[OPE] Bit of blog in the NYT

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Sun Sep 20 2009 - 16:06:50 EDT

155. September 19, 2009 6:45 pm Link
>From a European perspective, as a thumbnail sketch, socialism in 2009 is
essentially about the question of which forms of organisation can ensure
that cooperation between people can prevail over competition - such that all
individuals and members of society, not just privileged people, can lead
constructive lives and reach their potential. The argument is that in
preceding decades, cooperation and competition have become very seriously
misaligned in every sphere of society, giving rise to very unhealthy forms
of cooperation and very unhealthy forms of competition. Cooperation and
competition can obviously be voluntary and free, or forced directly and
coerced by circumstances. An effect of the misalignment is that the
relationship between "rights" and "duties" has also become very misaligned
in society. There can be no rights without duties (social responsibilities,
social obligations) and no duties without rights (including individual
freedoms). These rights and duties can however obviously also be voluntary
negotiated or forced on people, and they can be unequally and irrationally
distributed. In this situation socialists aim to act culturally and
politically to achieve progress in the matters of liberty, social equality
and social solidarity. In the opinion of socialists, individuals are not
simply isolated atoms in a larger whole, but can sustain themselves as
individuals only by being socially related. The overall objective is to work
for a progressive change in the relationship between individuals and the
society of which they are part, such that society functions better, not just
for some, but for all. Socialism attracts people from all strata of society
who share these concerns and seek to give them a definite form, through
doing something about them. However, it attracts especially people who in
one way or another have felt oppressed, injured or exploited by society as
it is, and who feel they cannot succeed except by both changing themselves,
and by changing social circumstances in one process, i.e. by working for
social change in some way in line with the mentioned principles. This means
they are prepared to turn some private troubles into public issues, with the
argument that these private or individual troubles cannot be resolved unless
they are treated as public issues, as matters that should be of social
concern, and tackled collectively. Inversely, they aim to make public
troubles their individual concern. However, there is no consensus among all
socialists about policy, and there are many different strategies being
pursued. That is to say, socialists themselves are also afflicted with the
problems mentioned above, such that cooperation between them is often not so
easy to achieve. Sometimes persuasion influences them to cooperate, but it
could also be that the situation forces them to cooperate, because it is
realised that this is the only way that people are going to make progress.

- Jurriaan Bendien

ope mailing list
Received on Sun Sep 20 16:10:34 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Sep 30 2009 - 00:00:02 EDT