In a dog-eat dog world, where does one find peace?
In Utopia? That’s a funny ass joke.
Socialism has never worked right? Cry the yuppies; who are already lined up to give me a hundred reasons why socialism only works on paper. Most of which are likely derived from a conservative twitter page.
What is socialism?
Socialism however contrary to popular belief, is a broad umbrella term rather than a concrete system. Many commonly conflate socialism with it’s ideological offshoots such as , Collectivism, Communism, Mutualism as well as various forms of anarchist, socialist, and communist ideology.
It’s true that all of the above have their roots in socialism, along with many other strains of ideology. The key concept common among all forms of socialism is the social/communal ownership of the means of production.
This means that instead of controlling private corporations controlling production and manufacturing, it would be controlled socially or communally.
Alternative control systems for means of production
1. by the state (communism, fascism),
2.by the workers (anarchism, Anarcho-communism ),
3.by voluntary associations (collectivism, Mutualism, Anarcho-syndicalism)
I am not advocating for a full fledged revolutionary uprooting of capitalism, but in the same breath I think it would be quite far from the worst thing to happen to our species.
While of course, the young revolutionary forces revived time and time again by the Fiery works of Marx and Proudhon always make for a great story; usually leave a positive mark on society (provided they didn’t attempt any violent revolutionary tactics) and have a lot to offer in terms of education on a surprisingly wide variety of fronts.
I don’t by any means believe a large scale socialist revolution is either sufficient or necessary for our salvation. But do believe a lot of our problems could be fixed by the adoption of various elements of socialism into our society.
I don’t see a violent revolution on the horizon, what I do see however is a revolution of knowledge and ideas. A revolution of economic systems and Socio-political policy. A revolution in technology and science. A socio-techonomic war of words and numbers if you will.
Why keep capitalism?
Some people are always going to prefer the competition; and we should not be fast to stop them for the fruits of their battle are rapid and significant advancements in technology, research and policy.
Why does capitalism needs proxies?
As for the ones whom wouldn’t benefit from nor wish to participate in an economic and social system based on constant competition with their peers. I do believe some sort of alternative remedy is in need, and indeed it already exists to a certain extent.
Examples would be advent the productive commune or collective. This would allow liberation from the clutches of capitalist realism without actually having to subversively change anything.
A society within a society?
This is possible because a group of people living communally could focus on some sort of export in order to pay taxes and maintain their property, without requiring any internal economic competition.
Earlier I noted there are many forms of socialist ideology, and each of those containing many different sub forms, and methods of implementation.
Regardless of exactly what system is used in this context I believe they can all be described with the branch terms: proxy society and micro society.
Due to functioning as mini societies within a society, some may rather function similar to a corporation ran in alternative social and economic fashion. Some may be both a corporation and a communal living area.
Even Google has their own village for employees!
That being said the systems I describe throughout the essay are based on my respective interpretation and how I would implement these type of ideas based on my currently limited but ever growing understanding of socialist economic and political systems.
NOTE: not to be taken as a set in stone description of a communal society/collecgive society, they all have their flavors and variations
What precisely is a proxy society?
Think about it, because this has already been done by many. What if the hundred socialist thinkers in x square miles, decided to throw down on a large plot of land, live communally under their own terms, and as a collective, contribute some form of tangible and or intellectual export for the rest of the outer society without necessarily being required to be apart of it.
Many Amish communities do just that and export/sell their crops and farmed goods.
Artist collectives focus on the export of intellectual property. They may live collectively but for many it’s purely about the work. Why though?
Benefits to working in a collective
1. Access to resources and equipment,
2. Sets the stage for collective productivity & enhanced collaboration,
3. Working toward a common goal or with people who share a common worldview/ideology
4. The freedom of creative expression that goes with producing music and other artwork outside the main industry labels and standards.
5. To avoid a traditional capitalist work setting.
6. To feel and be a part of something bigger.
In depth explanation
A settlement, organization and or productive association where the means of production would be communally or collectively maintained controlled, and distributed through a system of possession (as opposed to a system of property. )
Where everyone can retain autonomy and individualism the sense that their talents and aspirations would shape their overall purposes within the group and that any work undertaken would be purely voluntary in nature.
Team leaders may be appointed for the sake of things like bookkeeping, budgeting, business related communications, and as a sort of administrator.
Besides administrative tasks this system will put everyone in a position of increased responsibility for themselves and their productivity. Unlike a typical work setting, a collective requires everyone to be their own manager, since their is no inherent group management.
The collective interest would overrule all higher group-level decision making in a profoundly democratic fashion. Everyone who contributes whether that is monitarily, or through the group labor/task system gets a vote. Membership in itself does not earn a vote, one has to be useful and make some form of contribution to the collective as a whole. One cannot buy more votes or a greater position by donating or working more towards group efforts. The only thing this will get you is more respect, appreciation, and potentially an administrative positions.
This creates a decentralized system of consensus and decision making. Where anyone who contributes, has an equal say and representation in the affairs of the whole.
Anyone would be able to leave at any given time. People who are violent, troublesome, subversively destructive or in some way or another; intentionally trying to hinder productivity or make the work of the group more difficult would be forced away from the settlement, as peacefully as the situation allows.
Relationship with host country
Another key prerequisite required to make this work would be a productive and mutualistically beneficial relationship with the host country.
This will be absolutely necessary if a communal/collective setting wants its existence to be tolerated. As a benefit of functioning independently within a larger capitalist society, it would have no real need for a military force.
Economics of a communal society
In a traditional communal society: The Individual member would not directly deal with money.
Since The work of each member toward the export of some type of goods would be essential to providing necessities to members as well as paying taxes and property fees that go with existing within the host country.
All external economic affairs would be decided by the commune. Everyone who does their part is provided for. No economic competition or market systems exist within the internal life of the commune.
Now on to my preferred approach:
Economics of a collectivist organization
If this was a collectivist work setting such as an artist collective this would function a bit differently in terms of productivity, economic distribution and group finance.
For example if I was running an artist collective,Anyone who used collective resources to produce, market and or publish/sell art, music, literature etc would obviously keep their profit.
Yet they would be highly encouraged (though never coerced or required) to return at least a minuscule portion of their profit back to the collective and a minuscule portion to charity.
If the collective was successful enough; food and quarters may be offered to members but even in that case living there would not be a requirement for membership.
Group projects and collective task-work.
Aside from individual projects the ‘team leaders’ would organize group projects in which we would come together to work on something for the sake of raising money to keep the collective afloat.
The idea is to be able to function without relying on income from the self-guided work individual members; making sure everyone has the right to their own profits and the right to create non profit work if they so desire.
Group work may consist of group art/music projects, but there may be other forms of unrelated group work too depending on the situation.
Alternative group efforts
The group could for example own a greenhouse and ask everyone to go tend it, for a small portion of their time each day, with the growth exported for collective money(with a small amount of whatever was grown being allocated to whomever took the time to tend it.)
Alternative group work could also be self guided; any way someone can think of to help the collective will earn them respect and notoriety within the group.
Its a bit of a gray area because theirs lots of ways this can be done, but it seems it would be important to diversify the groups sources of income, so-as not too rely too heavily on any one form of export.
While one technically cannot be forced to participate in group work as with contributing a share, team members may become disgruntled if someone is constantly using up resources and equipment to make money without ever contributing monetarily nor through effort on group work.
If the people democratically vote someone out for being a leach than so be it.
Benefits of group projects.
1. Encourage productive collaboration on other projects,
2. Increased interconnectedness, better inter-group relationships.
3 Develops a sense of culture and community within the group.
4. Helps lesser known members establish credibility and build a following in their respective industry by creating something alongside better known members.
5. Generating collective income; any excess would primarily be used for better equipment, supplies, and advertising/marketing solutions. (Or in a full fledged communal society used to provide everyone with food, shelter, toiletries, etc.)
6. Increased potential for creativity due to collective brain power being utilized for a common goal.
I hope this helps shed some light on alternative economic and political systems; as well as some light on the direction this group is headed in.
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