last update: Nikos @ 18-08-2010
The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, Vol. 6, No. 2/3 (Spring/Summer 2010)
The Barcelona Talks, ID meeting (April 11, 2010)
The transition to an Inclusive Democracy*
The present multidimensional crisis, which is not only economic but also ecological, political and social in the broader sense of the word, led many people, for the first time after many years, to raise questions on things they used to take for granted within the bubble created by the growth economy and the consequent growth society (or consumer society).
The first question asked was: why the present crisis and, in particular, why ordinary people (workers, farmers, clerks, etc.) will have to pay for it when, in fact, they have received only a very small portion of the pie that was growing all the time, as a result of the fast economic growth ―one of the aims of which was exactly to persuade people to work harder to enjoy more of the benefits of the consumer society and forget any questions about the overall highly unequal distribution of the economic benefits from growth. This question became harder to be answered by the political and economic elites when it became clear that it was a matter of time for the bubble to burst, not only because of the obvious ecological limitations to growth, but also because of the built-in economic contradictions of the capitalist market economy and, particularly, the fact that such an economy can only create uneven development between countries, regions and people themselves, through a huge concentration of economic power amassed into a few hands, as a result of its own dynamics. Furthermore, a growth economy was bound to produce a growth society, i.e. a non-society based on individual consumers in place of older societies based on citizens, as in classical democracy, or on communities of farmers as in feudal societies, and on communities of workers, farmers, etc. in earlier forms of capitalist societies. An individualistic non-society of this kind inevitably led to the present huge social problems of mass explosion of crime, drug abuse and so on. Furthermore, the parallel concentration of political power that was institutionalised through the dynamics of parliamentary “democracy,” i.e. the complementary institution that was established at about the same time that the capitalist market economy was established, has led to the present system where the main political decisions are taken everywhere by small cliques around the president or the prime minister, which subsequently are rubber stamped by parliaments or other representative bodies, the members of which have in turn been elected through expensive election campaigns financed by the economic elites who, together with the political elites, effectively rule today’s societies.
The next logical question asked, following the previous one was: if the present multidimensional crisis has amply shown that the problem is not just to reform the main institutions characterising Western modernity, i.e. the capitalist market economy and representative ‘democracy’, but to change the institutions themselves, then, is there any alternative form of society with which we can replace the present one? This question becomes particularly important today when, although many more people than ever before in the post-war period came to realise that something was very wrong with the system itself, at the same time there was a catastrophic loss of confidence in the feasibility of alternative forms of economic organisation, following the failure of socialist planning. So, although an antisystemic consciousness seems to be flourishing again, the lack of a mass antisystemic movement, based on a concrete and feasible project for an alternative society to capitalism, has led to a situation where direct action for its own sake, or worse, life-style anarchism, have replaced any programmatic antisystemic movements, (i.e. movements explicitly questioning the very system of capitalist market economy and representative so-called “democracy”) that are based on political projects. By ‘political project’, I do not of course mean some intellectual’s vision about the future society based on the moral values one may draw from social struggles of the past or present. Nor do I mean a project based on some supposedly “objective” economic or natural laws. What I mean is a fully comprehensive political program, which, integrated into one of the historic traditions of the Left, draws ―on the basis of a particular viewpoint― the organisational principles of the future society from a systematic analysis of present society and the trends within it, and consequently derives a strategy and tactics that will move us from here to there. Therefore, to derive such a new political project we need:
a) an analysis of the past and present from a particular viewpoint which could explain why we ended up with today’s multidimensional crisis,
b) an outline of a future society which shows that such a society is needed not only on the basis of it being desirable, but feasible as well, and not just a utopia in the negative sense of the word, and
c) the description of a transitional strategy that will move us from here to there ―something which answers also the third logical and question following the first two.
The Inclusive Democracy project is such a project that attempts to give answers to all three of the above questions on the basis neither of an objective kind of rationalism (e.g. Marxism, Libertarian Municipalism and the like) nor of a subjective kind of rationalism (e.g. Degrowth, Parecon and the like) but, instead, on the basis of an axiomatic choice in explaining the past and the present as well as in envisaging the future: the choice of individual and collective autonomy. On the basis of this axiomatic choice of autonomy vs. the alternative principle of heteronomy we can:
a) analyse the past and the present as the outcome of the interaction between on the one hand “objective” factors, i.e. the dynamics of the prevailing institutions I mentioned before, which inevitably lead to further and further concentration of power at all levels, given that the trends that such dynamics create are fully supported by the ruling elites which benefit from such dynamics and, on the other, “subjective” factors, i.e. the outcome of the social struggle between the ruling elites and privileged social groups and the rest of society. So, on the basis of this sort of analysis the ID project concludes that the ultimate cause of the present multidimensional crisis is the huge and continually growing concentration of economic, political and social power,
b) outline a future society on the basis of existing trends in human History and the present. It can be shown that the entire sphere of human History has been marked by a constant struggle between, on the one hand, the heteronomy tradition which, for reasons we cannot expand on here, was the dominant one and, on the other the autonomy tradition. Out of this struggle, we had many forms of heteronomous societies (slave societies, feudal societies, monarchies, dictatorships, parliamentary “democracies” and the like, but also the sperms of autonomous societies, like classical democracy ―despite its obvious shortcomings― and the temporary forms of social organisation based on principles of autonomy that developed during periods of revolution or insurrection (e.g. French and Russian Revolutions, Spanish Civil War, May ’68 and so on). So, what we call an Inclusive Democracy, i.e. a society based on institutions that secure the equal distribution of all forms of power among all citizens, in other words on the abolition of power relations and structures, is not only desirable on the basis of what I said before about the causes of the present multidimensional crisis, but feasible as well, as it is not just a utopia or an intellectual’s vision but the form of social organisation which institutionalises the historical trends I mentioned. An Inclusive Democracy has four main components: Political or Direct Democracy, i.e. the direct control of the political process by citizens; Economic Democracy, i.e. the ownership and direct control of economic resources by the citizen body; Democracy in the Social Realm, or the self-management of workplaces, educational institutions and any other institutions belonging to the social realm by workers, farmers, students and so on; and finally Ecological Democracy, i.e. the reintegration of society with Nature,
c) describe a transitional strategy that will move us from here to there ―which is the aim of my talk that will begin with a brief critical assessment of the main transitional strategies that were proposed in the past and will end up with the ID strategy.
In fact, the discussion on the transitional strategy was still flourishing a few decades ago, but the collapse of actually existing socialism in the East and the parallel dissolution of social democracy in the West and its replacement by today’s neoliberal consensus, in combination with the rise of the ideology of postmodernism and the decline of antisystemic movements have inevitably led to a corresponding phasing out of this discussion. This was inevitable, because the abandonment by the Left (Old, New, and Green) of any discussion for an alternative society, in effect, made such strategies redundant.
A good starting point in critically assessing the various historical transitional strategies, with the aim to learn from the failures of the past in drawing some necessary conclusions about the kind of transitional strategy we need today, is the crucial distinction we have to make between, on the one hand, strategies aiming at simply reforming the existing institutions, and, on the other, those explicitly aiming at replacing the present society’s institutional framework, (that is, the system of the globalised market economy and the complementary institution of representative “democracy,” as well as the corresponding system of values that constitutes the dominant social paradigm on which the present society is based) with an alternative society based on different institutions and values. On the basis of this distinguishing criterion we may draw a clear line between “reformist” and “anti-systemic” strategies.
Thus, “reformist” are all those approaches which aim at reforming the present institutional framework and system of values through a variety of tactics ranging from the conquest of state power “from above” (e.g. the old socialdemocratic strategy) to pressing the state “from below” to introduce various reforms (e.g. the civil societarian and radical democracy approaches, postmodern politics, etc.). On the other hand, “antisystemic” are all those approaches which explicitly or implicitly challenge the legitimacy of the socio-economic “system,” both in the sense of its institutions, which create and reproduce the unequal distribution of power (considered here as the ultimate cause of antisystemic social divisions), and also in the sense of its values, which legitimise the domination of a human being over human being, or of Society over Nature (e.g. the old statist and libertarian strategies, the recent libertarian municipalism strategy and, the Inclusive Democracy strategy). I have examined elsewhere all these approaches in detail, so here I will only describe the main strategies still around and particularly the ID strategy.
1. The reformist strategies to transition
The socialdemocratic approach of reforms “from above”
As it is well known, social democracy reached its peak during the period of statism and particularly in the first thirty years after WWII, when not only socialdemocratic parties took over power in many Western countries (Britain, Germany, France, Italy, etc) but also a program based on a “social democratic consensus” was dominant all over the Western world. However, the internationalisation of the market economy since the mid ‘70s brought about the end of this consensus and the rise of the neoliberal consensus, (i.e. neoliberal modernity) ―which, in my view― is irreversible as long as the market economy is internationalised, in other words, as long as the market economy reproduces itself. The deletion from the Constitution of the British Labour Party (which was the last socialdemocratic party still committed to socialisation of the means of production) of “clause four,” which committed it to full socialisation, marked the formal end of socialdemocratic claims towards real systemic change. In fact, the neoliberal agenda for “flexible” labour markets, minimisation of social controls on markets, replacement of the welfare state by a safety net, etc, has now become the agenda of every major socialdemocratic party in power or in opposition. The parallel degradation of social democracy and the reversal of most of its conquests (comprehensive welfare state, state commitment to full employment, significant improvement in the distribution of income) has clearly shown the impossibility of bringing about a systemic change through reforms.
This is particularly so today, when reforms have to be compatible with the requirements of the internationalised market economy. It is therefore clear that as long as the system of the market economy and representative “democracy” reproduces itself, all that reforms (either “from above,” or “from below”) can achieve today is temporary victories, i.e. social conquests which would be as reversible as those achieved during the period of the social democratic consensus, which are now being systematically dismantled by neoliberals and social-liberals (i.e. the successors of social democrats who may still call themselves as such but in fact their differences from neoliberals are minimal, if not non-existent). This is because the growth (and therefore the profitability) of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) depends on the continuous expansion of world markets. This means that a market economy today can only be an internationalised one ―something that implies that markets have to be as open and as flexible as possible. So, globalisation and its main effects, i.e. the present concentration of power and the continuous worsening of the ecological crisis, will persist for as long as the present institutional framework ―that secures the concentration of political and economic power― reproduces itself, in other words, for as long as the market economy system and representative “democracy” are not replaced by an institutional framework securing the equal distribution of political and economic power among all citizens, i.e. an Inclusive Democracy.
The civil societarian approach of reforms “from below”
This is a modern variation of the reformist approach, which however is not based on introducing reforms “from above,” as the socialdemocratic approach, but from below. Thus, the civil societarian approach involves the enhancement of “civil society,” that is, the strengthening of the various networks which are autonomous from state control (unions, churches, civic movements, co-operatives, neighbourhoods, schools of thought, etc.) in order to impose effective limits (i.e. social controls) on markets and the state ―an approach which is both a-historical and utopian. It is a-historical, since it ignores the structural changes, which have led to the present neoliberal consensus and the internationalised market economy. And it is utopian because it is in tension with both the present internationalised market economy and the state. So, enhancing the civil society institutions has no chance whatsoever of either putting an end to the concentration of power, or of transcending the present multidimensional crisis. This conclusion may be derived from the fact that the implicit, and sometimes explicit, aim of civil societarians is to improve the functioning of existing institutions (state, parties, market), in order to make them more responsive to pressures from below when, in fact, the crisis is founded on the institutions themselves and not on their malfunctioning!
Finally, we may classify as reformist all those postmodernist politics currently in fashion ―although the term “strategy,” again, is rather relevant here as all postmodern movements are clearly reformist today aiming at reforming the present institutional framework instead of replacing it with alternative forms of social organization. Thus, despite the clear universal character of the present institutional framework, no postmodern social movement today challenges the main political and economic institutions which constitute its universality: the system of the market economy and representative “democracy”. Instead, a basic axiom of all social movements influenced by postmodern ideas is their anti-universalism, which by definition excludes such movements from any form of antisystemic politics. The two main types of postmodern strategies are, first, the ‘alliance politics’ and second the “radical democracy” politics. Both these types of postmodern politics have as their main point of reference the “identity movements” (feminist, black, gay, etc.), as well as the Green movement.
The identity movements are in fact the outgrowth of the “new social movements” which reached their peak in the 1970s and have started to decline since the mid-1980s, when they began to be involved in what has been called “identity politics,” i.e. the kind of postmodern politics which implies a turn away from general social, political, and economic issues toward concerns with culture and identity. The conversion of potentially antisystemic movements into reformist ones was particularly striking with respect to the feminist movement (“insiders” vs. “outsiders”) and the Green movement (“realos” vs. “fundis”). Although both started out as radical modern movements with ‘universalist’ demands to change society as the only way to abolish the domination of man over woman and nature, the rise of neoliberal globalisation, i.e. of the neoliberal form of modernity, created the conditions for the conservative currents within these movements to become dominant and convert them into today’s fragmented “identity” reformist movements.
The identity politics movement is, today, the form of postmodern politics par excellence, as its politics of promoting the special interests of specific groups (feminist, gay, ethnic minorities and so on) fits well to the anti-universalist character of postmodern theory. Thus, today’s “identity” movements, despite the radical critique they raise against specific hierarchical structures (like those based on gender, race, sexual repression and repression of minorities), never advanced any comprehensive political project for systemic change ―their fragmented nature does not allow such a program anyway― but instead promoted cultural and personal identity issues. In fact, the postmodern strategy of alliances is the main form of Left politics today. However, it is obvious that, the lack of any common anti-systemic aim, in combination with the composition of such alliances (which would unavoidably consist of heterogeneous movements with sometimes conflicting aims), is bound to lead them across the well-trodden path of reformist politics that are hopelessly inadequate to deal with the multidimensional crisis we face in today’s’ internationalised market economy. This is the case of the alliances within the anti-globalisation “movement” or the movements against neoliberalism. It is clear that the strategy of alliances and coalitions between and amongst heterogeneous groups adopted by supporters of this strategy unavoidably leads to a fundamental lack of unity, even on short-term goals, as it becomes obvious by the fact that the only common objective of those supporting such alliances is a negative one (“anti”-globalisation or “anti”-neoliberalism) with no program for a future society and a long-term strategy. No wonder that as the issue of a universal social change is not even raised by supporters of this strategy, its potential is limited to the possibility of effecting some social reforms within the existing system of market economy and representative “democracy”.
Similarly, the “radical democracy” politics (Chantal Mouffe, et. al.) aims at embracing the “new social movements”/identity movements as multiple sources of “radical” change that can bring about “radical democracy” and at the same time integrate the “politics of difference”. However, as I attempted to show elsewhere, the conception of radical democracy involves in effect a process of “extending and deepening” the present political and economic “democracy,” which is based on the separation of society from polity and Nature, within a system founded on the market economy and representative “democracy”. So, the radical democracy approach is par excellence a reformist approach.
The Green movement and the de-growth approach
As regards the Green movement in particular, the dominant trends within the Green movement today do not challenge the fundamental institutions of the market economy and representative “democracy” but, instead, either adopt a mix of the reformist socialdemocratic and civil societarian strategies I examined above (Europe) or, alternatively, stress the importance of changing cultural values, which they consider as being amenable to change even within the existing institutional framework (USA). Therefore, the Green movement has abdicated any antisystemic or liberatory role and today is, directly or indirectly, reformist. Directly, in the case of parliamentary Green parties and Red-Green organisations, and indirectly in the case of movements like deep ecology which emphasise “spiritual change over political and social change, and the cultivation of a reverential consciousness or sensibility about the natural world rather than organization and movement building”.
Similar considerations apply to the most recently developed Green movement, the de-growth movement, which aims at a non-growth society to replace the present growth economy and society I mentioned. This implies going beyond the economy by challenging its domination of present life, in theory and in practice, and above all in our minds. As I tried to show elsewhere, the degrowth approach in fact represents a synthesis between the antisystemic Green approaches of the German “fundos,” which have nowadays almost completely disappeared, and the reformist approaches of the mainstream Green parties, which have by now proven bankrupt. The problem therefore with this approach is that it tries to reconcile two irreconcilable approaches and this is reflected in both its conception of the causes of the rise of the growth economy and consequently its transition strategy. As regards the causes of the growth economy, it is clear that the rise of this sort of economy and society is not just the outcome of domination of specific imaginary significations or values, as the degrowth approach suggests, but the outcome of social struggle on the one hand and technological (including organisational) and socio-economic developments on the other. In other words, the rise of the growth economy and society cannot simply be reduced to the emergence of the Enlightenment idea of Progress and the consequent rise of the ‘imaginary’ of growth and so on. As regards the transition strategy, it is clear that moving to an ecological democracy and de-growth is not just a matter of “a paradigm shift to a concept of «right-sizing» the global and national economies”, or just of a change in culture in the form of a cultural revolution, a change in the legal system, etc. In fact, a change in culture at a significant social scale is impossible within the present institutional framework of a market economy and its political complement of representative ‘democracy’ because the institutions themselves, and the way of living implied by them, have created a corresponding kind of culture. Such a change in culture at a significant social scale can only take place within the context of a new political strategy that comprises the gradual involvement of increasing numbers of people in a new kind of politics and the parallel shifting of economic resources (labour, capital, land) away from the market economy, and this presupposes a universalist political project, like the ID project, which explicitly questions both the capitalist market economy and representative “democracy” ―something that the de-growth approach never does.
2. The antisystemic strategies to transition
The common characteristic of antisystemic strategies is that they all aim, through a revolutionary change (violent or peaceful) to a “systemic” transformation of society that involves the replacement of the present political, economic and social institutions with new forms of social organisation. The main antisystemic strategies still around in the West are the statist socialist strategy, the libertarian strategy and the Inclusive Democracy strategy. There are also several “hybrid” antisystemic approaches, in the sense that they are at the boundaries between reformist and antisystemic approaches, which I’ll consider briefly, the Trotskyite approach I will call “reformism-as-a-strategy” and the Chomskyite approach I will call “statist anarchosyndicalism”.
The statist socialist strategy of revolution “from above”
This strategy is very much a product of modernity and of the growing realisation among activists in the middle of the 19th century, who absorbed the lessons that oppressed groups learned from the suppression of the 1848 uprisings, that “spontaneous” uprisings cannot lead to a systemic transformation. It was this realisation that led to the creation of the first organised antisystemic movements. The Marxist-Leninist tradition of statist socialism is a classical example of a strategy aiming at a “revolution from above” and despite attempts by today’s Marxists to differentiate between Marx and Lenin on the issue of strategy, in fact, the sperms of Leninist totalitarianism, which culminated in Stalinism, can be found in Marx’s thought itself and in particular the very idea that the only way to a communist society is through the conquest of state power by a victorious proletariat and the establishment of a proletarian state that would preside over a rapid development of productive forces that would lead to the abolition of scarcity ―which, as I attempted to show elsewhere, is in fact a myth depending on an objective definition of “needs”. This, combined with the Marxist attempt to convert the socialist project into an “objective” science of social change, had inevitably led to Lenin’s conclusion that socialist consciousness could only come “from without”. No wonder that, as Marcuse aptly stressed, “a straight road seems to lead from Lenin’s «consciousness from without», and his notion of the centralised authoritarian party, to Stalinism”. In other words, the combination of the Marxist conversion of the socialist project into an “objective” science with the Leninist strategy of organising the vanguard on the basis of “democratic centralism” (a principle ensuring the power of a small party elite over the entire movement) proved lethal, as it decisively contributed to the establishment of new hierarchical structures, initially, in the socialist movement and, later in society at large.
The “reformism-as-a-strategy” approach
A hybrid of the statist socialist strategy is its Trotskyite version I call the “reformism-as-a-strategy” approach, which is usually used by Trotskyites of various sorts, but is also supported today by some self-declared “libertarians” or even “anarchists”. This strategy represents the old Marxist strategy of pressing for reformist demands in the expectation that the elites will be unable to meet them, so that the ensuing crisis would set in motion a dynamics that will lead to the radicalisation of consciousness and, possibly, to a “revolutionary situation”. Although, theoretically, this is an anti-systemic approach, in practice it ends up as a reformist trend ―something that it is indicated, also, by the fact that supporters of this trend deliberately pursue a strategy of alliances with supporters of pure reformist trends (social democrat trade unionists, NGOs, environmentalists, etc). Obviously, such “unholy alliances” are feasible exactly because supporters of this trend do not propose any anti-systemic political project, but restrict themselves to purely reformist demands. However, the potential of this strategy to radicalise consciousness and bring about a liberatory society has already been shown in History when similar strategies had invariably led to a reformist mentality and reforms which were easily reversible. This was the case in West Europe, where the bulk of the labour movement, as a result of such strategies, developed a reformist mentality, while the old socialdemocratic parties were converted into today’s social-liberal parties which currently are busy in building a neoliberal form of modernity. This is the inevitable outcome of the fact that a strategy based on reformist demands is, by its nature, incapable of creating a mass anti-systemic consciousness, let alone a really democratic one that can only be created within a long process of “democracy in action,” which would eventually lead to an Inclusive Democracy, as we shall see next.
The libertarian strategy of revolution “from below”
The 19th century socialist split, which reached its climax in the dispute between Marx and Bakunin within the First International, led, on the one hand, to the emergence of the statist socialist strategy that we just discussed and, on the other, the libertarian strategy. Today, almost a century and a half since this debate, the socialist project is in ruins after the collapse of both versions of statist socialism i.e. the reformist socialdemocracy in the West and the revolutionary statist socialism in the East. Furthermore, despite the fact that libertarian socialism still remains untried, (after the most serious attempt to implement its principles during the Spanish Civil War was stifled by the fascist hordes, which were acting under the tolerant eye of Western “democracies”), the collapse of the statist version of socialism has not led to a revival of its libertarian version. Instead, the institutional framework defined by modernity (i.e. the market economy and representative “democracy”) has become universal and, consequently, the chronic multidimensional crisis (political, economic, ecological, social and cultural) which arose with the emergence of this institutional framework has also been universalised and exacerbated.
The libertarian strategy is one involving a “revolution from below”. As such, it aims at systemic change through the abolition of state power and the creation of workers’ associations (anarcho-syndicalism) or of federations of communes (anarcho-communism). So, the various trends within the anarchist movement (worker-oriented vs. community-oriented ) aim at revolution in order to abolish state power and transform society “from below,” rather than in order to conquest state power and transform society “from above,” as the statist socialist strategy does.
As regards anarcho-syndicalism in particular, its strategy advocated direct action by the working class to abolish the capitalist order, including the state, and to establish in its place a social order based on workers’ self-management. The reliance upon direct industrial action stemmed from a rejection of reforms achieved through the state that was considered an appendage of the capitalist system, as well as from the practical considerations that, outside the factory, political differences among workers would come into play, possibly hindering mass action whereas inside it, their similar employment status gave workers a sense of solidarity. The Anarcho-Syndicalists argued in favour of a militant form of trade unions dedicated to the destruction of capitalism and the state that would aim to take over factories and utilities, which would then be operated by the workers. To sustain militancy, an atmosphere of incessant conflict should be induced, and the culmination of this strategy should be the general strike.
However, although several general strikes, with limited objectives, were undertaken in France and elsewhere with varying success at the beginning of last century, the decisive general strike aimed at overthrowing the social order in a single blow was never attempted. So, the anarcho-syndicalist movement, after flourishing in France, chiefly between 1900 and 1914, and to a significant extent in Spain, Italy, England, the Latin-American countries, and elsewhere, by the beginning of the second World War had withered away. The major attempt for a revolution from below in Spain led to a civil war, where the superior means, organisation and efficiency of the fascist enemy (as well as of the statist socialists who undermined in every way possible the libertarian socialists) led to the suppression of libertarian socialists. In conclusion, the anarchosyndicalist movement is effectively dead today, as a result of the wider decline of the labour and the union movement following the decimation of traditional working class in today's neoliberal globalisation.For instance, in the “Group of 7” countries (minus Canada), the proportion of the active population employed in manufacturing fell by over a third between the mid-seventies and the mid-nineties ―a fact which had significant implications on the strength and significance of trade unions and social-democratic parties. Thus, in the US, trade unions have been decimated in just two decades, their membership falling from about 35 million to 15 million, while in Britain, 14 years of Thatcherism were enough to bring down trade union membership from 13.3 million in 1979 to under 9 million in 1993 and since then it has fallen to about 6.5 million now. Similar trends are observed in union membership in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway and even Sweden.
Chomsky’s “statist anarchosyndicalism”
As it is well known, Noam Chomsky (as well as his fellow self-professed “anarchists,” Michael Albert (the author of Parecon), Howard Zinn, Robin Hahnel, et. al., adopt a kind of “statist anarchosyndicalism” ―a self-contradictory term I deliberately chose to describe their views, in order to show the blatant inconsistency of such views with anarcho-syndicalism. An inconsistency, which prompted the most important anarchist theoretician of the post-World War period to declare with respect to Chomsky’s views for the devolution of US federal government:
“It’s a sad commentary that many self-styled leftists are now turning to the bourgeois Nation-State for redress from capital! The dumbing of the left has gone so far that someone like Chomsky, who professes to be an anarchist, wants to strengthen or at least support the centralised State against demands for its “devolution” to state governments, as though the centralised State could be used against the corporations, which it has always aided in the long run!”
In fact, very recently, Chomsky repeated these utterly inconsistent views with anarcho-syndicalism (in fact, with any kind of anarchism!) in an interview published in Albert’s Znet, in which he argued that :
“Advocacy requires more than just proposal. It means setting up your goals (proposal), but also sketching out a path from here to there (that's advocacy). And the path from here to there almost invariably requires small steps. It requires recognition of social and economic reality as it exists, and ideas about how to build the institutions of the future within the existing society, to quote Bakunin, but also to modify the existing society. That means steps have to be taken that accommodate reality, that don’t deny it’s existence.”
He then continues by extolling a British anarchist journal, accusing in the process for sectarianism those anarchists and libertarians in general, who do not just fight for “a more free and just society” (in good company with reformists of all kinds!), but for a really free and equal society:
“If you read its pages, most of it is concerned with mild reformist tactics. And that's not a criticism. It should be. It should be concerned with workers rights, with specific environmental issues, with problems of poverty and suffering, with imperialism, and so on. Yeah, that's what it should be concerned with if you want to advocate long-term, significant social change towards a more free and just society, and I can't think of any other way to be effective. Otherwise, the insistence on purity of proposal simply isolates you from effectiveness in activism, and even from reaching, from even approaching your own goals; and it does lead to the kind of sectarianism and narrowness and lack of solidarity and common purpose that I think has always been a kind of pathology of marginal forces, the left in particular. But it is particularly dangerous here.”
His conclusion is that workers:
“(…) can take over the workplaces, the factories. They can run them themselves. They can convert them. It's been done before, with much greater conversion, during the Second World War, to wartime production. They don't need state support for that, ‘cause that's the only institution that exists and the only one that people can influence. You can't influence a private tyranny. You can influence the government. It's often been done. It would take some support, but nowhere near as much as bailing out Goldman Sachs and so on. It would take some, it would take a lot of popular support, but it can be done.”
A cursory reading of this last extract creates the impression that Chomsky is in favour of the old anarcho-syndicalist strategy of workers occupying factories in a strategy to destroy capitalism and the state. However, a more careful reading of it and the entire interview makes it clear that this is, in fact, a false impression. Anarcho-syndicalists were talking in favour of a campaign of worker’s take-overs cumulating in a general strike, whereas Chomsky only talks about using the state against the corporations, with no word mentioned about a general strike! Furthermore, the fact that he refers to this strategy as an end in itself, (or at worst, as a means for reformist changes) becomes obvious not only by his support for reformist demands in the same interview but also by the fact that unless one makes a concrete proposal of how exactly occupied factories could function within the capitalist market economy ―as the ID project does which advocates the self-organisation of occupied factories etc outside the market economy so that they could become the stepping stone towards a new society― then, occupied factories would simply be a form of protest that could easily be smashed by the capitalist system and the state, as it happened frequently in History, the latest example being the 2000 Argentina crisis at the beginning of the millennium. Alternatively, we have to assume that Chomsky believes that the state, under the workers’ pressure, could support the occupied factories against the corporations! Therefore, on both counts, Bookchin’s view of Chomsky as a statist who professes to be an anarchist is fully justified.
Anarcho-communism and Libertarian Municipalism
The most recent development with respect to anarcho-communism is the strategy of Libertarian Municipalism (LM), which expresses the politics of social ecology that has been theorised by Murray Bookchin and recently codified by Janet Biehl. The main difference between this approach and anarcho-syndicalism is that unlike anarchosynicalists, modern anarcho-communists like Libertarian Municipalists do not see the working class, or the proletariat, as the emancipatoty subject. They envisage a community-based society, unlike anarcho-syndicalists who envisage a workers’ based society. The politics of LM is characterised by certain crucial philosophical and conceptual differences with respect to ID (which I examined elsewhere) and which imply different strategies for the transition to an alternative society. Thus, the LM strategy, as described by Bookchin, aims:
“(…) to transform and democratise city governments, to root them in popular assemblies, to knit them along confederal lines, to appropriate a regional economy along confederal and municipal lines.”
In other words, the goal is, as he put is elsewhere, to develop:
“(…) a public sphere ―and in the Athenian meaning of the term, a politics― that grows in tension and ultimately in a decisive conflict with the state.”
So, in the LM transitional strategy, there is no scope for the building of institutions of economic democracy and of democracy in the social realm, as a means of creating a rupture with the dominant social paradigm and generating the “majority” democratic consciousness that will lead to a confederal Inclusive Democracy. Instead, the entire LM strategy is based on the exclusive goal of “reclaiming the political realm”. This is the inevitable consequence of the fact that the LM project’s aim is to build a political democracy rather than an Inclusive Democracy, as in the ID project in which political democracy is only one component of Inclusive Democracy. In fact, Bookchin and Biehl are explicit on this when they state:
“Community ―cooperative food shops and cafes, communes, production collectives, and the like (…) are not in themselves libertarian municipalist institutions, since they are part of the social realm rather than the political realm. Nor, given the capitalist system in which they are embedded, can the persistence of their cooperative nature be relied upon.”
However, although it is true that such alternative economic institutions may easily be marginalized or integrated into the market economy, this would not necessarily happen, and particularly so when the activities of those involved in establishing and running such institutions constitute an integral part of an antisystemic transitional strategy with its own goals and means rather than simply some kind of “lifestyle anarchism”. Finally, the LM strategy does not involve the creation of an alternative political organisation, like the ID one, and relies instead on the creation of groups with the sole aim to ‘reclaim the political realm’ by functioning as catalysts for the creation of citizens’ assemblies ―a totally inadequate aim not only for the creation of an Inclusive Democracy but even for the creation of an ID consciousness.
In conclusion, the LM strategy could, at best, create a consciousness for political democracy and not for economic and ecological democracy, as well as a democracy in the social realm. The creation of such an ‘inclusive’ consciousness requires citizens to experience for themselves an Inclusive Democracy in practice and this can only be achieved if they take an active part in the establishment and in the running of alternative political, economic and social institutions, rather than simply political institutions, as LM suggests. In fact, all the above differences between the ID and the LM projects are the inevitable by product of the deep philosophical and conceptual differences between the two projects, which I have considered elsewhere.
Finally, as regards the guerrilla strategy, the only recent example which is worth noting is the case of the Zapatistas.
The guerrilla strategy and the Zapatistas
The first point one could notice about this movement is that, as Iain Watson stressed, it is basically “representing a politics of resistance to globalisation that cultivates a project of radical democracy.” One may, therefore argue that the Zapatista movement, far from aiming at creating new institutions to replace the present bankrupt institutional framework, simply proposes “deepening” representative “democracy” ―or, as Marcos put it in suggesting a similar conception, creating a “more balanced” representative “democracy” which would “enrich” itself with direct democracy, and a “different” globalisation, through the introduction of social controls on the market economy.
However, the very fact that the antiglobalisation movement, (as far as it was dominated by the reformist currents within it ―ATTAC, etc.), as well as the Zapatista movement itself, presently show clear signs of being marginalized, or worse, being integrated within the existing institutional framework, provides a clear illustration of how effective a politics of resistance to globalisation based on radical democracy conceptions is in drastically altering the course of neoliberal globalisation, let alone in functioning as a transitional strategy to an alternative society. No wonder that another analysis, far from characterising the Zapatistas as an anti-systemic movement, called it “the first ever postmodern guerrilla army,” given that their politics fits in perfectly, on the one hand, with the anti-universal character of postmodern politics, as the politics of promoting the special interests of specific groups (ethnic minorities in this case) and, on the other, with a general opposition to neoliberalism, as a kind of “bad policy” rather than as the inevitable outcome of the dynamics of market economy.
3. The Inclusive Democracy strategy to transition
If we accept the premise I described at the beginning that the ultimate cause of every aspect of the present crisis is the concentration of power at all levels, then the obvious way out of this crisis is the abolition of power structures and relations, i.e. the creation of conditions of equal distribution of power among citizens. One way which could bring about this sort of society is the strategy proposed by the Inclusive Democracy project that involves the creation of political, economic and social structures, which secure direct democracy, economic democracy, ecological democracy and democracy in the social realm. It also involves the creation of a new social paradigm, which has to become hegemonic for the reproduction of Inclusive Democracy to be secured.
Furthermore, the Inclusive Democracy project offers not only a meaningful and realistic way out of the present multidimensional crisis, but also a way of building a new globalisation, which is based on really democratic structures. The creation of a new world order based on an Inclusive Democracy involves the building of confederations of local, regional and national inclusive democracies. This will lead to a globalisation which will not be based on the unequal distribution of power and the domination of human being over human being and Nature, as under the present globalisation, but, instead, on the equal distribution of all forms of power between autonomous human beings and the elimination of all forms of domination. It will also be founded on a sustainable economic system, which meets the basic needs of the planet’s population, through a mechanism of allocation of resources between the confederations, within a planetary confederal plan of allocation of resources. Finally, meeting the non-basic needs would be determined at the local level, in a way that secures freedom of choice, whereas exchanges of surpluses between confederations would be arranged through multilateral agreements. In fact, the fight to create confederal IDs in our area, Southern Europe, could start here and now, as I proposed elsewhere, given that many people are already wondering whether the ultimate cause of the present crisis in Southern Europe is EU/EMU itself, which has to be replaced by a confederation of European peoples with similar economic, political and social problems as a first step towards the creation of a confederal ID.
The emancipatory subject in neoliberal modernity
But, the first crucial issue in discussing a transitional strategy for the 21st century is the following one: is there an emancipatory subject today and how we may define it?
Today, as I attempted to show elsewhere, we face the end of “traditional” antisystemic movements which were basically questioning one form of power or another, as the basis of power relations/ structures. What we need instead is a new antisystemic movement which will question power itself, in the sense of its unequal distribution ―the essence of heteronomy. In other words, what is needed today is a new type of antisystemic movement which should challenge heteronomy itself, rather than simply various forms of heteronomy, as used to be the case with the “traditional” antisystemic movements which considered the unequal distribution of one particular form of power as the basis of all other forms of power: of economic power (statist socialist movements); or, of political power (libertarian movements); or finally of social power (feminist movements etc.). Therefore, the issue is to challenge the inequality in the distribution of every form of power, in other words, power relations and structures themselves.
So, the collapse of the traditional antisystemic movements is the first reason which raises the need for a new type of antisystemic movement. A second reason, which is related to the first one and justifies further the need for such a movement, is the fact that today we face not simply the end of the traditional antisystemic movements but also of traditional Marxist class divisions. However, the fact that we face today the end of class politics does not mean that there is no “system” anymore as such, or “class divisions” for that matter. What it does mean is that today we face new “class divisions”. Thus, in the ID problematique, the phasing out of economic classes in the Marxist sense simply signifies the death of traditional class divisions and the birth of new “holistic” class divisions, i.e. divisions which are located in the power structures of the socio-economic system itself and not just to some aspects of it, like economic relations alone, or alternatively gender relations, identity politics, values and so on. In other words, the present social divisions between dominant and subordinate social groups in the political sphere (professional politicians versus the rest of the citizenry), the economic sphere (company owners, directors, managers versus workers, clerks, etc.) and the broader social sphere (men versus women, blacks versus whites, ethnic majorities versus minorities and so on) are based on institutional structures that reproduce an unequal distribution of power and on the corresponding cultures and ideologies, (i.e. the “dominant social paradigm”).
In today’s society, the main structures which institutionalise the unequal distribution of power are the market economy and representative “democracy,” although other structures which institutionalise the unequal distribution of power between sexes, races, ethnicities, etc. cannot just be “reduced” to these two main structures. So, the replacement of these structures by institutions securing the equal distribution of political, economic and social power within an Inclusive Democracy is the necessary condition (though not the sufficient one) for the creation of a new culture that would eliminate the unequal distribution of power between all human beings, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Therefore, the attempt by Greens, feminists and other supporters of the politics of difference and identity to change culture and values first, as a way of changing some of the existing power structures, (rather than being engaged in a fight to replace all the structures which reproduce the unequal distribution of power and, within this struggle, create the values that would support the new structures), is doomed to marginalisation and failure, with (at best) some reforms being achieved on the way.
It is therefore clear that, although it is not meaningful to talk anymore about monolithic class divisions, this does not rule out the possibility that, when the social groups which belong to the emancipatory subject as defined below develop a shared consciousness about the values and institutions which create and reproduce structures of unequal distribution of power, they may unite, primarily, not against the dominant social groups as such, but against the hierarchical institutional framework and those defending it. The unifying element which may unite members of the subordinate social groups around a liberatory project like the ID project is their exclusion from various forms of power ―an exclusion which is founded on the unequal distribution of power that today’s institutions and corresponding values establish. This brings us to the crucial question facing any transitional strategy: the “identity” of the emancipatory subject or as it used to be called the “revolutionary subject”.
All antisystemic strategies in the past were based on the assumption that the revolutionary subject is identified with the proletariat, although in the last century several variations of this approach were suggested to include in the revolutionary subject peasants and later on students. However, the ‘systemic changes’ that marked the shift from statist modernity to neoliberal modernity and the associated class structure changes, as well as the parallel ideological crisis, meant the end of traditional class divisions, as I mentioned above ―although not the end of class divisions as such― as social-liberals suggest. Still, some in the radical Left, despite the obvious systemic changes, insist on reproducing the myth of the revolutionary working class, usually by redefining it in sometimes tautological ways. At the same time, writers on the libertarian Left like Bookchin and Castoriadis moved to a position according to which, in defining the emancipatory subject, we have to abandon any “objective criteria” and assume that the whole of the population (“the people”) is just open-or closed-to a revolutionary outlook. Finally, postmodernists replace class divisions with identity differences and substitute fragmentation and difference for the “political system”. This has inevitably led to a situation where the systemic unity of capitalism, or its very existence as a social system, is denied and “instead of the universalist aspirations of socialism and the integrative politics of the struggle against class exploitation, we have a plurality of essentially disconnected particular struggles which ends in a submission to capitalism”.
In the ID problematique, what we need today is a new paradigm which, while recognising the different identities of the social groups which constitute various sub-totalities (women, ethnic minorities, etc.), at the same time acknowledges the existence of an overall socio-economic system that secures the concentration of power at the hands of various elites and dominant social groups within society as a whole. Such a paradigm is the Inclusive Democracy paradigm which does respond to the present multiplicity of social relations (gender, ethnicity, race, and so on) with complex concepts of equality in the distribution of all forms of power that acknowledge people’s different needs and experiences. In fact, the main problem in emancipatory politics today is how all the social groups, which potentially form the basis of a new emancipatory subject, would be united by a common worldview, a common paradigm, which sees the ultimate cause of the present multidimensional crisis in the present structures that secure the concentration of power at all levels, as well as the corresponding value systems. In this problematique, given the broad perspective of the project for an Inclusive Democracy, a new movement aiming at an Inclusive Democracy should appeal to almost all sections of society, apart of course from the dominant social groups, i.e. the ruling elites and the privileged social groups.
Thus, the economic democracy component of the ID project should primarily appeal to the main victims of the internationalised market economy, i.e. the underclass and the marginalized (the unemployed, blue collar workers, low-waged white collar workers, part-timers, occasional workers, farmers who are phased out because of the expansion of agribusiness), as well as students ―the prospective members of the professional middle classes― who see their dreams for job security disappearing fast in the “flexible” labour markets being built. It should also appeal to a significant part of the new middle class which, unable to join the “overclass,” i.e. the upper middle class, lives under conditions of constant insecurity, particularly in countries of the South, as the Argentinean crisis showed .
The political democracy component of the ID project should appeal to all those who are presently involved in local, single-issue movements for the lack of anything better. As even the theoreticians of social-liberalism recognise, although confidence in professional politicians and government institutions is in drastic decline, the decay of parliamentary politics is not the same thing as depoliticisation. This is obvious by the parallel growth of new social movements, NGOs, citizens’ initiatives, etc. No wonder that the “small group movement” (i.e. small numbers of people meeting regularly to promote their common interest) is thriving with 40 percent of the population in the USA ―some 75 million Americans― belonging to at least one small group, while in the UK self-help and environmental groups have in recent years expanded rapidly. Although this celebrated expansion of the “civil society” is concentrated in the new middle class, still, this is an indication of a thirst for a genuine democracy in which everybody counts in the decision-taking process. Furthermore, given that the scope for citizen participation is presently restricted to single issues, it is not surprising that it is single issue movements and organisations which flourish. In other words, one may argue that the expansion of the small group movement indicates, in fact, a move from pseudo-democracy at the national level ―in which the system of representation nullifies collective participation― to pseudo-democracy at the local level ―in which important political and economic decisions are still left to the political and economic elites but at the same time, in a kind of “sub-politics,” citizen bodies in the “active” civil society claim a right to take decisions on side issues, or local issues.
Finally, the ecological component of the ID project, as well as the one related to “democracy at the social realm,” should appeal to all those concerned about the effects of concentration of power on the environment and to those oppressed by patriarchal and other hierarchical structures in today’s society.
So, to sum it up, it is necessary that the new political organisation is founded on the broadest political base possible. To my mind, this means a broad spectrum of antisystemic activists, involving antiglobalisation activists, radical ecologists, supporters of the autonomy project, libertarian socialists, radical feminists, libertarian leftists and every other activist that adopts the democratic project. The ID project should appeal to all those antisystemic activists given its broad social appeal to the vast majority of the population. Thus, the following social groups could potentially be the basis of a new “liberatory subject” for systemic change:
- the victims of the market economy system in its present internationalised form, i.e. the unemployed, low-waged, farmers under extinction, occasionally employed, etc.,
- those citizens, particularly in the “middle groups,” who are alienated by the present statecraft which passes as “politics” and already claim a right of self-determination through the various local community groups,
- workers, clerks, etc. who are exploited and alienated by the hierarchical structures at the workplace,
- women, who are alienated by the hierarchical structures both at home and the workplace and yearn for a democratised family based on equality, mutual respect, autonomy, sharing of decision-making and responsibilities, emotional and sexual equality,
- ethnic or racial minorities, which are alienated by a discriminatory “statist” democracy that divides the population into first and second class citizens, and
- all those concerned about the destruction of the environment and the accelerating deterioration in the quality of life, who are presently organised in reformist ecological movements, marginalized eco-communes, etc.
There is no doubt that several of these groups may see at the moment their goals as conflicting with those of other groups (middle groups vis-à-vis the groups of the victims of the internationalised market economy and so on). However, as I mentioned above, the ID project does offer a common paradigm consisting of an analysis of the causes of the present multidimensional crisis in terms of the present structures that secure the unequal distribution of power and the corresponding values, as well as the ends and means that would lead us to an alternative society.
Therefore, the fight to build a movement inspired by this paradigm, which to be successful has to become an international movement, is urgent as well as imperative, so that the various social groups which form the new liberatory subject could function as the catalyst for a new society that would reintegrate society with polity and the economy, humans and Nature. So, having defined the emancipatory subject how we can describe the ID transitional strategy?
A long-term strategy for a confederal Inclusive Democracy
The project for an Inclusive Democracy offers not only a realistic vision of an alternative society, really missing today after the collapse of statist socialism, but also a long-term strategy and a short-term programme that will lead us to this society. But let us first examine the rationale behind the proposed transitional strategy, which is based on the lessons History has taught us.
In fact, if there is one lesson History taught us, this is that the basic cause of failure of previous, revolutionary or reformist, attempts aiming at a systemic change was exactly the significant unevenness in the level of consciousness, in other words, the fact that all past revolutions had taken place in an environment where only a minority of the population had broken with the dominant social paradigm. This gave the golden opportunity to various elites to turn one section of the people against another (e.g. Chile), or led to the development of authoritarian structures for the protection of the revolution (e.g. French or Russian Revolutions), frustrating any attempt for the creation of structures of equal distribution of power. However, for a revolution, to be truly successful, a rupture with the past is presupposed, both at the subjective level of consciousness and at the institutional level. Still, when a revolution in the past was “from above,” it had a good chance to achieve its first aim, to abolish state power and establish its own power, but, exactly because it was a revolution from above, with its own hierarchical structures etc., it had no chance to change the dominant social paradigm but only formally, i.e. at the level of the official (compulsory) ideology. On the other hand, although the revolution from below has always been the correct approach to convert people democratically to the new social paradigm, it suffered in the past from the fact that the uneven development of consciousness among the population did not allow revolutionaries to achieve even their very first aim of abolishing state power. Therefore, the major problem with systemic change has always been how it could be brought about, from below, but by a majority of the population, so that a democratic abolition of power structures could become feasible. The ID strategy does offer a solution to this crucial problem.
However, the main aim of direct action, as well as of the participation in local elections, the two main forms of activity suggested by the ID project, is not just the conquest of power, but the rupture of the socialisation process and therefore the creation of a democratic majority “from below,” which will legitimise the new structures of Inclusive Democracy. Given this aim, it is obvious that participation in national elections is a singularly inappropriate means to this end, since, even if the movement for an Inclusive Democracy does win a national election, this will inevitably set in motion a process of ‘revolution from above’. This is because the rupture in the socialisation process can only be gradual and in continuous interaction with the phased implementation of the program for the Inclusive Democracy, which, for the reasons mentioned above, should always start at the local level. On the other hand, an attempt to implement the new project through the conquest of power at the national level does not offer any opportunity for such an interaction between theory and practice and for the required homogenisation of consciousness with respect to the need for systemic change.
Thus, the ID strategy involves the building of a mass programmatic libertarian political movement, like the old socialist movement, with an unashamedly universalist goal to change society along genuine democratic lines, beginning here and now. Therefore, such a movement should explicitly aim at a systemic change, as well as at a parallel change in our value systems. This strategy would entail the gradual involvement of increasing numbers of people in a new kind of politics and the parallel shifting of economic resources (labour, capital, land) away from the market economy. The aim of such a strategy should be to create changes in the institutional framework, as well as to value systems, which, after a period of tension between the new institutions and the state, would, at some stage, replace the market economy, representative ‘democracy’, and the social paradigm “justifying” them, with an Inclusive Democracy and a new democratic paradigm respectively.
This is because, as systemic change requires a rupture with the past, which extends to both the institutional and the cultural level, such a rupture is only possible through the development of a new political organisation and a new comprehensive political program for systemic change that will create a clear anti-systemic consciousness at a massive scale. This is in contrast to the statist socialist strategy, which ends up with the creation of a clear anti-systemic consciousness only with respect to an avant-garde, or to the life-style activities which, if they create any antisystemic consciousness at all, it is restricted to the few members of various libertarian “groupuscules”. However, the creation of a new culture, which has to become hegemonic before the transition to an Inclusive Democracy could be effected, is only possible through the parallel building of new political and economic institutions at a significant social scale. In other words, it is only through action to build the new institutions that a mass political movement with a democratic consciousness can be built.
Such a strategy creates the conditions for the transition, both the “subjective” ones, in terms of developing a new democratic consciousness and the “objective” ones, in terms of creating the new institutions which will form the basis of an Inclusive Democracy. At the same time, the establishment of these new institutions will crucially assist here and now the victims of the concentration of power and particularly, the victims of neoliberal globalisation in solving the problems of inequality created by it.
Thus, people who today are alienated from all forms of power, particularly political and economic power, would have every incentive to be involved in such a movement and vote in local elections for the establishment of “democracy in action” in their area. They will be fully aware of the fact that problems like unemployment and poverty could only be solved within the ID institutions (demotic enterprises, demotic welfare, etc.). They will also know that problems like air/water/food pollution could only be sorted out effectively, and at a massive social scale, if citizens start taking control of local power within the ID institutions rather than in the context of communes outside the main political and social arena. They will finally know that unless they get hold of political power at the local level and then, through confederations of local IDs, at the regional level, they will never be able to control their lives. In other words, people will be involved in a struggle for the establishment of the ID institutions not out of hunger for an abstract notion of self-management or democracy but because, through their own action, they will be able to see that the cause of all their problems (economic, social, ecological) has been due to the fact that power has been concentrated in a few hands.
The objective, therefore, of an ID strategy is the creation from below, of “popular bases of political and economic power,” that is, the establishment of local inclusive democracies, which, at a later stage, will confederate in order to create the conditions for the establishment of a new confederal Inclusive Democracy. Therefore, a crucial element of the ID strategy is that the political and economic institutions of Inclusive Democracy begin to be established immediately after a significant number of people in a particular area have formed a base for “democracy in action” ―something that, most probably, could only be achieved at the massive social scale required through winning in local elections under an ID program.
But, what sort of strategy can ensure the transition toward an Inclusive Democracy? A general guiding principle in selecting an appropriate transitional strategy is consistency between means and ends. Obviously, a strategy aiming at an Inclusive Democracy cannot be achieved through the use of non-democratic political practices, or individualistic activities. Furthermore, as we have seen above, it should not be restricted to the fight against the present system, but it should also “prefigure” the future one.
Thus, as regards first the fight against the present system, I think there should be no hesitation in supporting all those struggles which can assist in making clear the repressive nature of statist democracy and the market economy, i.e. all types of collective action in the form of class conflicts between the victims of the internationalised market economy and the ruling local elites, or the transnational elite which ‘manages’ the internationalised market economy. However, the systemic nature of the causes of such conflicts should be stressed at each step and this task obviously cannot be left to the bureaucratic leaderships of trade unions and other traditional organisations. This is the task of workplace assemblies that form an integral part of a movement towards an Inclusive Democracy, which could confederate and take part in such struggles, as part of a broader democratic movement which is based on demoi and their confederal structures. Also, activists participating in the ID movement should obviously take part in direct action activities against neoliberal globalisation, or against the serious undermining of political freedoms that has been institutionalised under the pretext of the “war against terrorism,” in alliance with other radical antisystemic groups ―provided of course that, in doing so, they express the ID problematique and raise the demands which are consistent with it.
Similarly, as regards “prefiguring” the future system, activities like Community Economic Development projects, self-managed factories, housing associations, LETS schemes, communes, self-managed farms and so on should also be supported ―provided however, again, that they form part of a programmatic political movement with clear goals, means and strategies for systemic change, like the ID movement. If this condition is not met we simply talk about reforms and life-style activities!
The significance of local elections
Contesting local elections does provide the most effective means to massively publicise a programme for an Inclusive Democracy, as well as the opportunity to initiate its immediate implementation on a significant social scale. In other words, contesting local elections is not just an educational exercise, but also an expression of the belief that it is only at the local level that direct and economic democracy can be founded today, although of course local Inclusive Democracies have to be confederated to ensure the transition to a confederal democracy. It is exactly because the demos is the fundamental social and economic unit of a future democratic society that we have to start from the local level to change society. Therefore, participation in local elections is an important part of the strategy to gain power, in order to dismantle it immediately afterwards, by substituting the decision-taking role of the assemblies for that of the local authorities, the day after the election has been won. Furthermore, contesting local elections gives the chance to start changing society from below, something that is the only democratic strategy, as against the statist approaches that aim to change society from above through the conquest of state power, and the ‘civil society’ approaches that do not aim at a systemic change at all.
Thus, once the institutions of Inclusive Democracy begin to be installed, and people, for the first time in their lives, start obtaining real power to determine their own fate, then the gradual erosion of the dominant social paradigm and of the present institutional framework will be set in motion. A new popular power base will be created. Town by town, city by city, region by region will be taken away from the effective control of the market economy and statist forms of organisation (national or international), their political and economic structures being replaced by the confederations of democratically run communities. An alternative social paradigm will become hegemonic and the break in the socialisation process ―the precondition for a change in the institution of society― will follow. A dual power in tension with the statist forms of organisation will be created which ultimately may or may not lead to confrontation with the ruling elites depending on the balance of power that would have developed by then. Clearly, the greater the appeal of the new institutions to citizens the smaller the chance that the ruling elites will resort to violence to restore the power of the state and the market economy institutions on which their own power rests.
A new type of politics and political organisation
It is, therefore clear, that we need a new type of politics which would comprise the creation of local inclusive democracies, i.e. the creation of a new public realm that would involve citizens as citizens taking decisions on broad political, economic and social matters within the institutional framework of demotic assemblies; citizens as workers taking decisions on the running of demotic enterprises within the institutional framework of workplace assemblies; citizens as students taking decisions on the running of colleges and schools, etc. This new Politics requires a new type of political organisation which will play the role of the catalyst for its emergence. So, what form should this new political organisation take and how can we go about to create it?
It is also clear that we need a new type of political organisation which should itself mirror the desired structure of society. This would not be the usual political party, but a form of ‘democracy in action’, which would undertake various forms of intervention at the local level, always as part of a comprehensive program for social transformation aiming at the eventual change of each local authority into an Inclusive Democracy. So, unlike traditional organisations of the Left, the aim should not just be to take part in defensive struggles against the system to raise consciousness so that a take over of power from above eventually takes place to build the new ID institutions. Instead, the main aim should be that the new organisation should function as the catalyst for building the new institutions here and now, which would lead to the establishment of a New World Order based on an Inclusive Democracy as a form of social organisation that re-integrates society with economy, polity and nature within an institutional framework that secures the necessary conditions for the equal distribution of all forms of power. This involves the creation of institutions of:
political democracy (direct democracy), which are based on processes securing that all political decisions (including those relating to the formation and execution of laws) are taken by the citizen body (the demos) collectively and without representation, as well as on structures institutionalising the equal distribution of political power,
economic democracy, in which the demoi control the economic process, within an institutional framework of demotic ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, beyond the confines of the market economy and central planning,
democracy in the social realm, in which all public realm institutions in which collective decisions can be taken (e.g. workplaces, educational places, cultural institutions, etc.) are self-managed under the overall control of the demoi, whereas personal relations are based on a value system which is compatible with the overall democratic institutions of society, i.e. a value system based on the principles of individual and social autonomy and solidarity that rules out any form of domination based on sex, race, ethnicity, cultural differences, sexual orientation, etc., and
ecological Democracy, in which the ID institutional framework and the value system which is compatible with it secure the necessary conditions for the reintegration of society and nature.
Therefore, the transition to an Inclusive Democracy should include steps to move society towards each of the above components of it. The local ID groups/organisation should formulate a comprehensive program for social change which would elaborate for their area the overall objective to create a different form of social organisation, based on an Inclusive Democracy. In other words, the program should make absolutely clear that the ultimate objective of the various proposals included in it is the replacement of the present oligarchic structure with an Inclusive Democracy, as defined above. This implies that such a program should be fought for, not just as a kind of new politics, but as the political structure itself leading to an Inclusive Democracy. But, let’s see how we may envisage the transition to each component of an Inclusive Democracy.
Transition to political democracy
The programme for the transition to an Inclusive Democracy that the local ID groups/organisation will formulate, starting from demands that mobilise people around their immediate concerns, should express the basic aims of an Inclusive Democracy. However, it should be stressed that all the steps described below do not aim to achieve some sort of reform of the existing institutions of political and economic power, i.e. the system of the market economy and parliamentary “democracy”. This is why each “transitional” demand (e.g. for greater decentralisation) should be accompanied by a statement by the ID groups/organisation which would connect the particular demand to the long-term goal of Inclusive Democracy. The ID movement is an “antisystemic” and not a reformist movement and it will attempt to achieve all its goals through peaceful means, although at some stage it may come under violent attack by the ruling elites, in which case of course it will have to defend itself. However, the more ‘hegemonic’ the ID social paradigm is the more difficult it will be for the ruling elites to impose their will by force. So, the basic aims the local ID should express are:
a) to develop an “alternative consciousness” as regards methods of solving the political, economic, social and ecological problems in a democratic way. It should therefore connect today’s multidimensional crisis to the present socio-economic system and the need to replace it with a confederal Inclusive Democracy, and
b) to make proposals on how to start building the political, economic and social institutions themselves that would lead to an Inclusive Democracy. It should therefore propose measures that could lead both to greater political and economic self-reliance and to democratic procedures in taking decisions affecting the citizens’ life.
Concerning (a), that is, the aim of creating an alternative consciousness, the program should stress why representative “democracy” has nothing to do with the original meaning of democracy and was in fact an American invention whose real aim was the dilution of popular power. In representative “democracy” people abdicate their power to elected (with the massive help of the economic elite and the mass media controlled by it) professional politicians who are committed to a few vague generalities (as regards the people) in contrast to the specific policies they promise to carry out (as regards the economic elite which effectively elects them). The only “power” given to the people in such a system is to change every four years or so one gang of professional politicians with another to carry out the same, in effect, policies, particularly in today’s system of neoliberal globalisation when even the old differences between political parties have effectively disappeared. As the May 1968 graffiti summarised representative “democracy”: “it is painful to submit to our bosses; it is even more stupid to choose them!”
The ID program should show that not only political alienation, but also problems like unemployment, poverty and work alienation, as well as poor quality of life, pollution and environmental destruction, and problems of gender/race, etc., discrimination and cultural homogenisation are all connected to a system based on the concentration of political, economic and social power in the hands of elites that represent a very small proportion of the population. The relationship of each of the main institutions of society to these problems should be particularly stressed. Thus, it should be shown for instance that the market allocation of resources leads to maldevelopment, unemployment and poverty; the private ownership of productive resources does not allow any economic democracy to flourish, but instead leads to economic and political oligarchy, the alienation of the vast majority of people with respect to their jobs, as well as the perpetuation of inequality; and the hierarchical organisation of society, both at the “macro” level (state) and the “micro” level (hierarchical relations at work, family, school, etc.) is incompatible with democracy in the social realm, autonomy and freedom.
Thus, a comprehensive program for social change should make clear that, contrary to what the reformist Left (and Chomsky!) suggests, the way out of the present multidimensional crisis is not by forcing the state to fight corporate interests but by creating a new public realm, a new pole of power, that would fight both the corporate interest and the state, i.e. both the market economy and representative “democracy”. Then, citizens, for the first time in their lives, will have a real power in determining their affairs, albeit partially at the beginning, of their own community. All this, in contrast to today's state of affairs when citizens supposedly have the power, every four years or so, to change the party in government but, in effect, they are given neither any real choice nor any way of imposing their will on professional politicians or economic elites. This becomes obvious, for instance, if one looks at the electoral programs of national parties, which are expressed in such broad and vague terms that they do not commit politicians to anything concrete.
As regards (b) the proposals on alternative political institutions, the ID groups/organisation, even before they have taken over power and established a demos in their area, but after they have become widely known locally (something that presupposes that they have already begun contesting local elections) should take various initiatives towards the establishment of a political (direct) democracy, such as:
the organisation of demotic assemblies to discuss important local issues. In large cities these assemblies could take the form of neighbourhood assemblies that would confederate and form the “city-confederal assembly” out of delegates from each neighbourhood assembly. This confederal assembly would eventually carry out the decisions of neighbourhood assemblies and take complementary decisions for the implementation of such decisions. In other words, the fundamental principle has to be established that it is actually the demotic assemblies that take decisions and the delegates in confederal assemblies never ‘represent’ citizens and formulate policies “on their behalf”. Delegates to the city-confederal have to be immediately recallable by the neighbourhood assemblies through the democratic procedures that they will establish. In the transitional period, the ID assemblies may elect, through local elections, their delegates to the city council which will convey their decisions to it,
the election of a “shadow town/city council,” i.e. of a council that will ‘shadow’ the activities of the official town/city council and make alternative proposals on its agenda. The shadow council will consist of delegates from the demotic assemblies and will make proposals on the basis of the general principles discussed in the assemblies. Members of the shadow council could be appointed as delegates to the official city council in order to express the views of the assemblies and eventually take over the old municipal authorities and replace them with the new ID institutions, and
the demand and fight for the greatest possible decentralisation of political power, as well as economic power (taxing/spending power, etc.) to the local level, given that decentralisation is the basis of organisation of an Inclusive Democracy.
Transition to economic democracy
As regards the aim of building alternative economic institutions leading to economic democracy, the programme should make clear why the taking over by the ID movement of several town/city councils could create the conditions for:
a) the drastic increase of the demos’ economic self-reliance,
b) the setting up of a demotic economic sector, i.e. a sector owned by the demos, and
c) the creation of a democratic mechanism for the confederal allocation of resources.
As I have described these conditions in detail elsewhere I shall only summarise them here.
Concerning self-reliance, there is significant Green literature on the matter, which however suffers from the basic drawback that it is reformist i.e. it aims to reform the market economy with the aim of greater self-reliance. However, an ID movement has to develop a transitional strategy for a radical decentralisation of power to the demoi with the explicit aim of replacing the present political and economic institutional framework. Steps in this direction could be the effort (which will be made easier when local power has been won) for the increase of:
local financial power, through the creation of Demotic Credit Unions (i.e. financial co-ops supported by the demos) to provide loans to their members for their personal and investment needs, as a first step in the creation of a demotic bank network; also LETS schemes could be introduced as a first step in the installation of a demotic credit card scheme, with the aim of covering the basic needs of all citizens through the use of locally produced goods and services,
local tax power, through tax decentralisation, i.e. the shift of taxing power from the national to the local level. Initially, new local taxes could be complementary to state taxes, but the ID movement should fight for tax decentralisation and the parallel introduction of a new demotic tax system (i.e. a tax system controlled by the demos) which could be used to: finance a program for the demoticisation of the local productive resources, providing employment opportunities for local citizens; finance a program for social spending that will cover the basic needs of all citizens; finance various institutional arrangements that will make democracy in the household effective (e.g. payment for work at home, for the care of children and the elderly, etc.); finance programs for the replacement of traditional energy sources with local energy resources, especially renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.); to penalise economically the anti-ecological activities of branches and subsidiaries of large corporations based in the area,
power to determine local production, through, initially the provision of financial incentives to local producers/shops/citizens in order to induce them to produce/sell/buy locally produced goods with the aim of breaking the chains of big manufacturers/distributors. At a later stage, the creation of demotic enterprises (i.e. enterprises owned by the demos) would give the power to the demos to increasingly take over production, and
power to cover the welfare needs of local citizens through the creation of a demotic welfare system, i.e. a welfare system controlled by the demos that would provide important social services (education, health, housing, etc.) locally, or regionally in cooperation with other demoi in the area. Such a system would, not only maximise the use of local productive resources, but also drastically reduce outside dependence.
So, the combined effect of the above measures will be to redistribute economic power within the community, in the sense of greater equality in the distribution of income and wealth. This, combined with the introduction of the democratic planning procedures (see below), should provide significant ground for the transition towards full economic democracy.
Coming next to (b), the creation of a demotic economic sector, this is a crucial step in the transition to an Inclusive Democracy, not only because of its importance with respect to economic democracy, but also because the establishment of self-managed productive units constitutes the foundation for workplace democracy. A demotic sector would involve new collective forms of ownership that would ensure control of production, not only by those working in the production units, but also by the demos. This could be achieved through the creation of:
demotic enterprises, i.e. productive units that could belong to the demos and be managed by the workers in those units, while their technical management (marketing, planning, etc.) could be entrusted to specialised personnel. However, the overall control over such enterprises should belong to the demotic assemblies that would supervise their production, employment and environmental policies ensuring that the “general social interest” rather than the particular interest of each demotic enterprise’s employees is pursued. Such enterprises may be established even before supporters of the Inclusive Democracy project take over a city/town council through the use, for instance, of land trusts, although it will be after local power has been won that such enterprises can flourish. These enterprises should be clearly distinguished from both the bureaucratic socialist enterprises and capitalist firms. This could be achieved by decentralisation of decision-making, within the framework of demos-owned but independently run co-ops. Thus, the demotic assembly could determine social and ecological targets that the demotic enterprise would have to achieve, whereas, the enterprise itself could be run by its employees. Their survival in the transitional period would depend on how successful the new political and economic institutions are in creating a new consciousness, which will make citizens more resistant to purely financial incentives. An important step in this direction would be that demotic enterprises would produce exclusively for the local market, with the use of local resources. This presupposes that demotic enterprises, unlike similar Green or lifestyle activities, would be part of a comprehensive program to demoticise the economy ―in other words, a program whose constituent elements are self-reliance, demotic ownership and confederal allocation of resources. The aim of this process is to gradually shift more and more human and non-human resources away from the market economy into the new “demotic” sector of the economy that would form the basis of an Inclusive Democracy. At the end of this process, the demotic enterprises would control the local economy and would be integrated into the confederation of demoi, which could then buy, or expropriate, privately owned big enterprises,
a network of demotic bank co-operatives, similar, for example, to the Basque network of the Caja Laboral Popular in Spain, which supports the Mondragon co-ops could be established before local power has been won. Only after local elections have been successfully contested in a number of cities/towns, then the possibility arises for the creation of demotic bank network owned and controlled by the demos. Thus, each city/town could have its own demotic bank that could be integrated into a regional and later a confederal network that could be used: to absorb local savings so that local eco-friendly investment projects could be financed that maximise local employment; to offer other specialised services that would allow the establishment and running of demotic enterprises by any interested social group in the area, which would not necessarily possess the required specialised knowledge (e.g. workers of bankrupt companies, unemployed, low-wage people, etc.); to undertake research on the type of production units to be established in the area, on the basis of criteria which would aim at the maximisation of local employment, of local (and consequently of confederal) economic self-reliance and productivity, as well as at the minimisation of the effects on the environment; to provide specialised services on planning the production layout, designing the workplace, manpower training, accounting systems, etc.
Finally, as regards (c), the transition to a Confederal Allocation of Resources, the fundamental problem that a strategy leading to a system of confederal allocation of resources faces is how to create such institutional arrangements for economic democracy that are compatible with an institutional framework that in the transitional stage is still a market economy. As the confederal allocation of resources was described in Towards An Inclusive Democracy, the system involves two basic mechanisms for the allocation of resources:
a) a democratic planning mechanism for most of the macro-economic decisions, (social autonomy element), and
b) a voucher or credit card system for most of the micro-economic decisions, which, by replacing the real market with an artificial one, would create conditions of freedom of choice (individual autonomy element).
It is clear that a full system of allocation of resources cannot be introduced before a full economic democracy in the form of a confederation of demoi has been introduced, although steps in this direction could be taken earlier (e.g. the demotic credit card scheme mentioned above). However, a democratic planning system is feasible even in the transitional period although, obviously, its decision-making scope would be seriously constrained by the market economy. Still, such a system could play a useful role in educating people in economic democracy and at the same time in creating the preconditions for individual and social autonomy.
However, for any democratic mechanism to be significant and to attract citizens in the decision-taking process, it is presupposed that the decisions themselves are important. It is, therefore, crucial that during the transition to an Inclusive Democracy the demos should be empowered with significant powers that would convert it into a coherent system of local taxation, spending and finance. Then, demotic assemblies could be empowered to make decisions affecting the economic life of the community, which would be implemented by the Town Council or some other relevant body, after it has been converted, formally or informally depending on the existing legal framework, into a body of recallable delegates.
Thus, the shift of tax power to the cities/towns, which should be a basic demand of an ID movement, would allow demotic assemblies to determine the amount of taxes and the way in which taxes would be charged on income, wealth, land and energy use, as well as on consumption. Demotic assemblies could, at annual intervals, meet and discuss various proposals about the level of taxation for the year to come in relation to the way the money collected by the demos should be spent. In this way, demotic assemblies would start taking over the fiscal powers of the state, as far as their demoi are concerned, although in the transitional period, until the confederation of demoi replaces the state, they would also be subject to the state fiscal powers.
Similar measures can be taken as regards the present state powers with respect to the allocation of financial resources. The introduction of a demotic banking system, in combination with demotic currencies, will give significant power to demotic assemblies to determine the allocation of financial resources in the implementation of the demos’ objectives (creating new enterprises, meeting ecological targets, etc.).
Finally, assemblies would have significant powers in determining the allocation of resources in the demoticised sector, namely, the demotic enterprises and the demotic welfare system. As a first step, demotic assemblies could introduce a credit card scheme with respect to social services, in which all residents in a demos will be credited with the necessary points to meet all their relevant needs, as determined by the demotic assembly. At a later stage, when a significant number of demoi have joined the confederation of inclusive democracies, demotic assemblies could expand this system to cover basic needs of all citizens, initially in parallel with the market economy ―until the latter is phased out.
Transition to democracy in the social realm
As I mentioned above, the transitional strategy should involve steps in the development of institutions establishing a “democracy at the social realm” (self-managed institutions in the workplace, the household, the place of education, etc.) and the values corresponding to it. This implies, that the ID groups, apart from participating in struggles for worker’s democracy, household democracy, democracy in educational institutions and so on, should initiate moves for the establishment of alternative institutions like the demotic enterprises, demotic clinics, schools, etc., which will be self-managed as described above. Furthermore, they should take steps to enhance self-management in existing institutions.
The creation of an alternative culture plays a crucial role in the process of creating a democratic Paedeia, i.e. a system of all-round education which forms the character of a democratic citizen and at the same time promotes the value system that is consistent with an Inclusive Democracy so that it occupies a hegemonic position in society. This is a completely different system from today’s system of education that constitutes a basic part of the socialisation process that produces disciplined individuals rather than free citizens. Similarly, the free expression of artists ―free from market or bureaucratic considerations― should be enhanced, in place of the present elite-controlled art activities.
In this context, a system of alternative self-managed media should be established, even before local power has been won, with the aim to present the news from the people rather than from the elites point of view. The alternative media established as part of the ID program would play a crucial role in developing an “alternative consciousness,” as regards the methods of solving the economic and ecological problems in a democratic way. They should highlight the systemic nature of today's economic and ecological crisis and make proposals on how to start building the new society. Once local power has been won, such alternative media should be converted into demotic media that will be under the overall control of the demotic assemblies.
In sum, a new culture for a democratic society should be promoted that will be characterised by very different values than those of a market economy. The values of heteronomy, competition, individualism and consumerism which are dominant today have to be replaced in a democratic society by the values of individual and collective autonomy, co-operation, mutual aid, solidarity and sharing.
Transition to ecological democracy
Finally, the transitional strategy should involve steps in the development of institutions and values which aim at the reintegration of society with Nature and the elimination of any human attempt to dominate the natural world. This implies, apart from participating in struggles against the activities of the political and economic elites which have resulted in the present ecological crisis, the initiation of moves for the establishment of alternative ‘eco-friendly’ institutions and renewable forms of energy. In fact, as I showed elsewhere, the establishment of the new political and economic institutions itself and particularly the drastic decentralisation that the new institutions involve is a crucial step in this direction, as it allows the development of new lifestyles, new patterns of work, production, energy use and consumption, which are perfectly compatible with the aim of an ecological democracy.
In conclusion, no one should have any illusions that the establishment of democracy will be a swift process, or that the implementation of a transitional strategy will not be the subject of a vicious attack by the elites controlling the state machine and the market economy. This process is bound to be a long one involving a huge popular movement, and will extend over an entire historical period. However, without underestimating the difficulties involved in the context of today’s perfected methods of brain control and economic violence, which, in fact, might prove more effective than pure state violence in suppressing a movement for an Inclusive Democracy, I think the proposed strategy is a realistic one on the way to a new society.
* This is the full text on which Takis Fotopoulos’ talk at the ID-Barcelona meeting, (April 11, 2010), was based.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “The Myth of Postmodernity,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 7, No. 1 (March 2001), pp. 27-76.
 Takis Fotopoulos, “The end of traditional antisystemic movements and the need for a new type of antisystemic movement today,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 7, No. 3 (November 2001), pp. 415-456.
 Anti-systemic social divisions are defined as those social divisions which explicitly or implicitly challenge the legitimacy of a hierarchical system that creates and reproduces the unequal distribution of power. See T. Fotopoulos, “Class Divisions Today: the Inclusive Democracy Approach,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 6, No. 2 (July 2000), pp. 211-252.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “Transitional strategies and the Inclusive Democracy project,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2002).
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy (London/NY: Cassell/Continuun, 1997), chs. 1 & 2, or Hacia Una Democracia Inclusiva (Montevideo: Nordan, 2002), cap. 1 & 2.
 ibid., chs. 1 & 4, or Hacia Una Democracia Inclusiva, cap. 1 & 4.
 T. Fotopoulos, “Welfare state or economic democracy?,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 5, No. 3 (November 1999), pp. 433-468.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “The Myth of Postmodernity,” and “The end of traditional antisystemic movements”.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “The Myth of Postmodernity”.
 T. Fotopoulos, “Is degrowth compatible with a market economy?,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 2007).
 Declaration of the Paris 2008 De-Growth Conference.
 See Fotopoulos, “Antisystemic movements”.
 See Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 198-99
 Vladimir Lenin, What Is to Be Done? (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967), cf. pp. 30-32.
 Herbert Marcuse, Soviet Marxism (London: Routledge, 1958), p. 147.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 85-100.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “Class Divisions Today: The Inclusive Democracy Approach”.
 Pakulski and Malcolm Waters, The Death of Class (London: Sage, 1996), p. 86.
 Murray Bookchin in an interview published in Janet Biehl’s, The Politics of Social Ecology (Montreal: Black Rose Press, 1998), pp 148-49.
 Noam Chomsky, “Cognitive Science & Anarchism” (Znet, 28/3/2010).
 See for instance Murray Bookchin, “Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview,” Society and Nature, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1992), pp. 93-104; “The meaning of confederalism,” Society and Nature, Vol. 1, No. 3 (1993), pp. 41-54, and “Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism,” Democracy and Nature (formerly Society and Nature), Vol. 3, No. 2 (1996), pp. 1-17.
 Janet Biehl, The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (Montreal: Black Rose Press, 1998).
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 328-340; see also Takis Fotopoulos, “Social Ecology, Eco-Communitarianism and Inclusive Democracy,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 5, No. 3 (November 1999), pp. 561-576.
 Murray Bookchin, “Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview,” Society and Nature, Vol. 1, No.1 (1992), p. 102.
 Murray Bookchin, “Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism,” Democracy and Nature (formerly Society and Nature), Vol. 3, No. 2 (1996)
 Biehl, The Politics of Social Ecology, ch. 7.
 ibid. p. 66; see also Bookchin’s interview in the same book.
 Biehl, The Politics of Social Ecology, ch. 7.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 328-340; see also Takis Fotopoulos, “Social Ecology, Eco-Communitarianism and Inclusive Democracy,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 5, No. 3 (November 1999), pp. 561-576.
 Iain Watson, “Reengaging radical democracy: An Examination of the Emiliano Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and New Political Participation,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2002).
 Marianne Duran de Huerta and Nick Higgins, “Interview With Zapatista Leader Subcommandante Marcos,” International Affairs 75 (April, 1999), pp. 269-281.
 Alexandros Gezerlis, “Latin America: Popular Movements in Neoliberal Modernity,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2002).
 See for a detailed description of an Inclusive Democracy Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, chs. 5-6, or Hacia Una Democracia Inclusiva, cap. 5-6.
 See T. Fotopoulos, “The Latin-Americanization of Greece and the lessons for the European South,” CNT, #368-369 (Junio-Julio 2010) (reprinted in this issue)
 See Fotopoulos, “The End of Traditional Antisystemic Movements”.
 See T. Fotopoulos, “Class Divisions Today: the Inclusive Democracy Approach”.
 See e.g. Mao Tse-Tung, “Report of an investigation of the peasant movement in Hunan” (March 1927) in Selected Readings from the works of Mao Tse-Tung (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1967).
 See for instance, Ernest Mandel, “The new vanguard” in Tariq Ali’s (ed.) The New Revolutionaries (New York: William Morrow & Co, 1969).
 See Fotopoulos, “The End of Traditional Antisystemic Movements”.
 See, for instance, Anthony Giddens, The Third Way (Oxford: Polity Press, 1998).
 See e.g. Erik Olin Wright, Classes (London: Verso, 1985/1997), and D. Ames Curtis, “On the Bookchin/Biehl resignations and the creation of a new liberatory project,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 163-74.
 Murray Bookchin, Post-scarcity anarchism (London: Wildwood House, 1974), p. 191.
 See C. Castoriadis’ introductory interview in The Castoriadis Reader, edited by David Ames Curtis (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), pp. 26-27.
 Ellen Meiksins Wood, Democracy Against Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 262.
 See Anthony Giddens, The Third Way, pp. 80-81.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy , chs. 5-7; see also Murray Bookchin , “The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism,” Anarchist Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp 3-24.
 See for a detailed description Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, ch. 7, and “Transitional strategies and the Inclusive Democracy project,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2002).
 See T. Fotopoulos, “The myth of postmodernity”.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “Outline of an economic model for an Inclusive Democracy,” Democracy & Nature, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 21-56; see also for further analysis, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 289-300.
 See for a description of the LETSystem, Ross V.G. Dobson, Bringing the Economy Home from the Market (Montreal: Black Rose, 1993).
 See C. George Benello, et. al., Building Sustainable Communities (New York: Bootstrap, 1989), Part I.
 See M. A. Lutz & K. Lux, Humanistic Economics (New York: Bootstrap, 1988), pp. 263-68.
 See ch. 6, pp. 255-274.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, Towards An Inclusive Democracy, pp. 213-16.