“We have a tremendous productive capacity, but this productive capacity does not return to the people, it is not used to support them or to emancipate them. It is used to preserve scarcity artificially so that people have to go to work even when work is unnecessary,” Murry Bookchin.
Much talk about creating a new socialist Labour party? But where has Labour gone wrong? why do we keep repeating these mistakes and continue to put our hopes and trust into institutions that aren’t fit for purpose?
My first observation would be around Labours or the lefts in general failure to produce economic power through cooperative organizations or workers’ democracy in the institutions it has power over, could the Labour party have created the beginnings of a new cooperative economic system inside capitalism? Capitalism created dual power before it took political power so why didn’t do this using the local councils?
“The bourgeoisie controlled economic life long before it took state power; it had become the dominant class materially, culturally and ideologically before it asserted its dominance politically. The proletariat does not control economic life. Despite its indispensable role in the industrial process, the industrial working class is not even a majority of the population, and its strategic economic position is being eroded by cybernation and other technological advances.” by Murry Bookchin
What if we created working-class democratic economic power?
Labour aimed for political power within a system that is a cesspool, it focuses its efforts on parliament where they rubbed shoulders with elites and got quietly paid off. Labour ignored the role of local councils
Labour organization is a hierarchy it views the lower branches as lesser unimportant, its wards, its conferences ideas are dismissed, without a direction Labour councils have bought into monopoly allowing huge supermarkets to destroy local communities and lower food standards. They have built bigger hospitals, bigger schools and bigger council buildings.
A new movement should start back by asking communities what they want? they may want smaller local community hospitals and care services or perhaps a local market with local organic produce? a socialist movement would hold local assemblies and find out.
The Labour party has had a huge amount of power to implement real economic change but it squandered it! imagine if Labour had stood by its title, the Labour and co-operative party? It could have set up a council department to help support and help establish Cooperatives, collectives, Credit Unions and non-profits.
What if instead of going along with austerity, quantitative easing and privatization, it put real effort not tokenism and set up worker’s co-operatives credit unions and non-profits?
for instance, Instead of private refuse collection they could easily be a cooperative, NHS cleaners could be cooperative, Nurses could work in small autonomous groups, pharmacies could be non-profit. Anywhere you look workers could have been trusted and their lives, working conditions and pay improved.
Why aren’t all council departments could be run democratically by the staff? Why doesn’t Labour want Participatory budgets? where people choose where they spend the council budget.
What should a new labour movement look like? same old reformist crap where gains can be swept away when profits are threatened or should Socialists stand on their principles and empower people, trust democracy trust communities to know what’s best for them.