by Max Barry

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by The Sayoko Soyjack of Unified Communist Councils. . 24 reads.



In keeping with the conception of the state as a tool of capitalist oppression, we shun political means of achieving our goals. Our reliance upon direct industrial action stems from practical considerations as well: outside the mine or factory, we realize that political differences among workers would come into play, possibly hindering mass action. Inside, their similar employment gives us a sense of solidarity. Our Communist Economy is fundamentally irreconcilable with private control of the means of production, it must be of the systems approach to planning. In particular, investments and technological innovation are to serve the common good, autocratic decision-making must be taken away from the banks and capitalist enterprises that currently dominate and put in the public domain under the control of [Workers' Councils]. Then, the community itself, and neither an oligarchy of property owners nor an elite of techno-bureaucrats, will democratically decide which product lines are to be privileged, and how resources are to be invested in education, health, and culture. Major decisions on investment priorities—such as terminating all coal-fired facilities or directing agricultural subsidies to organic production—would be made upon direct popular consensus; a [Democratic Ecological Planning]

How this self-governance will manifest begins at the most fundamental unit of economic organization, the local [Collective], a free association of self-governing producers. These communities would be in touch with other communities through a local [Labour Exchange], which would function as a combination of employment and economic planning and are central to the organization of grass-roots, direct industrial action. They are lending libraries, classrooms, meeting halls, and theatres. Family and community celebrations also take place there, as do classes and political discussions, formal meetings, and light entertainment.

The labour exchange is ultimately a forum for mutual aid organized upon the territorial basis of linkage bringing all the workers from one area together and fomenting working-class solidarity over and before corporate solidarity. When all the producers are thus linked together by the labour exchange, its administration—consisting of a [Workers' Council] of directly-elected members—would be able to estimate the capacities and necessities of the region, could coordinate production, and, being in touch through other bourses with the industrial system as a whole, could arrange for the necessary transfer of materials and commodities, inward and outward.

Economic planning would need to be done by [Democratic Ecological Planning] methods. D.E.P is a form of holistic social-ownership plan that involves everyone within the community in management and boons of said ownership, where each person acts as a citizen or a social being before they can be thought of as strictly a worker or a selfish economic actor. Direct democratic processes will similarly elect delegates into all strata of administration:

  • [Muncipial Boards] help us manage inter-business disputes and coordinate any local economic needs. Municipal Boards within provinces also send representatives to a regional level.

  • [Regional Board] will be responsible for mapping out the strategies for economic development, setting growth targets, and launching reforms on a regional scale.

  • A [Supreme Congress of Labour Committees] made up of Municipal Board delegates would enact planet-wide planning including 25 and 50-year plans, that would be implemented on the regional and provincial levels by the regional and municipal board of councils.

The democratic ecological planning ultimately supports more freedom, not less, for several reasons. First, it offers liberation from the reified “economic laws” of the capitalist system that shackle individuals in what the Sutras called an “iron cage.” Prices of goods would not be left to the “laws of supply and demand,” but would, instead, be abolished altogether along with the wage system. Instead, collectivized production will reflect social and political priorities, which are met through a direct industrial action in synergy with other affected Labour Exchanges. Ideally, as the transition moves forward, more products and services critical for meeting fundamental human needs would be freely distributed, according to the will of the citizens.

Second, this new government system would herald a substantial increase in free time. Planning and the reduction of labour time are the two decisive steps towards what Yan called “the kingdom of freedom.” A significant increase of free time is, in fact, a condition for the participation of working people in the democratic discussion and management of the economy and of society.

The Ecological aspect of democratic ecological planning pertains to the holistic stewardship of the solar system's natural resources. All resources are declared the common heritage of all life. Effectiveness is viewed from the perspective of resource conservation and energy efficiency.

Last, democratic ecological planning represents a whole society’s exercise of its freedom to control the decisions that affect its destiny. If the democratic ideal would not grant political decision-making power to a small elite, why should the same principle not apply to economic decisions? Under capitalism, use-value—the worth of a product or service to well-being—exists only in the service of exchange-value, or value on the market. Thus, many products in contemporary society are socially useless or designed for rapid turnover (“planned obsolescence”). By contrast, in a democratic ecologically planned economy, use-value would be the only criteria for the production of goods and services, with far-reaching economic, social, and ecological consequences.

Planning would focus on large-scale economic decisions, not the small-scale ones that might affect local restaurants, groceries, small shops, or artisan enterprises. Instead, the consolidating of private owners into [Collectives], particularly in agriculture, energy and raw resource extraction, will ensure that all who live in the constituent republics have access to the food, electricity, and consumer goods that society requires, rather than sell the surplus to turn a quick profit. The concept of stores under the business-profit model have been replaced with warehouses and distribution centres stocked with consumer goods. Consumption is compendiously tracked using IoT to measure consumer demand at the Point-of-Sales through reductions in inventory. Larger societal and community needs will be addressed through [Direct Industrial Action]. You can be a painter during breakfast, a fisherman by lunch, and a philosopher by dinner. Labour is a null factor, meaning that people are free to engage in whatever activities they found most fulfilling and would no longer have to engage in work for which they have neither the temperament nor the aptitude, working to achieve self-actualizing objectives rather than meeting profit incentives.

Importantly, such planning is consistent with workers’ self-management of their productive units. The decision, for example, to transform a plant from producing automobiles to producing buses and trams would be taken by society as a whole, but the internal organization and functioning of the enterprise would be democratically managed by its workers. There has been much discussion about the “centralized” or “decentralized” character of planning, but most important is democratic control at all levels—local, regional, national, continental, or international. For example, planetary ecological issues such as global warming must be dealt with on a global scale, and thereby require some form of global democratic planning. This nested, democratic decision-making is quite the opposite of what is usually described, often dismissively, as “central planning,” since decisions are not taken by any “center,” but democratically decided by the affected population at the appropriate scale.

Democratic and pluralist debates occur at all levels. Through parties, platforms, or other political movements, varied propositions would be submitted to the people, and delegates would be selected accordingly. On the global scale, in order to minimize bureaucracy, a digital Internet-enabled direct democracy system is necessary through which people choose—at the local, national, and, later, global level—among major social and ecological options. Should public transportation be free? Should the owners of private cars pay special taxes to subsidize public transportation? Should solar energy be subsidized in order to compete with fossil energy? Should the work week be reduced to 30 hours, 25 hours, or less, with the attendant reduction of production?

Such democratic planning needs expert input, but its role is educational, to present informed views on alternative outcomes for consideration by popular decision-making processes. What guarantee is there that the people will make ecologically sound decisions? None. This new government wagers that democratic decisions will become increasingly reasoned and enlightened as culture changes and the grip of commodity fetishism is broken. One cannot imagine such a new society without the achievement, through struggle, self-education, and social experience, of a high level of socialist and ecological consciousness. In any case, are not the alternatives—the blind market or an ecological dictatorship of “experts”—much more dangerous?

This post-capitalist government is the logical transition from the current capitalist destructive progress to ecological All-Unionism, it is a historical process, a permanent revolutionary transformation of society, culture, and mindsets. Enacting this transition leads not only to a new mode of production and an egalitarian and democratic society, but also to an alternative mode of life, a novel stateless and eco-friendly civilization, beyond the reign of money, beyond consumption habits artificially produced by propaganda in the form corporate advertisements, and beyond the unlimited production of commodities that are useless and/or harmful to the environment. Such a transformative process depends on the active support of the vast majority of the population for an ecological All-Union program. The decisive factor in the development of socialist consciousness and ecological awareness is the collective experience of struggle, from local and partial confrontations to the radical change of global society as a whole.