PARECON & PARTICIPATORY SOCIETY
COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 14 Jan 2010
In this interview, Michael Albert, one of the originators of Participatory Economics (along with Robin Hahnel), is interviewed by parecon advocate Matt Grinder.
Matt Grinder: Could you briefly summarize Participatory Economics, or parecon?
Michael Albert: Participatory Economics, or parecon for short, is a vision for how to conduct economics in a classless manner. It delivers to workers and consumers self managed say over their economic lives, a condition of solidarity with others, equitable incomes for their labors, diverse opportunities and options, and ecological balance.
Parecon achieves the above by way of a few core institutions though, when implemented in real historic societies these core institutions would be augmented and refined depending on the society’s development, its size, its history, and so on, with wide variations between countries, inside countries between industries, and even between workplaces inside industries. The core institutions, the part of economic vision it makes sense to conceive and advocate now, are:
· productive property that is overseen and directed by those it affects, as indicated below, but that is owned by no one – called participatory property.
· workers and consumers councils in which members, individually and collectively, have a say in decisions proportionate to the effect of the decisions on them, whether as individuals or in groups – called self management.
· remuneration for socially valued labor in proportion to duration, intensity, and onerousness of one’s effort – called equitable remuneration
· a division of labor in which each worker does a mix of tasks conceived so that on average every worker’s overall work situation is comparably empowering as every other’s – called balanced job complexes
· allocation by cooperative negotiation among affected workers and consumers, acting through their councils – called participatory planning.
Grinder: Could you briefly summarize the four social spheres, and a participatory society?
Albert: Parecon is itself a vision only for a society’s economy, but of course we want a good society in all key dimensions of life, not just one. Some centrally important spheres of social life that make sense to highlight and develop vision for are at least:
· the polity – or the institutions centrally responsible for adjudication, legislation, and implementation of shared agendas.
· kinship – or the institutions centrally responsible for birthing, nurturing, and training the new generation, as well as for sexuality, and what might be called daily social relations in living units.
· community/culture – or the institutions centrally responsible for how people define and celebrate their national, racial, ethnic, or other cultural identities, including cultural practices, celebrations, language, etc.
· economy – or the institutions centrally responsible for production, allocation, and consumption of goods and services.
More at its most basic level even a lone society intersects with the ecology and with other societies, or "the international world," and both these domains deserve visionary attention as well if we are to lay claim to having a vision of the key features of a better society, for example, in our case for a participatory society.
Thus, a participatory society would be one that has the same basic institutions at its core, of course with variation from case to case, as any other participatory society – and those would be the core institutions of polity, kinship, community/culture, economy, and connections to ecology and other nations.
Grinder: A few years ago, Stephen Shalom proposed a political system complementary to parecon, called parpolity, which is based on a nested council system. Do you have any difficulties with parpolity, any concerns?
Albert: I think parpolity is a very good beginning for political vision, but even if like Shalom we confine ourselves to the broadest and most basic features of a new way of accomplishing needed political functions – which is what I think we ought to do – I do think there is some distance to go before we can say parpolity is ready for prime time use to inspire, orient, and guide politically focused program.
Parpolity is strongest, I think, and in my view already both viable and worthy, on legislation, but it needs further development, I suspect, bearing on adjudication and some features of how best to implement shared program. I don’t have criticisms, therefore, so much as I think there are aspects of parpolity that need more development.
It is very interesting to look at Shalom’s political summary and to then look at what is going on in Venezuela. Of course the Bolivarian Revolution has not yet constructed a parpolity, but all signs are that in many respects they are moving toward just that, and that many who are now working in Venezuelan politics have something very similar in mind for its future political relations. Indeed, so far I think the Bolivarian movement is clearer and more advanced regarding its explicit aspirations for polity than it is concerning other parts of society – contrary to what many abroad, even many leftists, think.
Grinder: There appears to be some progress with kinship and cultural vision as well, from Cynthia Peters and Justin Podur. In both however, there does not seem to be detailed structures as there are in parecon. Maybe that is needed, maybe it is not. You have often said that no one sphere is more important than others. Do you think vision in these spheres is sufficiently developed? Supposing we have a revolution soon, and parecon is established in some country, do you see the progress made by the parecon nation being dragged back by other spheres if we do not as yet have sufficient vision for these other spheres as well?
Albert: When I look around, I actually think individual leftists and whole movements too – including those now trying to change whole countries such as in Venezuela and Bolivia – seem a bit more developed regarding culture and kinship – at least at the level of stated aims and perhaps even institutional vision – than economy.
But you are not asking that, but rather, are the participatory culture, kinship, and polity visions included in the idea of participatory society sufficiently developed to guide and orient efforts to build various central aspects of a new society without falling into dreaded outcomes?
I don’t know. No one knows. For parecon, what you implicitly suggest is what I try to do – describe just that part of a future economy that we basically can’t do without if we are to attain self management and classlessness, with the rest to be settled, if parecon becomes centrally important, by self managing future actors. Movements would implement parecon broadly, and with contextual refinements, and our claim is that seeking to do so would both orient and strengthen their efforts and protect them from inadvertently falling into economic results contrary to their real aspirations. Well, that’s the same general goal we ought to have for political, kinship, and cultural, ecological and international vision – to inspire and orient activism, and to provide aims that are not going to become corrupted or loss their way. We should try to develop an understanding of core relations for each core part of society that will inspire and motivate movements to seek liberated results and will guard against their losing track of those results and settling for less or even backtracking away from them toward inferior results, etc.
So, finally, to answer you specific question, my best guess is that there is more, but not too much more, that needs to be developed regarding both kinship and culture to finally have a sufficient, but not excessive, vision for those spheres. But the only way to ultimately find out what is enough, of course, regarding parpolity, or parkinship, or parculture, or for that matter parecon, is to use our visions to motivate, inspire, guide, and orient struggle, and to thereby see whether the visions are sufficient to the tasks or need additional development, or are even flawed and need correction or replacement.
But, to add one last point, the spheres are indeed all fundamentally important and differences in the number of institutional attributes a vision for each sphere might need, compared to another sphere, doesn’t in any sense suggest greater or lesser importance. The point is settling on the minimum that one can advocate and be confident one is on a worthy and desirable path. Economy likely has to settle on a bit more as universal institutional core commitments not least because each economic unit has to interface not just generally, but even in many details around valuation and decision making, with all other economic units, sharing very similar if not identical ways of valuing inputs and outputs, etc. In contrast, while there are core values and principles for, say, kinship or community, these spheres involve tremendous diversity as their hallmark, at pretty much every level.
Grinder: I have discussed parecon with many people, sometimes with people who have read one or more books on the subject. One question I have heard a few times from such people, is: "What about goods that increase in value over time? Would you be able to sell your house after improving it to make a profit? What about reselling wine, which gets better with age? Further, what about goods that you don’t want anymore, like stereos, that have close to the same value as when you got them? Can you sell these?" Parecon seems to model consumption as a process where, once the good is consumed, it disappears. However, this is not always true, many goods do not disappear, what happens to them?
Albert: The first thing I have to say is that there is an odd phenomenon associated with social vision. On the one hand, when the advocate of vision offers it, there are always many who say, hold on, saying you are for anything more than broad values is elitist, it transcends current knowledge, and so on. But then just a few minutes later, even the same people start asking how will this happen, how will that happen, with the implicit assumption being that there is one right answer, and that one approach will exist in all parecons, and within a parecon in all units, and even that they can’t actually think about and propose an answer, if it is something that interests them, but must ask what it is – as if there is something called parecon which is written in stone someplace. All this is false. Most tasks and even functions there are many ways to address and accomplish, many possible approaches, and future workers and consumers will choose different options in different countries, areas in a country, industries, workplaces, neighborhoods, households, and so on.
Even the questions, how would parecon remunerate, divide up labor, and allocate – which do have broad answers, don’t have singular encompassing unique comprehensive answers, and shouldn’t/can’t. Equitable remuneration could – and I believe will – be carried through with many variations among and even inside economies, and even comparing from firm to firm in industries. The same holds for dividing all the tasks at work into balanced job complexes, which will occur with different attributes and procedures in different firms, and also for balancing across firms, as well as for implementing the details of cooperatively negotiating inputs and outputs. These are the closest to universally essential features a parecon advocate would point to, yet even these will vary in details. Once you go beyond these core aspects, there is even more variation likely, and which choices will be made among diverse and sometimes nearly endless possibilities will depend on what lessons we learn from future practice, on different preferences, different situations and histories, and so on.
Also, it is very easy for people to forget that a future economy is not like some kind of highly specific engineering project where every aspect has to operate with nearly perfect quantitative exactitude. Instead any economy, including parecon – and indeed any social system of any kind such as a polity, kinship or culture – is, well, social. It is about people, about contingent situations, about compromises between exactitude and getting things done more quickly than that kind of precision – even if possible – would allow, and so a parecon won’t run like a finely tuned very exact clock. Each parecon will run, instead, with much friction and contingent variation, with lessons to learn from and changes to make and with errors, as well, and compromises.
This is reality, no point daydreaming about some other universe. The task we face in conceptualizing a parecon – or any social vision – is therefore being as sure as we can sensibly be that the inevitable friction or errors or mistakes in ignorance, or even violations, that will occur in operating the new system, or just the compromises short of exactitude, won’t tend to accumulate into a bias that drives the whole system away from sought aims and toward some kind dissolution – such as developing class division and class rule.
So, in a parecon, when balanced job complexes are set up, they are never perfect – whatever that might mean – nor is remuneration such that some all knowing god would verify that every actor was getting the exactly right share of income down to the dime or even penny. each and every week. But, that said, the case parecon needs to be able to convincingly make, and I think does convincingly make, is that the deviations from abstract perfection that are inevitable will all be random or honest errors or preferred compromises or illegal violations, and, even more important, they will all average out into a wash that doesn’t significantly distort priorities and attainments – rather than summing into a destructive negative trend, over time, as say the pricing and behavioral and even criminal trends intrinsic to markets do.
Okay, all that said, and in longer works the case is made – to get to your specific question, a parecon could treat goods whose value increases more than others, or doesn’t decline as much as others, in various ways consistent with its logic. It might decide, fine, they are owned by the owners, and they can do as they please with them. Or it might decide that the accrual of value, if they items are transferred, should go to society as a whole, not the owner, once there is the transfer, for example. I don’t think it is very important, but I could be wrong. Houses – things of considerable scale, are somewhat different due to that scale, but again, once you have incomes equitable, no way to generate profits via capital, etc. potential problems are at most modest. No one can afford a giant house in the first place. And we can all get what anyone else could get. Society might decide houses are occupied, not really owned, and can’t be inherited, but children have a right of refusal to rent, and on and on. There is no one right approach.
But the main issue people are raising to you may be, can people "sell" products as individuals. This does have broader aspects – it isn’t so much that I might sell my shirt or guitar, as that I might be a fantastic tennis player and sell people lessons – and make way more than other people can. This is all dealt with in longer discussions, but briefly the answer to that is no. In a parecon, workplace councils provide outputs to consumers, not individuals. One doesn’t buy and sell, in any event, to increase one’s wealth – but only to have things to enjoy rather than things one wouldn’t enjoy. So can you trade, I would say sure – why not, though it would likely be very inconvenient to do it person to person unless we are talking about an industry that takes in used goods and then makes them available – which is certainly a possibility.
But really, the main point is this. People shouldn’t be asking for these second, third, fifth, and tenth order features to be described as if what we say now matters or is likely to be well informed and generally applicable later. The point is to determine that the combination of basic features would yield and maintain classlessness, and to then discover all the various refinements and additions that real implementation requires, in practice.
Grinder: Suppose we had a participatory society, governed by parpolity, economically run by parecon, and had appropriate kinship and community institutions, do you think it is possible that such a country would have a standing army? Do you think it would ever be motivated to attack another country? Would a participatory society provide military aid to a revolutionary effort in another country, where the revolutionaries are trying for a participatory society?
Albert: This is an example of the kind of pursuit of detail I referred to before. What difference would it make what I think? Future people will freely self manage their lives – and the result will be what it is, is my real feeling. Okay, do I think future people, with real self managing control of their lives, with really equitable incomes, with conditions of solidarity all around them, with education consistent with being a social actor in a classless setting, will be imperialist? Of course not. I don’t think so, but we don’t literally for certain know it is impossible so that’s the reason I talk about the need for international vision as well, since I am not willing to rely on only the domestic structures to ensure that no country is internationally criminal, on the one hand, and so we can develop international program that leads toward the key elements of future international relations, even now.
But I think you may be asking, instead, in a world with parsocish countries, but also with capitalist countries, might a parsocish country have an army so that one kind of job people do is being in the army – and might it give aid to others engaged in struggles against injustice? I would think the answer would be yes to both, sure it might, on both counts – but as consistently as possible with self management, balanced job complexes, and so on.
The institutional pressure arising from patriarchal, racist, authoritarian, and corporate competitive – capitalist or coordinatorist – structures is missing in a participatory socialist society so it has no internal drive to be imperial and internationally violent, etc. However, if I am a citizen of such a country, and there is a country or countries with leaderships hell bent on raining destruction on our parade, and that has institutions that will coerce or manipulate popular involvement by its citizens in doing just that – then I have to think about defense. This is indeed a problem. Is the best defense an army that can respond in kind? Is the best defense a populace that would never submit to external control of any kind? Is it both? These are real questions, but they are very much contextual, not general, so I can’t give, nor should we think we can arrive at, some kind of universal answer, I suspect.
Would a Venezuela that was explicitly seeking parecon and parsoc – it isn’t as of now, but if it was – dissolve its army or even begin to move that way. I rather doubt it.
The same question could be asked – and is I think more interesting – about police functions. In a parsoc/parecon what happens when someone is a killer, or thief, or just a violent drinker? There is a "police function," if you will, that needs doing, just like digging coal needs doing, growing wheat, transplanting kidneys, teaching kids, and so on. So, yes, there might be an army – because that function needs doing given surrounding hostile countries – and I am pretty sure there would be police, as in people with balanced job complexes and who receive equitable remuneration and have a workers council, and so on, and are highly trained to deal with legal violations, disruptive situations, etc.
Sometimes a functions is literally, virtually in its entirety, a product of past conditions and disappears in new socially altered times. More often, there is a kernel of functionality that persists, and must be dealt with, even if many aspects of past function are no longer relevant or needed. So, police would not exist to subvert dissent, to crush communities into subservience, to aggrandize themselves, and so on, but to deal with criminal acts, drunken behavior, and much more, yes, they would exist. Armies wouldn’t exist to sustain imperial and colonial agendas, but for self defense, yes, until that is no longer an issue, they would likely exist in some form or other. Or at least, that is my best guess and logic – though unlike say thinking about the division of labor, it is not something I give much energy to thinking through, because, as with so many others, I think it is a matter for future determination based on future facts and evidence and preferences.
Grinder: In "Economic Justice and Democracy" Robin Hahnel proposed that a parecon nation trading with a less developed capitalist country would allow the less developed country to get most of the "efficiency gains" of the transaction. The parecon nation would get gains as well, but not as much as it could get if it tried to get as much benefit for itself as possible. It would be ethically beholden to allow for more positive development of the less advanced country. If dealing with a more advanced capitalist nation, ethically it is fine for the parecon nation to try to get as many efficiency gains as it can. Do you think that a parecon nation would really be motivated to be so nice? Why wouldn’t a parecon nation be more selfish?
Albert: What you quote is Robin indicating what he personally thinks – and I happen to agree – ought to be the approach of a parecon dealing with other countries. You ask if it will be the natural inclination of such a country. I don’t know. Venezuela seems to be moving toward acting pretty much as Robin’s picture advises, despite that it is still in transition, faces hostility all around, etc., and so did Cuba in past years, in many respects – so yes, it is possible, even without structures that reside beyond national borders, to make it so. But why can’t we have such structures, agreements, arrangements, between countries. You are saying, well, okay, sure, but what about before there are a preponderance of participatory or otherwise liberated societies – so that one has to deal with weak and poor, or strong and powerful, capitalist countries without international structures making the relations humane. Why would your parecon operate ethically toward the weak when it could get more by using, say, readily available market prices it pushes upward by its bargaining power? Well, ask that to Venezuela or the Cubans – who have both often engaged in exchanges in which for ethical/political reasons they settle for, and indeed seek and get, less than they could more forcefully extract.
I know this isn’t your personal reasoning or purpose, but what strikes me as odd about questions like this one, when I receive them, and in fact many, many other questions, too, is that so many are typically asked by people who are quite comfortable going about their daily routines in existing economies and societies. They worry about very arcane and minimal ways, which they really are only at most guessing about in any event, in which a parecon or parsoc wouldn’t be absolutely perfect by some inflexible norm in every respect, but they then fail to notice that the economies we now have – and for that matter in other proposed visions too – aren’t just capable of error, or merely able to be violated by the pathological, and so on – but are intrinsically geared to produce grotesque and virtually unlimited violence and horror as their defining features. I find this asymmetry of concern, very hard to address without getting irritated… I have to admit to you, since I think you want to know my whole feeling about these matters, not just what I might say to someone.
Grinder: Could you describe the currency a parecon would use?
Albert: Here again – why is this something that would arise in a person’s mind, I wonder, who is taking the model seriously, unless he or she has already gotten on board, largely, and is wondering if there is a problem about currency that could really make a serious difference. But in that case, why not read the full treatments, and then ask a more pointed question, more specific, if one arises?
In an established parecon there is no currency – money – in the sense we now know it. Think of the output of society as a giant pie. Who gets pieces, how big, and of what quality? Well, the share we each get is a function of our income – if we can work – and of our human right despite being unable to work, if we can’t. In a parecon, if we can work, the share of pie we are entitled to is in proportion to our duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued work. If we can’t work, our medical needs are met, and our income is, other than those medical needs, socially average – or, at any rate, that is one policy a parecon might opt for, among many others, for those who cannot work.
So, let’s say I work, and I have my income, now how do I get pie for it? Well, I "buy" it from pie producers. Which pieces do I want? I decide, based on what I like and my income determined budget, so I can’t just take more more more, because my income limits what I am entitled to. How? By the price attached to the pieces of pie indicating what part of my income goes to having different pieces.
So, in one sense, you can think of my income as currency I receive and as my outlay for each piece I opt for as my transferring that currency to the firm, and so on. But, in fact, first, even as is now true, this can be done all on paper, all without coins and bills. But second, unlike now, I can’t accumulate coins and bills and then grow them by investing them. I can save, to get something more expensive, better pie or more pie, than I can now afford. I can even borrow for that purpose, and so on. All this is discussed with possible examples, etc., in books on parecon, better than I can do in a brief interview, however.
Grinder: Okay, if a participatory society is an established system with no currency (one that cannot be transferred between individuals) how would it interact with other capitalist countries that do have currency, developing trade relations with them and so forth. Would the participatory society have to issue a separate currency for international trading? Would it then be entering into market relations with other countries, something it is trying to abolish? This also seems to introduce factors beyond the participatory planning procedure. If a capitalist entity suddenly wants to buy goods, and this was not anticipated in the planning procedure, this might cause difficulties. Can such sudden market forces be handled by a parecon?
Albert: As to engaging with other countries, in every economy what is really occurring is a balancing of claims on output. What you are pointing out is that a country selling to a parecon will want to receive "payment" – meaning the option to get some other output – which can be redeemed elsewhere than solely in the parecon. Well, there are various possibilities, but honestly, it isn’t that different from now. Countries now have their own currencies, but also use very prominent international ones, dollars, euros, etc. There are exchange rates. It really isn’t much different…but you are right that when a parecon trades with a capitalist country it may have to engage in a market exchange. Not much different than the fact that to get a hamburger I have to engage in a market transaction, even though I abhor markets.
So, suppose Venezuela adopts participatory planning, etc., internally. It has oil to provide the world. One buyer is the U.S. There is an international market in oil, in the world – rather than international participatory planning – so there is a market price for oil. And the U.S. is willing to pay it. Venezuela gets the dollars, but who, in fact, gets them? If a firm got them that would violate parecon in Venezuela, and what could they do with the income, in any case. Rather, a pareconish Venezuela would sell to external countries to get funds to in turn by from external countries. And there would be institutional arrangements inside Venezuela to deal with this sensibly. Are these part of the defining features of a parecon in Venezuela, in any current visionary picture? No. I don’t think so. They are choices, rather complex ones, that will emerge in time, and that could take many forms consistent with Venezuela being pareconish, and different in other countries, other times, etc. They would depend no doubt on the extent of trade Venezuela wanted to engage in, and so on. Is it complex? Of course it is. Way too complex, way too diverse, way too contextual, to believe we could know all its aspects sufficiently to describe detailed maps for how to deal with such matters now. But luckily it is also not necessary to have such maps now, for us in the U.S. say – though in Venezuela, they have usefully begun to think closely about it so as to make near term choices consistent with long term aims. So they are forming structures in Latin America to facilitate more just exchanges, even now, much less when they become – if it occurs – pareconish.
Grinder: Again considering a hypothetical participatory society, suppose once it is formed, many people wished to immigrate there. Would a participatory society ever restrict immigration under any circumstances?
Albert: Can you see, I hope, that even if people ask you this – the question is not really sensible. It assumes there is a single answer, on the one hand, and that we can and should have an opinion about it, or decide about it, now. But that really isn’t the case. First, there is no single correct answer and, in any event, second, even if there were, there is no reason to think we could conceive or guess it now, and that, in any case, if we did, it would matter. Future citizens will decide future policies in the future. Our task, now, and in the years ahead leading to that future, is to conceive the minimum structures in the economy and other realms, which have to be put in place for future citizens to be able to make their own choices that in a self managing, informed, effective way.
Okay, that said, why couldn’t a future parecon could face a situation of having to restrict immigration? What if it had only so much water – to be crass about it – but people just wanted to rush in despite that it would lead to calamitous ruin if they did? That could be very sensible reason for saying, hold on…and you can no doubt think of others.
On the other hand, I think the relevant point is that a parsocish society would not be making other countries into hell holes of despair and violence, and then closing its borders to immigration. It would, instead, be trying to maintain its own domestic values and conditions, but also to seriously improve conditions elsewhere, and aid efforts at attaining real justice elsewhere. To what degree? With what levels of support? With what tools and projects? These are matters for the future.
Grinder: In recent years, a few activist groups have formed with Participatory Society as their focus. As someone who has been involved with activist groups wishing to focus on parecon, I feel that the biggest obstacle right now is the fact that the vast majority of the planet has never heard of the idea. Do you agree? Further, after being part of a group for several years trying to advocate for parecon and participatory society, I found that all there was to do (really) was to give a talk on parecon and participatory society. Beyond informing people that parecon exists, there simply didn’t seem to be much else feasible to do, besides start a parecon workplace (which is very difficult), encourage other activist organizations to adopt participatory ideas, or start a participatory political party (also difficult). Do you have any ideas on how to move forward for such groups? What should we do?
Albert: For me the obstacles that matter are always the ones we can address and overcome, then moving on to others. We can’t any time really soon, cause the majority of the world’s populace to know about or advocate parecon or parsoc, but we can move in that direction. And so of course any serious effort at social change must involve at is very core efforts to increase support, commitment, advocacy, etc., which includes making its ideas known, clarifying their merits, rebutting confused criticisms, etc. I have to tell you, that just that agenda seems to me to present more options for activity than any person could possibly transcend. But I admit that I also think there are many other practical things that can be done, the difficult ones you mention but also more manageable ones involving participating with others in movements.
The problem seems to me to be that many folks who become attracted to parecon/parsoc think in terms of "what can I do that directly wins my goal now," and indeed, to that question, the answer is: nothing. But if the question is put differently, "what can I do that contributes to a long process, and perhaps not so long as some thing, that ushers in parecon/parsoc?", while one can’t be precisely sure of the relative impact of different choices, I think one can easily see many many things one can do.
For example, on the one hand, one can use one’s energies to try to further develop core ideas – not endlessly debating peripheral second order matters that ought not even be part of a current vision – but working on core matters and their best formulation, including talking to friends and neighbors, working in social movements and talking to people there, writing, working with others to extend the ideas, prodding the presentation and examination of the ideas by public left media and other institutions, and so on.
I mean honestly, I am befuddled when people say things like this. When parecon is supported by millions, it will in fact be harder to think of things for an individual to do that wouldn’t otherwise happen and would matter. Now, it is easy. There being, as you say, relatively few advocates, means letters to editors would be good, reviews, essays, talks, creating reading groups, and so on. Honestly, if just 100 of parecon’s advocates, perhaps even only ten, really started writing letters and pushing people they know to give it visibility, it would have a giant effect, much more than any 100 people could accomplish years from now when there is lots of support and motion.
Even a person who has no one else to work along with, who has no one near him or her who thinks similarly, can nonetheless talk to folks, argue with folks, write and speak, point out to folks articles, videos, books, they should attend to, and more broadly review content, write letters urging attention by media to the content, use open forums, and so on. Of course it first entails becoming good at presenting and discussing the ideas, and dealing with questions – but for someone who wants to contribute, well, that is part of it.
But then, yes, beyond communications and advocacy, why can’t people who favor parecon/parsoc, much less who have a group that favors these, work in movements and projects seeking for people benefits in the present but doing so in a manner trying to popularize and incorporate insights from parecon/parsoc?
Why isn’t any just and caring struggle for worthy changes a site where someone advocating parecon/parsoc can contribute to efforts to win change and simultaneously learn and teach ideas and perhaps commitments. Housing struggles, income struggles, environmental struggles, budget struggles, work length struggles, and on and on….
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