My Resoc Interview
By Mandisi Majavu at Nov 04, 2009
1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what you reject, but I wonder what are you for? What institutions do you favor that will be better than what we have for the economy, polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you have vision for?
I’m for Parecon (participatory economics). In parecon people get to participate in decision-making that affects their lives directly. This is achieved through self-management and by arranging the whole society around councils. Hence, in such a society there are workers councils that manage work-places; neighbourhood councils that facilitate people’s participation in decision making around educational issues for example. In addition, parecon favours diversity, balanced job complexes, and remuneration for effort.
2. Next, someone at the same event asks, "Why do you do what you do? That is, you are speaking to us, and I know you write, and maybe you organize, but why do you do it? What do you think it accomplishes? What is your goal for your coming year, or for your next ten years?
I came here to argue against the view that there is no alternative to capitalism. I am here to talk about what I think an egalitarian society ought to look like. I am hoping that this will inspire people to think about what a just and equitable society should look like. My goal for the next ten years is to contribute (in whatever way I can) to efforts that aim to build a movement that fight for a better and different world.
3. You are at home and you get an email that says a new organization is trying to form, internationally, federating national chapters, etc. It asks you to join the effort. Can you imagine plausible conditions under which you would say, "yes, I will give my energies to making it happen along with the rest of you who are already involved?" If so, what are those conditions? Or - do you think instead that regardless of the content of the agenda and make up of the participants, the idea can't be worthy, now, or perhaps ever. If so, why?
I would be interested to join the new organisation given that its goals and aspirations are consisted with my values. This means that the organisation would have to be organised in a non-hierarchical structure; and the organisation’s activities and the way members interact would have to be premised on self-management, diversity and respect.
4. Do you think efforts to organize movements, projects, and our own organizations should embody the seeds of the future in the present? If not, why not? If yes, can you say what, very roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an organization you would favor?
I certainly think that the way we organise our movements should be consisted with our values. So if we are fighting for a parecon society then our movements ought to be organised in a way that encourages self-management, participatory decision-making and diversity. Such an experiment has the potential to get members of the public interested in what we are fighting for, I think.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
I answered because I believe this is a serious project. Projects like these enable us to share ideas and give us an opportunity to discuss ways to achieve an egalitarian society. I can’t speculate why others didn’t answer.