My Resoc Interview
By Peter Bohmer at Nov 08, 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?
I am strongly in favor of participatory socialism. I believe the writings of Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel and others are a great start. I would also stress or perhaps add the following: 1) Cultural and historical specificity for each country's vision;
2) payment or consumption according to need and effort. My starting position would be all human beings have similar needs (all over the planet), and then modifying it, e.g. health care; 3) household labor is part of one's labor effort; 4) more of an emphasis on self-determination and autonomy for indigenous and oppressed people: 5) more of an emphasis on sustainability and food sovereignty.
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 am active as a teacher of radical political economy and also in various organizations-single payer health care, Latin American Solidarity, anti U.S. Intervention and anti-war because it increases my humanity, it makes my life be about more than just me, and it is necessary. I know that my teaching and public speaking further anti-capitalist consciousness and action. I am not sure how much the groups I am active in are contributing to reform and/or revolution. I would like to be more effective in what i am doing and be part of a group that is combining theory and practice towards a participatory socialist society .
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 like the idea and would join. I am not sure at this point in time if it could attain a critical mass in the United States.
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?
Yes, Most groups should contain seeds of the future in them --even though most groups I am involved with, do not. They tend to be single issue. I would like to be part of a group that is not single issue but multi-issue, that stresses values, that is participatory socialist but not sectarian. but is also active in day to day struggles
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
I support this project.