NB – This continues the ongoing transcription of a 2002 ‘Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Bermuda’, which I wrote for the purpose of initiating discussion about organising a democratic socialist (DS) Party in Bermuda. I am reproducing it here for it’s historical interest, it’s role in the genesis of this blog itself, and for the purpose of stimulating discussion in the future.
It is within this general outline of the Bermudian economy, and the political experience of the IB threat, that the DS advocates the following:
While the DS calls for the socialisation (democratic socialist control) of the means of production (the economy), it recognises that no significant moves against IB may be made until larger developed nations (the USA, Canada, EU or even Brazil) have become worker controlled states, which might then assist with the realisation of democratic socialism in Bermuda.
Until this occurs the DS must limit itself to the socialisation of all domestic means of production and working towards a more self-reliant and sustainable Bermuda (see next chapter). Perhaps the only action that may be taken concerning the IB sector at this time would be the State acting as a landlord to the sector, nationalising all office buildings and related property concerning this sector – as a domestic-based means of production.
This process would include, for example, the socialisation of all property (houses and land), means of production (hotels, construction machinery, power plants, etc.) and the means of communication (media, telecommunications, transport, etc.).
With this socialisation of of property and the means of production the current concept of inheritance (other than sentimental items) would become more or less redundant. Even before socialisation is complete, pressure may – and should be – exerted to reduce the value of inheritances (such as an inheritance cap at, for example, $100k in value), as this is a key mechanism through which the current socio-economic inequality is maintained. A similar tactic could be investigated concerning the problem of capital flight, at least in personal/non-corporate terms.
It is important for the DS to stress that even though all property is to be socialised, and inheritance rendered illegal (ultimately), this does not mean that all property is commonly owned (for example, ones personal affects – clothes, toothbrush, etc. – remains ones own) and ones family is to be guaranteed ‘first rights’ over such property that is currently inherited – by this is meant over houses and similar items, as opposed to businesses or commercial property – for use only.
The DS must be prepared for criticism of socialisation, concerning namely the ineffiency of the Stalinist/Maoist State-owned means of production. It is sufficient for the DS to point out that these were not democratically controlled economies working towards the best interests of society, but bureaucratically controlled economies working in the interests of a parasitic bureaucracy – namely maintaining the status quo and ‘feathering-the-nests’ of the bureaucracy (including a generalised State-military-industrial complex).
Under democratic socialism it is in the interests of society to improve the efficiency and quality (of products and conditions as a whole) of the means of production. Society wishes the highest quality products, and the greater the efficiency increases the amount of time (and resources) that individuals may devote to their own personal development relative to the moment of time necessary for maintaining society. That is, the work one must do for society (maintenance of life) as opposed to work one does for oneself – freedom from necessity.
All empirical evidence supports the statement that democratic socialist means of production are more efficient, and produce better products, than the current capitalist mode of production (reduction in resources for a managerial caste, reduction of resources in duplication through negation of competition, increased productivity through the negation of labour alienation – examples from Hungary 1956, Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, the Shop-Stewards movement in the UK, etc.).