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Which Left feels Right?

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11 hours ago, Lion_of_the_Midlands said:

Get rid of the House Of Lords. Have a unicameral parliament. 

Everything else in your post I pretty much agree with. This, though: for me, I think it's important to have a second chamber to review and place checks and balances on the first. I'd still get rid of the Lords, but I'd argue that it's also important that a second chamber is not appointed by general election, or, if it is, for the appointees to have much longer terms. We see what happens with MPs, congressmen, etc. - all too often, they're too scared to take measures that will be necessary and unpopular for fear of risking angering the electorate, so perhaps have a second chamber comprised of people appointed for their public service and/or excellence in a certain field, via independent citizens' committee.


Overall, I'm pretty much your standard socialist (nationalised essential industries, abolition of monarchy, welfare state/UBI), although, according to various lefty glossaries, I'd be what's referred to as a "Council Socialist" or "Council Communist", because I believe that one of the most fundamental and important elements in having a socialist society (and in all likelihood why we're no closer to achieving one) is organisation along co-operative lines. 

I don't believe co-operatives are a magic bullet by any means, but I do believe they're one of the concepts that's closest to the core notion of having an egalitarian, fair society. In essence, the majority (if not the entirety) of companies, projects, or communities should be co-operative: everybody who works in that endeavour should have a share and thereby a say in how it's run.

Several good reasons why:

1. You can't expect to have working political or social democracy without economic democracy, and it's unreasonable to expect people to contribute to their fullest if they don't have a stake in society. What they do with that stake is up to them, but there needs to be recognition of the inalienable right of every person in society to that stake. 

2. Labour relations - pretty much every labour/management dispute ends up becoming "Us vs. Them". With co-operatives, "Us" is "Them", so, rather than ending up with disputes being resolved, things would tend to be run in such a way that it would be rare for such disputes to arise in the first place, if at all. If managers are workers too, with no more or less involvement and power than anyone else, they're less willing or able to take the piss.

3. It's just fairer. The biggest thing that needs to be challenged about the capitalist narrative is that "the person who puts up the money is the boss". The workers create value - without them, that money doesn't grow and benefit anyone. If their labour is just as (if not more) essential to the business as the founder's money is - after all, they are generating his pay as well as their own - why does the founder get the automatic, sole, and unchallenged right to decide how the profits are distributed, how the company is run, and who gets hired and fired? The workers' time, energy, and expertise are an indispensable resource that the "boss" is relying on; yet, for some reason, society in general accepts what capitalism says, that the guy with the money is the boss, that workers should be grateful that they're given jobs, and are thus persuaded to give away these valuable resources for a bargain.

4. The existence of things is important in convincing people of the rightness of the ideas they represent: if people can live the experience of the co-operative, see and feel the benefits of it, they'll come to see it as the best way to do things, and this way of thinking will extend to how they and others operate in society in general. It's also why I believe the monarchy needs to be abolished: not just because of itself, but because if you have an actual, working model of an institution that tells people that it is right that certain people should be born into a life of privilege, wealth, and status guaranteed by law, then you have a working demonstration of the idea that some people are just better than others, and by extension, should automatically have more rights and power than those others, and BOOM: you have a class system. If society is run as on a co-operative basis at all levels, in all fields of life, then the idea of social contribution and participation, and therefore social cohesion, gets a lot closer.

5. Politics does not begin and end at the ballot box. It's about people's lives, it's in everything we do, but people don't vote or get involved because they've been told it's a whole separate thing that only certain people talk or think about, like it's a special field of interest. Co-operatives mean constant involvement, constant investment, without having to do anything more than just get on with everyday life.


One of the biggest reasons why I'm not a fan of the Labour Party is their failure to build the co-operative movement. In truth, it's like they've just forgotten it, and yet it's one of the most quintessential models of what socialism is (there was some noise about Stella Creasy being assigned the job of working on promoting and setting up co-ops, but there's been fuck-all since). Instead, they're happy to just toddle along with the misconception that it's just about government provision and the welfare state, and contest these ideas every four or five years, hoping that the public might be in the right mood. It's in keeping with the party's history of rank betrayal almost every time they had the power to change things for the good of the people they claim to represent, and a big part of that is because either they don't know their own politics, or they've just given too much ground away to capitalists out of fear of being "unelectable".


What boils my piss more is that the Labour Party is, in some constituencies, merged with the Co-operative Party - hell, Starmer is a Labour & Co-op MP - and yet even the Co-op Party section, who have a different HQ, can't be fucking bothered.

Back in 2019, @Chris B, myself, and a number of other people from our local community set up a co-op bookshop - we had public meetings, elected a board of trustees to manage it, set in place a constitution to govern it by, and all of this with extensive help from Co-operatives UK. It's gone from strength to strength since then, moving from temporary premises to a much bigger, better-situated place, and it's even done well during the pandemic, with our bookshop manager delivering ordered books to the local community, and putting together school library supply programmes.

My dad (who's on the board) called the Co-Operative Party  HQ several times to ask them for help or involvement, and the one time that someone actually picked up the fucking phone, they didn't know anything about the subject, nor did they know someone who did. Fucking state of it.


Anyway, apologies for the long post.


1. Set up co-operatives.

2. ???

3. Profit.

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17 hours ago, neil said:

I have a crush on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Turns out it's Alexandria and not Alexandra. That may well just be an autocorrect on your part, but it's something I didn't realise until very recently.

Edited by Chest Rockwell
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I don't see the virtue in differentiating between left and right when both hands are extending from the same trans-dimensional shape shifting lizard.   

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