Utopian Common Sense

I’ve just finished reading “Envisioning Real Utopias“, part of the “Real Utopias Project” (a good book which I recommend), and felt like posting a few quotes from it.

I post them not because I think they’re dazzling insights or brilliant turns of phrase, but because I think they ought to be truisms, common sense for the wider anti-capitalist public. And the point of truisms is that they’re repeated endlessly. Hence, I’m repeating them:

1. On the theoretical relationship between democracy and individual freedom:

“This is the core principle: people should have as much control as possible over those decisions which affect their lives. ‘Freedom’ is the power to make choices about one’s own life; ‘democracy’ is the power to participate in the effective control of collective choices that affect one’s life as a member of the wider society.”

2. On the justification of economic egalitarianism:

“Egalitarian distributions of material resources…have two distinct justifications: Social justice requires equal access to the necessary material means to live a flourishing life; political justice requires equal access to the necessary material means for real freedom.”

3. On paralleling ‘socialism’ and ‘democracy’:

“If ‘democracy’ is the label for the subordination of state power to social power, ‘socialism’ is the term for the subordination of economic power to social power.”

4. On the ‘birth’ metaphor for revolution:

“The metaphor of birth combines the idea of incremental metamorphosis with rupture…There is a ‘before’ and ‘after’, a discontinuity in the life course. But birth can only happen after a successful, incremental, gestation in which future potentials are brought to the brink of full actualisation, and after birth this incremental process continues through maturation.”

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