This continues my transcription of a 2002 ‘manifesto for democratic socialism for Bermuda’ which has underpinned much of my writing here since I started the blog in 2007. The ‘manifesto’ was an attempt to set up a discussion paper for the purpose of organising a Democratic Socialist Party (DS) in Bermuda – while nothing much came of that venture, for various reasons, I am reproducing that dated document online for a mix of historical purposes and as a prelude for an updated vision. It is important to stress that I have further developed my thoughts on some of these issues since those written here, from 2002, and other areas remain on my ‘to do list’ for further development.
On Sexual Equality
The DS must always acknowledge the equality of the sexes (and this to extend to all categories such as homosexuals, transgendered, etc.) and work to defend and promote women’s interests and gains. This would include, but is not limited to, the right to freely divorce and control over their reproductive capabilities. An effort is to be made to maintain an equal proportion of the sexes within the DS, as in the Party organisation itself (elected officers, representatives, etc.). The current UN Convention on Women, and Human Rights as a whole, are to be guarunteed.
Government must be completely accountable and ‘transparent’ to society as a whole. All figures and data must be made available to the public in such a manner that all funds and dealings are accountable, thus reducing the ability for extortion of the public at the hands of the government. In addition, all members of government – people’s representatives – must be subject to the immediate right of recall by the people. It is the perspective of the DS that only in this manner may extortion and bad management of public funds be successfully eradicated. Furthermore, this public scrutiny of, and pressure on, the government will, along with the principle of bottom-up democracy (see next chapter) lead to a true workers democracy.
In addition to government accountability, the individual must also become accountable to society. The basic idea behind this may be put quite simply as ‘don’t work, don’t eat.’ This statement is not, of course, to be confused with the notion that food will be withheld from all who are, for various reasons, not working. Certain sections of the population will be ‘fed’ though they do not work, namely the young (0-21) who will be concerned primarily with education; the old (post 65) who will have earned the right to retirement and the respect of society for their work throughout their lifetime; the sick, or otherwise incapacitated, will be supported by the rest of society until they are well once more (for the chronically ill or disabled, they will be expected to work to the best of their capacity only). All others who are able, yet do not work (provided work is available, with full employment through nationalisation of domestic means of production being a core DS goal) will be faced with the uncompromising statement ‘don’t work, don’t eat’.
The DS recognises however that people are inherently unique, as, as such, inherently unequal in various skills and abilities. [It is important to note that the DS also believes that any human may achieve – all things being relative – that which any other human may achieve, and that what is meant as ‘unequal’ is that for some a task may be easier to achieve than for others, but not impossible.] Furthermore, not only the abilities of every individual are unique, so are the needs of the individual. It is with this in mind that the DS adds as a couplet to ‘don’t work, don’t eat’ the statement ‘each according to ones abilities, to each according to ones needs.’