One possible topic for a parecon blog is how to best advocate participatory economics and what experiences we have and lessons we learn in doing so.
My own efforts at advocating parecon have been only modestly successful. They involve …
My own efforts at advocating parecon have been only modestly successful. They involve writing essays and doing interviews (most of which are available on the parecon site), public speaking (some of which are there too), book writing and promotion (even a couple of them are online), teaching courses, and trying to convince other folks by direct conversation, letters, and forum participation) that parecon is worth their time and advocacy. Believing that the parecon vision has merit, there are likely other things I could do, even given my limited means and capacities, but I haven’t thought of them – with one possible exception, noted below.
I want to get parecon, the vision that is, into as many hands for as many minds to evaluate as possible, until and unless someone manages to show that it is flawed, at which point I would want to set it aside and find something better.
The writing part of my task, and even the public speaking part, are pretty obvious. The limits on their success are partly a matter of my abilities, and partly a matter of the relatively small audiences they reach. Which brings us to the promotion part.
One type of promotion is trying to inspire or induce others to take up the advocacy effort. Another type is trying to push the visibility of existing descriptions and presentations of parecon. Regarding the former, I keep trying, and now some others try as well, with some intermittent success. Regarding the latter, how much should I or others push? For example, how much visibility on ZNet should parecon get? How much promotion of the most recent book – Parecon: Life After Capitalism – should I do, both in general and particularly on ZNet, when it becomes available in paper in a few weeks?
My druthers are to promote the ideas without restraint other than not doing harm to their distribution, even right up to and including being personally obnoxious, if it does some good. And it does seem a great deal more pushing would have some positive effect. When I did a few aggressive mailings about the book to the ZNet Update recipients when it first came out, that provoked by far the most notice and most sales of any single act, by a very wide margin.
What would have happened had ZNet sent more messages? Should we do so in the next few weeks, when the paperback comes out? These are not easy questions. There is a fine line between warranted efforts to push a valuable vision into visibility, and self promotion. I chose, just about a year ago for the cloth edition, to stop short of inducing cries of the latter. I am not so sure that was the right decision and I am considering being more aggressive for the paper edition. I’d be curious people’s thoughts.
I mentioned above that there is one thing beyond what I and others have heretofore been doing to advance parecon into left and public consciousness that I can think of. More on that next…