Quo vadis (European) socialism?
1) What does socialism mean and how does it evolve itself and establish?
2) Socialist economics
3) Socialist democracy
4) Socialist intra-party democracy
5) Socialist ideology and culture
Recent electoral failures of social democratic (socialist) parties particularly in western Europe need reflection. There might be, of course, more reasons causing these setbacks, but isn't it the right time to pose even the principal questions?
12 years ago, Lester G. Thurow, the former advisor of the President Bill Clinton, noted on then role of the Left the following critical remarks:
„Within Western culture there had won selfish pragmaticism bringing about that the dominant people's majority tries to most profit only for itself. From our great dreams remained the only matter: to capitalize the most things and to stiff upper lip...
After the Second World War the Right started incorporating of pragmaticism inside politics and the Left remained in its antiquated vision. Now, after the Left completely missed out on consciousness of historical mission, capitalists needn't be afraid of nothing on the Left's part.
As for the Left around the World it have lost the belief that it is able to change anything. For many years the Right had been trying to curb the Left's offensive. The Conservatives postponed reforms, inhibited changes, but the Left every time when entered the government tried something to change. Twenty years ago the parts were swapped. The Right privatizes, delimitates the state's role, declares the cult of individuality and of free market, and the Left, even while sitting in the Cabinet, dares only to inhibit that process. In doing so the programmatic distinctions are in principle indifferent. The Left have believed in the free market, have fancied the Right's individualism. If it might be possible to trace up some distinctions, thus only in it, that the Left driven with inertia still hands out some fritters of flesh pots. Ignoring reality of the free market the Left is trying to maintain the aged welfare provileges, but this is the way heading for nowhere.
There has to exist an idea, a challenge, a future, a united dream. The civilisation's crisis calls for leaders who don't fear to put a bold front on the wave of egoism. Someone at the very top has to dare and say all voters that the system has been working no longer that we have to create the alternative one.“ (1)
So the mentioned principal questions might be articulated subsequently: Are the social democratic parties really still the socialist ones? Do they really put forward their citizens a workable socialist economic vision and promis to lead them towards hopeful socialist future? Do they really struggle for social justice and strive with time schedule agenda to transform the current capitalist society into the socialist one? Do they really lean its policy on socialist humanism?
The autor answers all these questions with NO! Instead of the socialist state's concept those “socialists” opted vision of the (capitalist) welfare state; the basic idea of social justice they swapped with notion of social appeasement; and instead of transforming capitalism into socialism they have been petrifying it.
The more, the socialist parties don't wield the formula how to handle the most poignant and constantly more complex puzzles of the western society: like unfair and continuously profounding disparities between rich and poor citizens, the huge rise of families' breakups (with many harmful consequences for offsprings and subsequently for society), the rise of economic and violent crime rate, proliferating drug addiction and accelerating formativ of the hedonist pleasure-seeking consumer society which is simultaneously even losing capacity of its own biological reproduction, and environmental and energy-lack related problems not to mention.
On the contrary, the socialists often and paradoxically behave as the protagonists of mentioned decadent trends and for example instead of mission in putting scientific pacifism through, they even act as allies of the most aggressive and brutal imperialists (Bush/Blair in Iraq, Clinton/NATO bombing in former Yugoslavia and the current crusaide into Afganistan). As well they lack realistic ideology acceptable for all citizens of this planet and can't handle the tragical/grotesque reality, when the solutions of many global risks of our nuclear ere (social, technological, military and environmental) often arbitrate powerful fanatics existentially embeded in naive ancient religious superstitions - instead of respectful and competent global institution.
As for the current Czech Social Democratic Party (the CSSD), the member of the PES, for it is such misorientation quite symptomatic. The party, for example, elaborated in 2008 leaflets over social democratic ideals. Its authors meant and parsed liberty, equality, fraternity (once serving as ideological weapons against feudalism and its serfdom). Why not, they are surely still important. But the pinkos' great dream, the vocable and idea named socialism, would you search on its pages in vain...
(So, as a member of the CSSD from the year 1992 to day, the autor would like to refer mainly to that socialist party, wither he might be a little insider).
Now let's try to reflect the five folloving thesis handling the way towards socialism:
1) What does socialism mean and how does it evolve itself and establish?
2) Socialist economics
3) Socialist democracy
4) Socialist intra-party democracy
5) Socialist ideology and culture
1) What does socialism mean and how does it evolve itself and establish?
If we look backwards at the roots of socialist movement, so the idea of socialism should rest upon following three attributes: upon socialist economics, upon socialist democracy (including socialist intraparty democracy) and upon socialist ideology and culture.
The scholastik socialists appreciate notion that economic system may determine the character of society – including relations and behaviour of its subjects. So vision of socialist society essentially anticipates existence of socialist economics. But the first socialist ecomomic subjects could naturally arise and evolve themselves quite spontaneously right within society and economics capitalist (and possibly being by many people not even acknowledged as the socialist ones). This also means that they have to get on in the course of competition with the capitalist ones. The process of their quantitative rise and of evolving their economic prevalence within the capitalist economics should trigger the need of adequate changes within capitalist community and so implicate gradual transformation of the whole society by the evolutionary way.
Likewise somewhat evolved capitalism whose primary economic pre-structures (manufactures and factories) were flourishing from roots and possibilities of feudal society, similarly socialism could blossom out of society capitalist.
Once, at the time when society had acknowledged the Droit de seigneur, occured the birth and subsequent growing concentration of manufactures and factories – that created need and demand of the free and migrationable workforce – which led towards abolition of serfdom and generated the demise of hundreds years ruling feudal society including its "the lord's right".
Similarly and by unravelling its own inherent problems (for example moral, monetary, legal or political ones) and in the course of simultaneous demising of capitalism should evolve and emerge the quite new form of society, this time the society socialist.
2) Socialist economics
The anticipated socialist manufacturing or enterprising subject can be basically circumscribed by absent of the capitalist exploitation. Such subjects naturally – and of course quite spontaneously – have also sprung up and operated. But their unaffected blossoming and evolution were blocked for nearly hundred years due to bolshevik's fallacy resulting in the rise of bolsheviks' empire. Their power was based upon the idea, that socialist economics means the total state's ownership of all economic sujects (the society where reputedly “all manufacturing or economic enterprising subjects belong to all citizens”). Bolsheviks never realised that they had the bourgeois capitalism replaced only by another form of capitalism, by the state capitalism; and that they had replaced the throwned down capitalist exploiters by bandits in form of red-tapists. And in the line with this – initially somewhat promissing – fallacy bolshevik's empire had originated and demised.
In the course of this collision the capitalist economy thrived and even globalised whereas the economy of collapsed soviet bloc was rapidly privatised. So arised quite absurd and enormously perilous historical circumstance: the mighty predacious capitalism misses its effective natural (socialist) antagonist!
And nowadays many so-called socialists even conclude, that the real socialist economic subject doesn´t exist...
For exapmle the shadow CSSD´s Treasury Secrretary, J. Mládek, voiced it so: „Generally rules confidance, that it is easier to imagine Armageddon than the end of capitalism.“ (2) No wonder, if the CSSD´s program in the chapter „Socialism“ is „pridig oneself“ on the pseudoscientific and ridiculous Kautsky's quotation (of 1918):
„...However, in exact terms socialism isn't our ultimate goal, because this one lies in eradicating all sorts of exploatation and oppression aimed against whatever class, party, gender or race. If it proved to us that liberating of the proletariat might be achived by the means of the production based on private possession, we even would have to throw socialism overboard, so that we don't give up our ultimate goal just a little bit...“ (3)
However, contemporaneously and quite overshadowed by the monstrous collision had already emerged and with a low profile being operated the real socialist subjects: born about 150 years ago, and surviving under all types of regimes! They were the worker´s cooperatives!
Indeed, one even can say that each self-governing economic subject operating conformably to co-operative rationale can be called the socialist one; since inside it (nor externally) exists no capitalist (or state) exploitation. And these can't exist there because all its employees – aside from drawing their orthodox wage (included in expenses) – draw also the right proportion from the complete co-op's profit: from the monetary component of the co-op's profit and from its invested component as well (drown as money respectively in form of vouchers, etc.). So all these employees actually become the owners of the enterprise and govern it by internal voting system.
These mentioned implications were evaluated by the nonbolshevik socialists long ago. Some of them wrote of “the co-operative socialism” whose orthodox definition was worked out by Ch. Gide, who in the year 1898 declared his hundred-years-long „schedule of socialisation“ and genesis of „the co-operative republics“. In France belonged to the prominent promoters of co-operative societies – in form of „state works“ – also L. Blanc. In Germany interacted F. Lassalle, who deserved merit in establishing the manufacturing associations. In form of manufacturing associations being owned by blue-collar workers and raised with the help of the state many saw the new social order.
The co-operative socialism´s theorie constituted the flagship of the Czechoslovak social democrats´ ideological, political and economical program until the year1939. For example the Czech social-democratic politician A. Hampl expressed these ideas in 1930 at the XVI. party's convention in the following way: „Socialism is in principle the problem of production-raising and of the righteous distribution of goods. When socialisation is meant, this postulate needs to be circumscribed as efforts for legal and economic changes in the proprietary and productive process and being conducted in such a way, that each, and even the very bottom worker is aware he works on his ownership, no matter by which co-operative form is this collectivity expressed; when we realise that the socialisation is our motto, so this dangerous way which threatens our enemies' positions, we must be deeply aware that no envy, no grudge is our motive power, but that it is only our resolute assurance, that current salary structure is discordant with democracy, with the cultural and moral level of working class.“ (4)
As a famous example of socialist economic subject's genesis can serve the epopee of the north-Spanish Mondragon Corporación Co-operativa:
On l4th April 1956 Father Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Polytechnic School and the mastermind of all venture, had blessed the first stone of Ulgor. The name Ulgor was made up from the initial letters of the surnames of the five young co-founders: L. Usatorre, J. Larranaga, A. Gorronogoitia, J.M. Ormaechea and J. Ortubay. Within the poor Spanish Basque Country in the area of land known as Laxarte, they purchased a plot at 45 pesetas/m2, paced out by Ormaechea and two weeks later work started on the construction of the first production plant of the Mondragón Experience: a two storey concrete building measuring 750 m2. And now comes the inspiring narrative of the first 10 years according to the co-op's own web pages:
The Escuela Profesional, today Mondragón Eskola Politeknikoa came out when responsibility for Vocational Training passed from the Ministry of Labour to that of Education and Science, with Vocational Training becoming part of the state education system. ...Arrasate, S.Co-op., today Fagor Arrasate, was set up. It began in a simple way, like any company which starts up, almost exclusively, on the basis of the enthusiasm and dedication of its workforce. Its first activity was the manufacture of dies for cutting and drawing. Ulgor set up an Electronics Division. Nine years later this Division was to become a company in its own right: Fagor Electrónica.
At the end of the year, by order of the Ministry of Labour, members of co-operatives were excluded from the State Social Security System. This decision taken by the Ministry of Labour was decisive and led to the start of a series of actions aimed at creating and developing what is today Lagun-Aro, a Voluntary Social Welfare Institution. Lagun-Aro was then the response of the co-operatives to a lack of cover.
The first female graduates began their studies in the Escuela Profesional. At the same time, chemistry was offered for the first time, aimed mainly at female students...
Something that was to be fundamental to the future of the incipient Mondragón Co-operative Movement occurred in 1959 Father Arizmendiarrieta “invented” Caja Laboral Popular. The lack of sufficient financial resources led Ulgor, Arrasate, and the Co-operativa de Consumo San José, today Eroski to set up Caja Laboral Popular.
What makes Caja Laboral Popular different from the grass roots co-operatives Is the mixed nature of its social bodies, which are made up of both worker-members and representatives from the associate co-operatives. In accordance with its “superstructure” character, which Caja Laboral Popular has had since its creation, the representatives of the co-operatives are in the majority in these social bodies.
For more than twenty years the co-operatives guaranteed all the operations of the new credit institutions, with a 25% interest in its share capital. Likewise, during the early years all the financial reserves of Lagun-Aro were deposited in Caja Laboral Popular.
The Escuela Profesional, which started in academic year 1943-1944 with just 21 students had more than 300 students by 1960 a figure which began to be important in the world of vocational training. Like many other of our institutions it was created above all by Father Arizmendiarrieta. His motto that by socialising knowledge, power is really democratised is a true reflection of the ideas behind “Eskola” one of has pet projects.
The “Cooperación” magazine was set up. Later it became known as “T.U. (Trabajo y Union”) and finally “T.U. Lankide”.
The first branch of Caja Laboral was opened to the public in a modest premises in Calle Ferrerias in Mondragón. Shortly afterwards it moved to its current location at numerr 27 Calle Don José María Resusta, today Iturriotz Kalea, also in Mondragón. At the time the slogan “open a savings account or pack your bags” became popular, in an attempt to show how important saving was for the development of the co-operatives and by extension for the development of our region.
Without abandoning its original activity, the construction of dies for cutting and drawing. Arrasate, based on the technical ability of as work force, began to manufacture transfer lines for metal bodies (refrigerators, washing machines, etc) and then pipe manufacturing machines, roll-forming machines, eccentric presses and shears. In principle with the application of imported technology, which was gradually assimilated and then, as the company was released from the foreign licences it began manufacturing new products of its own.
Arrasate marketed its products under the Taci (Talleres Arrasate Co-operativa Industrial) trademark, to later adopt the current Fagor Arrasate name.
A extraordinary decade of development and consolidation had begun, with Ulgor and Arrasate as the driving forces given that the protectionist economic policies of the dictatorship made the domestic market extremely accessible.
The inauguration of a branch in Aretxabaleta was the first step in Caja Laboral´s expansion outside of Mondragón. This process spread like wildfire to other neighbouring towns. The Business Division of was also created and the industrial co-operatives Copreci, Ederlan and Lana were set up.
Ulgor also continued to expand. On 8th February with the help of the local and provincial authorities, new installations for manufacturing selenium semiconductors were inaugurated.
At the same time we discovered that Ulgor was spending twice as much as budgeted on training, a piece of information which was “very alarming” according to a reporter at the time. Existing documents also show how sensitive the co-operatives were to absenteeism due lo illness or accidents at work.
, the following theory was advanced concerning Democracy: “Democracy is one of the rules all the game of the co-operative movement. Democracy should be conceived as a method and procedure for combining the interests of each and everyone with those of the company as a whole Knowledge has to be socialised for power to be democratised effectively”.
In March, Caja Laboral held its General Assembly. It was attended by representatives from about twenty associate co-operatives, which clearly shows that it was a co-operatives’ co operative.
The return to the idea of saving turned out to be a very effective factor for increasing the awareness of savers, especially in the early years of Caja Laboral. On 1 st May, May Day, the first branch was opened in O?ate.
The Group continued to grow and two co-operatives in the province of Guipúzcoa came aboard: Soraluce in Bergara and Vicon in San Sebastian.
A mutual support movement was initiated among the co-operatives in which some of the future structures of the Experience timidly began to take shape. This movement was the embryo of what would later be called the Mondragón Co-operative Group and then Mondragón Corporación Co-operativa. Ularco was the name of the pioneer group which drew together the co-operatives in the Leniz Valley.
Back in 1964, there was a lot of thinking about adapting to the times and there was insistence that: “We have to think about developing a series of institutions which will serve to provide backing for our co-operative aims and plans: institutions in harmony with our social and economic vision. The co-operative movement will be a fleeting phenomenon if it is not planned and developed by our society as a whole with its roots in education and in social and economic relations”.
One thousand students were now studying at the Escuela Profesional Politécnica and the co-operatives Irizar and Miba joined the Experience...
Arrasate was awarded a contract in Tripoli (Libya), after international tendering, for the installation of a turnkey production plant for manufacture of welded pipe. The plant, which occupied 17,000 m2, cost € 4.81 million...
If is interesting to note that turnover per capita for the co-operatives as a whole in 1972 was around Pts. 10,000 000 which is quite considerable if we bear in mind that nearly all the co-operatives reduced their working week to 45 hours. These seem a lot of hours if judged according to current criteria, but in the early seventies, 45 hours a week was a considerable advance in social terms...
...Lagun–Aro, Voluntary Social Welfare Institution, was set up as a second degree co-operative. Doiki joined the Group, and the process which would subsequently lead to the creation of the Technological Research Centre Ikerlan was starte...
The crisis which began in 1974 was to cause serious difficulties in a number of co-operatives but, in spite of this, there was an increase in net employment in all the associate co-operatives as a whole.
The mutual support of the co-operatives, the generous attitude of Caja Laboral, in short: Solidarity, were the key to our strength. This solidarity has been the Group´s main tool when it comes to tackling difficult and uncertain situations. Solidarity in effort, but Solidarity based on responsibility, as Father Arizmendiarrieta said: “Nobody in need should be left without protection, but neither should those who act with diligence and precaution and those who show no concern for things which should not be neglected be protected without distinction”...
The MCC nowadays operates the filial co-operatives all over the world including China, India and US and statistics show the MCC to be twice profitable as the average corporation in Spain with employees' productivity surpassing any other Spanish organisation. Total assets in 2008 - 33 bn. of Euros, total revenue – 16 bn. of Euros, workforce – 92 000. (5)
Interestingly, whereas co-operative's members were in 1958 excluded from the State Social Security and so treated by Franco as capitalists, in 80s when „...the Basque Country began its political life, it was said that the co-operative movement could not be catalogued under any specific political tendency, as this would be against its own constitution. However it would make sense to situate it in a socialist environment in the widest and noblest sense of the term socialist: the socialisation of resources and the democratisation of management, ownership and knowledge.“ (MCC web page). Thus the co-op might have sprung only by a solidarity-friendly, skilled priest. Had that first stone instead of praying Father been praised by a solidarity-friendly and skilled unionist singing The International, such offender would have been dragged to prison and the famous MCC would have never originated.
On the other hand there are known the mass co-ops' demises which occured during the course of „economic transformation“ e.g. in Russia and
in the former Czechoslowakia at the end of 20th. century. But then so-called economic transformation was in reality a total larceny of the nations' economics, swalloved mainly by foreign sharks; the larceny widely supported by anti-socialist politicians and media. It succeded also by tools of (anti co-ops) legislature against that co-ops' members were defenceless; so completely disorientated they weren't aware that they had been depriving of the only righteous business' form.
Then Czechoslowak co-ops (self-managed by formula 1 co-operator = 1 vote), were despite of bolshewik´s rule getting under way to thrive. and so they became the prime targets to be destroyed. This was put through quite unobtrusively: the former „co-operators´ co-ops“ were transformed into so-called „proprietors´ co-ops“, so that each proprietor could at annual meeting wield by voting power according to his propriery share...
The "proprietors´ co-op" is presumably the similarly deadly concept as that destroying ESOP´s systems (for example the United Airlines´case), because of eradicating solidarity, serving as the basic co-op´s driving power towards its competitive advantage, prosperity and expansion (and/or) prevention of possible nepotism and other pernicious behaviours). This similar way: one co-op = 1 vote at Congress or at Co-op bank´s annual meeting was proved operationable by MCC (there of course seem to be another possible ways: 1 coop member = 1 vote by deciding crucial corporational questions and as for sectional problems, there similarly vote only the coop members implementing solutions...). At the end of this issue can be said, that posibility of buying votes within the democratic and collective liability economic systems (co-op, ESOP) is similarly ridiculous and pernicious like congressional democracy enabling the wealthy „citizens“ buying the poor citizens´s votes, as it was being ocurred at the biginning of ancient Rome´s decadent period, some 180 years B.C...
The coop´s handling of certainly wellcommed and needed investments might have form of loan with the creditor´ individual agreed timetable for repayment and with interest lower than the lowest one being offered by contemporary operating investment/development companies.
It is necessary to stress, that into cooperative form might be transformed and would be able to operate and thrive the all types of economical subjects: the elementary such as a bakery, the more complex as an automobile factory or bank, and even airways carrier. There are also two form of their layout: the worker´s cooperative and the cooperatives´ corporation.
The first option is commonplace within the elementary subjects such as a bakery (where at the Congress – 1 staffer wields with 1 vote). Within the more complex bussineses with thousands employees, there for the conduct of their cooperative´s Congress staffers need to vote their representatives.
The second one is more suitable for the highly complex subjects (like airlines), where each cooperative within the corporation is charged to keep and develop its primary task (as a member of the airways corporation, e.g.). But each corporation´s cooperative if it is able, is free to undertake and thrive also separately on its own and because each separate cooperative contributes a stated percentage of its profit into corporation´s shared capital (for example 7%), so with the separately thriving co-ops will also thrive the corporation.
One remark in terms of cooperative bank. The wise politicians of each state should establish a national cooperative bank with even each village as a cooperator. Then the bank´s profit would adequatelly flow into each municipality and contributing for its development.
Thus the desireable progress's base line towards the socialist economics is obvious: it comprises maximum political, economical and legislative encouraging and backing for advancement and expansion in co-operative proprietorship into all economic sectors and subjects. This means not only the establishing of quite new subjects, but also the transformation of the bankrupt capitalist ones or those in state possesion and offered for buying into co-operatives – and all has to be occurring under rules of the right competitivness, of course.
Notwithstanding that in fair competition the co-operative subjects are to succeed with the capitalist ones due to their higher productivity, all meant steps, of course, need the previous and profound enlightement which is the socialist parties' and politicians' central duty and has to form the base and priority in the socialist parties's agendas; particularly in the electoral ones.
And what about the hot experiences made with my Czech „socialists“? The CSSD's former central committee handling the co-operative agenda held in the course of two years even not the one session. Incredibly, because the refferee backing the committee's activity was furthemore the party´s president himself.
The role of misoriented, confused and corupted socialists is now being unwittingly substituted by The International Co-operative Alliance. ICA naturally doesn‘t follow any ideological motives, but only the humane ones. In its World Declaration on worker cooperatives, approved by its General Assembly in Cartagena, Colombia, on 23 September 2005, ICA stated:
„Humankind permanently seeks a qualitative improvement of the forms of organising work, and endeavours to achieve ever better, fairer and more dignifying labour relations.... Among the modalities of worker ownership, the one being organised through worker cooperatives has attained the highest level of development and importance at present in the world, and is structured on the basis of the universal cooperative principles, values and operational methods...
Governments should understand the importance of the promotion and development of worker cooperatives as effective actors of job creation and inclusion to working life of unemployed social groups... Governments should ensure access to appropriate financing conditions for entrepreneurial projects launched by worker cooperatives by creating specific public funds, or loan guarantees or covenants for the access to financial resources and promoting economic alliances with the cooperative movement... Cooperative worker ownership should be promoted as an option and an entrepreneurial model as much in processes of entrepreneurial change and restructuring, start-ups, privatisations, conversion of enterprises in crisis, and transmission of enterprises without heirs, as in the concession of public services and public procurement...“ (6)
The ICA Declaration should be incorporated and implemented by all parties and politicians, that call themselves socialist ones.
The socialist economic sobjects‘ proliferating concentration within capitalist society will, of course, generate advantageous economic implications also for respective regions. And above all, factors of solidarity, of social justice and of real human interesses will gradually displace elements of the corrupt capitalist spontaneity spoiled by selfish liberal individualism and their pernicious consequences for society, foreign relations and mankind's future. Thus the capitalist society will be transformed into the socialist one.
3) Socialist democracy
This thesis is quite key as well. It have been emenating from reality, that in terms of the current (bourgeois) democracy the political and public offices have got nature of lucrative positions. Such status is advocated with cliche sounding – if there was to serve the financially independent and so tu corruption immune elite, it deserves the elite conditions – the elite wages and perks. Moreover such reality stoplessly generates the alluring sinecures which powers rapacious and perfidious goniffs to climb upwards the ladder to the party and state power.
Thus the „socialist“ politicians – who by laws and regulations determine citizens' behaving from womb to tomb and decide how they will unravel their personal, work day and other problems – have gradually become separated from them. Separated by their opulent bank-accounts, by bureaucratic machinery, by gruelling contest for feather beds and power and eventually also by bodyguards; so that even the citizens' subsistence conditions see as abstract and wishy-washy.
Thus the goal of socialist democracy means just to cleanse the public services of the characterless or unqualified goniffs and jobbers – who frequently govern not only in contradiction with genuine interests, but even against vital priorities of their voters – and replacement such swindlers by the honest, modest, generous, qualified and to socialist idea committed personalities.
Furthemore our current „...representative democracy is foremost the consensual representation of capitalism otherwise of what nowadays being nicknamed as ´the free market economy´. That's the reason of its structural corruptness,“ writes the French philosopher Allain Badiou (7). Thus the contemporaneous aim of the social democracy also means to set politics and economy apart, and so to remove current monetary and special-interest cohesion of politicians with the business sphere, whether being pursuaded direct or by lobbyists.
The socialist solutions to these problems tried to invent Lenin who in his book The State and Revolution (8) circumscribed the following four attributes of the socialist democracy, that (in updated form) might be considered as basic also at present. They sound:
1) all senior and junior civil servants must be democratically elective and removable whenever;
2) their monetary priviliges and entertainment expenses have to be abolished;
3) their offices must be freed of all just a little bit reminding privilege status and seigniorial red tapism;
4) all senior and junior civil servants have to draw a „common“ blue-collar's wage.
The thesis of the democratic procedure enabling to vote and remove politicians whenever should include the exclusive priority of the voters' preferences votes so that each candidate could be elected only by total count of obtained suffrages (and not en bloc on the other hand); and also implementing of workable regulations enabling to remove offenders. This may be practically carried into effect by the means of intraparty plebiscite being carried out within the party, that originally nominated the sinner; with its previous implementing into the stat's legislation.
As one can see the bolshevik Lenin „quite logically“ (as a bolshevik) neglected the fifth and of a great importance attribute that embodies the real democracy (democracy as the popular government) – ergo the direct democracy! And that type of democracy should be implemented in all levels: nationwide, regionally and within the socialist parties' lives, of course.
In terms of privileges, the elected or appointed socialist ministers, PMs etc. might be in principle authorised to apply only such „perks“ that are used by all employees in the state. That naturally means the full-scale abolition of the legislatives' immunity; but the police or court actions – until the pronouncement of the decree absolute – mustn't prevent the defendant from pursuing his paramount rights and duties, of course: for example the MP's, right to be present and vote in the Legislative Assembly. Also can be admitted the radical abbreviations of all statutory procedural time-limits; as the only „elite's privilege“.
Ostensibly more utopien seems the call for implementing that „common“ blue-collar's wage, belonging to all senior and junior civil servants. Because that one – by Lenin – somewhat bureaucratically (or rather in a populist way?) designed vision was never been carried into effect. Even nor by Lenin himself. Furthermore all socialist practices should correspond to evolutionary reality. And the socialist principle in this case sounds – Everyone works according to his capabilities and his wage be drawn in conformity with his effort! And the MP or minister should rank as an elite's member – so he deserves the elite wage, doesn't he?
This contradiction with the previously articulated necessity – to restrict the poblic servants' separattion from the vast majority of citizens by opulent living standards (a little likewise does the christian priest from his community) – could be possibly figurred out in the following way: during the period of the (no-socialist one) MP's, minister's etc. serving, each public servant should accept only, for example, the average wage in the state and the excess of the elite MP's salary to deposit on the party's account. And after finishing his serving (that means his term without another candidacy) he would obtain the deposited money. All necessary expenses related to his serving have to be, of course, funded by the state – he is the state's employee, isn't he?
As for the socialist public servants‘ salaries, this issue could be solved according the cooperative pronciples; this will being handled within the theme Socialist intra-party democracy in the chapter four.
And because the socialist ethics and behaviour never can be installed in the bureaucratic way, simply ordered, now it's time to emphasise the necessity of utter voluntariness in pursuing of the all socialist behavioral achievements. Only voluntariness may debunk the wily „socialist“ cereerists who for effect and loudly over such projects speak or even suggest them, cunningly conscious they'll be rejected by theirs colleagues' votes.
Genuine socialists are surely by no one prevented from setting examples of socialist behaviour even in the frame of the current (bourgeous) legislature, are they? So each socialist party, calling for introduction of direct democracy in the state seems somewhat ridiculous as far as such type of democracy is not implemented and routinely exercised within its intraparty life.
Each socialist party, calling for legislation enabling to elect candidates purely according to the number of preference votes likewise seems ridiculous as far as that type of democracy isn't implemented and routinely exercised within it's intraparty life; and this aim can be simply accomplished in way of voluntary resignations those candidates who according to the actual system formally became MPs but obtained fewer preference votes than their mates. And each socialist MP who do believe that his wage is immorally high – can its unethic excessive amount return into the state budget and so set an example. Etc.
Evolutionary socialisation of society can be powered only by generous individual and pioneer-like initiatives and only after its successful and widespread incidence can subsequently follow appropriate legislative formalisations.
4) Socialist intra-party democracy
So along with the socialisation of economics it is the introduction of socialist democracy that represents another great mission of socialist parties. And so their duty is those above remembered, those honest, modest, generous, professionally competent and to the idea of socialism committed citizens – this very socialist elite – to seek out, concentrate, offer to voters and push forward into establishment. And for the sake of credibility and matter-of-factness, socialist parties have to implement such socialist democracy also into their intraparty praxis.
However the historie of socialist parties is described by significant decadent trends that even have expressed themselves by intraparty votes of completely unauthorised parties' leaders! For example, the bolshevik's van of the former Soviet Union – and even in it's subsistence phase – elected quite overseasoned, senile and acutely ill Czernenko as leader of their party and respectively of the soviet superpower. Similarly was appointed the quite incompetent Urbanek as the Czech bolsheviks' „comunist“ leader.
Well, they were the totalitarien parties, could be objected.
So what about the undoubtedly democratic CSSD party that committed the same faux pas: this time by electing as its leader (and subsequently even as the Czech PM) simmilarly incompetent – because too young and apparently no foreign language managing – Mr. S. Gross. So the democratic CSSD, too, confirmed the incidence of the mentioned alarming problem, which in the sense of intraparty's troubles might represent only the tip of an iceberg.
Now and with nearly utter certainty one can bet that if those intraparties' elections had been held in form of direct democracy (with previous free and public discussions of all parties' members), Czernenko, Urbanek or Gross never would have been elected.
Here one can see a systemic failure: the total failure of intra-party representative democracy (IRD). The (IRD) system presumably might reliably operated only in heroic period of the socialist party's life: when its elected officials, leaders and even down-to-line members were targets of persecutions, derisions etc. But as soon as the originally persecuted socialist party becomes the parliamentary one and so able to provide perks and power, it starts to lure pseudosocialists: wile careerists, rapacious and perfidious goniffs, who consequently penetrate it. Their battle for more lucrative feather beds, with firstly not very obvious and so disregarded consequences such as gradual inhibition of intraparty discussion respectively democracy, acquires afterwards the nature of ruleless game, during which the modest and honest players are hopelesly defeated. Eventually will be arising (and within the current CSSD already existing) the client- and practically mafioso-like system and its leaders and participants – a new socialist "elite“ – star often as the bleak heroes of the hedonist pleasure-seeking consumer society and whose followers will be replaced by whom? By corrupt criminals and the very gangsters?
The western socialist parties are much more sturdy than their eastern counterparts because they have not undergone the widely demoralizing period that occurred inside the Soviet bloc under deeply suppressed democracy. For example consequences of those that occurred in the Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion in 1968 and left the Czechoslovak society (and first of all its elites) completely corrupted and of citizen's ethics deprived have for the majority of all Czech political parties quite devastating impact to date.
Nonetheless inside the western socialist parties are obviously disquieting trends, too, like fall-off in parties members' counts, demises of parties' journals (originally serving as means of intra-party discussions and so as prerequisites of intra-party democracy at the same time), examples of purging the „nonconformists“ (like G. Galloway), secession of personalities vainly calling for social justice's concept (O. Lafontaine). That all indicates lasting processes of parties' declines with inability to introduce the realistic and optimistic vision of the socialist future and leads to actual disaffection with the employees' layers numberous droves, and with non-wealthy or underprivileged voters whose vital interests the socialist politicians were loudly promising to defend.
Moreover the socialist parties are turning from previously cultural subjects into money-seeking business companies, foremost oriented at frequent and more and more costly election campaigns.
The CSSD, for example, vasted on such purposes hundreds of millions crowns annually, but its intra-party's „Academy“ whose elementary mission is to generate the socialist elite, failed in the course of 20 years to produce even one single graduate...
And in the long run all previously meant factors logically result in dwindling of socialist parties voters' hard-cores and subsequently in seemingly curious electoral setbacks with right-wing parties as winners occuring quite paradoxically even in the cycles of economic crises...
Such plight obviously calls for instant introduction and sensitive cultivation of the intra-party direct democracy (IDD) consisting not only in direct electing and removing party's officials or boards' members and similarly the nominees in all public posts, but also in mandatory referendum, enounced by members or/and party's leadership in which would party members decide all intra-party's problems – all sensitive or vital personnel measures, programmatic issues, budget arrangements, ticket's content aspects and so on. IDD can serve as the most democratic measure enablig enouncement the party's politicians who failed in executive, legislature or local autonomie.
Incredibly, the CSSD's leaders forced the Czech Republic through into the NATO not only without intraparty referendum but even despite of being conscious that party members' vast majority was aganst such move! That was shocking example of unbelievable arogancy of the pseudo-socialist and bolshevik-like „elite“, who prefered such authoritarian move, instead of persuading the party members' majority by intra-party discussion.
Anyway, how could those „socialist elite“ have persuaded party members by intra-party discussion, had it ever wished to, when had been issuing no party journal?
On the other hand, can't be such lack of the party members' free discussion on intra-party journal's pages seen as the ideal condition enablig quite comfortable governing of party's bureaucrats, careerists, bolsheviks, totalitarians and mafiosos of all types? Under such conditions they are quite knowingly able to suppress the horizontal level of intra-party communications and care only for the vertical one: Why edit a costly journal? You, poor member, anytime may say (write or mail) to me whatever you like, and I personally (in reality my secretaries) will graciously reply to you. What a great democracy, isn't it?
But without free intra-party discussion being under way on horizontal level there can't spring up healing (or progressive) intraparty factions; so the (deliberatly) atomized, splittered critics together with dissappointed or even disgusted members are left with the only one way how to respond – they leave the party... Bye-bye! responds party's elite comfortably, because (in the Czech Republic opulently) feeded on state budget's money.
So in the long run we stay before unfailling knowledge that IDD is able to reliably operate only in conditions of quite open intra-party dicussion over all relevant data and aspects of the topic being submitted to vote; and such wholy free intraparty dicussion has to include as vertical (members-leaders) and horizontal (members-members) level of communications.
The intra-party discussion's need was precisely the reason, why the socialist parties's journals were born and it is nesessary to emphasise, that their vital role and task survives and grows in importance even with the current internet-ere.
Firstly the readers of the demised socialist parties' journals were „overtaken“ by private media whose political power so naturally increased. And now let us recall the words of the philosopher A. Badiou, that the representative democracy is foremost the consensual representation of capitalism... which is the reason of its structural corruptness. And what about the mainstream media's possible structural corruptness, aren't they to?
As for the party leaders' possible tendency to pursuit an intra-party journal's censorship, it may be prevented with simple measure: all party members's letters – complete and without any sensorship – have to be posed on the web site (and not thrown away) alongside with references on paper journal's pages, of cource. So there's also need to sensitively select the relevant intelligencies from the deluge of whole being sent info but that's the journalistic part.
The ostensible cause of the socialist parties' journals demises seems to be monetary – they surely became lossy. But the actual reason may be more serious: declining numbers of parties' members (of the dwindling parties) simply stopped buying them, because the journals – under direct or indirect censorship – failed reflecting the real lifewere and were violated into leaflets and/or PR weapons of parties' leadership.
The possible current way towards parties journals' renaissance might extra reflect the reality, that free intra-party discussion – thus own journal (as the intra-party democracy's condition) – actually need all political parties, not only the socialist ones. So why not to establish the governed by public law journal, that would include the independent attachments of all relevant parties and even alongside with some important public subjects (for exaple Trade Unions, Red Cross) in the state? And because the purpose of such paper is not to compete with mainstream journals, that's why its news page would bring only quite brief info preferably overtaken from the governed by public law press agency.
– which each non-socialist MP can retain and manage –
As for the meant socialist public servants‘ salaries, this issue could be solved on the base of cooperative pronciples; with each party‘s cell operating as the separate coop, with each party cell’s member as a cooperator and with the party itself as the cooperative corporation.
5) Socialist ideology and culture
The conventional socialist and infidel ideology of the socialist mouvement's fathers, of pinkos, were based above all on ideals of humanism, enlightenment and trials for conception of scientific materialism.
Naturally, such attitude also recognises all purposeful ethical and others principals that were originally established on the religious bases (but freeded of ancient myths and superstitions) which could contribute for the socialist civilisation's blossoming. Those humane views and subsequently platform may rely only on scientific and fair-minded appreciation of all known subjects: as from a living creature, human society (with in the future possibly created artificial intellect) including, up to the sense of the universe's existence.
The CSSD was originally a quite atheist party and at the end of the 19. century presented a small atheist isle amid highly major christian population. That is why it had to brave the strong outrage and loathing nurtured by the clergy; but despite of this setback it was achieving great electoral outcomes.
In the ideological sense, the current party membership's composition has been substantially shifting, and this can be documented by establishing and agile activities of the Religious Platform (previously named the Christian Platform). Quite suprisingly, in establishing some form of an atheist faction is the CSSD's elite no interested, even inside the party could be percieved a sense of loathing to such move. It seems as if the party establishment's majority was mainly of christian-jewish believers composed.
But such reality if it exists, could probably harm the socialist mouvement in two following spheres (its adeqate special programmatic connotations not to mention).
Under such conditions socialist atheists can't form their own elite and conceive own peculiar culture, similarly as the christians, jewish, muslims (etc.) in the course of centuries successfully did. Moreover the need of such atheist culture is from ideological point of view quite essential. However, it could be even said, that the last famous and workable socialist culture's artefacts were produced only by the ancient socialists; namely they were Hymn of Labour (Das Lied der Arbeit composed in 1868 by Joseh Scheu, with words by Josef Zapf) and Labor Day (May Day or International Workers Day).
The present ideological chaos inside socialist mouvement expresses itself with the influx of the socialist-like oriented christian-jewish believers into the womb of originally quite atheist party. In politological consequences may this move severely debilitate the socialist movement itself. Had the religious socialists (and somewhat logically) entered the (now and permanently right-wing) christian parties and subsequently their elites and even the christian parties' leaderships, they would have been able to incorporate the socialist economic and social visions into christian parties' electoral programs and so to become mighty political allies of socialist parties.
Consequently could such move raise (and quite essentially) the socialist parties' post-electoral expectations. Compared to nowadays when the lone and short of a political ally socialist parties are often doomed serve only as opposition to regular post-electoral alliances composed from liberal, right-wing and – to the socialist idea of social justice adverse – christian parties.
Interestingly, the enduring atheist opinion of pinkos have got a great if indirect satisfaction by famed Albert Einstein. The famous physicist wrote in his letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind the folowing statement: „For me is the word God nothing else but an indication of human poorness' product... The Bible is a collection of legends, that are otherwise respectable but yet very primitive... From my point of view is the jewish religion – the same way as the all others are – an externalisation of the most preposterous superstitions...“ (this Einstein's quite unknown letter from January 1954 emerged not until May 2008 on the auction sale in London). (9)
Of course, we as human beings can't answer questions concerning the sense of our existence so far; from whence we have come and towards where we go; we even haven't detected to what extent the life in space is common – or if our planet inhabited by human beings doesn't appropriate sparkle within space like a diamond of unspeakable price.
But if – freed from the subjective religionism and oriented to recognizing truth only – we set our eyes onto the most long-ago past and also into the most long after future, then a special aspect of our great mission will be more and more apparently arising: it signifies and urges for the steadfast life's preservation, for the continuing technological and ethical evolution and for our civilisation's blossoming and our positive expansion into micro- respectively macro-universe.
One may ask: why to do all that strenght and what for? Firstly that's simply our mission; the mission arising from previous Life's evolutinon that could be quite universally seen as the Life's struggle against the chaos by decreasing its entropy and for us means only: to survive, blossom, evolve, organize. Secondly it is the mission utterly wonderful. For example the famous sci-fi autor and futurist Arthur C. Clarke tried in 1963 a prognosis over Man's scientific evolution Until the year 2100. No matter that his forecast was from the point of time-table over-optimistical, however, the single desired future skills would for such as an ancient Rome's citizen or for The New Testament autors impact heavenly: according to Sir A. Clarke the Man by the year 2100 could i.a. achieve: fusion power, time and perception enhancement, world brain, artificial Life, matter transmitter, immortality, space and time distortion, astronomical engineering...
So the praxis of the socialist atheists' humanism commonly shall represente all steps manoeuverig towards the healthy ethical, social, political, economical and technological human being's and his culture's advancement and contemporary humane and delicate strenhgt to suppress or eradicate all harmful phenomena.
Likewise the socialist culture's mission should comprehend all-encompassing citizens' and society's cultivation, developement of all their positive and prospective features and vigours; including sophisticated detecting and caring treatment of all hazards that could threaten or even blunder Man's great mission towards future.
At the present time, we Earthmen are found abord the space-ship named The Earth and could forsee only one thing: if our civilisation will menage to overcome all possible risks and will be enduring some one million years (the period from the point of the Universe's history utter insignificant) the future runner who will have overtaken our relay will manage such abilities, that we are not able even to imagine. The humanity have only opened and started to read the great book on mystery written by the nature and are only perceiving the prologue of the mysterious production whose more detailed familiarisatiun will transform the previous monkies' brothers into the very magicians.
And last but not least, within duties of the curremt socialist culture and ideology – founded only on truth and reality, of course – must also behold searching, finding and strenghtening of the optimistical belief in the profound sense of human being's and our civilisation's existence.
(1) Pøijde nová revoluce a po ní nový støedovìk., Lidové noviny (pøíloha Støedoevropské noviny) 19. 11. 1998.
(2) Má Lidový dùm skuteènou vizi? Britské listy 12. 4. 2011.
(3) Dlouhodobý (základní) program ÈSSD, 1.2.1 Socialismus
(4) Obsah programové diskuse na XV. Sjezdu, Jiøí Malínský (web Masarykovy demokratické akademie).
(5) 1956-2008 The MONDRAGON Co-operative Experiencie
(6) The World Declaration on worker cooperatives
(7) Alain Badiou De quoi Sarkozy est-il le nom?
(8) Stát a revoluce, V. I. Lenin
(9) Einstein: ´Náboženství je pošetilá povìra´. Lidové noviny, 14. kvìtna 2008.
Quo vadis (evropští) socialisté?
This essay is the upgraded, extended and supplemented version of the original Czech article
Quo vadis (evropští) socialisté?
published by Britské listy. This version is not checked by an English corrector.
František Stoèes, Prague, the Czech republic
The 7th. of August 2010
The text within the second Chapter (2. Socialist economics) beginning by „
Then Czechoslowak co-ops (self-maneged by formula 1 co-operator = 1 vote)...
and ending by the words „..offered by contemporary operating investment/development companies...“ was added and inserted on the 26. February 2011. (frs)
Zmìna textu 8. 8. 2011:
"In the course of this collision the capitalist economy thrived and even globalised whereas the economy of collapsed soviet bloc was rapidly privatised. So arised quite absurd and enormously perilous historical circumstance: the mighty predacious capitalism missis its effective natural (socialist) antagonist.
However, contemporaneously with that episode and quite overshadowed by the monstrous collision had already..."