International Organization for a Participatory Society

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noscman1
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Apr 9 2012 12:37
International Organization for a Participatory Society

Hello,

In late march a group called International Organization for a Participatory Society or IOPS for short was founded. It embraces values of self-management, egalitarianism, solidarity, diversity, ecological husbandry and internationalism. As an organisation it intends to create international solidarity between individuals and group that are attempting to create an anti-capitalist and voluntary society as well as create dialogue and action on the ground.

Noam Chomsky described the organisation as follows : "IOPS strikes the right chords, and if the opportunities it opens are pursued with sufficient energy and participation, could carry us a long way towards unifying the many initiatives here and around the world and molding them into a powerful and effective force."

So far it has 873 members and counting.

For more details click the links below...

http://www.iopsociety.org/

http://www.iopsociety.org/about

https://www.facebook.com/iopsociety

Regards, Oscar

EDIT
This thread has descended into a discussion of class anyalsis due to my response to this comment

"If this is a commonly held opinion among people who prescribe to Parecon, then my beliefs are much less in line with it then I thought. Honestly, sort of appalled to hear this from somebody who (I'm assuming) considers themself an anti-capitalist. Do you really think that the ruling class could possibly ever have the same interests as the working class? Do you think that capitalism is just a situation of poor management and that if we all just got together and talked it out we could abolish it? Who do you think enforces capitalism if it's not actually in anybody's best interest? I'm not saying that individual bourgeois will never come over to our side, but do you seriously believe that a revolution against capitalism wouldn't be opposed by the very people who run it for their own interests?"

with "Marxian notions of ruling and working class no longer apply to western europe and are very outdated, hence why neo marxists now accept the middle class as existing as well as the underclass. I think that a movement can include working class, underclass, middle class and even members of the upper class, e.g Kropotkin who was born a Prince but nonetheless revolted against his upbringing."

By this I was stating that an anti-capitalist movement doesn't have to come about once the working class unite against the ruling class and that I don't think there exist only these two classes. I do accept many other aspects of marxist theory such as the internal contradiction of capital or that wage labour alienates workers and so forth.

Members of IOPS come from many different political backgrounds be they socialist, marxist, anarchist and so forth. As stated on the IOPS website "It centrally addresses economics/class, politics, culture/race, kinship/gender, ecology, and international relations without privileging any one focus above the rest." I was therefore arguing that economic/class relations are not the most important but part of many issues which we face, and to focus solely on class is to ignore other aspects of social inequality and struggle. I apologise if people took this to mean that I felt that Marx was completely obsolete or that class is not important, I do think class is important but providing that it is one of many equally important issues.

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Uncreative
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Apr 6 2012 12:49

This is the Parecon lot, right?

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Apr 6 2012 19:10

Yeah. Michael Albert and friends.

redsdisease
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Apr 6 2012 19:11

Beyond the theoretical weakness of Parecon, my and a lot of other people's experiences with the group around Michael Albert (who I'm assuming make up most of the leadership of this organization) have been really awful. As far as I can tell, their practice seemed to be taking Leninist organizing strategies (entryism, secret caucusing etc.) to push for liberal policies (voting for Obama!?).

Also, I'm starting to believe more and more that Chomsky doesn't actually have any politics at all. An anarchist who's a member of two social democratic parties and thinks that Parecon is wonderful.

noscman1
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Apr 6 2012 20:02
Quote:
As far as I can tell, their practice seemed to be taking Leninist organizing strategies (entryism, secret caucusing etc.)

Firstly, all political movements in some manner end up entryism. For example the birth of the anarchist movement involved anarchists persuading socialists/marxists to go all the way and reject statism.

I personally am an anarchist, but compromise and partake in what would be considered socialist/less radical left wing groups as I think that parecon is preferable to modern capitalism/neo liberalism.

Quote:
voting for Obama

And to not vote for obama could have allowed mccain to be in power, which would have been even worse.

My experience with members of parecon has been refreshing, having interacted with alot of socailists/classical marxists who normally attack my anarchist principles, it made a change to see differences being put aside and a sense of unity in the idea that capitalism needs to be replaced, but perhaps I've just been lucky.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Apr 6 2012 21:31

This lot seem like nice people. but they're loons and have no idea of hwo to spread working class self organisation.

fletcheroo
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Apr 7 2012 00:23

Vanilla - While I do see where you're coming from, it can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful in the past hundred and fifty years..? For all Parecon's imperfections, this project provides a plausible centre for unity around libertarian socialist principles - I don't think it's particularly useful or in anyone's interest to reflexively dismiss a not dissimilar project by reason of organisational differences. Sectarianism and dogma plagues the left, to its self-administered death.

Besides that, IOPS is but nascent, it's an interim organisation lacking self-definition until its founding convention; to deride it for its substance prior to it defining itself seems a little premature.

Redsdisease - As distressing as that sounds, and I'll take your word for it, I think its mistaken to equate IOPS to Albert's previous activism - whatever that my be. It's also important to clarify there is no 'leadership', while Albert was instrumental in founding the organisation and in doing so projected elements of parecon, it's largely internally self-managing, and won't take real self-definition until its founding convention.

noscman1
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Apr 7 2012 07:22

Exactly, all regional groups self manage themselves, and communicate with the wider IOPS online through the website. It reminds my alot of each syndicate self managering but co-oderinating with each other at general assemblies.

Spikymike
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Apr 7 2012 11:13

Some of the discussion around the weaknesses of Parecom can be found in the linked 'parecon or libertarian communism' below and is not worth repeating here, but just to say that to the extent that some self-proclaimed anarchists and other libertarian socialists see parecon as possibly in the same camp as themselves, this is a result of a shared inadequate analysis of capitalism in it's modern form and an overemphasis on democratic forms of organisation as opposed to communist content.

None of that should of course deter people from continuing discussion with the varied people likely to be initially attracted to parecon views in their genuine search for alternatives to the present system.

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Apr 7 2012 11:58
fletcheroo wrote:
Vanilla - While I do see where you're coming from, it can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful in the past hundred and fifty years..?

Whats your criteria for success? The overthrow of all governments everywhere and the total reworking of all human relationships? Yeah, we haven't achieved that in 150 years. And even more damning, we didnt manage it on our first attempt.

noscman1
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Apr 7 2012 12:27

I agree that parecon mainly focuses on democratic decision making over an anarcho-communist ideal of equality but despite this I still think that it is a movement worth attention and involvement because it is a step in the right direction away from modern capitalism.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 7 2012 13:00
noscman1 wrote:
I agree that parecon mainly focuses on democratic decision making over an anarcho-communist ideal of equality but despite this I still think that it is a movement worth attention and involvement because it is a step in the right direction away from modern capitalism.

you can say it would be better than capitalism, if it worked, but it is decidedly inferior to communism and the paraconists don't seem to have any plan to get from capitalism to paracon, while the anarchist communists do and are currently putting there methods into practice. we haven't won yet but it was never going to be an easy fight, and if we keep going we can improver our lives now, instead of just theorising about some future perfect society.

fletcheroo
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Apr 7 2012 13:05
Uncreative wrote:
fletcheroo wrote:
Vanilla - While I do see where you're coming from, it can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful in the past hundred and fifty years..?

Whats your criteria for success? The overthrow of all governments everywhere and the total reworking of all human relationships? Yeah, we haven't achieved that in 150 years. And even more damning, we didnt manage it on our first attempt.

"It can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful."

Particularly not in the modern era.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 7 2012 13:45

what does cultivate support mean?

Black Badger
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Apr 7 2012 15:54

It means giving money to their group.

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Apr 7 2012 16:41
noscman1 wrote:
I agree that parecon mainly focuses on democratic decision making over an anarcho-communist ideal of equality but despite this I still think that it is a movement worth attention and involvement because it is a step in the right direction away from modern capitalism.

But parecon isn't a movement. It's a small political project. And so is anarchist communism in most places*. So the trick is not to get on board with the latest 'progressive' minority political project, it's to get involved in real movements at the small scale level in your work or community, or the large scale level, for example against war or austerity, and do so in a way that hopefully pushes real movements in an anarchist communist direction. One of the things I like about communism is, at its best, it constantly searches out the real movements and fault lines within capital and seeks to act on those, not just push its ideal of society.

None the less, I don't share the hostility of some posters to the parecon crowd. They seem pretty well intentioned as far as I can tell. Even if I think they have very wierd understand of political-economy, etc.

* Having said that, even in the US, it is orders of magnitude larger than parecon, and globally it doesn't even bare comparison.

noscman1
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Apr 7 2012 16:53

I agree with that, hence why I attempt to engate with both my local community and political projects. Its not like you either do one or the other.

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Apr 7 2012 17:48
fletcheroo wrote:
Uncreative wrote:
fletcheroo wrote:
Vanilla - While I do see where you're coming from, it can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful in the past hundred and fifty years..?

Whats your criteria for success? The overthrow of all governments everywhere and the total reworking of all human relationships? Yeah, we haven't achieved that in 150 years. And even more damning, we didnt manage it on our first attempt.

"It can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful."

Particularly not in the modern era.

Not to compare tiny sects, but:

fletcheroo wrote:
So far it has 873 members and counting.

This is an international organisation for parecon, so it would be fair to comapre it to the IWA, the IFA and the IWW, as well as the Red and Black Coordination/FESAL, right?

vanilla.ice.baby
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Apr 8 2012 06:38
RedEd wrote:
noscman1 wrote:
I agree that parecon mainly focuses on democratic decision making over an anarcho-communist ideal of equality but despite this I still think that it is a movement worth attention and involvement because it is a step in the right direction away from modern capitalism.

But parecon isn't a movement. It's a small political project. And so is anarchist communism in most places*. So the trick is not to get on board with the latest 'progressive' minority political project, it's to get involved in real movements at the small scale level in your work or community, or the large scale level, for example against war or austerity, and do so in a way that hopefully pushes real movements in an anarchist communist direction. One of the things I like about communism is, at its best, it constantly searches out the real movements and fault lines within capital and seeks to act on those, not just push its ideal of society.

None the less, I don't share the hostility of some posters to the parecon crowd. They seem pretty well intentioned as far as I can tell. Even if I think they have very wierd understand of political-economy, etc.

* Having said that, even in the US, it is orders of magnitude larger than parecon, and globally it doesn't even bare comparison.

I agree with this, and I apologise to the Pareconistas if my above comment seemed unduly hostile, I think they mean well and genuinely wish them all the best - my main issues are with their analysis of capitalism, and their analysis of anarcho-communism, and especially the fact they keep banging on about other libertarian socialist currents not having ideas about how to organise society.

fletcheroo
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Apr 8 2012 13:07
Uncreative wrote:
fletcheroo wrote:
Uncreative wrote:
fletcheroo wrote:
Vanilla - While I do see where you're coming from, it can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful in the past hundred and fifty years..?

Whats your criteria for success? The overthrow of all governments everywhere and the total reworking of all human relationships? Yeah, we haven't achieved that in 150 years. And even more damning, we didnt manage it on our first attempt.

"It can hardly be said that conventional methods exercised by anarchist groups to cultivate support have been particularly successful."

Particularly not in the modern era.

Not to compare tiny sects, but:

fletcheroo wrote:
So far it has 873 members and counting.

This is an international organisation for parecon, so it would be fair to comapre it to the IWA, the IFA and the IWW, as well as the Red and Black Coordination/FESAL, right?

Firstly, you're attributing something I never said to me - that second quote isn't mine. Secondly you have to consider that IOPS is around a week old.

Nor was my point to rubbish the efforts of organisations of traditional anarcho-communist persuasion - but simply to overcome seemingly reflexive prejudice to other organisational forms with not dissimiliar aims.

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Apr 8 2012 10:00

So I think this is all been covered at length (and far better than I can) here*, but besides the fact that I think Parecon is too prescriptive, I don't think it provides a path to a libertarian society.

Anarcho-communism is about appealing to the material interests of the working class and building up class power until we are strong enough to take over the means of productions. Parecon, on the other hand, seems to want to build up a more democratic, 'participatory' form of economics within the social relations of capitalism.

Not only is this not a pathway communism, the chances of recuperation are absolutely massive--as evidenced by, say, the Co-operative movement in the UK, which was not only far, far larger than parecon, but far more class-based.

That's why folks have said that parecon is a political project and not a working class movement rooted in the material interests of our class.

Out of curiosity, how does one become a member of the IOPS? Are there subs? Meetings? Is it a federation?

*I would actually suggest that IOPS pick up this debate as my understanding is that the Pareconistas just dropped the project without any explanation to libcom.

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Apr 8 2012 10:16
Chilli Sauce wrote:
*I would actually suggest that IOPS pick up this debate as my understanding is that the Pareconistas just dropped the project without any explanation to libcom.

tbf, it was the middle-man co-ordinating the debate who went AWOL, and the PPS guy actually had the last word. but it didn't reach libcom til 8 months later and we'd moved on to other things by then so ended up leaving it.

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Apr 8 2012 10:19

Coming late to this but what is 'ecological husbandry'?

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Apr 8 2012 11:01

Ah, I stand corrected.

noscman1
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Apr 8 2012 16:32

Its basically non factory or industrial farming, So animals feed off natural food and have space etc and people eat more local food instead of food that has to be shipped from the other side of the world

noscman1
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Apr 8 2012 16:44
Quote:
but far more class-based

I agree that class based movements are needed, providing that these class movements are part of a wider non class movement. Change doesn't always have to come from unions or working class federations.

Quote:
That's why folks have said that parecon is a political project and not a working class movement rooted in the material interests of our class.

I agree with that, but it doesn't want to be a solely working class movement, but a more inclusive one as capitalism effects us all regardless of class.

Quote:
Out of curiosity, how does one become a member of the IOPS? Are there subs? Meetings? Is it a federation?

You sign up online and put in your country, region and city e.g england, london, hackney. So you'd be part of the global organisation, the english one, the london one and the hackney one. These groups are refered to as chapters. Then each chapter starts organising and working out how they want the organisation to function. Its curently at its intern stage, so at some point in the future there will be a global event by which the details of the organisations structure are worked out.

Hope that clears things up a wee bit

redsdisease
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Apr 9 2012 04:58

I don't want people to think that I hate all pareconistas, I'm aware that there are definitely some that deserve a lot of respect and that do some good work. That said...

noscman1 wrote:
I agree with that, but it doesn't want to be a solely working class movement, but a more inclusive one as capitalism effects us all regardless of class.

If this is a commonly held opinion among people who prescribe to Parecon, then my beliefs are much less in line with it then I thought. Honestly, sort of appalled to hear this from somebody who (I'm assuming) considers themself an anti-capitalist. Do you really think that the ruling class could possibly ever have the same interests as the working class? Do you think that capitalism is just a situation of poor management and that if we all just got together and talked it out we could abolish it? Who do you think enforces capitalism if it's not actually in anybody's best interest? I'm not saying that individual bourgeois will never come over to our side, but do you seriously believe that a revolution against capitalism wouldn't be opposed by the very people who run it for their own interests?

These are honest questions. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I have a lot of issues with Pareconist theory, but am absolutely willing to view folks as comrades if our organizing practices are in line. Unfortunately, that doesn't normally seem to be the case.

noscman1
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Apr 9 2012 08:47

Marxian notions of ruling and working class no longer apply to western europe and are very outdated, hence why neo marxists now accept the middle class as existing as well as the underclass. I think that a movement can include working class, underclass, middle class and even members of the upper class, e.g Kropotkin who was born a Prince but nonetheless revolted against his upbringing.

And I think that the state enforces capitalism through private property rights, and policy is dictated by the super rich rather than by the people.

LBird
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Apr 9 2012 10:14
noscman1 wrote:
Marxian notions of ruling and working class no longer apply to western europe and are very outdated...

I don't think that the problem here, noscman1, is 'Marxian notions', but your notions of what 'Marxian notions' are.

And you could find plenty of discussions on here which accept a basic 'three-class' division of capitalist society.

[edit]

here's a link which discusses a three-class model, and further also discusses what 'class' means, from both a 'Marxist' and a 'bourgeois sociological' perspective.

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/what-percentage-population-us-proletarian-07092011

I presume that you hold the the latter view of 'class', which is not the 'Marxian notion'.

[end edit]

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Apr 9 2012 10:27

This came up in the libcom/PPS debate. You can divide society up into as many classes as you like (proletariat/bourgeoisie; proletariat/middle class/bourgeoisie; underclass/working class/middle class/upper class...). The point is what you're dividing up is a society which is polarised between two poles; capital and dispossession.

If you want to write an accessible manifesto then 'proletarians and bourgeois' might well capture the crux of it. If you want to analyse how Thatcher's extension of home ownership in the 1980s aimed at building social stability and reducing class antagonism, a conception of a middle class is useful. If you want to understand the relationship between the public sector strikes and the August riots, or the 'EMA kids' and the student movement, then again some kind of sociological categories could help explain the differing forms of resistance.

I suspect the 'Marx is obsolete' trope either comes from not reading him and taking Michael Albert's word for it, or alternatively thinking of this guy whenever people mention working class grin

fletcheroo
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Apr 9 2012 11:00
redsdisease wrote:
I don't want people to think that I hate all pareconistas, I'm aware that there are definitely some that deserve a lot of respect and that do some good work. That said...
noscman1 wrote:
I agree with that, but it doesn't want to be a solely working class movement, but a more inclusive one as capitalism effects us all regardless of class.

If this is a commonly held opinion among people who prescribe to Parecon, then my beliefs are much less in line with it then I thought. Honestly, sort of appalled to hear this from somebody who (I'm assuming) considers themself an anti-capitalist. Do you really think that the ruling class could possibly ever have the same interests as the working class? Do you think that capitalism is just a situation of poor management and that if we all just got together and talked it out we could abolish it? Who do you think enforces capitalism if it's not actually in anybody's best interest? I'm not saying that individual bourgeois will never come over to our side, but do you seriously believe that a revolution against capitalism wouldn't be opposed by the very people who run it for their own interests?

These are honest questions. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I have a lot of issues with Pareconist theory, but am absolutely willing to view folks as comrades if our organizing practices are in line. Unfortunately, that doesn't normally seem to be the case.

I think you're talking at cross-purposes here, Nosmac1 seems not to subscribe to a dichotomous view of proletariat/bourgeoisie.

Melancholy of Resistance wrote:
Coming late to this but what is 'ecological husbandry'?

I don't really understand why this quite esoteric term is used - it means, essentially, ecological responsibility and sustainability, to my understanding.

Joseph Kay wrote:
This came up in the libcom/PPS debate. You can divide society up into as many classes as you like (proletariat/bourgeoisie; proletariat/middle class/bourgeoisie; underclass/working class/middle class/upper class...). The point is what you're dividing up is a society which is polarised between two poles; capital and dispossession.

If you want to write an accessible manifesto then 'proletarians and bourgeois' might well capture the crux of it. If you want to analyse how Thatcher's extension of home ownership in the 1980s aimed at building social stability and reducing class antagonism, a conception of a middle class is useful. If you want to understand the relationship between the public sector strikes and the August riots, or the 'EMA kids' and the student movement, then again some kind of sociological categories could help explain the differing forms of resistance.

I suspect the 'Marx is obsolete' trope either comes from not reading him and taking Michael Albert's word for it, or alternatively thinking of this guy whenever people mention working class grin

I would like to think few pareconistas maintain Marx as 'obsolete'. The point parecon seems to make is that there is great analytic use to defining a coordinator class in view of its analyses of empowering/non-empowering work - obviously something removed from the continuum of capital/dispossession.