Co-operative Socialism - preferable to Anarcho-syndicalism . . .
John Courtneidge 18 July 2014
On 'my' Facebook time line https://www.facebook.com/john.courtneidge I posted:
Ah, capitalism . . .
Or Co-operative Socialism anyone?!
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.
^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!