Saturday, July 18, 2009

democracy and leaderships

One so often overlooked American once said :-
“I never had much faith in leaders. I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader. I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week. If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and mis-representatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”

And another time he said :-
“I am not a labor leader. I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.”

There is one political party that does take the issue of leadership seriously and since its formation over a hundred years ago , it has had no leader !!
Working class emancipation necessarily excludes the role of political leadership. Even if it could be conceived of a leader-ridden working class displacing the capitalist class from power such an immature class would be helpless to undertake the responsibilities of democratic socialist society. The SPGB is a leader-less political party where its executive committee is solely for housekeeping admin duties and cannot determine policy or even submit resolutions to conference (and all the EC minutes available for public scrutiny access on the web as proof of our commitment to openness and democracy ) . All conference decisions have to be ratified by a referendum of the whole membership . Even our General Secretary has no position of poweror authority over any other member . Despite some very charismatic writers and speakers in the past , no personality has held undue influence over the the SPGB .

It is NOT the party’s task to lead the workers in struggle or to instruct its members on what to do in trade unions, tenants’ associations or whatever , because we believe that class conscious workers and socialists are quite capable of making decisions for themselves. For the Trotskyist Lenininist Left, all activity should be mediated by the Party (union activity, neighbourhood community struggles , etc.) , whereas for us, the Party is just one mode of activity available to the working class to use in their struggles, a tail to be wagged by the dog.
The SPGB is like no other political party in Britain. It is made up of people who have joined together because we want to get rid of the profit system and establish real socialism. Our aim is to persuade others to become socialist and act for themselves, organizing democratically and without leaders, to bring about the kind of society that we advocate. We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism. Socialism will not be established by good leaders but by thinking men, women and children. There can be no socialism without socialists.
Democracy and majority decision-making must be the basic principle of both the movement to establish socialism and of socialist society itself.
If a majority of workers really were as incapable of understanding socialism as many on the Left maintain , then socialism would be impossible since, by its very nature as a society based on voluntary cooperation, it can only come into being and work with the conscious consent and participation of the majority. Socialism just could not be imposed from above by an elite as envisaged by the Left . Democracy is not the mere counting of noses; it is the only principle of organisation compatible with a classless society.

A real democracy is fundamentally incompatible with the idea of leadership. It is about all of us having a direct say in the decisions that affect us. Leadership means handing over the right to make those decisions to someone else. We don’t vote for leaders to implement this or that decision; we vote according to our ideological inclinations to give them a “free hand” to make decisions. The point is that the very mechanism of decision-making we have today is a product of the social system we live under. The market economy, with its built-in contradictions and conflicting interests, has massively complicated the process of decision-making itself. It has moved it further and further from the ambit of “ordinary people” as the system itself has become more and more globalised. It is this that has made the paper pledges of our elected leaders seem increasingly irrelevant and ineffectual

Posted here

UPDATE REPLY TO COMMENT

Another of his [Debs] poignant quotations is " I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it. " - the case against the lesser of two evils argument when it comes to elections - and just how many remember when they have decided upon the lesser evil , that it was indeed an evil !

Democracy under capitalism is reduced to people voting for competing groups of professional politicians, to giving the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down to the governing or opposition party . Political analysts call this the "elite theory of democracy" since under it , all that the people get to choose is which elite should exercise government power. This contrasts with the original theory of democracy which envisages popular participation in the running of affairs and which political analysts call "participatory democracy".

This is the sort of democracy Socialists favour but we know it's never going to exist under capitalism. The most we will get under capitalism is the right to vote, under more-or-less fair conditions ( which when i read your website your organisation are endeavouring to improve upn ) , for who shall control political power—a minimalist form of democracy but not to be dismissed for all that since it at least provides a mechanism whereby a socialist majority could vote in socialist delegates instead of capitalist politicians.

Capitalist democracy is not a participatory democracy, which a genuine democracy has to be. In practice the people generally elect to central legislative assemblies and local councils professional politicians who they merely vote for and then let them get on with the job. In other words, the electors abdicate their responsibility to keep any eye on their representatives, giving them a free hand to do what the operation of capitalism demands. But that’s as much the fault of the electors as of their representatives, or rather it is a reflection of their low level of democratic consciousness. It cannot be blamed on the principle of representation as such. There is no reason in principle why, with a heightened democratic consciousness (such as would accompany the spread of socialist ideas), even representatives sent to state bodies could not be subject – while the state lasts – to democratic control by those who sent them there.


In case you do not realise , the economic re-organisation being called for is certainly not State ownership or nationalization or even mixed economy , which unfortunately has been represented as the socialists objective when nothing further is from the truth

But risking the fact that i may be repeating myself :-


The SPGB is the oldest existing socialist party in the UK has been propagating the alternative to capitalism since 1904. A Marxist-based ( but perhaps a William Morris - Peter Kropotkin amalgam , may be a better description ) organisation . It is a non-Social Democrat 2nd Internationalist , non-Leninist 3rd Internationalist , non- Trotskyist 4th Internationalist political organisation that is a formally structured leader-less political party .( under UK electoral law a registered political party which we are has to name its leader and to comply the SPGB simply drew a name out of a hat and i doubt any member recollects who it was )

Socialism is almost globally misunderstood and misrepresented. Socialism will be a basic structural change to society, and many of the things that most people take for granted, as "just the way things have to be", can and must be changed to establish socialism.
People tend to accept as true the things they hear over and over again. But repetition doesn't make things true. Because the truth and the facts often contradict "common knowledge", socialists have to show that "common knowledge" is wrong. The task of capitalist ideology is to maintain the veil which keeps people from seeing that their own activities reproduce the form of their daily life ,the task of the SPGB is to unveil the activities of daily life, to render them transparent.

Capitalist ideology treats land, capital , and the products of labor, as things which have the power to produce, to create value, to work for their owners, to transform the world. This is what Marx called the fetishism which characterizes people's everyday conceptions, and which is raised to the level of dogma by Economics. For the economist, living people are things - factors of production -, and things live ie money - works and Capital - produces .Yet when men refuse to sell their labour, money cannot perform even the simplest tasks, because money does not "work". The notion of the "productivity of capital," and particularly the detailed measurement of that "productivity," are inventions of the "science" of Economics.
Matters little if capitalism is small or large - either way , it is based on robbery . The choice of "good" or "bad" capitalism is little different than choosing between typhoid or cholera

Capitalism is in fact not just an exchange economy but an exchange economy where the aim of production is to make a profit .Profit is the monetary expression of the difference between the exchange value of a product and the exchange value of the materials , energy and labour-power used to produce it , or what Marx called “surplus value” . Defenders of capitalism never seem to ask themselves the practical question about what the critical factor determining a production initiative in a market system. The answer is obvious from everyday experience . The factor that critically decides the production of commodities is the judgement that enterprises make about whether they can be sold in the market .Obviously , consumers buy in the market that they perceive as being for their needs . But whether or not the transaction takes place is not decided by needs but by ability to pay . So the realisation of profit in the market determines both the production of goods and also the distribution of goods by various enterprises . In the market system the motive of production , the organisation of production , and the distribution of goods are inseparable parts of the same economic process : the realisation of profit and the accumulation of capital. The economic pressure on capital is that of accumulation , the alternative is bankruptcy .

Socialist determination of needs begins with consumer needs and then flows throughout distribution and on to each required part of the structure of production.
Socialism will make economically-unencumbered production decisions as a direct response to needs . With production for use , the starting point will be needs .
Socialism is a decentralised or polycentric society that is self regulating , self adjusting and self correcting , from below and not from the top . It is not a command economy but a responsive one . By the replacement of exchange economy by common ownership basically what would happen is that wealth would cease to take the form of exchange value, so that all the expressions of this social relationship peculiar to an exchange economy, such as money and prices, would automatically disappear. In other words, goods would cease to have an economic value and would become simply physical objects which human beings could use to satisfy some want or other. The disappearance of economic value would mean the end of economic calculation in the sense of calculation in units of value whether measured by money or directly in some unit of labour-time. It would mean that there was no longer any common unit of calculation for making decisions regarding the production of goods. Socialism is a money-less society in which use values would be produced from other use values, there would need no have a universal unit of account but could calculate exclusively in kind .The only calculations that would be necessary in socialism would be calculations in kind. ( Calculation in kind entails the counting or measurement of physical quantities of different kinds of factors of production. There is no general unit of accounting involved in this process such as money or labour hours or energy units. On the one side would be recorded the resources eg materials, energy, equipment, labour , used up in production and on the other side the amount of the good produced, together with any by-products. This, of course, is done under capitalism but it is doubled by an exchange value calculation: the exchange value of the resources used up is recorded as the cost of production while the exchange value of the output after it has been realised on the market is recorded as sales receipts. If the latter is greater than the former, then a profit has been made; if it is less, then a loss is recorded. Such profit-and-loss accounting has no place in socialism and would, once again, be quite meaningless.

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The Unions , Revolutionary Unions and Socialists

In relation to the IWW and WSM membership the official position as far as i'm aware is that as long as the IWW behaves and acts as a workers union then its up to individual WSM members to decide whether or not it is in their interests to join .

Previously in the past , during the formative years of both organisations , the IWW was seen as more of an anti-political ie an anarchist organisation , promoting Industrial Unionism , which the SPGB disavowed as sectional and undemocratic , since it was about industries controlling the means of production and distribution and not society as a whole ie also those outside the work-place . The SPGB now accepts that in recent years the IWW has changed and can be more accurately described as an a-political organisation , if you get the difference of emphasis since it itself has changed its approach to the class struggle and for all practical purposes now acts as a democratic and progressive , inspirational and educational union that is to be recommended for membership when it is to the workers advantage , which is the majority of the time and situations .No longer is it being divisive with outright opposition to the pure and simple reformist unions by now adopting the dual -card policy which has been another change that differentiates the present from the early IWW that the SPGB criticised .

The SPGB have always insisted that there will be a separation and that no political party should , or can successfully use , unions as an economic wing , until a time very much closer to the Revolution when there are substantial and sufficient numbers of socialist conscious workers . And for the foreseeable thats far off in the future . Therefore we do share one thing in common with the IWW in the sense that unions should not be used as a vehicle for political parties and have their control fought over as took place in the IWW history between SLP ,SPA and anarchists The IWW is and was in reality a militant general union with a revolutionary ideology and , like all unions , (as they must to be effective , of course) recruited members on an open-house principle, i.e. workers of all political views and not just revolutionaries

The Canadian One Big Union did accept the importance of the political struggle more than the IWW and i think some in the WSM probably agree with James Connolly when asked about the 1908 schism meant he was against the workers taking political action to establish Socialism , he replied that when the time actully came “it would be impossible to prevent the workers taking it”

In regard to trade unionism , in general , I think most members of the WSM would accept the following with perhaps a few caveats of their own :-

We recognise that, under capitalism, workers depend on the wage or salary they get for the sale of their labour-power and that it is in their interest to get the highest possible price for this; collective organisation and action, as via trade unions, can help obtain this. In other words, we're talking about haggling over the workers' commodity. Clearly, necessary though it is, this has no anti-capitalist content. This doesn't mean that the wages struggle isn't part of the class struggle. It is, but as an economic, defensive struggle within capitalism to get the best deal under it.

Trade unions arise out of the wage-relation that is at the basis of capitalism.When we say that labour-power has the commodity nature , it must express its value through a struggle in the labour market. Combining together in trade unions to exert collective pressure on employers is a way workers can prevent their wages falling below the value of their Iabour-power. It is a way of ensuring that they are paid the full value of what they have to sell. This is the usefulness of trade unions to the working class but they can do no more than this. The competition of individual workers for jobs enabled employers to take full advantage of their strengthened position. If, however, the workers unite and agree not to sell their labour-power below a certain price, the effect of individual competition for jobs can be, at least in part, overcome. Organised workers can ensure that the wage they get is the current value of their labour-power and, at times when the demand for labour-power exceeds the supply, they can temporarily push wages above the current value of labour power or even, in the longer term, raise its value. This was, and still is, the economic logic for the working class of trade union organisation. Trade Unions can - and do - enable workers to get the full value of their labour-power, but they cannot stop the exploitation of the working class.


In our view trade-union action is necessary under capitalism, but is limited by being of an essentially defensive nature. To overcome this limitation the workers need to organise themselves into a socialist political party aiming solely at the capture of political power to establish socialism It would be wrong to write off the unions as anti-working-class organisations. The union has indeed tended to become an institution apart from its members; but the policy of a union is still influenced by the views of its members. It may be a truism but a union is only as strong as its members.Most unions have formal democratic constitutions which provide for a wide degree of membership participation and democratic control. In practice however, these provisions are sometimes ineffective and actual control of many unions is in the hands of a well-entrenched full-time leadership.It is these leaders who frequently collaborate with the State and employers in the administration of capitalism; who get involved in supporting political parties and governments which act against the interest of the working class.


We, therefore, accept trade unions as they are, and, realising that all their grave and undeniable faults are but the reflection of the mental shortcomings of their members.[ ahh , blaming the workers again , i can hear some complain ] The Socialist Party is not antagonistic to the trade unions under present conditions, even though they have not a revolutionary basis but we are hostile to the misleading by the trade union leaders and the ignorance of the rank and file which make such misleading possible. Workers must come to see through the illusion that all that is needed in the class war are good generals. Sloganising leaders making militant noises are impotent in the face of a system which still has majority support – or at least the acquiescence – of the working class.
The Socialist Party urges that the existing unions provide the medium through which the workers should continue their efforts to obtain the best conditions they can get from the master class in the sale of their labour-power.We do not criticise the unions for not being revolutionary, but we do severely criticise them when they depart from the principle of an antagonism of interests between workers and employers; when they collaborate with employers, the state or political parties; when they put the corporate interests of a particular section of workers above that of the general interest of the working class as a whole.
Trade unions , in general , have languished in a role which provides little scope for action beyond preparing for the next self-repeating battle with employers. They tended to be bogged down in bureaucracy and run by careerists and timeserving officials for whom the future means little more than their pensions and peerage . It has to be admitted that this does present itself as a sterile accommodation with the capitalist system.


Under present conditions, trade unions are non-revolutionary but as far as the socialist thinks them necessary to his personal economic welfare and as far as economic pressure forces him to, he is right and justified in using them. The class struggle has to be carried on by socialists and non-socialists alike and because of the very nature of the workers' economic struggle under capitalism it compels socialists to associate in a common cause with the non-socialists during strikes, lock-outs and all the other activities on the economic side of the class struggle.


We also bear in mind the possible potential of the existing trade unions that they can bring a great deal of experience to bear on the question of how a new society could be organised democratically in the interests of the whole community. Certainly in the developed countries they have organisation in the most important parts of production. They have rulebooks that allow them to be run locally and nationally in a generally democratic manner and they also enjoy links across the globe and many research facilities . All this is already in place , ready to be applied . Without being accused of syndicalism or council communism , they could so easily become part of the democratic administration of industry with that would replace the corporate bosses and their managers

POST SCRIPT

The priority of workers organising at the workplace should not have the politics of ideologies interfering in that organising

As the trade union movement stands to-day it is still craft and sectarian in
outlook, still mainly pro-capitalist, even where the workers are organised on
the basis of industry.The struggle on the economic held under capitalism has to
be, and is, carried on by Socialists and non-Socialists alike. The small number
of workers who really understand the meaning of Socialism is such that any
attempt to form a separate Socialist economic organisation at present would be
practically futile, for the very nature of the workers' economic struggle under
capitalism would compel such an organisation to associate in a common cause with
the non-Socialist unions during strikes and all the other activities on the
economic side of the class struggle. The Socialist Party, therefore, urges
that the existing unions provide the medium through which the workers should
continue their efforts to obtain the best conditions they can get from the
master class in the sale of their labour-power.

The ideal trade-union, from a socialist point of view, would be one that
recognised the irreconcilable conflict of interest between workers and
employers, that had no leaders but was organised democratically and controlled
by its members, that sought to organise all workers irrespective of nationality,
colour, religious or political views, first by industry then into One Big Union,
and which struggled not just for higher wages but also for the abolition of the
wages system.
The trouble is that this cannot become a full reality till large numbers of
workers are socialists. In other words, you can't have a union organised on
entirely socialist principles without a socialist membership. This was
recognised in the big discussion on the trade union question that took
place in the Socialist Party in Britain shortly after we were founded in 1904.
The idea of forming a separate socialist union was rejected in favour of working
within the existing unions and trying to get them to act on as sound lines as
the consciousness of their membership permitted. The logic behind this position
was that, to be effective, a union has to organise as many workers as possible
employed by the same employer or in the same industry, but a socialist union
would not have many more members than there were members of a socialist party.
In a non-revolutionary situation most union members would inevitably not be
socialists but would not need to be.
A union can be effective even without a socialist membership if it adheres to
some at least of the features of the ideal socialist union already outlined ,
and will be the more effective the more of those principles it applies.

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Dirty Work

Who will do the dirty work? Socialism will not be a Utopia where all the problems of existence have vanished. Unpleasant work will still have to be done.
Machinery will do it, said Oscar Wilde. “All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery”.This will release each individual to help the community in his or her own way by doing service or producing things which will satisfy each person’s need to be active, to contribute and to help. Wilde summed it up: “The community by means of organization of machinery will supply the useful things, and . . . the beautiful things will be made by the individual”.
Unappealing dirty work can probably be taken care of by utilising labour-saving machines. But where it is impossible and where dirty work will have to be done in socialist society we can be quite sure of two things: Firstly, it will NOT be done by the same people ALL the time . All able members of society will take turns at such work . And also not to be forgotten is that it will be carried out by socially conscious men and women who appreciate that society belongs to them and therefore its less pleasant tasks must be performed by them. In the knowledge that we own and control the earth, and all that is in and on it, it is unlikely i think that human beings will refuse to attend to the dirty work within socialism.

The fact is that most jobs under capitalism are either completely or partially unnecessary. Many of those that are necessary are performed by people working long hard hours while others suffer poverty of low wages and low status . Elimination of all jobs required only within a capitalist system would reduce necessary tasks to such a trivial level that they could easily be taken care of voluntarily and cooperatively, eliminating the need for the whole apparatus of economic incentives and state enforcement.

As for the lazy greedy shirkers if one who contributes less takes more, why should this be a problem in a society which is based on the satisfaction of needs? Those people living in a socialist society who are too idle to work will not be a drain on society’s resources for very long, for if they lie in bed for long enough they will die—of boredom, if not of inertia.
Unlike Parecon , many socialists caution against the creation of blueprints ( “recipes for the cook-shops of tomorrow” as Marx called them ) . There is no point in drawing up in advance the sort of detailed blueprint of industrial organisation that the old IWW and the Syndicalists or the Guild Socialists used to do and what Parecon now does . For a small group of socialists , as we are now , to do so would be undemocratic. It would also be dumb. Socialists don’t have crystal balls to determine what the conditions will be when socialism is established. As the socialist majority grows, when socialism is within the grasp of the working class, then will be the proper time for making such important decisions. It is imprudent for today’s socialist minority to be telling people how to administer a socialist society. When a majority of people understand what socialism means, the suggestions for socialist administration will solidify into an appropriate plan. It will be based upon the conditions existing at that time, not today.
We also recognise that there may not be one single way of doing things, and precise details and ways of doing things might vary from one part of the world to another, even between neighbouring communities. Of course, we can reach some generalised conclusions based on basic premises – that socialism will be necessarily democratic, for example – and can outline broad principles or options that could be applied. That is, we do not have to draw up a plan for socialism, but simply and broadly demonstrate that it is possible and therefore refute the label of “utopianism” .
We look to the real world to see how it is, and how it could be. Socialist society is not starting from a blank sheet and we are inheriting an already existing economic system . Workers with all their skills and experience of co-operating to run capitalism in the interests of the capitalists could begin to run society in their own interest. We do not need to build the new society in the womb of the old, that is here already.

If people didn’t work then society would obviously fall apart. To establish socialism the vast majority must consciously decide that they want socialism and that they are prepared to work in socialist society. The establishment of socialism presupposes the existence of a mass socialist movement and a profound change in social outlook. It is simply not reasonable to suppose that the desire for socialism on such a large scale, and the conscious understanding of what it entails on the part of all concerned, would not influence the way people behaved in socialism and towards each other. Would they want to jeopardise the new society they had helped create? I think not.

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Work

Posted in the comments here

Socialism is almost globally misunderstood and misrepresented.Socialism will be a basic structural change to society, and many of the things that most people take for granted, as “just the way things have to be”, can and must be changed to establish socialism. People tend to accept as true the things they hear over and over again. But repetition doesn’t make things true. Because the truth and the facts often contradict “common knowledge”, socialists have to show that “common knowledge” is wrong. The task of capitalist ideology is to maintain the veil which keeps people from seeing that their own activities reproduce the form of their daily life , the task of socialism is to unveil the activities of daily life, to render them transparent.

Capitalist ideology treats land, capital , and the products of labor, as things which have the power to produce, to create value, to work for their owners, to transform the world. This is what Marx called the fetishism which characterizes people’s everyday conceptions, and which is raised to the level of dogma by Economics. For the economist, living people are things – factors of production -, and things live money – works, Capital – produces .When men refuse to sell their labour, money cannot perform even the simplest tasks, because money does not ” work “. The notion of the “productivity of capital,” are inventions of the “science” of Economics.

The majority of the population is not engaged in productive work. The greater part of the non-producers is employed in the buying and selling plus all the related occupations . Any system by which the buying and selling system is retained means the employment of vast sections of the population in unproductive work. It leaves the productive work to be done by one portion of the people whilst the other portion is spending its energies in keeping shop, banking, and all the other various developments of commerce which employ probably more than two-thirds of the people today. It is the elimination of such activities and institutions , essential though they may be to a functioning market economy but unproductive in themselves from the standpoint of producing use values or meeting human needs, that constitutes perhaps the most important productive advantage that a socialist economy would have over a capitalist economy. The elimination of this structural waste intrinsic to capitalism will free up a vast amount of labour and materials for socially useful production in socialism.

In socialist society productive activity would take the form of freely chosen activity undertaken by human beings with a view to producing the things they needed to live and enjoy life. The necessary productive work of society would not be done by a class of hired wage workers but by all members of society, each according to their particular skills and abilities, cooperating to produce the things required to satisfy their needs both as individuals and as communities. Work in socialist society could only be voluntary since there would be no group or organ in a position to force people to work against their will.

“… in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.” -Marx ,
And it was Marx who said in communism it will be society’s free (disposable) time and no longer labor time that becomes the true measure of society’s wealth.

Nor should we forget his son-in-law Larfargue who wrote “The Right to be Lazy” . Lafargue’s approach to work in a socialist society – that it should be minimised , reducing the working day to 2 or 3 hours.- is only one of two possible socialist approaches to the question.
William Morris was in contrast arguing that what workers should be demanding was what might be called the “Right to Attractive Work”. The two different approaches suggest two different policies that might be pursued in a socialist society: maximum automatisation so as to minimise working time or making as much work as possible attractive and personally rewarding.

Morris regarded work as a basic, natural human need. His main criticism of capitalism was that it denied the vast majority of humans satisfying and enjoyable work. Under capitalism work, instead of being the enjoyable activity of creating or doing something useful, became a boring and often unhealthy and dangerous burden imposed on those who were forced to get a living by selling their mental and physical energies for a wage Morris’s concept of “art”. Which he defined, not as some specialised activity engaged in by some fringe group of “artists”, but as ”the expression of a person’s joy in their work”; people who enjoyed their work would produce beautiful things. And when he realised that the nature of capitalism meant that most producers were denied any enjoyment in their work – or, put another way, that it meant the “death of art”

Work should not really be equated with employment. Work will be an essential part of life in socialism; it will be a part of the individual’s development and a necessary, healthy expenditure of energy. Employment is wage labour . As such it has alienating factors associated with it; e.g. Monday to Fridays ,9 to 5 is “their” time, whilst the weekend is “our” time, where we can enjoy working in the garden or painting. Employment is based on the division of labour. The upshot being that workers are tied to one job for years on end, instead of being people able to do all kinds of things, which socialist society will allow. In a socialist society the distinction between work and leisure will diminish—perhaps even disappear. People will have an opportunity to use their hobbies and enthusiasms for the social good: to enjoy being useful.
Most of us want to work. What we hate is employment. We want to work for ourselves, our families and friends, our community, not some thieving parasite !

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The other moonwalker

Neil Armstrong became a celebrity overnight. The Apollo 11 Moon landing marked a seismic shift in space exploration during a time when the world was captivated by space. It was watched by the largest television audience of its time, and President Nixon put in a congratulatory phone call just after the US flag was planted.
On the astronauts' return, Nasa sent them on a world tour. Although Neil Armstrong initially went along with the celebrations, he always remained aloof; an elusive presence who preferred to talk about facts rather than feelings. He started to decline speeches and interviews, eventually refusing to sign autographs and shying away from being photographed in public. If Armstrong spent just one afternoon signing autographs he could make a million dollars, but he's always refused. He didn't want to profit from his Moon walk financially .
Andrew Smith, author of Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth explains that his conclusion is , Armstrong, now 78, believes simply that he did not deserve the attention.
"There were 400,000 people that worked on that Moon landing programme in various different ways and he thinks he didn't deserve all the credit just because he did the flying part"

A man of humility

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