My Resoc Interview
By Paul Singer at Nov 10, 2009
1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what you reject, but I wonder what you are for? What institutions do you want that you think will be better than what we have, for the economy, polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you think is central to have vision for?
The institutions I have in mind should change for the better the economy meaning the existing modes of production. There are already in my country (Brazil) and in several others solidarity economy enterprises in different forms. What all of them have in common is: collective ownership of social means of production, meaning those that are operated by more people than individuals or families; self management, with equal participation of all workers in decision making; the sharing of income among all workers according to notions of justice adopted by all or the majority of them. Nets of solidarity economy enterprises are built in order to reach economies of scale in production, distribution, finance and technological progress. Recently, poor people organize community markets, in which fair trade prevails and exchanges are often made with the use of social currencies, in order to foster economic development through import substitution. In such markets, all enterprises belong or to the solidarity economy or to the small commodities production.
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 think solidarity economy will be the foundation of the ‘other world’, in which oppression, discrimination, social injustice and misery can be overcome. It is a relatively long mass learning process, by which working people will become able to manage all types of economic activities for common benefit. It is of course also a long struggle against all sorts of institutional obstacles that nowadays favor the capitalist mode of production.
I have no personal goal, except of being able to join both the learning and the struggling for such ‘other 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?
The conditions which would make me want to join the building of a new international organization are the following: that the international organization has the will and the capacity to unite most of the movements that are struggling in their countries against oppression, economic exploitation, war, financial deregulation that brings crisis about etc.. I think that in face of globalization, international solidarity of all those who fight against the present hegemony of global multinationals is urgently needed.
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? If yes, can you say what, very roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an organization you would favor?
The answer is yes. I think the future is already being built. Capitalism is still dominant but democracy guarantees that opportunities to improve solidarity economy and multiply its enterprises will not be denied. The international organization, I think we need, should enrich the learning process of participants in the building of solidarity economy in each country by letting them learn from the experiences in other countries. Besides that, the organization should coordinate international economic relations and struggles against capitalist hegemony in all countries that belong to the organization.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
I answered this interview because I think it serves an urgent need: that of bringing together people who possibly are engaged in similar endeavors in different countries. Those who did not answer the interview must have lots of different reasons, which would be useless to try to guess.