[Pga_europe_process] Presentaton text for alternatives to capitalism

Andrej Grubacic zapata at sezampro.yu
Tue Jun 15 14:56:59 CEST 2004

Nevertheless : the 15th of june was the deadline to send presentation
texts for the various main political issues of the conference. 

Gender issues: breakingthesilence[AT]gendertrouble.org 
Migrations: migrativeart[AT]skynet.be 
Working conditions, class, workers and non-workers struggles, labor society (that's not the final name for this issues but just words to define what we want to talk about): migrativeart[AT]skynet.be + Stella and Dimitris from eurodusnie but I don't have their email adresses 
Critics of industrial society, sustainable technologies: nicolu[AT]chutelibre.org (but he's going to find another contact inside the sans-titre network.) 
Critics of European integration, Balkan situation, nationalism: migrativeart[AT]skynet.be 
Alternatives to capitalism: zapata[AT]sezampro.yu 
Militarisation of politics, wars, imperialism and social control: bozavine[AT]yahoo.co / javier[AT]spc.org 
Global movement : Are we a mouvement ? what next ? Going out of the ghetto ? : skrati[AT]yahoo.com / javier[AT]spc.org 

                       Alternatives to capitalism  

"[Capitalism] is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous-and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed."  
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
The question of alternatives is more than an academic question before which we stand 
"extremely perplexed": it is the question about the kind of world we want to live in.

But what is capitalism? In our view, capitalism is a system which employs private ownership and markets. It remunerates property, power, and output, and, as a result, has produced some of the widest disparities of income and wealth in human history. The division of labor within capitalism is hierarchical. At its most oppressive, there is the cut-throat capitalism of "robber barons" with gigantic, unrestrained corporate power dominating all social choices and options. This is neoliberal vision of "total capitalism" we live in today. 
But every form of capitalism has intrinsic tendencies of private ownership of means of production, hierarchical corporate divisions of labor, and competitive markets, violating solidarity, diversity, equity, and self-management.

Is there any alternative to capitalism? We believe that there are many. 

Anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, guild socialism, fair trade, radical redefinition of work, participatory economics, grassroots ecomonics, solidarity economy, living economy, cooperatives, LETSystems.... 

The first cycle of the new global uprising-  ridiculously labeled as "the anti-globalization movement"-began with the autonomous municipalities of Chiapas and came to a head with the asambleas barreales of Buenos Aires, and cities throughout Argentina. Beginning with the Zapatistas' rejection of the idea of seizing power and their attempt instead to create a model of democratic self-organization to inspire the rest of Mexico; their initiation of an international network (People's Global Action, or PGA) which then put out the calls for days of action against the WTO and IMF ; and finally, the collapse of the Argentine economy, and the overwhelming popular uprising which, again, rejected the very idea that one could find a solution by replacing one set of politicians with another. The slogan of the Argentine movement was, from the start, "que se vayan todas". Instead of a new government they created a vast network of alternative institutions, starting with popular assemblies to govern each urban neighborhood (the only limitation on participation is that one cannot be employed by a political party), hundreds of occupied, worker-managed factories, a complex system of "barter" and newfangled alternative currency system to keep them in operation-in short, an endless variation on the theme of alternatives to capitalism and variation on the theme of direct democracy. This is why all the condescending remarks about the movement with no coherent ideology completely missed the mark. The diversity was a function of the decentralized form of organization, and this organization was the movement's "ideology" and the movements "alternative". 
Indeed, many leftist from traditional block have difficulty understanding the global movement, and network-form of this movement, taken to be a symptom of strength by anticapitalist activists. Same goes for the concept and practice of self organization, horizontality, direct democracy, of the exercise of dual power. All this leads to many  alternative visions  that go beyond capitalism. The historical importance of the new anticapitalist part of the global movement  is that the question of alternatives not be separated from the organisational forms of the movement.  The crucial question then becomes: up to what point is it possible today to conceive alternatives that reflect our organisational practices, our horizontality and networks? In other words, organisational forms of the movement are of primary importance: as alternatives that constitutes new forms of cooperation beyond the capitalist market.
Miroslav Ilic, Grand collective, ex/post Yugoslavia
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