Sunday, March 4, 2018

Cooperation Jackson dialogue with Samir Amin

Cooperation Jackson held this dialogue with Samir Amin, one of the most critical revolutionary intellectuals of our time, about the transition from capitalism to economic democracy or outright barbarism, on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Center for Economic Democracy and Sustainable Development. As a vehicle designed to execute a dimension of the Jackson-Kush Plan, Cooperation Jackson was not born just to create worker-cooperatives for the sake of having worker cooperatives. Cooperation Jackson was born to be an instrument of radical social transformation. To be a vehicle to aid in the construction of socialism by a) building institutions of economic democracy grounded in the establishment of institutions of the solidarity economy, like cooperatives, time banks, swamp meets, alternative currencies, etc., and b) by building the overall capacity of the working class to not only democratically manage and govern it’s own affairs, but to democratically manage and govern the overall affairs of society. One of the central things that we have been and continue to be focused on in the development of Cooperation Jackson is the question of transition from capitalism, late stage neo-liberal capitalism, to economic democracy and socialism (and beyond). One of our central tasks is trying to figure out how to transform limited vehicles of worker self-organization, like cooperatives, into instruments of revolutionary change. As we have stated on many occasions, cooperatives in and of themselves are not revolutionary vehicles. They have to be anchored by revolutionary politics, revolutionary organizations, and an assortment of revolutionary institutions and practices that challenge the logic of capital and capitalism and reorient social relationships and social production towards socialism and socialist construction. Samir Amin, one of the premier revolutionary economists and social scientists of our time, about the deep crisis of capitalism and the primary economic and social transformations over the last 70 + years. We are listening to see how the economic, social and technical transformations of our time could lead us towards socialism, with an ear towards what the primary subjective factor, i.e. the working class (us), can and must do to usher in this transformation. The dialogue is a contribution to our ongoing discussion about the question of transition from capitalism to socialism or outright barbarism (i.e. fascism) – should the reactionaries continue to dominate the political landscape in the US empire and throughout the world. It is also a prelude into the deeper exploration of how to make our work and the vehicles we are struggling to build instruments of socialist transformation. This entails going deeper into the question of worker self-management, worker self-governance, and how to develop inter-connected systems of production that upend capitalist logic and social relationships. Some background on Samir Amin from Monthly Review Press: "Samir Amin was born in Cairo in 1931 and was educated at the Lycee Francais there. He gained a Ph.D. in Political Economy in Paris (1957), as well as degrees from the Institut de Statistiques and from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques. He then returned home where he was attached to the planning bodies of Nasser's regime. He left Egypt in 1960 to work with the Ministry of Planning of the newly independent Mali (1960-1963), and following this, he commenced an academic career. He has held the position of full professor in France since 1966 and was for ten years (1970-1980) the director of the U.N. African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (in Dakar). Since 1980 he has been directing the African Office of the Third World Forum, an international non-governmental association for research and debate. The main contributions of Samir Amin can be classified under four headings: (i) a critique of the theory and experiences of development; (ii) an alternative proposal for the analysis of the global system which he calls "really existing capitalism"; (iii) a re-reading of the history of social formations, and; (iv) a reinterpretation of what he describes as "post-capitalist" societies.

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