A Conversation for Ask h2g2

A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 1

Z

Could we have a peoples revolution to over throw capitalism?

Would it be possible?

Would we want one?

I am undecided on this point so am genuinely interested in the well informed opinions and facts I'm sure the people of h2g2 will provide me with.

*grabs smiley - popcorn and sits down to watch*


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 2

Mr603

You can't overthrow capitalism in one country. All that leads to is a brain drain as all your profit-motivated forward thinkers bugger off somewhere else.

It's all or nothing.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 3

Dogster

It is possible, although I wouldn't expect it any time in the next decade, and it could either be very desirable or absolutely awful depending on how it was done. "People's revolutions" in the past haven't been terribly successful, and I'm not sure that, as yet, we have a good enough understanding of why not and how we could do better that I'd want to see it tried here. In principle though, I think it's necessary and could make a huge positive difference to the world.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 4

paulh. Come visit Blemnox at A87815181

"Could we have a peoples revolution to over throw capitalism?" [Z]

It's been said that Nature hates a vacuum [in fact, She doesn't like *any* type of housework smiley - biggrin]. Therefore, before you even think of dumping capitalism, you need to fill the vacuum with some other type of system that does many of the same things but without the profit motive.

So, do you have replacement system in mind?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 5

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Well - I'm not sure I understand the question. And...I don't yet know if you do. smiley - winkeye

Are you thinking that Capitalism is an ideology? (it *sort* of is - but I'll need to know if you've come across Dialectical Materialism before I know whether it's worth explaining just yet that it's an ideology created by its own material circumstances).

And what do you mean by 'overthrow'? Are you imagining that Capitalism (whatever we decide that is) might suddenly vanish in a puff to be replaced by...what?

For the second time in two days, I get to type 'Capitalism just...is.' A leading authority on Capitalism (he wrote one of the most widely read books on the subject smiley - smiley) was rather a fan of it. He regarded it as a necessary phase of historical development that delivers the material wherewithal to move onto...whatever the next phase turns out to be.

Forgive me if any of this has a patronising tone. (Don't worry your pretty little head about it. smiley - smiley) I genuinely think that there are a lot of misunderstandings around these topics. The reason for this is that we're all of us so tied in to a Capitalist mindset - it's the milieu in which we live our lives - that it's hard to take a step back and think about what it is and how it works.

There's books, mind.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 6

The Doc

Could we have a peoples revolution to over throw capitalism?

No

I do not particularly like capitalism, or any "Ism" for that matter, but this country is populated by obedient conformists. They shout a lot and "hurumph" a lot, but when they get told to shut up by their masters they all go "Righto!" in a cheeky cockney stylee voice and then go whinge in a corner. The only understanding of "Revolution" that the spotty TOWIE youth have today is the odd opportunity to blag a free flatscreen from a blazing north london branch of Comet on a hot August evening............"Well, there wus nuffink on telly innit woz there"?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 7

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

paulh:

>>Therefore, before you even think of dumping capitalism, you need to fill the vacuum with some other type of system that does many of the same things but without the profit motive.

>>So, do you have replacement system in mind?

We can't - and needn't - have a system in mind. At the moment we have Capitalism. It's various mechanisms have evolved over many millennia. Some of them are good, many bad. If we evolve beyond capitalism - where 'evolved' could include overthrow the bad bits we will partly be on new territory where we'll have to invent new ways of working. From where we are we can't say what these will be - although various people have had ideas that might be useful. ( to Dogster - Parecon.)

But we'll also have various remnants of the past.

Before Capitalism we had Feudalism. I wonder whether late Feudalists asked early Capitalists (folk like the Flemish wool merchants) what they had in mind? Their answer would likely have been way off mark.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 8

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Doc:

>>The only understanding of "Revolution" that the spotty TOWIE youth have today is the odd opportunity to blag a free flatscreen from a blazing north london branch of Comet on a hot August evening.

Damn right! As Slavoj Žižek said at the time,

'They should have got organised!' smiley - smiley


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 9

paulh. Come visit Blemnox at A87815181

If [pick a country] didn't have Capitalism, would it still have currency? Would people get paid for doing whatever it is they do? If you couldn't buy X from Peter, raise the price and sell it to Paul, how would you get the money to pay the people who help you do it?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 10

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Certainly pre-Capitalist economies were monetary economies.

Be careful. though, of thinking of 'Capitalism' as one thing or that societies are either Capitalist or not. Really it's a loose term to describe an economy/society with various features:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

And be careful of describing countries as Capitalist/Not Capitalst. Would we count a nation that controls 50% of wealth Capitalist? Or a nation that uses state enterprises to fund public services?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 11

Dogster

Seems like a good moment to plug a new international organisation aimed at creating an alternative to capitalism:

http://www.iopsociety.org/


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 12

U14993989

#1 overthow capitalism?

for a start you should start calling yourself z and not Z. i really think z is part of the problem with his/her blatant use of capitalism. i counted five uses of capitalism in the original post, including the members name. smiley - sadface


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 13

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

@Dogster:

Yes, nice ideas for a possible future and a lot of that stuff certainly looks useful. But you already know what I'm going to say...How do we get there? Where's the Theory of Praxis?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 14

Dogster

Ed, stage 1: join? smiley - winkeye


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 15

paulh. Come visit Blemnox at A87815181

I'm still not clear on why Z thinks Capitalism is so awful that it might be beneficial to drop it in favor of something else. I well realize that there are many people who think Capitalism allows a tiny percentage of the population to accumulate the vast majority of the wealth. I'm not sure that Capitalism is as much to blame as the political structure. If there's a democracy, and it's an effective one, then people can vote to put restraints on the richest folks. If, however, the richest folks can successfully make the argument that the rest of the population benefits from the arrangement, then the restraints won't be too severe. A monarchy might be another story. How about a Theocracy? Or a fascist government?


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 16

U14993989

In Italy self-immolation seems to be an alternate choice to capitalism: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17556273


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 17

U14993989

Two BBC reports
a) Losers: In Jerez, many public sector workers have not been paid for nearly four months, because of the city's stack of unpaid bills. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17538224

b) Winners: £4,664 for a 30 second Damien Hirst doodle and £20,088 for a signed photograph of Marilyn Monroe. Those free market "invisible hands" that have pocketed the billions need to put their money into assets.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 18

U14993989

Forgot to add the link for b) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17534924


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 19

Storm

I think the revolution is happening. In the current economic climate organisations that are thriving are workers co-operatives* small and large. Community voluntary organisations are springing up. A lot of traditional big corporations are struggling, the state is struggling.

I think we could see an organic revolution where the means of production gradually become owned by small cooperatives. I think the revolution will simply be very slow rather than the picture we have of revolutions from previous revolutions.

I did read a study on this but I can't remember where.


A people's revolution in the UK?

Post 20

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

@Dogster:

>>Ed, stage 1: join?

Welll...I'd happily be considered a Fellow Traveller. It's not a bad idea in and of itself. But what it won't do is deliver a critical mass against countervailing competitive forces. The effects of competition are that insufficient people will find it in their material interests to cut themselves free.

It's pseudo-liberal thinking, I'm afraid: all the nice folk want everything to be nice therefore we can make it nice. I'm too cynical to buy it.

*But* it seems to have some good ideas for what sort of direction we might go in once we do the tricky bit of escaping Capitalist constraints. I'm not so much against it as wishing to needle from the sidelines: 'OK - so what are you going to actually *do*?'


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