The following is a continuation of an earlier post (Socialism, Part One: What It May Look Like) about the nature of socialism–which is a solution to problems that capitalism, characterized by the domination of a class of employers, cannot solve. Socialism is not something that emerges from a utopian view independently of the nature of capitalism but requires a critical approach to capitalism.
In the following, Tony Smith elaborates on the democratic nature of the workplace, which is subject to control not only by the workers at the particular workplace electing managers but also by certain community organizations that represent specific community interests. From Globalisation: A Systematic Marxian Account (2006. Boston: Brill), page 303:
(ii) Managers of worker collectives are democratically accountable to those
over whom they exercise authority, either through direct elections or through
appointment by a workers’ council that is itself directly elected. These
enterprises are required to have representatives from a range of social
movements (environmental groups, consumer groups, feminist groups, and
so on) on their boards of directors, accountable to those movements.
What do you think of such proposals? How do they relate to democracy? To the lack of democracy in your life? Do you think that such proposals are worth fighting for?
One thought on “Socialism, What It May Look Like, or Visions of a Better Kind of Society Without Employers, Part Two”
Personally I don’t like the language of “managers”, “exercise of authority” and “board of directors”. I think a post-capitalist society, even in its first stages, will want to be less hierarchical than that, especially with the historical experience of ostensibly post-capitalist societies behind us. I don’t think we are dealing with “enterprises” in a socialist society – the division between work and the rest of our lives must itself be challenged. I think in order to challenge the division of labour the first pre-requisite has to be the reduction of necessary labour for all members of society, as well as the identification and abolition or transformation of socially unproductive labour. Without the monetary evaluation of the products of social activity, the meaning of activity is itself transformed as is the division of labour as well as the division between labour and the rest of social life.
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