Direct democracy and classless society
(The long March of Humanity to the social equality and Humanism)
By Kostas Lampos PhD
Humanity is once again at a crucial crossroads, at the point where capitalist barbarism confronts social equality.
Out of the two available choices, the first one is to follow the dictations of the hegemonic capital; this path leads, through the destruction of Nature, to disastrous wars, to the impoverishment of working society and the degradation of human civilization due to the existence of capitalist barbarism.
The other choice represents the working humanity's long-standing, historical struggles in a bid to materialize its own Utopia. Those struggles, complemented with contemporary capabilities, needs and desires, will be gradually leading towards Societal Equality, Direct Democracy, Classless Society and Ecumenical Humanist Civilization.
The first choice, as described above, was the subject of my previous book, "Americanism and Globalization. The Economy of Fear and Decline", by Papazisis Publications, 2009. The latter choice is the subject of this book, which aspires to demystify the concept of Utopia, to reconnect the missing links of societal evolution and re-assemble the shattered image which society has regarding its future, by bringing back to life our society's vision of a better world.
To this end we needed to take things from the very beginning and re-assess the course of humanity, observing its main historical landmarks, not from the point of view of the occasional winners/rulers, who got eventually defeated. Rather, we brought into perspective those who, despite being occasionally defeated, carried on with their struggle for a society of equal and free people, a society without winners and losers, a society without masters and servants.
Our journey started at the foundations, at the infancy, the start of humanity, from the egalitarian societies of innocent wilderness, which have been historically classified as 'primitive communism' and bequeathed to us the concept of social equality. Then we reached the dawn of Athenian Democracy, which passed on to humanity the concept of the Public State, also known as Direct Democracy. We made a brief stop at Plato's 'Ideal State' and Aristotle's “The best Polis”.
We continued our journey with “Aristonicus Politeia”, which materialized Iambulus' Utopia, our next stops being the 'Early Christian Communes', the 'Civitate Dei' (City of God) and the 'Sun State'. We then carried on with the 'Thessaloniki Commune', “England's Popular Revolution” and made a new stop at Thomas More's 'Utopia'.
A fresh start led us to the Russian 'Agrarian Commune' of Mir and the 'Commune of Andros'. From there, we moved on to the 'Cooperative’s Ideal in Theory and Practice' with a brief pause at Mondragon. We carried on with Israel's captive 'Kibbutz', the Baja California commune and the Morelos communes of Mexico.
Our journey was long but exciting, so we carried on with the 'Socialist Programme', which led us to the 'Paris Commune', the 'Russian Revolution of 1905' and the 'October Revolution of 1917'.
We then attempted to sum up the projects of 'Direct Democracy and Socialism' making stops at the 'Council Democracy in Germany', the 'Council Democracy of Italy' and the 'Kronstadt Commune'. We highlighted the counter arguments, the post seismic shocks of the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' which emerged as 'actually existing socialism' but left us its true identity, i.e. the one of an actually existing state capitalism.
Following that, we moved on to the East, observing the 'Chinese communes' and their agrarian communism. We returned to the West and the attempts to 'Self-management», starting from the 'Summerhill Example', then the 'Spanish Revolution for Self-Management', then stopping at the Greek Communalism and the Popular Power/Popular Justice of the EAM. We also discussed the 'Marinaleda Direct Democracy' and made a brief stop at the 'French May' before reaching an end at the great self-management experiment that currently takes place in Latin America.
During the course of our journey, we also stopped by to check out the science of 'Networks' and made a reference to 'Alternative Social Networks' like the following: 'Networks of Exchange' of goods and services without monetary transactions, 'Time Banks' and 'Energy Banks'. Before the end of our journey, we accepted an invitation to participate in a discussion held by a circle of 600 young people from France and Germany, on the topic of 'Moneyless Society', from which we emerged stronger, ready to counter an attempt to forge our own realist Utopia, carried out using the Swiss Direct democracy myth, as well as the so-called 'Zeitgeist Movement/Venus Project. We finished our journey after a quick stop at the romantic, as well as visionary, 'Olbia City of Roses'.
Summing up the experiences from our fascinating journey, we reached the three following conclusions:
· First, since the dawn of humanity, there has always been a struggle for Common Ownership and Equality, for Equality and Justice, for Direct Democracy and Freedom, for Collaboration and Freedom, for Man's liberation from every form of rule.
· Second, the working humanity has been systematically obstructed by the exploitative socio-political systems which established their rule using violence in the form of ideologies, institutions, various types of obscurantism, class state and weapons. Humanity always managed, under all circumstances, to end all those parasitic formations and patiently create the conditions for its own liberation from successive ruling-exploitative systems. Reaching the 21st century, humanity is up against the capitalist barbarism.
· Third, humanity gradually realizes, as proved by our journey, that its choices are not limited to a dilemma between neoliberal capitalism and state capitalism, like the kind of pseudo-socialism proposed by adherents of the 3rd or 4rth International. On the contrary, humanity is forced to adopt a continuous struggle as its contemporary choice. To this end, the forces of Working society, Science and Culture will need to break free from the ruling class' hegemony on an intellectual, spiritual, political and organizational level and put forward their own contemporary Project for the future of Humanity. This project will be developing alongside the radical demise of capitalism, due to the establishment, on the part of society-humanity, of a Socio-economic system based on Humanism: this system will feature common ownership and Direct Democracy with a view to creating a Classless Society and an Ecumenical Humanist Culture.
During the course of its long and painful journey, humanity has often faced such dilemmas. It has always managed, when the right time came, to get rid of all things rotten and corrupt, thus paving the way for the best possible future. The 21st century science and technology offers the potential. This, along with the modern working society' experience and liberating historical conscience, can bring about an anti-capitalist - humanist revolution which will turn the page of history and broaden the outlook of human civilization.
The very recent 'Movement of the Indignants', which made the demand 'Direct Democracy Now and Everywhere' part of the global agenda, is just a landmark that sets a new course and renews the working humanity's struggle for social liberation. I would argue that this movement confirmed, at the crucial moment of the collapse of the neoliberalist ideology, the historical course of Direct Democracy in its quest for social equality and Classless Society. It responded to all those who interpret history from the 'neoliberal bourgeois democracy' point of view or utilize the doctrines of social democracy and state capitalism.
The dominant ideology of winners-rulers who write, rewrite and forge history, has always been hostile -and still is- to this unstoppable, constant and long standing humanist revolution. This makes any attempt to properly record history quite difficult. For it's part, the working humanity has always managed -mainly due to the brave individual and collective efforts of certain people, which have been labelled 'mavericks', 'marginal', or even 'anarchists'- to rescue important information regarding what had happened. The modern technology of Internet allows this information to transcend the boundaries of libraries and archives, by making it social, bringing it back to life and feeding a fertile debate that sheds more light on Humanity's Yesterday and Tomorrow. This, the Light of Knowledge, helps us see how capitalist barbarism is not 'the fate of humanity'. On the contrary, societies evolve and humanity constantly changes, always finding ways to break free from the obscurantist myths. Hence, a better world is today both feasible and necessary.