Liberals’ Carbon Tax: A Movement Gift
The Canadian Liberals’ campaign policy of a ‘Green Shift’ from income taxation to greenhouse-gas taxation is a boom to the working class that could also help undo the centralized, capitalist energy apparatus.
As a subscriber to revolutionary dual-power strategy in transition to socialist models, it is quite a thing for me to say anything good about a political party. Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and the Liberals, however, are presenting an opportunity to chip away at one of the major cornerstones in the current market system: that of centralized energy ala hydro-carbons. You see, the oil majors in conjunction with the state have been suppressing new energy technologies for quite some time. These particular technologies threaten to free us from their oil system, which sucks our income and shackles us to corporate institutions.
Don't get me wrong; even though Dion's plan gets a good share of its revenue from industry with no increased taxation on drivers at the pump, it will not have the strength to deliver us from the market's monopolistic orientation, where technological applications are controlled by fat cats. But it will give us a small crack to squeeze de-commodified energy through our own participatory economic network (see the Federated Participatory Coops – dual-power strategy – in regards MeFCoop particularly).
Of course, the time-honored tradition of Liberal campaigning from the left with governance from the right must be remembered here. Although with this 'Green Shift' policy being the central Liberal campaign plank you'd think they'd be hard pressed to betray it especially if they're given a bare minority government, which is the only likely scenario in Canadian politics right now.
The Liberal's ‘Green Shift’ gives us low income earners a %10 income tax break to the tune of $15.3 billion, but weighs industry down with $10 per ton of carbon that rises to $40 within 4 years. This also has the benefit of not handing an immediate cap & trade market scheme for corporate players to get rich on. This is a real anchor to the centralized energy corporations and a freeing of dollars for consumers to make different choices for their energy needs.
Enter on-site (under your car hood) electrolysis of hydrogen: Many garage scientists have developed inexpensive devices that achieve high-frequency electrolysis off of mere amps (what an average car alternator puts out).
The on-site hydrogen devices are perfect for a participatory economic federation: they’re cheap to produce and only require a water refill every couple of weeks. The outcome would be the de-commodification of energy, which should prove a major blow to market capitalism and fractional reserve currencies. Mass dissemination of the technology has come up against market capitalism's need for oil spending by the public and thus has been suppressed for a long time. Lead inventor Stan Meyers has experienced this first hand. Markets are so leveraged they would likely collapse without that real money velocity on the constant oil trade. The capitalist legal system (possession – property – is 9/10ths of the law) is of course a problem, but a patent in the parecon federated structure with proper legal resources could defend us long enough (a decade in delays and appeals) to disseminate the technology widely. Special attention may have to be given to the judiciary to ensure judges don't contravene their own law too heavily in trying to put down socialist economic infrastructure.
The legal division of the proposed Memes Facilitation Co-op (MeFCoop – see the Federated Participatory Co-ops (FPC) white paper) could maintain the legal front via its large revenue streams from its contracts with the credit unions and large co-ops that form the ‘Stage 1’ FPC economic network. MeFCoop's power would have to be large to protect the advancement of socially governed economic capacity. Free energy, while a cornerstone technology of ‘the commons’, is but one of the new orientations to socially governed productive assets that we will have to advent in order to escape corporate-market controlled economics.
The Liberal platform being scaled back to childcare benefit cheques from their old policy of universal childcare would also be a huge gift to Federated Participatory Co-ops, as it would give a participatory economic network large government subsidies to create a daycare network that could be tied into families’ patronage of Participatory Co-ops. So if you are a family that holds an account, mortgage, insurance policy, etc., with an FPC credit union, shops with our grocery and big-box (MEC and REI) apparel co-ops, you could have a progressive subsidy in Participatory Day Cares. This could bring a family down from, say, $25 (for those with no FPC patronage record) to $5 a day per child. This is an incentive for families to tie into the revolution… Families that spend a lot of income (without much savings capacity) on the kind of staple industries that a participatory economic federation would have to prioritize in the development of a strong foundation. A good partnership with the added bonus of advancing educational institutions with trajectories towards a participatory, just society.
Let's get this creative… Let's get our own economic capacity so that we can maneuver constructive policy around the opportunities that the corporate state presents to us. The hard organizing for our own institutions, so we can point to better alternatives than neoliberal ones, could prove quite useful.