Archive | April, 2013

A Thought on the Sale of Public Housing Stock to Council Tenants | Nicky Patterson

20 Apr

The sale of council housing stock to social tenants was a method of extending quasi-bourgeoisie attitudes of property (and all of its associated norms and values) deeper into the proletarian mindset, in other words further normalising the concept of property ownership, therefore pre-empting and, thus undermining all future support for proletarian mass action.

How might this process be reversed in a peaceable manner from a retroactive perspective? Is it necessary to do so? Is property ownership (and subsequent transfer by sale) reconcilable with a socialist-collectivist approach to society?



Expanding the Scottish Independence Debate into the Common | Nicky Patterson

10 Apr

First off, I am an ardent supporter of an independent Scotland BUT please hear me out: for I am interested only in a fully informed public vote which can only be realised through balanced public debate.

My idea is of a progressive society formed on the pillars of:

  • a participatory and fully accountable democratic republic;
  • egalitarian citizenship based on collective efforts, risks, and rewards that are formed from the community level upwards;
  • a constitution that recognises the universal tendencies of human conditions and behaviours;
  • reversal of private ownership, and a new paradigm of communal stewardship of land, environment, and resources;
  • communal universal welfare provisions with a radical departure away from reliance of what Paul Krugman has called “sado-monetarism”.

With this in mind I have tried to identify political theories or movements with which I can associate mutual prerogatives: the Socialist-Anarchism and Communalism of Murray Bookchin seem to be the closest I have come across yet, and so I am a member of the Scottish Greens – but have become increasingly frustrated by a distinct sleepiness at branch level.  The alienating sectarianism of the Left is too messy and many look with increasing interest to the Left Unity movement. I myself will look to immediately become active within the Radical Independence Campaign.

In recognition of this then, I have struggled often to find common points of reference with my fellow citizens on which to frame a debate about Scottish independence.  For me, winning a Yes vote in September 2014 is just the first step toward realising a fairer and more equal society: the first step on a programme of power and wealth decentralisation that must develop even further than that: delivering true democratic ability out to the community level.

But the common citizen is not yet interested in such ideals or endeavours: for the contemporary Scottish citizen, the majority of political and philosophical debate is utterly superfluous to their familiar points of reference.  What I come across most are issues surrounding interest rates; currency; Bank of England; military security; road conditions; industrial dependency, and other such concerns.  Paramount among these is perhaps suspicion of the apparent SNP stewardship of the Yes Campaign and also their post-independence rhetoric which frames them as the de facto Scottish government (witness the dissemination of their in-house decisions and debates regarding Trident, Nato, the EU and so on) .

As is universally recognised throughout modern society, when a politician is addressed with an issue of really existing popular concern, their answer is invariably obscure, evasive, and fundamentally non-committal.  This is evidenced week-in-week-out in public broadcast forum discussions as well as, I’m sorry to say, Yes campaign launches.

Furthermore closed ‘debates’ are not efficiently helpful: true progress only arises from conflict and this means that townhall debates need to represent as full a spectrum of opinion as possible.

So here we have a triple issue of effectively obfuscating technical language from theorists (the forward looking visionaries) on one hand; and blatantly obfuscating new-speak and non-input from politicians (the retrospective apologists) on the other; and the final hand shuts out opposing (and therefore progressive) voices.  The public debate in my view needs to initially be between lay citizens who can argue and advocate without prosthetic or aesthetic vernacular.  This ‘public’ as in common debate needs to happen now and it needs to be consistently representative of all THREE camps: the Yes, No, and Undecided.  It needs its own place and its own space – free from the nonsense of jargon and bullshit.  It should be given as much broadcast and press coverage as we can collectively muster.

Once this form of public debate between the Yes, No, and Undecided camps has settled into the common conscience, then we can upgrade it with our suggestions of model futures.

Twitter: @nickypatterson

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