In late 2008 the libcom.org group were approached by the UKWatch.net website to take part in a debate with the Project for a Participatory Society (PPS), themed around ‘anti-capitalist vision.’ This seemed like a good opportunity to get our own ideas down in writing, as well as to subject them to the test of robust criticism. We also had criticisms of our own of ‘participatory economics’ (‘parecon’) which again we had discussed but not written down anywhere, and this debate would give us the chance to put them to a parecon advocate. The debates were to be published on UKWatch and their US sister-site ZNet.
For libcom.org, Joseph Kay was the main participant, while for the PPS Mark Evans took on that role. To kick off the debate, we were both asked to set out our own ‘visions for the UK economy’, which we would then respond to, and respond to responses in turn. The debate began with a flurry of exchanges, but from January 2009 we’d had no reply to our latest submissions. UKWatch were busy with a site upgrade, but despite exchanging emails over the intervening period by August 2009 we’d still received no responses and UKWatch.net had gone offline.
Consequently, we publish the debate as it stands here as we think it contains much of interest to anti-capitalist activists. As our replies were the last ones we are aware of, we do have the last word. However we are sure this doesn’t preclude further debate, using this pamphlet as a point of departure.
The Project for a Participatory Society is a network of people based in the UK committed to progressive social change. PPS see war, poverty, climate change and many other problems in the world today as unsurprising consequences of particular forms of social organisation. They see the erosion of civil liberties, the abuses of human rights, the increase in inequality and other injustices as resulting from the core values and internal organisation of dominant institutions within society. Mark Evans lives in Birmingham and works as an NHS healthcare assistant. He is an active trade unionist. www.ppsuk.org.uk
The libcom.org group is a small collective of libertarian communists based in and around London. They maintain libcom.org, a resource for radical workers a resource for all wish to fight to improve their lives, their communities and their working conditions. The site takes its name from an abbreviation of "libertarian communism" - and its goals of liberty and community - the political current they identify with. Joseph Kay is a financial services worker from Brighton. He is a member of the Solidarity Federation. www.libcom.org