Freedom for the few; Austerity and exploitation for the many.
Freedom for the few; Austerity and exploitation for the many.
Santiago, Chile: Students march to demand education for all, October 11, 2012.
Photos: Frente Fotografico
Check out Camila’s awesome hammer-and-sickle earring!
Imagine - No more shareholders, no more private sector, just more democracy & less capitalism
October 12, 2012
The way capitalism works right now is that workers are told what to produce, how to produce it, what role to play in production, how long they will work, etc. Then there is a decision maker, or in larger companies, a decision making body, made up of share-holders who are not workers and do not have workers’ interests in mind and don’t care if the environment gets ruined or if shipping jobs overseas is disruptive to the livelihoods of the people they employ, etc. Democracy doesn’t exist in this sector which we’ve called the “private sector”. Democracy@Work is a movement focused on changing that.
With Worker Self Directed Enterprises (which are a little different from co-ops), workers make the decisions collectively. They share skills, trade jobs and everyone decides collectively on how to divide the labor and of what to do with the surplus that’s created. Imagine working 4 hour days Monday-Thursday and coming into work on Friday and spending all days in meetings with your coworkers deciding what to tackle the next weak, how to tackle it and dividing the labor appropriately. Everyone’s the worker. Everyone’s the boss.
Imagine the impact that that could have in society and imagine the threat it could create for capitalism - a more viable, more human alternative to capitalism that doesn’t take on the baggage from the years of propaganda and misinformation against the words “socialism” and “communism” and that provides a type of stability and safety for society that has never been provided with capitalism. We could have consciously-anticapitalist workers self directed enterprises that set out both to succeed in order to sustain themselves and to change or overthrow the system that allows for wage-slavery under the guise of a “private sector” (meaning the private space where the rulers of the world get to continue to be the unchecked rulers of the world, the owners, the exclusive decision makers, etc without the nagging influence of democracy).
I love this movement because it frames capitalism where it belongs, as the opposite to democracy. And again, by taking the ideas of Karl Marx and applying them to the society we actually live in today in 2012, Richard Wolff does a service to the left, giving us one way to talk about capitalism that can be effective without all the propaganda-nonsense associated with words like “socialism” and “communism”. Additionally if you think of these ideas as a first step, as a way to build infrastructure to channel the growing left into, to get groups of people practicing collective action and gaining confidence in their ability to achieve great things through working together, then the implications of building this go beyond systemic reform, they could provide the material circumstances for a revolutionary situation, without having to take on the baggage of publicly aiming to do so. There’s also something about this concept that seems to me could be uniting on the left between anarchists, socialists and progressives. It’s consciously anti-capitalist, but not overtly revolutionary. It’s workers-focused, but not so centralized as some fear socialism would be. And it’s an idea that now has a growing organization working on spreading it, which gives it a fighting shot of entering the realm of discussed ideas in our society.
Richard Wolff goes line by line to address obvious criticisms to these ideas in his new book by the same title “Democracy@Work” and answers questions like: “How could this work on a large scale?” (here’s a hint: Google Mondragon), and “Could this work in America?”, “Could workers really make the decisions themselves?” etc.
I’d like to work on building a WSDE in the near future and would love to see this idea get spread across tumblr, becoming a blip on the radar of many of the socially-aware young in our society, as it continues to be something that I think we should be thinking about and channeling ourselves into.
We face unprecedented circumstances in society today, the likes of which many who are older than us have yet to even begin to acknowledge; unemployment paired with austerity measures and rapidly inflating tuition & student debt have created monumental challenges for this generation. Unfortunately, it will be up to us to find creative solutions out of this mess and I think this is one worth considering.
Richard Wolff does monthly updates in New York (if you’re ever in the area you can see them live for free). Here’s the most recent one that I was at a few days ago, which covers most of what I’ve mentioned in this article and more.
Photosource of one Arezmendi bakery (they have six locations) - a successful worker owned, democratic workplace bakery chain in the Bay Area.
I look forward to exploring this material, looks like some awesome radical left thought to me :)
#YoSoy132 (Tomada con Instagram)
A protester wearing sunglasses with political messages on them is seen at a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Manila, Philippines.
The court suspended a controversial cybercrime law, which critics say will threaten freedom of speech. The court intends to debate whether it’s constitutional.
(Photo: Aaron Favila, Associated Press)
(intense ground-level footage from Spain #25S)
As Bob Dylan legendarily put it, you don’t need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows. With dark clouds forming over Athens, Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, make sure to prepare for months of market and street turmoil. A storm is brewing in the South. The European Fall has begun. This time it’s serious.
::currently:: (lol) link (here)
#29S: Surround the Congress Spreads to Lisbon, Rome, and Beyond
Chile’s Students Strike for Free and Public Education
In Chile, the average monthly minimum wage is $385, while the average monthly college tuition costs $485. Upon graduating, Chilean students are on average saddled with $40,000 in debt.
But Chilean students are no longer willing to accept this state of affairs, and have taken over university campuses demanding accessible education for all of the country’s students. The students argue that the country has the resources to provide free public education for all Chileans, if only some of policies of neoliberal privatization begun under dictator Augusto Pinochet are reversed. High school and university students have taken to the streets, refusing to resume classes until the Ministry of Education approves the system of systematic changes that the Students Federation is demanding. Despite their radicalized movement, and a dangerous hunger strike by more than thirty students, President Sebastián Piñera has refused to meet their demands, saying that “nothing is free in this life.”
this is so beautiful
(Photo) Student Power Triumphs in Quebec!
Intense fighting between police and anti-austerity protesters in Madrid today, as Spain’s indignados try to surround parliament.
Shocking Protest in Madrid: Thousands Clash with Police over Government Policy (Austerity)
Here are more incredible photos from Madrid today. The Spanish revolution is boiling over after harsh austerity measures on the working class were announced on Thursday.
Thousands of protesters demanded fair wages, equal access to education, an immediate end to home evictions & more funding for basic healthcare services.
Riot police responded with rubber bullets & arrested 22 people. More protests are expected to erupt for the rest of the week.
We stand with Spaniards fighting for basic human needs against a corrupt, greed-driven government!