"...solidarity...and love...may assert themselves secondarily as private acts of philanthropy or kindness, but they
are not part of the basic structure of our social relations." -- Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, 1955, p.127
PRINCIPLE, PERSPECTIVE, & PROGRAM
-- INTRODUCTION TO PCS --
Thank you for visiting Project For a Cooperative Society (PCS)! I'm excited about your visit, and happy to greet you!
Since many people skim what they read today, here is the powerful and incontrovertible message of this website, tersely sketched: almost every problem humanity faces is caused, directly or indirectly, by 1.) the normal operation of our economic system of capitalism, especially in concert with 2.) the egotism that capitalism generates, which in turn reinforces capitalism. Ego is often understood, discussed, and in fact manifest as power. Accordingly, the only way we'll solve the many problems of humankind is to replace capitalism and its culture with a seminal, historic, and far superior love-assisted "Cooperative" system. Only then can we realistically begin to build the revered and long-sought "Brotherhood of Man" (or "Brother-and-Sisterhood of Humanity," if you prefer), and bring humankind to its existential zenith.
Those already familiar with the notion of a Cooperative Society should note that this site is targeted to individuals unacquainted with this idea, as well as seasoned persons such as yourselves. Both groups will find new, gratifying, and critical perspectives here! Seasoned persons, in particular, may want to immediately review my 12-Point Summary listing the reasons that I consider PCS among the most advanced, progressive and, indeed, unique of existing revolutionary groups.
Navigating & Viewing this Site
You'll quickly realize that this website is extensive, which is by design. Those who find its scope overwhelming should note the presence of "guideposts," which are links pointing to site pages containing summary or otherwise key information about PCS, its perspective, principles, and program. You can begin with these pages if desired. These Guidepost links include: About PCS, 12-Point-Summary, Love, The Basic Roadmap, and PCS vs. other Orgs. All these links reside on the navigation bar ("NavBar") that runs down the left side of every PCS page. Even the home page, itself, that you are now reading, is a general summary or overview.
After reading this home page, you may wish to acquaint yourself with a particular topic or issue from the PCS point of view. If so, there are several options: 1.) click a likely link from our Navigation Bar ("NavBar"), the separated vertical list of links that runs down the left side of each site page, 2.) read through the site either methodically or indiscriminately, and in doing so perhaps encounter your topic of interest, or 3.) jump directly to my Learn the Issues section, to see if your desired topic is treated there.
Many of you are likely new to the PCS thesis that our many and varied human problems all share one root cause: the normal operation of the money-and-profit system of capitalism. My Learn the Issues section presents a growing list of these problems, and a specific and concrete explanation of how the money-and-profit system, typically in concert with human egotism, causes each one. If you read nothing else at this website, please read through your topics of interest in Learn the Issues, so you begin to develop an understanding of the accuracy, veracity, and power of our claim that capitalism is the root cause of virtually every human problem.
Additionally, the PCS Discussion Forum is another superlative resource. It contains its own ocean of information and perspective from many people, turning theory into possibility. For amplification and elaboration of the main body of material presented at the PCS site proper, for discussion of breaking news and other current events from a PCS perspective, and for delightful and sometimes challenging colloquy with like-minded persons, this area is essential. I recommend, however, that you read as much of the site, proper, as you can before dipping into the Discussion Forum, for content and conversation there sometimes presumes a minimal knowledge of the relevant concepts of PCS and a Cooperative Society.
This site was designed under Windows XP. To view it properly you must have the font Tempus Sans ITC installed. It is simple to determine this.
For persons with compromised reading or comprehension due to maladies such as dyslexia, or other reasons, please ensure that you have the above-mentioned font installed. Additionally, I offer a live telephone conversation to assist you in learning about PCS and this movement. Please see next section.
Telephone Conversation Available
After completing the above Guidepost pages, you may proceed to a careful read of my Detailed Q & A. I have found that, as a picture is worth a thousand words, so loosely is a website, meaning, as strenuously as I attempt to engineer and present a coherent, comprehensive, and conclusive body of argumentation within the walls of this website, the most efficient, enjoyable, and indeed effective colloquy and communication often occurs during an actual live conversation. Indeed, it is often only through the dynamic and real-time medium of live talk that even basic ideas, meanings, and distinctions can be understood, or in the case of some of these, can begin to be understood.
Thus, for persons deeply and especially interested in, and committed to, learning the differences amongst the perspectives, principals, and programs of the various organizations working for dramatic social change, I invite and suggest your email requesting the scheduling of a telephone conversation (or online chat) with me.
Why Change Society
Must we change society?
Without question. But why?
We must change our global society because 1.) virtually all the problems that we're experiencing right now, or will experience later in life, are absolutely unnecessary, 2.) the gravity of human suffering is such that it is immoral, hence unacceptable, to allow human beings to suffer unnecessarily, and 3.) there is the small matter of the very survival of our species. The capitalist-generated phenomenon of global warming, for example, may have already doomed our planet if it can't be sufficiently reduced within a specified period of time--and some analyses assert that it can't be. And if we're lucky enough to overcome this particular problem, as colossal as it is potentially catastrophic, we may not be so lucky next time, when capitalism generates its next potentially human species-terminating crisis. That it will, or indeed can, so generate another crisis is about the only thing of which we can be sure if capitalism continues, for the paradigm of 'as much production as possible as fast as possible,' damn not just the torpedoes but human health, safety, and welfare, themselves, cannot help but create a kind of context of anarchy that comprises hospitable soil for the germination, growth, and flowering of such crises.
Most of our problems are, and will remain, economically-related, meaning they revolve around the difficult, complex, and interminable concerns of jobs and money, which themselves reduce to the question of ownership of industry, which itself reduces to the singular question of the nature and operation of capitalism. Herein lies the answer to our question, the solution to our problem, and the key to unlock our chains: economic, financial, personal, social, familial, physical, psychological, emotional, and indeed existential.
We humans live for about 80 years, if we're lucky. Why shouldn't we structure this world so that those 80 years are as deeply and genuinely happy as they can be?
Yet, how do we accomplish this elusive and magical task? There are two related steps, which in their most fundamental form are:
You probably have some idea of what love is, but you may not have a real understanding of what capitalism is. If these ideas cheer and intrigue you, read this web site carefully and thoroughly to learn the details!
Online Guide To Dramatic Social Change
Revolutionaries, whether seasoned, or new, or for that matter any concerned person, especially having been thrown into a time of social tumult, can consider this website an online guide to revolution, among other things. And not just revolution, because this word can mean almost anything, but indeed the most desirable kind of revolution: peaceful, loving, and democratic in both means and ends, based on the unique and powerful two-part PCS program for dramatic social change.
Read carefully through as much of this website as you can, and encourage your friends, comrades, and compatriots to do the same. I recommend a wholesale adoption of the PCS program, as its dual-character is what provides its power, more, I believe, than any other revolutionary program. However, if desired you may also pick-and-choose ideas from these pages, as well, as this body of work contains a number of ideas of significant power and utility in their own right.
Is the establishment of a new society what you seek? A society based explicitly and realistically on cooperation and indeed love in all spheres of activity: personal, social, and economic? Then you seek the PCS program for dramatic social change.
PCS is not the only revolutionary "change" organization that exists. A critical reality to understand is that 1.) there most certainly are differences between the various revolutionary groups, 2.) these differences are often substantial, and thus 3.) they are extremely important explicitly and implicitly for the way we get to the new society, its character, specific operation, longevity, in other words, whether it will last, and finally, how you will be treated, now and later, by the particular group that you elect to join or affiliate with that purports to work toward building that new society.
Accordingly, it is critical that you 1.) read, and come to fully understand both explicitly and in implication, the "fine print," as it were, for each group, meaning the details of each respective political program, and 2.) become acquainted with the culture of each group, with specific regard to the sensitivity and respect each shows to people, especially members, an area in which many groups fall down on the job. Yet, this latter endeavor, determining how a given organization treats its members and others, is as difficult as it is important, which I discuss in my critique of this movement.
This issue of sensitive and respectful treatment of people is the "dirty little secret" of the Cooperative movement. You will likely never read about it in the promotional or other informational material, digital or analog, of any organization save PCS. Needless to say, Project For a Cooperative Society does not treat people this way: as a member or affiliate of PCS you will never have the rug pulled out from under you emotionally. This is partly why we can talk about this issue, when others can't.
Do you feel your head hurting already? Good--this means that you're beginning to develop and flex political and intellectual muscles that you didn't even know you had!
It is essential to first understand that planet Earth can generally be divided into three groups of people:
If you're a young person, we urge your special attention and especially open-minded posture as you acquaint yourself with the message of this website. Indeed, you will be living in this world for many years to come, and its imperfections, small, large, or worse, will be your imperfections as you move through your life and attempt happiness. Moreover, there are no doubt one or more problems you are experiencing right now in your life, as well, some of which you may not even be aware of, and our perspective and program will assist you, here, too.
Indeed, for many years to come, you will suffer the effects of any problems that exist in this world. Project For a Cooperative Society presents a message of critical importance as well as a plausible and substantive message of hope, that no Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, or other conventional leader or politician will ever--or can ever--give you. They cannot, because they are simply too tied--financially, ideologically, emotionally, and personally--to the existing economic system (called capitalism) and attendant social system that it reinforces and which, in turn, reinforces it. Yet it is the normal operation of this system that is both the direct and indirect cause of just about every problem humanity faces, and every problem you face now, and in your future.
Leaders and other proponents of our present system are too busy tending to the existing garden to realize that, in fact, a new set of seeds is desperately needed.
If you are unacquainted with this word and concept, "capitalism," become acquainted with it. In other words, learn it. Begin studying it. Commit it to memory. Because capitalism is the cause of all human problems whether personal, social, or economic. It is the cause of your problems. Often you will hear the phrase free-enterprise instead of capitalism, but they refer essentially to the same thing.
The PCS thesis and perspective, again, is that we must eliminate our present money-and-profit system called capitalism, because virtually every problem humanity faces is caused, directly or indirectly by 1.) the normal operation of capitalism, especially in concert with 2.) the egocentric culture that capitalism necessarily engenders. This culture ubiquitously and routinely includes the nonloving personal attitudes and behaviors that overwhelmingly characterize human behavior and comprise human society.
For example, on a broad economic scale, if the people running corporations loved you, they wouldn't be so quick to develop and market products that harm you. Moreover, inter-personally, or socially, if your fellow humans loved you they wouldn't lie to you, insult you, or engage so readily and thoughtlessly in the manifold other transgressions that erode your happiness, equanimity, and mental health. Nor would we similarly transgress against them. And in love of self, were this capacity better developed we'd be less willing to subject ourselves to injury from others, and from the injury, abuse, and lack of respect we often heap upon ourselves.
Thus are the three existing gaps in the human reality that we as a species have forged thus far. Were they eliminated, as they would be under a cooperative system, I fail to see how our world could be anything but nearly perfect.
What would you say if someone told you there exists a political program, embodying a unique and powerful approach to people, society, and economics, that virtually guarantees the solution to just about every problem humanity faces, those that neither Democrat, Republican, nor Libertarian can ever seem to solve?
There is such a program--it is the "Cooperative" program of Project For a Cooperative Society.
Adoption of this program would immediately eliminate many of our most pressing problems--hunger, homelessness, lack of health care, poverty, unemployment, crime, addiction, many kinds of physical and mental illness, global warming and other environmental destruction, war, and others. In regard to remaining problems, adoption of the Cooperative program would remove every existing obstacle to their solution, allowing for the free and ready flow of creative ideas and proposals of a type that our present structure of society simply does not, and cannot, permit.
On a more immediately personal level, our "Cooperative" political program, if implemented, would create a whole new way of living, working, and understanding and relating to people--and to yourself.
. . . . . . . . .
"How can this be," you might ask. "How can one political program solve all the varied problems of humankind?"
It's true that the problems of humankind are varied--however, careful examination and analysis reveals that these many different problems have just two root causes. They are all caused by just two things.
Any political program, therefore, that eliminates or otherwise permanently redresses those two root causes will automatically and of necessity permanently resolve the various kinds of problems caused by those two roots. The Cooperative program does this, neatly, logically, uniquely, and powerfully.
Think about it. Take the United States as an example. The overwhelming majority of the problems we suffer in this country exist in every city, state, and geographical region; they are not limited to any one area of the country, are they?
So, whatever is causing these problems must, itself, exist in every part of this country. Now ask yourself--what one thing exists across this entire country, in every city, state, and region?
There's only one answer to that question: capitalism!
The entire United States is capitalist (and so is most of the rest of the planet).
This use of simple logic is one way--though by no means the only one--that we can deduce that capitalism is a root cause of the problems of the United States. The principle holds firm across the planet, as well.Replace capitalism, then, along with the egotism that is part-and-parcel of capitalist society, and all the many problems that flow naturally from these two things will simply disappear. Viola!
Yes, these are grand claims. But we believe that the more you examine, and reflect upon, the PCS Cooperative program, the social and economic realities that make it necessary, and the way capitalism actually operates, the more you will realize, to your own amazement, that we're not exaggerating. For a list of our various human problems, and a concrete and specific explanation of how the money-and-profit system, typically in concert with human egotism, causes each one, please see the Learn the Issues section of this website, link at left. If you read nothing else at this website, please read through your topics of interest in Learn the Issues. All we require of you is a genuinely open mind, and a willingness to carefully learn.
You are about to embark upon the most revelatory, and wildest, intellectual, political, economic, and indeed personal ride of your life!
. . . . . . . . .
Project For a Cooperative Society is an advocacy organization with a singular mission: promotion of our unique and powerful "Cooperative" political program, the beautiful idea of a "Cooperative Society," and associated and supporting concepts. We are headquartered in the United States, but our program and principles are critical to the entire planet. We were founded in 2005.
This web site is far more extensive than just the home page you are reading right now. We request that before drawing a conclusion or making a judgement about our Cooperative program, you carefully and thoughtfully read, at the least, this entire home page. We believe that only after providing yourself this basic level of acquaintance with the PCS program and world-view will you find yourself properly able to decide whether you wish to read and explore further.
Give Yourself Time
Having grown up in a society based on money, marketing, profit, advertising, and selling (these are all aspects of the "capitalist" system or "capitalism"), this is all we've ever known. Thus, it often takes time to develop, and then deepen, an understanding of how radically different and better a cooperative society would be, and how imbalanced, lacking, and actually pathological capitalism is.
As your grasp of these realities deepens, however, you will begin to see the necessity for both parts of our PCS tagline: "Advocating Economic & Personal Change," and the power and profundity in our unique and seminal two-part program for dramatic social change.
The Cooperative Society
Project For a Cooperative Society, through its "PCS" or "Cooperative" program for social change, seeks a historic transformation, occurring democratically, from our present money, profit, and ego-based system of capitalism, toward the establishment of a classless, moneyless, love-centered "Cooperative Society." This new form of society, and its economy, would be controlled by all the people, together, in the interest of everyone, not just by a small group, in its own interest, whether that group was the tiny corporate "ruling class" of the capitalist nations, or "the party" of the totalitarian nations (Cuba, China, North Korea, former Soviet Union, etc.).
The notions of love and cooperation are deceptively simple, yet they are actually and ultimately extremely powerful principles when properly understood and applied. This is why the great teachers, leaders, and thinkers through history, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dr. Erich Fromm, taught and lived them.
There is an understandable malaise, cynicism, and resignation amongst many of us, as we watch a continuing parade of political and religious leaders; commentators; activists; thinkers and scholars; writers; entertainers, and others--many of whom are absolutely sincere and well-intentioned--attempt to trace the roots of, and design a path around, the many, varied, and serious problems of modern life, and indeed, the alienating nature of modern life, itself. Yet, there is no real or permanent success in any of these endeavors, because none of these analyses have accurately isolated the real nature and cause of these problems.
A solution to a problem can only be as good as a correct identification of its cause; there is no question but that PCS has correctly and accurately identified the cause of the problems of our species.
In Other Words
Here's another way to understand PCS and its mission:
PCS, through its program for existential change, seeks a historic transformation in the way our species conceptualizes, and hence organizes and conducts itself. We humans presently see ourselves, and essentially are, a global population of individuals disconnected, unrelated, and unconcerned about each other; this view unfolds, is manifest in, and reinforces and is itself reinforced by, our personal, social, and economic structures and relations. PCS wishes to transform this view, this understanding of, and presumption about, ourselves to that of its opposite: a global population that sees itself as connected, related, and concerned about each other, with the attendant and requisite changes in the three aforementioned spheres of our existence. We wish, in other words, to transform ourselves into a global population that is, and is aware of itself as, one human family.
Imagine a world where each of us actively cared for the other.
...Personally, socially, economically.
The creation of this world is why PCS exists--and we have a unique, powerful, and plausible program to do it.
In years past, voting for a political representative such a mayor, congressman, senator, or president, was more-or-less sufficient to ensure our democratic power and the representation of our interests as citizens. Indeed, a politically-oriented (i.e. "political") form of government with democratic representation by geography comprised a full order of magnitude of human progress, a huge step up, over every social system that preceded it. Under a political form of government we vote for people who represent our geographical area--for example, in the United States we vote for the mayor of our town, the senator for our state, and the president of our country.
This political-democratic system worked reasonably well for hundreds of years. It was certainly a monumental step up from feudalism, the social system that immediately preceded it, under which feudal lords owned the land and serfs worked that land, in exchange for the right to keep some of the product of their labor. Thus was the genius of the Founding Fathers in fashioning the new constitution, and the new democratic system that it specified.
For quite some time now, however, as the modern United States and global economy has grown, in size and importance, especially in its decisive power over every aspect of our lives, political power in reality has taken a back seat to economic power. What is important in our lives now is economic power, covering such issues as wages, employment, benefits including health care, cost-of-living, working conditions including workplace safety, product quality and safety, and many other issues that profoundly affect our lives every day. In short--who owns what, and for who's benefit? Yet in all these key areas we have little or no power--because under our present system, democracy does not extend to the economy. Democracy is still tethered to political representation, only.
Thus, today our principal and most important form of democratic control--if democracy is to retain its credibility and remain a meaningful system--should be control of our economy. However, as we know, under our present, old-style money-and-profit system of "capitalism" we do not possess this form of control; in fact, economic control rests completely in the hands of a very tiny group of owners, that class of people who own all the industries. In the United States, for example, this tiny "ruling class" that owns and controls all the corporations, and thus the entire economy, is a mere 10% or less of the entire population. The rest of us, having nothing to sell but our labor, are forced to toil day-in and day-out for this tiny elite. This outdated, obsolete way of doing things is little more than a system of friendly, glorified slavery
Here we see one of the great limitations and fatal flaws of our current system: democracy stops once you walk through the front door of your workplace. When you walk out that door again at the close of your workday democracy returns, although even this is not actually true, since today so much of our "non-work" lives is determined by our job, specifically, and the activity of the economy, generally.
In other words, what the world has now is political government. But what it actually needs is economic (or "industrial") government. Happily, the Cooperative program would extend democracy to the workplace and the economy, and in doing so would effect the greatest expansion, and realization, of democracy ever known to humankind.
And, in fact, because the mode of social organization of a society has such a profound influence and effect on every aspect of life, especially today in our money-based modern world, the issue of concern here--the operation and character of that mode of social organization--is not merely a political issue, but in fact a transcendent issue--one that moves beyond and supersedes all that is superficial or external--one that gets right to the heart of our existence as human beings: what that existence is like, and consequently, what it means to be, and live as, a human being.
In a Cooperative society, the proposed model for production, social relations, and life itself, would be based on the famed principle of Louis Blanc: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The program is partly predicated on the socio-existential assertion that all people are brothers and sisters in one human family, and should treat each other accordingly in all areas of human existence, including what we now understand as the "economic" sphere. The Cooperative program is one of "revolution," not reform.
The Problem is Capitalism
The Cooperative program, and the basic Cooperative posture, begins with the assertion that the principal cause or root of most or all social problems is economic in nature (with human ego a secondary, or sometimes exacerbating, cause). In some cases these economic roots merely exacerbate a given problem; in most cases, however, they actually cause a given problem; indeed, almost all problems. Moreover, sometimes these economic causes occur in a manner that is relatively easy and straightforward to identify, whereas in other cases they occur in a manner that is subtle, complex, or otherwise more difficult to discern.
If it is true that just about every social problem humankind faces has economic roots, as is argued in detail throughout this website, we must point a finger at the economic system of capitalism as the first and actual underlying cause, since capitalism is our present economic system. Thus, the economic roots of our present-day society can be nothing but the roots of capitalism.
This thesis, and the reality underlying it, also easily explains why no matter which traditional political party is in power, Republican or Democratic, and no matter which individual politician is in power, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, or anyone else, and no matter how good and sincere the intentions of the individual politician, the social problems of the U.S., and the world, never, ever seem to go away, nor even experience any sort of dramatic and permanent amelioration--much less achieve a permanent solution. They simply can't go away until capitalism is replaced, since, as just alluded to, it is the normal operation of capitalism that is the cause of just about all these problems.
This is a thesis alien or unknown to most people. The capitalist-controlled media and educational systems certainly do not promulgate it. Yet it is the stark truth, and our efforts to permanently solve our many social problems will rise or fall in direct accord to our embrace or rejection of this reality. Therefore, allow us to repeat the thesis: it is the normal operation of capitalism that is the direct (or sometimes indirect), cause of just about every social problem the world faces.
Read it, re-read it, study it, speak it aloud...imprint it on your forehead if you want to. For it is a reality that will simply never go away.
Even without a studied grasp of how capitalism, capitalists, and capitalist markets work, when you're really intellectually and morally honest with yourself, can you actually and realistically envision zero poverty anywhere on the planet, under the money-and-profit system of capitalism?
Can you actually and realistically envision zero hunger anywhere on the planet, under the money-and-profit system of capitalism?
Can you actually and realistically envision zero homelessness, anywhere on the planet, under the money-and-profit system of capitalism?
Can you actually and realistically envision zero difficulty accessing health-care, by anyone, anywhere on the planet, under the money-and-profit system of capitalism?
Can you actually and realistically envision zero (or even near-zero) mental illness and addiction anywhere on the planet, under the ultra-stressful, dog-eat-dog, money-and-profit system of capitalism?
You get the idea.
Friends: if you want a different flower, you simply must plant a different seed.
As long as we remain mired in a traditional Republican-or-Democratic framework, we are simply not going to solve our problems. Tinkering around the edges of the system, which is all the traditional parties do, or can do, always produces proportionally (and predictably) weak results. Give your poodle a different haircut--she's still a poodle. Colossal and completely determinative corporate power is now part of the very definition of our 21st century hyper-capitalism. Corporations and companies call the shots today, and they do so in their own money-and-profit interests. They own the chess board, the pieces, and they occupy both playing positions; the rest of us, affluent and poor alike, are their pawns. They move us around the board strictly according to their profit interests. And as the great mass of continuing unemployed know, they also readily remove us from the board when their profit interests dictate.
Capitalism -- the real inconvenient truth!
Survival of Our Species
In fact, the necessity for the transition to a Cooperative system is even more dire than we have presented it, so far. The new mode of social organization increasingly presents itself as a mandate, an absolute necessity, not an option.
Our organization into one human family will not solve every single problem of humankind. We'll still have earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes; human beings will still make mistakes in their various individual and social endeavors. But there is no question humans organized and living as one human family will have far fewer problems, and the few remaining ones will be the problems we should be working on in the first decade or so of the 21st century--and herein lies a fundamental and potentially catastrophic problem.
Believe it or not, as a global society we're still beating our heads against the wall trying to figure out--in the context of capitalism--how to feed, cloth, and employ everyone! Given the abundance of resources in this world at this point in history, we are presently working on the wrong set of problems--in that these are obviously things we should have, and could have, solved many years ago. These problems include such things as hunger, homelessness, unnecessary physical and mental illness, and alienation from, and hostility toward, work generally or a specific workplace or work environment.
This is the troubling and overarching reality, the real problem: while we're expending our resources--time, energy, and money--on the problems that should no longer be problems, a real, new, and genuinely threatening set of problems is on the horizon, that we are not addressing, or not properly so. For example:
The inescapable reality, then, is, if we want to assure our survival as a species, we simply must end this system of world competition, all against all, fighting each other tooth-and-nail for every imaginable resource--jobs, money, food, water, development, contracts, oil, markets, and everything else--and begin working together, in earnest, as a planet and a species, on the new set of problems now staring us dead in the eye. Problems like those just described above.
Accordingly, it is imperative that we immediately cease our counterproductive and wasteful mode of existence, and begin to pool our resources cooperatively. As a global population, we are more-or-less sleeping through our existence on this planet. If we don't begin preparing immediately, together, God help us when the alarm clock rings.
Indeed, events ranging from global warming, to the massacre at Virginia Tech in April 2007 in the United States, in which 32 people were senselessly massacred by a lone, apparently disturbed gunman, suggest that the alarm clock has already gone off.
Are we finally prepared to wake up--or just hit the Snooze bar yet one more time?
Celebrated Advocates of a Cooperative System
These positions and assertions are not specific to Project For a Cooperative Society--many figures well-known to history share or shared it; individuals who are (or were, while alive), adherents of the idea of a Cooperative Society in some form (though often not our specific form) include:
As you may know, near the end of his life Dr. King started focusing on economic issues. He began to realize that the fight for civil rights, as important as it was, would never bring true and full equality because economic injustice was so much larger a social force and social imbalance. This is why, on the fateful day that he was murdered, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, in support of a strike by sanitation workers.
Indeed, the colossal power of economic slavery under capitalism at once dwarfs and subsumes every other kind of injustice, racial, gender, and otherwise. The reality is that capitalism allows, and encourages, a black man to exploit a black man, just as a white man might exploit a black man. It allows a woman to exploit another woman, just as a man might exploit a woman, and so on. The obvious answer, which Dr. King was beginning to see, is to completely eradicate the entire system of exploitation.
Indeed, in 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "If we are going to achieve a real equality, the U.S. will have to adopt a modified form of Socialism."
Serious consideration, exploration, and advocacy of this adoption is what PCS is all about.
After reading this Summary, you may see our page of quotations (link at left), for other remarks by Dr. King that you may find quite surprising, and that deviate from our stereotype of this great historical leader.
Does all of this, the analysis we've been presenting so far, constitute a depressing message? No more depressing than recognition of an illness is necessary before one will begin to seek a cure. And in fact, the alternative to capitalism we are proposing is moral, logical, workable, realistic, and indeed, beautiful.
All it requires on your part is a bit of intellect, a willingness to dig deeper in your analysis than perhaps you've done so far, an open mind, a bit of imagination, and a bit of optimism. Perhaps a willingness to deviate from your established intellectual "comfort zone."
PCS Dual Program
The PCS program is unique and powerful because it combines two readily complementary ideas, each of which, individually, is powerful and longstanding: (1.) a cooperative society, where everyone works together for the common (and individual) good, expressed in selected portions of the work and teachings of Erich Fromm, Daniel De Leon, Karl Marx, and others, and (2.) the notion of "brotherly love," or the "love ethic," expressed in selected portions of the work and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, Jesus, Leo Buscaglia, Erich Fromm, and others. The love ethic is also known in Greek as agape (ah goh' pay). The entire PCS program is communicated in neutral language people find friendly and accessible, a deliberate outreach methodology comprising a powerful third leg of the program.
(Note: Project For a Cooperative Society is an advocacy organization, with no religious or theological bearing, underpinning, or tendency of any kind, whatever, and no "spiritual" one beyond what is explicitly stated at this website. PCS and its Cooperative program draw upon the work of religious figures only insofar as that work speaks to the power and value of the love ethic, or the desirability of a cooperative mode of social organization. Our citation or valuing of this work or these principals in no way accepts or implies any acceptance of any larger metaphysical system.)
Transference of ownership of industry from private to public is a key part of the PCS program, but might not necessarily create the long-dreamt of "brotherhood of man." Thus, PCS also seeks a concomitant personal transformation away from the pathological egotism engendered by capitalism, toward this ethic of "brotherly love." This principle, taught from childhood, would comprise the moral and ethical (indeed, the "socio-behavioral") underpinning of the new society.
In fact, anyone who takes Blanc's principal seriously must grapple with the love ethic, for the principle implies the love ethic: I am not going to work as hard as, or perhaps even harder than you, knowing that my remuneration may be the same as, or even less than yours, unless I see you as my brother. Indeed--unless I love you. The PCS program thus consists not merely in a new political-economic arrangement, but a dramatically new and powerful "socio-behavioral" arrangement, as well, to guide the character of our interpersonal interactions in the new society. This latter arrangement is based on an enhanced set of interpersonal values and principles that are the most elevated ever conceived by the human mind or heart, those of brotherly love. While the entire PCS program is revolutionary, this latter component, the new socio-behavioral arrangement, in fact comprises a seminal paradigm of personal and social relations, especially when understood as part of a larger comprehensive program for revolutionary social change.
How does one have radical social transformation without one of the most radically transformational ideas of all time--love? We would not venture to predict, at this early stage, the exact role the love ethic will play in the new society, but the notion that it must play some kind of substantive role is an official part of the PCS program, and a key part of what makes PCS powerful and unique among all groups working for radical social change.
The "Cooperative Program" is peaceful and democratic, calling for large-scale social change; specifically, the peaceful transfer of power from corporations to people. Such change can be brought about democratically, if a majority of us want it and vote for it, because Article V of the United States constitution provides for a legal change of government.
A Cooperative system constitutes a new approach, never tried before, anywhere in the world. The closest human beings have come to attempting to democratically run their own economic affairs, in the general manner advocated by PCS, was, firstly, in 1871, in a historic event that has become known as the "Paris Commune." There, the citizens of Paris, France took over the city, and ran it in cooperative fashion, for the common good.
(We do not advocate the acquisition of power by "taking over." Since democracy and the election process is so developed and valued in the West, citizens can and should express their political sentiment by peacefully voting.)
Much more recently, over the past year or two, in fact, an utterly amazing phenomenon has emerged in Argentina: workers in bankrupt companies have been rejecting their pink slips, and refusing to simply go home. Instead, they have kept the companies open and running, continuing production under their own self-management. The disastrous condition of the Argentine economy has prompted these uncommon actions (it's amazing how open-minded we can become when our economic survival is at stake).
Moreover, while there is no formal cooperative system in place in the modern day--yet--there are myriad people and institutions around the world already living the essence of the Cooperative ethic: they are giving away the fruit of their labor! Most notable in scale, focus, seriousness, and sincerity is the "open source" movement, whereby individuals create excellent-quality computer software--and then give it away!
PCS is compiling a database of all these free resources (link at left, "The Free Economy").
Social philosopher Erich Fromm, in his 1976 work of the same name "To Have or To Be," speaks of the basic existential choice to have, or to be. PCS asserts that this choice should apply to perhaps our most fundamental human decision--how to organize ourselves as a species.
There is a conceptual hierarchy of ownership, and notions of "public" or "common" ownership do not necessarily represent its apex. In regard to the "means of production" such as factories, mills, mines, airlines and, indeed, all entities of economic activity (now called "corporations," "companies," and "businesses"), this website advocates, and argues for, the necessity of a shift in ownership from private to public. However, in one or more respects including psychological motivation and effect, the notion of "public" ownership remains somehow rooted in, or at least related to, the basic concept and paradigm of ownership, an acquisitive notion that represents the continuing human attempt at complete singular control of something, some thing, a continuing implicit endorsement of, or attachment to, the material view of the world and human existence within it. This remains, even if only in vague or shadow form, the opposite of, or something misaligned with, the PCS core perspective, at worst, or the spirit of its message, at best. The notion most morally elevated, and perhaps conceptually elegant, as well, is arguably no ownership, at all--the abdication or simple relinquishing of, or release from, notions of ownership and ownership, itself.
Accordingly, along with the more traditional radical concept in social science of "common ownership," PCS supports the arguably superior experiential, not material, notion of "shared use," and asserts its likely better congruence with the spirit of PCS and its perspective. This, rather than re-conceptualizing in favor of public over private ownership, thereby retaining and indeed resuscitating or re-invigorating the basic notion of ownership.
Continuing, an important PCS belief is that entities that are finite such as land cannot rightly be owned, as it comprises an inequity--it's unfair because ownership of such resources provides such a potential lever for wealth and happiness, yet is available to so few. Moreover, PCS holds that resources that can be used to dominate, such as land or capital, should not be privately owned, as domination is unjust, and comports itself neither to the emerging higher-order conception of justice contained in the PCS perspective, nor even to our basic present global standard.
The core PCS view, then, as regards ownership of the means of production, and all finite resources such as land, is represented by the acronym NOCO: no ownership, common operation.
Private ownership of goods that industry can likely keep producing, without end, which would presumably and likely include personal and household goods, is a notion acceptable to PCS.
However, by way of advanced speculation or theorizing, we note that even here is there room for creative thinking. For example, instead of actual ownership of even this class of items, why not assign them a status, and conceptualize them under the principal, of a social relationship like "functional control." This would mean that a given individual can acquire, personalize, and use an item until they no longer need or want it, at which time it would revert to the social inventory for acquisition, personalization, and use by another. The capacity for easy, complete, hygienic, and effective recondition could be built in to goods upon their design and manufacture. We could thus effect an existential relinquishment of the notion of ownership entirely, or almost so, if we deem this a desideratum.
Wouldn't an item such as a hair dryer, garment, blanket, purse, or wallet simply wear out before it could revert to the social inventory? Under capitalism planned obsolescence is a requisite feature of economic activity to allow companies to continue producing and not go bankrupt. A cooperative system, by contrast, suffers no such inefficiencies, and thus could and would design and manufacture goods to last. The likelihood of repeat use by different individuals would therefore be greater.
These latter additions to the new PCS social paradigm, especially the notion of the recycling even of personal goods, would not only finally represent a great coup, in substance and permanance, for environmental and resource conservation, but arguably, as well, a large-scale shift by the human race toward a far more "spiritual" existence.
Note that the PCS program calls officially only for shared use of the resources of production and associated mechanisms for our provision for each other's needs, not for shared use of personal items.
This ends our summary of the PCS Cooperative program for dramatic social change. Our important General Introduction now follows. Thanks for reading!
The economic system of America, and most other nations, is not based fundamentally on the needs and wants of human beings, but on money, profit, marketing, advertising, and selling. Such a system is called "capitalism." Because capitalism is a system based on profit and money (etc.), not the needs and wants of people, it causes many difficult problems for everyone, from stress, addiction, and poverty, to unemployment and homelessness, to lack of health care, and even war (over resources such as oil, for example). In fact, this website in its entirety will explore the breadth and depth of the monumental failures of capitalism.
There is one especially notable failure of capitalism, in fact, that may have already doomed our planet or species, or severely compromised its future existence.
This failure is in the area of energy, where the profit motivations of the oil and automobile industries have accomplished the following:
Capitalism was certainly an improvement over previous social forms, such as feudalism and monarchy before that. For some time now, however, capitalism has been a distinct liability, in general terms, and especially relative to the available alternative, the next stage in our human social evolution--a cooperative society. Though the profit-at-all-costs system of capitalism causes a host of problems, most of them haven't yet actually spelled the possible end of our species. In the case of energy production, however, the pathological operation of capitalism may have finally caught up with itself--and we will all pay the price.
Consider, then, our options at this point:
(1.) Insufficient energy to meet increasing world demand, with all the social and financial chaos that will ensue, or (2.) an increasing global build-up of lethal nuclear waste that does not break down for hundreds-of-thousands of years. Those who want to stay with capitalism: be prepared to pick yer' poison.
Luckily, at this time in history we have a much better option--a "cooperative" economic system. Under such a system, we would work cooperatively to provide for ourselves and each other, instead of merely to "sell" things. Access to our abundance of goods and services would be free, and money would no longer be required, and would not exist. We would select our jobs based on our true interests and personality, not merely what is "in demand." Education and job training would be free. And sacrifices of money, health, and family would no longer be required for those in training or school. For example, supervised child-care would be available free while parents are studying or attending class. And since goods and services are free in a cooperative system, grueling work schedules would be unnecessary. Those in school or training could work part-time, or not at all, with no loss of standard of living.
Needless to say, in a cooperative system we would optimize and maximize energy and fuel production for maximum human benefit and minimum harm. Newer, better, cleaner technologies would most certainly not be artificially held back until every last dollar of profit had been wrung from earlier and inferior technologies. This sick way of running society would come to a screeching halt!
In a cooperative system of this type, there would be no more corporations speeding you up, dumbing you down, and impoverishing you. Work would occur to produce what people need and want, to fulfill yourself creatively, and to assist and contribute to your family, community, country, and indeed the world--not to compulsively increase the corporate bottom line, as your corporation feverishly competes with every corporation in its industry, with industry competing against industry, and person competing against person; people, the environment, worker and consumer safety, corporate honesty and ethics, and just about everything else be damned. Since production is for use, not profit, all goods and services are now free--so money is no longer required. No more money requirement to live means no more need for your continual, obsessive preoccupation with wages, taxes, car payments, mortgage payments, school tuition, doctor and hospital fees, HMO deductibles and copayments, long-distance and other telephone charges, ISP bills, leases, rents, tolls, insurance, IRAs, bank accounts, late fees, interest, and on and on and on.
In a moneyless Cooperative Society, life would be far simpler than it could ever be now. And needless to say--far happier! Free from mental and physical slavery, free from slavery to the dollar bill, you'll actually sleep at night. And you'll sleep in a way you've never slept, before--deeply, with a complete calm and peace right down to your core. The kind of sleep most of us have never, and will never experience, the kind that can only come once you are no longer a slave; in other words, once you are freed from the grinding, never-ending need to sell your labor. And freed from the economic fear and anxiety that goes along with it.
A Cooperative Society will be the first truly human, truly free, society in history.
The way we get to the better society introduced above, and the details of its operation, are contained in our Cooperative program. There is simply no political program, or other program for social change like this, that we are aware of.
Agape, the Principle of Brotherly Love
The underlying ethic of this new system is the principle of brotherly love, or "Agape"; this principle would be taught to all from childhood onward. The Cooperative program is not a religious program, but is based on values and concepts of love, brotherhood, and the belief that all people are brothers and sisters in one human family. The Cooperative Program melds well with the ethical teachings of major religions and belief systems.
We are talking about a new paradigm of personal and social relations--not merely a new political arrangement, but a dramatically new and powerful "socio-behavioral" arrangement, as well, to guide the character of our interpersonal interactions in the new society. A Cooperative Society might finally allow us to form that "brotherhood of man" (and woman) that humankind has dreamt of through the centuries!
The Human Family
The world-view of Project For a Cooperative Society and its associated "Cooperative" program rests squarely on the notion that all human beings are brothers and sisters in one human family.
A widespread public recognition of our status as brothers and sisters in the one human family, the "brotherhood of man," were it to occur, would have as its root the socio-biological fact, revealed by the very latest bleeding-edge paleo-anthropological science, that all human beings are actually offspring of a single Homo Sapiens human (himself part of a larger, though still tiny group of extra-smart survivors of the global ice-age).
Thus, every human being who has existed since our species evolved into recognizable humans between 50 and 60,000 years ago, including every human being alive today, is literally part of the one single human family. All that is required of humankind now to properly elevate and actualize itself is the recognition of this fact of evolution, and its key psycho-socio-ethico implications.
Those implications are prescriptions for human interior and exterior behavior, and mode of social organization, and are expostulated (1.) throughout this web site; (2.) in the Cooperative program; and additionally (3.) in the concrete love-ethic techniques expostulated in my forthcoming volume on Agape.
Conceptions of Family
In positing family as a political model, its wide-ranging, sometimes disparate nature, ranging from benevolent, loving, and close-knit to authoritarian, patriarchal, and impersonal, must be acknowledged.
While a family can be many things, its conception as embodied in the PCS program sees a unit of persons who, fundamentally:
When the above three elements are present in sufficient measure, we speak positively and affirmatively of "family." PCS asserts that there in no reason this socio-conceptual overlay cannot be applied to our global population, i.e. our species, forming a key part of the historic restructure of the human race.
SPECIFICALLYPCS Beliefs & Principles
You will no longer be a slave to a boss, manager, owner, company, industry, or the impersonal "market."
The above summary is an overview, albeit a detailed one, of the Cooperative program, principles, and social analysis. However, the body of information, above, is most certainly not adequate to present, explain, and explore the great richness, breadth, and depth of a Cooperative Society, including fundamental guiding concepts, and important details of operation. For this, please read the balance of this home page, then see my Detailed Q & A, link at left.
One Human Family
Project For a Cooperative Society (PCS) is, and since April 2005 has been, the formal and official organizational carrier or vessel for the notion of a love-centered Cooperative society. However, the idea continues to evolve and develop and suggests with increasing clarity and strength a theoretical and organizational form that, if not better, is certainly complementary, and can facilitate a deeper, and more clear and thorough understanding of the new kind of society we're proposing, as this form presents our new human paradigm from a somewhat different conceptual standpoint. Arguably, seen from this different perspective or "angle," the core or essential structure can be more fully perceived and understood.
This different conceptual standpoint is the assertion of our status and relationship as brothers and sisters in one human family, acting toward each other in the personal, social, and economic sphere in a manner befitting this status.
The PCS site can be understood as a huge puzzle which, when every piece is emplaced, will present a complete, overwhelming, and conclusive body of argumentation both theoretical and practical against capitalism, its priorities, and its attendant culture, and in favor of the organization of our species into a Cooperative global system, indeed consonant with, and embodying, the wonderful reality of our status as One Human Family.
Arguably, in fact, the site here already contains enough of these puzzle pieces to form the core of this argument. The puzzle image alluded to, above, is one of all of us across this planet united as brother and sister, working cooperatively to provide for each other's needs, in a society where brotherly love characterizes all relationships and interactions between people, and money is no longer required. Though I'll continue to emplace this or that remaining puzzle fragment here at this website, this beautiful tableau is largely defined and visible, already, for those who wish to perceive it.
This site is extensive. Search it!
~ Advocating Economic & Personal Change ~
Project For a Cooperative Society