Reply To: Asking About Parecon/Parsoc

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Michael Albert

Yes, I do think they are wrong – I think it is not compelling at all. I think it is a convoluted way to avoid facing facts that they have ruled out, as impossible.

In fact, even beyond this case, I never like explanations which pin blame on the state and governments and police and whatnot, doing what they exist to do. Yes, that is always a factor, sure, but it is inevitable. If we who seek a better world fail for a time, or in a case, etc., we can’t do better by moaning that the other side smashed us and hoping they don’t act that way next time around. We have to look for flaws in our own efforts to avoid their being able to smash us, or to respond and turn it around, etc. The Bolsheviks created an anti capitalist process that never came close – once they had eradicated and suppressed real grassroots organizing for classlessness and for other related change, which they very aggressively and violently did, to involving the population at large, in particular working people. This owes, I think, to its coordinator class logics and practices – and it is the heart of the matter, not something to gloss over while bemoaning external factors. Sure external factors were important – because the internal dynamics offered no worthy alternative.

Honestly, the idea that the path to a better world is better taken through establishing some tightly run and regimented hierarchical apparatus, that will then, however, fall apart, at least in this version of the story, and we will then march on to what we really need, strikes me as more less ludicrous, even though I think you are quite right that it is the conception, ultimately.

I will grant this much, if human beings, or human beings having evolved for as long as we have in the presence of disgusting institutions pressuring us to be individualist, obedient, etc. etc. are simply incapable of mounting movements that are participatory and really seeking classlessness and self management, etc., then I suppose you would have to try to use the master’s tool – vile authoritarian centralism – to try to beat the master. But the prospects of that pretty much magically working are so slim, essentially zero in my view, that I place my hope, instead, on human potentials for solidarity and popular initiative rather than obeying some grand leader – a prospect that is quite hopeful, I believe, if we can simply eliminate the institutional commitments, on our side, that nurture and advance the nasty alternative.