This is what social justice looks like
Vladimir Lenin passed the “Decree on Land” in 1917 thus beginning their version of social justice with the abolition of private property and the redistribution of wealth. Is that so very different from what the OWS folks are demanding?
Imagine someone showing up at your home and saying: “We’re from the government. We’ve determined that this dwelling has more living space than you and your family need. There are so many people who do not have enough. So we’re going to move another family in with you.”
This actually happened to many people following the 1917 revolution in Russia. Among the legacies of the czars was glaring economic inequality. The new leadership saw that as a serious problem. To solve it required policies designed to achieve “economic justice.” So, overnight, private homes became tenements. And for more than 70 years, the Soviet Union spread poverty.
In the Soviet Union you got a room, or two, depending on the size of your family. For the Fairness™.
Certainly the owwies don’t want that? Don’t be too sure.
[How] can we make a gentle, non-violent transition to a steady-state or degrowth world? Too many revolutions before us have succeeded only to institute a different but more horrible version of the very thing they overthrew. We look to a different kind of revolution. At risk of revealing the stars in my eyes, let me call it a revolution of love.
The revolutions before of which the authors speaks? The French Revolution. The Russian. Cuban. But don’t worry, this revolution is going to be based on “love”.
What else but love would motivate any person to abandon the quest to maximize rational self-interest? Love, the felt experience of connection to other beings, contradicts the laws of economics as we know them. Ultimately, we want to create a money system, and an economy, that is the ally not the enemy of love. We don’t want to forever fight the money power to create good in the world; we want to change the money power so that we don’t need to fight it. I will not in this essay describe my vision – one of many – of a money system aligned with the good in all of us. I will only say that such a shift can only happen atop an even deeper shift, a transformation of human consciousness. Happily, just such a transformation is underway today. We see it in anyone who had dedicated their lives to serving, healing, and protecting other beings: people, cultures, whales, children, ecosystems, the waters, the forests, the planet.
Unfortunately, though no demand is big enough, yet equally any demand we would care to make is also too big. Everything we want is on the very margin of mainstream political discourse, or outside it altogether. For example, it might be within the range of respectable policy options to tighten standards on industrial-scale confinement meat operations; but how about ending the practice completely?
Cool. In this new revolution, we’re all going to be vegans. For the love of cows, or something. The Owwies are not only critical of the 1%, but the manner in which folks spend their money – the McMansions, the cars, the stuff. When a movement starts talking like this, they have more in mind than simply higher taxes for “the rich.”
In pure Marxist dogma, Noam Chomsky advocates that the workers take control of the companies.
There’s a scattering of hundreds, maybe thousands, of not-so-small worker owned or partially worker-owned industries which could become worker-managed. That’s the basis for a real revolution. That’s how it takes place. It’s happening here, too.
And then there’s the attempt on a general strike in Oakland.
A success today will provide a unique opportunity to drive home the movement’s message. In the age-old struggle between labor and capital, the latter has clearly won – we now have the highest share of the nation’s income going to corporate profits and the lowest share to working people’s wages since the Great Depression. The right claims, with endless repetition, that the richest Americans are “wealth creators.” By abstaining from work – and from shopping – the working people of Oakland have an opportunity to prove that capital without labor produces nothing at all.
The Marxist language – labor versus capital – simplifies and romanticizes the issues facing us today. The labor of the worker, enriching the greedy capitalist, who really did nothing but profit from the sweat of others. The current movement completely ignores (among other things) the connection between Washington and wealth. They blame Wall Street, not the politicians who they fund, or the revolving door between K Street and the White House, or the crony capitalism that rewards those with friends in high places. None of this matters to the kids on the streets.
The idiocy is that the owwies would give government even more money and more power.
Oh, wait. Except I forgot that this revolution is going to be different, because we’re transforming human consciousness. Or something.