Towards a new political model
By Tapani Lausti
Heather Marsh, Binding Chaos: Systems of Mass Collaboration. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2013.
Squares, parks and plazas may be currenly empty of demonstrators. Yet in many societies something has moved. Contours of another kind of social life have come briefly in view. The experience has had a dramatic and unforgettable effect on a huge number of people even if the implications of the experience are still hotly debated.
The corporate capitalist propaganda has been extremely efficient in convincing people that we live in a system which corresponds to our “natural instincts”. Yet, when the fog of propaganda starts lifting, we realize that there is nothing natural about this system. In her interesting book Heather Marsh writes: “It has taken violent coercive force, overwhelming propaganda and stripping the natural rights of individuals to a debilitating point to enforce the system we have today.”
In spite of the capitalist propaganda many people have had a feeling that something has gone wrong in our societies. For its citizens so-called market economies offer a stressful and boring life. Underneath this false “normality” lies another kind of reality. Marsh uses the expression “approval economy” and explains: “An approval economy is the natural economy we use every day and have since the first society. All societies are naturally systems of dependencies, not trade relationships. “
So we are not looking for some fantastic utopia. We just want our societies back. Corporate controlled economic markets have distorted our way of life. Our personal lives have been shrunk into a forced obedience to those who have big money and the power which comes with it. The occupy movement’s successful slogan of 1% against 99% showed that millions of people had had enough of this kind of “liberal market economy”. A hegemonic ideology has started to erode.
Marsh does not try to chart the exact way out of current money tyrannies but writes: “We can rewind economy based on trade relationships to a point where many will again benefit from it, by debt jubilee, financial collapse or other, or we can create a new post-industrial economy that benefits all members of society and supports the roles society needs.”
What Marsh calls approval economy is a system where an individual is able to contribute to society and receive benefit from it, “through a living and immediate social contract.” This kind of living was instinctly imagined by many members of the occupy movements. They had long known that the political establishment with its political parties had started to live their own separate lives. “You don’t represent us”, was one of the slogans of the Spanish indignados. They would agree with Marsh when she writes that the current power systems open the way to sociopathic leaders. Military and corporate interests distort real human values.
In a different kind of society membership in many overlapping affinity groups would help people to live less stressful lives than in the current trade economies which cannot create networks of mutually approved societal roles. Through their personal lives outside trade economies people understand the meaning of mutual solidarity. Families, voluntary groups and cooperatives offer opportunities for the expression of real human values. In many countries the collapse of capitalist economy has immediately triggered community reactions revealing the true nature of human imagination and resourcefulness.
Without hierarchies work communities can develop rewarding work experiences. Expertise levels naturally vary but a non-hierarchic system guarantees that superior knowledge is not used as a way of acquiring power. Marsh puts it like this: “Transparency allows every user of the system to explain to anyone interested in what is being developed and why, how to contribute and any other information new users require. Transparency allows users to act as the knowledge bridges to train new users.”
A society liberated from corporate tyrannies would give people opportunities to freely develop their skills and interests. Ideas should be freely shared and not caged in copyright systems and commercial secrets. Society can only progress if all available knowledge belongs to everybody.
Marsh writes: “We now have the power to release the unnatural bindings that have us trapped in this horrible unnatural system of governance.” And: “Everything we need for a natural fulfilling society exists now, we only need to release it.”