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This website was created and is maintained by the Victoria Collective for a Particpatory Society.
Why do we need a Participatory Society?
The traditional alternative to capitalism, communism, is no better. Communism gets rid of owners of productive property. However, there is a class of people that actually get things done in a capitalist society on behalf of the owners, called the coordinator class. This class includes intellectuals, engineers, doctors, lawyers, and corporate executives. They monopolize empowering work and make important decisions. In a communist society, this class becomes the new ruling class, leading to the many familiar problems of communism. Some might say the proper name for communism is coordinatorism.
Also, our current system of representative democracy does not encourage participation. Participation is a good in itself. It is a human right (and need) to manage our own affairs. Representative democracy caters to the rich and powerful, whom influence representatives for their own ends. Elected representatives often go back on their word once elected. Voting once every four years is not real democracy at all compared to a true, participatory democracy.
Further, measures that curb capitalism into something more humane must be fought for. Once these things (socialized medicine, freedom of speech, public owned infrastructure, the right to unionize, etc.) are won, the fight is not over. People must continually fight to maintain what they win. Capitalism is a never ending battle.
Even in a heavily socialized capitalist society with 100% employment, free health coverage, free university, etc., there are still problems. First, all these gains must be fought for to be maintained, unions must still exist and remain strong. Second, work is still hierachical, rote, undemocratic, and unempowering for the majority of workers. Participation in political life, a fundamental human need, is not welcome. There ae still poor people. Wealth is unevenly distributed.
A Participatory Society is a permanent solution to these problems. It would also foster things that our current system cannot. While our current system fosters alienation, stupidity, classism, and antisocial behavior, a participatory society would foster the opposite. A participatory society fosters solidarity, equity, one class, and self management. While we are encouraged today to step on people to get ahead and watch out for ourselves, a participatory society would encourage us to work together for the common good.