Bridging Utopia and Pragmatism to Achieve Direct Economic Democracy

Autumn 2013

Owing to a poverty of vision anarchists are failing to bridge the gap between utopian economic models of society and reality – theory and praxis. The result is a de facto acceptance of the basest systems as ‘pragmatic’. Direct economic democracy, also known as libertarian socialism, is attainable but only in ways that connect to the experiences of daily life. By modifying existing institutions of production it is pragmatically possible to achieve societies resembling distant utopias. One of my proposals is that the top corporations have half their boards of directors filled by lottery from the demos modelled on the jury system, the other half by workers of the company. Here, citizens and workers would set corporate policy which affects society at large. My second proposal is to establish a standard national wage, leading to increased economic efficiency and development. These changes are possible only through critical pedagogy and radical direct action but the possibilities have been demonstrated by US labour and civil rights history.

Anarchist Studies Vol 21 No 2