Sunday, January 28, 2007


The following post was submitted to the Green Alliance discussion list. From : "" <> To : Subject : Re: [greenallianceus] Being Anticapitalist Date : Tue, Aug 02, 2005 03:16 PM Robert Tice throws in our face that there has never been a socialist society in existence. Whet he forgest is that occasionally there IS something new under the sun. Once, during the entire 100,000 years or so that modern humans had existed on earth, NO ONE had EVER achieved heavier than air flight. In 1903, the Wright bothers achieved it for the first time. New things appear in the way human societies are organized too. For over 90% of human history, everyone lived in small, nomadic, hunting and gathering groups. Human societies had no classes. 10,000 years ago, humans started practicing agriculture, although NO ONE HAD EVER done that before. Around about the same time, or shortly afterwards, humans domesticated animals for the first time. Population grew larger and denser and the first class societies developed in spite of the fact that, if Robert Tice had been there, he could have pointed out that there had NEVER been a class society. Although there were democratic societies instead of societies ruled by kings in some of the ancient city states, and some of the rudimentary parliaments that developed in late feudal Europe, there later developed the innovation of localities electing representatives to a national parliament, so that representative government could exist over areas larger than a city state, even though with the exceptions of the Swiss cantons and, perhaps, Holland, these parliaments were still subsidiary to the authority of monarchs. But the inhabitants of what later became the United States launched the almost unprecedented experiment of a society governed by a representative body instead of a monarch. This "democracy" did not have much reality for those without much wealth, since those with great wealth were the ones who really ran things. But even this formal, capitalist democracy was an hitherto unprecedented social innovation. What those of us who are socialists are proposing is yet another social invention, a society in which democracy is extended into the economic foundations of society and made real instead of being a mere legal formality to cover up the fact that it is the people with great wealth who run things. There would no longer be people with massively disproportionate wealth and the workers in any workplace would elect their managers. In fact, the managers will no longer be managers but elected representatives. Since there will no longer be a hidden ruling class ruling behind the scenes, there is a reasonable expectation that this democracy will be deeply rooted enough to not be subject to the pressures that periodically threatened even capitalist democracy during the abolition of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the suppression of dissent during World War I and the McCarthy period after World War II, and the present pressures leading to dictatorial government after 9/11. I can just hear the sneering contempt of Robert Tice and others upon hearing our proposal for a hitherto untried social system that has never existed anytime or anywhere. But evolution has not stopped with the end of the 20th century so we do know that there WILL be new societal as well as technological innovations. And the present capitalist system is headed towards multiple disasters, among which nuclear war and ecological collapse are only a few, so we will HAVE to try something else. Robert Halfhill Minneapolis