Economic Democracy Must Become The Ultimate Goal of the New Civil Rights Movement
by Nelson Guedes
Underlying the racial profiling and police violence against citizens is an imperative of maintaining social-economic segregation of groups of people. Because blacks have been social-economically segregated into lower classes, their lives are seen as less valuable by the plutocrats who have built a police state where the lower social-economic classes either gets killed or imprisoned in for-profit prisons. This is part of a new system of slavery that includes for-profit prisons for lowest classes and a combination of employment and debt for the middle classes.
In order to rectify this situation, we need to restructure the social-economic systems so they become all inclusive, rather than artificially segregated into social-economic classes. The middle class is not immune to segregation. While they have more access to money, through their jobs at corporations, and more access to credit, they still have very little in terms of ownership. Most of their assets are owned by banks, through loans, and they hold no equity in their workplaces. In order to rectify this situation, we must create a social-economic system that bans segregation of equity through employment. As such, workers must be treated as co-owners of their businesses, sharing on the long-term benefits of the business, rather than being denied their economic right of ownership through the promotion of "employment" in detriment of co-ownership. In order words, employment must be abolished, just like slavery was, in exchange for collective ownership of the means of production.
It is crucial, however, to make a distinction between the method of collective ownership I'm proposing here in comparison to the ones previously attempted before. The issue underlying social-economic class, is concentration of social-economic power through network and referral forms of social power. These concentrations of social power cause a distortion in the social-economic systems, where the higher influence of a few allows them to accumulate capital and influence, and develop centralized systems that benefit them in detriment of society as a whole. Therefore, any collective ownership of means of production that create any centralization of influence and capital, in the form of government or union ownership, will have the same consequences as the existing systems, because they follow the same power dynamics.
It follows, then, that we need social-economic systems that decentralize power and capital, through collective ownership of means of production, but this collective power must be held in a decentralized manner, by each and every worker involved in the organization where they work. Through systems of collaborative deliberation, workers can then collectively own and control their co-owned organization. Such systems can facilitate the balance of power between workers. Workers' needs can then be balanced by the collective distribution of equity in the business. Each worker must own one single voting share and receive an equal amount of dividends. Workers can still receive wages, but due to the collective control of the organization, rather than forming an hierarchical organization, the workers would form a flatter organization where there is very little discrepancy between the lowest and the highest wages. The result of these systems would be an economic democracy, where capital is directly controlled by those who create it, rather than a privileged investor class, who has no ties to the communities where they operate and whose only concern is in maximizing profits and minimizing taxes.
There are countless benefits to economic democracy and the social-economic systems that would form out of this economic democracy. By allowing workers to equitably control their organizations, social-economic segregation within those organization would cease to exist. Ultimately, this would reflect in the community as a whole, distributing resources and capital more equitably and eliminating the separation between the worker and investor classes. Such scenario would prevent the controlled segregation of people of color for the benefit of the investor class. There will be many more benefits leading to the solution of numerous social-economic problems we have today, including environmental degradation due to the externalization of environmental consequences caused by the separation of the investor class from the consequences of their decisions.
We are all being systematically segregated into separate social-economic classes relative to how obedient we are towards the current social-economic order of the status quo. Denounce social-economic segregation! Economic freedom for all!