Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

ZSplash Forums AskAlbert Asking About Parecon/Parsoc Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

Joe H

Hi, maybe I can start another strand about the ParSoc set of ideas. I wanted to ask two questions (related) about class in general and its relevance for anticapitalist (or any progressive economic) activism.
One view (pretty typical in a certain type of modern activist): capital is just as a bunch of organisations, mainly large corporations. These organisations want profits and market share, and often act for the maintenance of the system by which they get those things. We see the horrible results. We conceive of the organisational decisions as not particularly reflecting some abstract self-contained individual wants, but only the combined interests of players constrained by their positions in the institutions, and “working their angles”, from the CEO to the janitor.
How does a class analysis add or deepen this way of thinking? Class says that there are two or three special groups of people who decisively differ in their relation to production. This makes such a difference to their “angles” that they have many mutual interests, as well as outlooks, values, habits etc.
Now, Marx essentially made the claim that these group interests are the Newton’s laws of human history. ParSoc says that they play an important role too. What is it? How does it fit in with, add to, or deepen the analysis by “interplay of institutions” in this view?
For example, in the understanding I outlined above, there’s nothing obviously impossible about having an institution that works against the public good even in a classless society. Somehow it could have bad relations inside it that lead to bad outcomes. Class analysis seems to say the opposite, that one way or another such an institution would crumble without some class interests backing it up. Do you hold this view, and if so can you explain why this should always be the case? For Marxists that would be true for the bureaucracy in central planning (only there because of outside pressures for Trots, I think), for Parecon this would have the co-ordinators to fight back as a class I guess. IS that right? What else does the concept of class do for us that the “interplay of institutions” doesn’t?
(2) Do you think that imperialism benefits workers in the US and UK, e.g. materially, as against the most conservative changes to things you can imagine that would end imperialism? Sometimes non-anticaptialists I know claim this (and think that if “we” weren’t doing it someone else inevitably would) even if they see that imperialism has bad effects. It seems like arguing against this entails a lot of anticapitalist ideas so it’s usually a tougher sell than e.g. that the war in Iraq was a bad thing.