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Reimagining Democratic Public Ownership for the Twenty-first Century

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/02/14/reimagining-democratic-public-ownership-twenty-first-century

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One of the core challenges we face today is very similar to that we faced as a nation a century ago–breaking up the hyper-financialized capitalistic behemoth that sucks the life and labor out of the masses into a small cabal and the remora on whom dwell amongst them. Here at CD we know of the issues with the MIC, the consolidated and complicit M$M, the political duopoly and the corporate-friendly legislation they have passed using Orwellian language. We NEED BERNIE to help us begin to unravel the vampire squid [kudos to Matt Taibbi]. He is the ONLY candidate FULLY credentialed and consistent in this cause.
BERNIE 2020!

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Remember that in the USA all of those anti-trust laws were passed not because Roosevelt not a friend of big business. It happened because Socialists were being elected by the droves to Public office.

You need to do the same thing this time around. Forget about “centrists” they are going to do nothing for the people until a real scare put into them which is why they scramble to head off Sanders.

Public ownership must extend to the monetary system or ownership will still be forced to play for dollars controlled by the elite wealthy few. Got to change the puppet master to change the dance! Make no mistake - struggling for dollars is the number one game in town!

Public ownership will also need legal modifications to unseat a system that has privileged corporations, the law, and minority wealthy individuals at the expense and freedom of the majority of individuals. Precedents cannot be gifted with untouchable power. Private property law cannot allow housing to be unaffordable for the majority and controlled by the rich.
Democratization is a tall order that we do not appear to be ready for. Imagine people actually having to know government policy, know information, and address decision making accountability - too many are content to be ruled, don’t give a s#$% about politics, and can’t tell the difference between up & down. Like a sports match, Rah! Rah! for the party ensures losing while winning another game. Ignoring omnipresent culture, society has produced a tradition of ignorance and group identity conformity.

The issue is not “public” ownership but common ownership

Here is an article that explains the difference

The World Socialist Party of the United States remain committed to this goal.

Public ownership and control, from the public domain to the workplace, are vital goals to pursue, It isn’t however about “wealth building” but about wealth reclamation and building sustainable sustenance. The growth model of capitalism must be replaced with a society of sustainable sustenance within our physical ecological means.

From the article:
"signs of crisis: … Climate change, rising economic inequality, assaults on workers’ rights and wages, unchecked corporate power, financialization, entrenched racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, and emboldened neo-fascism and right-wing populism, to name a few.

These … entwined crises we face share a deep-rooted common cause: the undemocratic, inequitable, and extractive nature of our economic system."

I would say that the analysis leading up to this conclusion is very defective.
First, presuming that the economic production of the community is a pie, which should be divided equally among all the members of the communisty [deliberate misspelling], and that if anyone has more he took it from the others, is fallacious.
– You early run into resentments felt by the more productive and ‘harder working’ members of the community towards the slackers. Why should the slackers get just as much, or more? [This is played on in the South Korean film ‘Parasite’, which presents the Park family as slacker idiots who don’t deserve their riches] Slackers usually, evidently, make less and deserve to. So what does a socialist society do with them?
– The notion of a pie and one who is better off is better off at the expense of the others is fallacious. The pie in a free economy, free market economy, is typically much larger than the pie in a socialist society. The poor 99% are no worse off than they would be under egalitary; in fact they are usually better off. Look > 220 years back and almost everyone lived in extreme poverty. That more than half of their descendants live better than that, better than extreme poverty, can be credited to free economics, the free market. Not to socialism or communism. The starkest difference seen today is between ‘socialist’ North Korea and substantially economically free South Korea. Similarly, it took a spectacular failure of ‘socialism’ in Venezuela to reduce that nation to greater poverty than its neighbor Guyana.

As for public or common ownership, yeah yeah, make your proposals. But understand the risks.
– The book ‘Sin Patron’ by the Lavaca Cooperative, foreword by Naomi Klein, is mostly about workers in Argentina taking over the businesses where they work. But it also refers to some examples where ownership and control went to the government. Those examples all ended in failure, and the business going out of business.
– This quote by Leon Trotsky is just as applicable to economic structures: “In inner-party politics, these methods lead, as we shall yet see, to this: the party organization substitutes itself for the party, the central committee substitutes itself for the organization, and, finally, a ‘dictator’ substitutes himself for the central committee.” - politics, and some people abusing it to better themselves, applies just as much to the office and factory as to the party and government levers.
– And let this fictional narrative stand as a substitute for a real life account: ~https://theexplanationproject.fandom.com/wiki/The_Story_of_the_Twentieth_Century_Motor_Company_(told_by_Jeff_Allen,_the_tramp_on_Dagny%27s_train)