By now I’ve received a lot of feed back on my Nov. 11 ZNet article “Paths Toward an Anti-Capitalist Liberation”. And, although I have hoped to post much of my correspondence in this blog, many of the letters have been hard to respond to. Most simply because they are so lengthy and have comments, questions and criticisms that I dealt with in the original essay. So, in responding to them, I find myself constantly repeating, and referring back to, the original… That said, I have just received a very, very positive and relieving departure from all previous correspondence. It brought me great delight as I read it. And, because my last posting on this topic covered a critical response of my essay I’ve decided to share this most recent letter. It’s easy for me to post something this positive, so please take it “with a grain of salt” and, if you feel so inclined, please read the original article for yourself, with a critical eye, and tell me what you think.
Here is the letter…
Dear Chris Spannos,
The protests against WTO negotiations in Hong Kong reminded me of your
excellent article “Paths Toward an Anti-Capitalist Liberation”. Despite
police crackdowns and being ignored by mainstream media, thousands of
protestors aired their grievances in the most direct way against the
corporate elites by taking to the streets. It’s this spirit of direct
action, direct engagement and self-determination that I feel could be a
cornerstone of a just economy.
I like parecon because of its anarchist leanings; by decentralizing
economic decision making, it reduces the chances of a single group
taking control over the rest of society. But why stop at economic
reform? Just as parecon calls for producer/consumer councils and
equitable workplaces, why not extend self-determination to politics? A
Znet article a few months ago on participatory politics gave a valuable
glimpse on the political structure that could represent the same values
that we want in a participatory economy.
In my view, parecon and participatory politics are among the many
building blocks needed for a truly equitable society. We have to look at
racism, gender equality and environmental protection as well. There’s no
point fighting for a cleaner environment by requiring corporations
respect environmental regulations if the same profit-driven economic
system still exists. Likewise, promoting gender equality within a
capitalist economy means economic injustice still occurs, even if men
and women of the same class are treated equally.
Will experiments in participatory economics be tainted simply by their
functioning in a capitalist economy? I’m intrigued by the efforts in
Latin America to create new economic spaces through cooperative
enterprises and worker management and I hope they will succeed. But the
question still remains: Can we hold on to values we hold dear while in a
situation that promotes contrary behavior?
It’s a long, hard slog ahead. I agree with you that we should always
hold on to our values instead of blindly stumbling about. We know what’s
at the end of the road; it’s just that we don’t know exactly how to get
Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon.