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.
There exists in Bermuda today a growing housing crisis. This is becomingly increasingly clear even to the most thick-skinned members of our society, especially with the growth of various ‘tent colonies’, campsites and squatters in disused buildings (such as the former Club Med hotel).
In reality there is no actual shortage of houses on the island (though our curent housing practices are, unfortunately, unsustainable). The current crisis is largely more of an artificial one, with the only real shotage being the number of people in need of housing possessing adequate funds with which to do so – what the capitalist economists call ‘effective demand.’
Two key factors influencing this current situation are the market forces of supply (small) and demand (high) combined with the International Business sector being willing – and able – to buy/rent homes at rates far beyond the means of the average Bermudian worker.
Following the socialisation of property this artificial crisis would be ‘easily’ solved through the provision of currently disused (or in some cases, under-used) houses to those currently in need of living space (namely the homeless or those in overcrowded situations). Pressure can, and must, be made towards this end even prior to workers control. Furthermore, more sustainable housing must be designed and constructed to accomodate future population growth.
Once democratic socialism – or at least the beginnings of workers control – has been established, full-employment for those willing to work may be guaranteed by the new socio-economic system.
With this in mind the DS will attempt to provide full-employment through the socialisation of the domestic means of production, while assisting with the development of global democratic socialism (which would then ensure full-employment).
Through workers control of the means of production, not only may the workday be reduced (as a matter of tactics the DS might call for a 32-hour week), but in doing so society could provide more jobs while retaining the current standard of life (namely by cutting out the inflated salaries of the bosses, while ensuring the necessary reinvestment in the means of production).
It should be clear that the DS rejects the theory of ‘socialism-in-one-country’ and sees the success of democratic socialism in Bermuda to be inherently connected with its success on a global scale.
The DS does advocate that a transitional period towards democratic socialism may, however, be initiated in Bermuda by itself (and it is with this in mind that this programme is largely based). Nonetheless, the DS also fully acknowledges that substantial progress domestically is utopian unless workers control is established in at least one, or a few, ‘developed’ states such as the USA, Canada, UK, EU or Brazil).
Bermuda alone will be disadvantaged economically, resource-wise and vulnerable to imperialist intervention without the support of such international support.
It is due to this that the DS hesitates to socialise the assets of International Business at this moment in time, and chooses instead to concentrate on domestic socialisation for now (at least as far as this is possible, along with other transitions towards democratic socialism).
Recognising the inability of Bermuda to achieve ‘socialism-in-one-country’ (especially with its lack of resources), the DS realises the importance of workers control to be established in other nations, primarily ‘developed’ nations with ample resources and in close proximity to Bermuda.
As a result of this, the DS must provide whatever assistance it can to the realisation of workers control internationally (this must be seen primarily in the sense of material and moral support in terms of facilitating and consciousness raising, rather than in terms military assistance, of which Bermuda would be extremely limited in providing even if it wanted to).
One way in which the DS may achieve this is through the overseas field-experience of post-secondary education proposed earlier, as well as the encouragement of international students at the Bermuda College, and study groups overseas. This, of course, would be dependent on workers control being established in Bermuda and initiating – as much as possible – a transition towards democratic socialism here, as outlined in this programme.