The value of people-management

There's a good communist: motivating the proletariat
There's a good communist: motivating the proletariat

A quite ridiculous article from Liberty & Solidarity arguing for socialists to adopt capitalist person management methods. Reproduced for entertainment purposes only.

Submitted by bellyscratch on March 25, 2010

Let us start with the value of people. For the wider socialist movement, people are like blood cells - essential components, not just in themselves, but vital transmitters of the minerals of ideas and practice. But like blood, the people of the socialist movement can also transmit disease. 1

Many comrades of the libertarian left like to amuse each other with tales of certain organisations and how they have a constantly revolving membership. But is the libertarian left that different? When I look around, I see a great many people who are stuck in a rut, plodding away at their activities, directed, but lacking in personal motivation and confidence. We aspire to be a great movement, but cannot instill in each other and in new recruits the personal values to finish what we start and be able to chew bigger and bigger bites of the socialist pie.

So some of our biggest failures come about because our activists do not have sufficient strength to strike the killing blow.

A few years ago, I was in a personal rut. I had absolutely zero confidence in myself and everything I did was a struggle. One of the people who was absolutely key to my getting back my orientation and confidence was, of all people, my manager at work. I believe she came under fire for her business skills and administration, but how she dealt with the members of her team was second to none. She knew exactly how to spur me on and invested time and effort in discovering what makes me tick. During her time as my manager, I went from being resentful, demotivated and angry, to being happy, constructive and not just motivated, but motivational.

Many see the left as being a tiny sect in modern society, but it is not. It is a frankly vast network. Unfortunately, most people within it are severely demotivated and are barely confident enough within their own groups, if they even belong to any groups.

We have big fishes in small ponds and those who are tired of the stifling orthodoxy and authority of groups like the SWP. We have older comrades whose hopes were smashed by Soviet tanks, left-wing government collapses and then by Thatcher's juggernaut. Closest of all to home we have legions of timid activists for whom a major victory is contributing a picture or article to a local newspaper.

These folks are operating at several orders of magnitude below their optimum and need to be invested in, as the only asset the libertarian left has. What is more, over time, capitalism has realised how important it is to motivate and build up its people. Whole corporate departments are given over to this function. We are behind!

A vital practice of socialists for now and for the future of socialism is the ability to catch those who fall. What is the idea of socialism but a vast active safety net? We are supposed to help those who are struggling.

When we see a comrade who hasn't the confidence to take on important work, we must invest time and effort in their making themselves a better activist. We must find out what makes them tick, like my manager did with me, and feed them the good-feeling that they live on. All these thousands of people we have at our disposal have used such initiative so as to become active in the first place. Why are we not building each one into powerhouse of ability and confidence?

I ask that everyone who reads this makes it a priority to educate themselves in the skills of people management and to take the utmost care in their dealings with others they may work with. For socialists, people are gold. Let's try treating each other that way.

  • 1 libcom note: emphasis added