Some web-findings 6 June 2014


At http://www.openforbusinessmagazine.com/stories/socially-responsible-econ is: a great video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hTL27Hs14gw

Responsible Economics*
-------------------------

I'm searching the titled term - partly to consider the term "Responsible Capitalism".

I catalogue, below some initial findings.

however, the pick seems to be the following excellent video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hTL27Hs14gw

at http://www.openforbusinessmagazine.com/stories/socially-responsible-econ with the preamble:

  "Socially Responsible Economics   28-May-2014

   Business Success and Social Responsibility

   Social responsibility offers the possibility for differing opinions. Some see this issue as so crucial they insist investment portfolios of the companies who are part of that portfolio meet certain criteria. At the extreme, others argue (persuasively) that the only social responsibility a business has is to maximize profits for the benefit of the stockholders or owners of the business.

   The latter view was given credence by a celebrated Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Milton Friedman, from the University of Chicago. Using his viewpoint, one can argue that business managers do not possess any kind of special talent justifying diversion of successful business profits to any cause in the community, no matter how worthy or popular"
-----------------------------
 
   So, here's what I've found so far, starting with a search for "Responsible Economics":

a) http://www.paecon.net/

and

http://www.worldeconomicsassociation.org/

And their Young economists Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/521797714546263/

  Thence to:

b) the indicated blog (with posts on 3 June 2014): http://rwer.wordpress.com/

c) Their Journal is http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue67/contents67.htm

---------------------------

The cognate, "Responsible Economics" seems to be more focused on responsible
environmental economics . . . :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_%28organization%29

Or 'Responsible capitalism' eg:

http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=1865

But "Socially Responsible economy" gives, for example:

http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/blog/entry/a-socially-responsible-economy

But there's also the counter-revolution:

http://www.openforbusinessmagazine.com/stories/socially-responsible-econ

-------------

Now, whether any of the above is helpful . . . * I don't yet know . . .

Best - equally! - for all!

john

* ie promotes an income equal, co-operative socialist replacement for capitalism . . .

Which is what Co-operative Socialism does: see in the papers at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk

**********************

Friday, May 16, 2014

Co-ops growing stronger

Co-ops growing stronger: subsidiarity, solidarity and sustainability

 John Courtneidge 16 May 2014

The Co-operative Group in the UK is being put through the mill (partly our fault, partly attacks by globalised capitalism).

My view is that the solution is in three parts (at least!) - each of which might be of use to the wider Co-operative Movement:

1) Retain as a national co-operative those parts that need best to be at  a national level: CRTG and farms/food production, Co-operative Finance generally (banking, pensions, etc . . .)

2) Set up and/or disburse the retail functions to existing or new regional co-ops; ie subsidiarity.

3) Convert the Consumer Co-operative model for the retail co-ops into a Community Co-operative model - with Boards that are part-elected by the active consuming membership and partly due to representation by the workforce on a truly representative basis (ie perhaps by lot from the workforce rather than by vote). Ie solidarity.

Finally:

  a) Stephen de Vries (the OxfordU academic advisor to Inequality Briefing) said on Monday at the Inequality Briefing meeting that there is no relationship between CEO pay and corporate effectiveness/efficiency.

  b) By contrast, we know from The Spirit Level (see www.equalitytrust.org.uk) that social, national and corporate wellness increases as income differentials are narrowed, and

c) that The ICA Statement contains both equality and equity as co-operative values.

Accordingly, by considering that:

   equality + equity = fairness

(Which may be a fair(!) synopsis), a significant aspect of our route to co-operative wellness contains two essential elements:

  i) That the refreshed co-operative movement adopt the Pay Fairness Commission approach (using randomly-selected  Pay Fairness Commissions to annually recommend to Boards on pay ratios);

  ii) That each co-op carry out ad publicise 'Annual Co-operative Audits' to demonstrate their (our!) fidelity to all of the Co-operative Values and Principles contained in the ICA Statement on the Co-operative Identity (for which, see www.ica.coop and also logged in the papers' section at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk )  ie sustainabiity

Friday, May 2, 2014

Quakers in Britain Statement on Inequality - April 2014


http://www.quaker.org.uk/sites/default/files/MfS-statement-on-inequality-April2014.pdf


Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Statement adopted by Meeting for Sufferings on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting
-
April 2014, minute MfS 2014 04 07
Quakers in Britain commit ourselves to action to redress the growing inequality of wealth and income in our country.

Our vision of equality springs from our profound sense of the worth of every human being.

Every person’s life is sacred and in this we are all equal. Neither money
nor status can serve as a true measure of the value of any individual or group. Nor can wealth be true riches if it is based on unlimited personal enrichment and not shared for the good of all.

The progressive movement towards greater economic equality of the mid 20th century has been in reverse since the 1980s. Britain has become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, where wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a minority.

The richest 20 per cent of our population have a lmost a hundred times the wealth of the poorest 20 per cent. It is estimated that around one in five of the population, or around 13 million people, live below the UK poverty line.

Government expenditure cuts have imposed unacceptable burdens on those least able to bear them. Many in Britain now go hungry or depend on food banks. Many face homelessness, or insecure housing in the private rented sector. People with disabilities and those affected by mental illness and chronic conditions are having their incomes squeezed. Poverty and hunger, and the anxiety and stress that go with them, are blighting the lives of vulnerable people, from children born into difficult circumstances to working age poor people and elderly people.

We recognise that these crises and injustices spring from forces at work within the global economic system. These forces infiltrate our hearts and minds, capture our politics and threaten our common basis for life on earth. This is nothing less than economic violence, which challenges our Quaker spiritual commitment to peace.

Many Quakers across Britain are helping to supply and staff food banks and lunch clubs, support housing provision, volunteer in advice bureaux and community projects in areas of deprivation and support claimants.

We will continue this urgent work with others to mitigate the effects of cuts that diminish the quality of life for millions in our society. We want to hear and understand the true stories of those affected, so that our shared
humanity can be at the heart of our responses to poverty.

However, action that aims merely to alleviate the worst effects of inequality is not enough.

As we wrestle with the implications of our testimony to equality, Quakers feel called to act more radically to tackle the underlying causes. This calling requires spiritual struggle and real practical change. Our testimonies are moving us to work for very different ways of organising our common life. We are also moving towards spending and saving our own resources in ways that are more compatible with our values, and away from uses that diminish the lives of our fellow human beings and the rich variety of life forms with which we share our planet.

As we long for a society of deep compassion and loving kindness in which we ‘help one another up with a tender hand’, we must witness to a different way of living, and help build the world anew.
Ethel Livermore
Clerk, Meeting for Sufferings