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Adam @ink_slinger

I'm thinking about a book a read a few months back, called Fired Up About Capitalism (which is actually a kinda anti-capitalist book). The article below is by the author and presents a very simplified version of the book's argument.

Although it isn't platonic ideal of a political and economic structure, I think it is a worth goal.

firedupbooks.wordpress.com/201

It's radical enough to significantly improve the lives of almost everyone, but still similar enough to our current systems that it wouldn't be relatively easy to get people to buy-in (easier than true socialism or full communism, at least). It's basically the Nordic social democratic model on steroids, but with way more worker co-ops, to allow for more democracy in the workplace.

politics, longish thread... Show more

politics, longish thread... Show more

politics, longish thread... Show more

politics, longish thread... Show more

politics, longish thread... Show more

The Green Party, both federally and provincially, identifies itself as "Socially progressive, fiscally conservative". So they're in favour of all the good leftist things, without bankrupting the economy to pay for it.

@bobjonkmangreen I mean, the PC party (in the places it still exists) describes itself that way, too.

It tends to be one of those terms that sounds good but doesn't really mean much -- or at least is so flexible as to mean whatever you want it to mean.

(It also depends on what you consider "all the good leftist things.")

@bobjonkmangreen Now, having said that, the Green Party is far more grassroots than the NDP, so ordinary members can have greater influence on policy. I'm not sure how meaningful that is when they only have one MP, and whether they'd maintain that internal democracy if they started gaining more power is anyone's guess since it's purely hypothetical at this point, but it is nice to see a sort of bottom-up party that is at least nominally left of centre.

I've seen the policy sausage being made, and participated in the sausage-making. Yes, the grass-roots members can introduce motions, which get turned into policy at bi-annual general conventions. But that's true for other parties as well. Perhaps not in members introducing motions, but certainly members voting on party policies. The best way to be influential in government is to participate in a party to craft the policies that become legislation.

@bobjonkmangreen Other parties follow similar methods, but I've noticed the conventions are often organized in such as way as to make it much more likely that certain policies will be voted on and others will be left to lie in limbo for two years until the next convention...when they will also probably not make it to the convention floor.

@bobjonkmangreen And, of course, parties will frequently ignore their own policies when campaigning, because they don't think they can win. That's pragmatic, I guess, but also deeply cynical.

But, yes, getting involved with a party can be a good tactic. I am frequently cynical about electoral politics -- and almost almost cynical about internal party politics -- but I still get involved because it's one of the main tools available to influence formal policy changes.

@ink_slinger I think the term ‘cooperative’ needs to first really find its way into mainstream consciousness...somehow.

@mareklach The funny thing is, member co-ops are not that uncommon here. Many small towns have co-op grocery stores (they used to be in the cities, too, but mostly aren't anymore) and Mountain Equipment Co-op is a huge company. But the idea of a worker co-op still seems foreign and unknown to most people.

@ink_slinger Someone like Sanders, the Green Party, Democratic Socialists and the unions as well, etc, needs to start using that word on TV and birdside, ‘cause I have a feeling most people just don’t know what the difference is between a corporation and a cooperative. That may be the basic issue.

@ink_slinger Also, an open encyclopaedia specifying what a cooperative is and how power sharing within it works could go a long way, then mentioning it to some influential birdside persons asking what is their opinion on cooperatives and getting attention to the concept this way.

I know that people in Canada are more understanding of the word ‘socialism’ then in US, but still I think a simple linguistic fix could go a long way even there, if socialists’d advocate for cooperatives.

@mareklach You're probably right. Even people who are familiar with member co-ops like credit unions may still not understand the concept of worker-owned cooperatives, because the member co-ops can still look pretty similar to a standard corporation to someone who doesn't know much about the structure.

@ink_slinger I live in the UK and even through building societies (member-owned banks) are relatively popular here, the concept of a cooperative as such is not a popular business structure for companies.

Even things like bakeries are not cooperatives. I think it may have something to do with being misinformed and afraid of relinquishing even a bit of control over an enterprise that is now privately owned

I think cooperatives could be pitched as a good alternative to shareholders

@mareklach Often legislation makes it much more onerous to form a cooperative than a corporation, too.