Sunday, March 21, 2010


The Regina Manifesto which was the founding document of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (the CCF, later to be the NDP) is mostly of antiquarian interest today. Social democracy in Canada has strayed far from its idealistic roots, becoming both more reformist, in the bad sense, and also much more statist than it once was. Today even the statist parts of socialism, let alone the idea that the cooperative way is a legitimate alternative to government direction, are basically a thing of the past. Cooperativism has found its major home outside the party. Not that there aren't those, however, in the present NDP who would like to see a revival of these ideals. One of these is Pierre Ducasse, a once candidate for leadership of the federal party. The following is a recent article published at his Ecodema blog. M. Ducasse is, for sure, not an anarchist in any sense, but he represents the better part of social democracy, the part that preserves at least some of the ideals of socialism.

The New Regina Manifesto?:
A Work in Progress
I'm at it again. Can't leave the CCF alone. I've been reworking the Regina Manifesto, reframing it in largely non-statist terms, as if guild socialists had written the Regina Manifesto rather than Fabians. It is also framed in term of an actual cooperative rather than as a political party per se. Historically cooperatives have played both roles concurrently. I invite others to join in the fun. What I've whipped up so far is in the extended entry.

The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of North America will not rest until it has brought the values of life, liberty and happiness into every enterprise in America and has put into full operation a cooperative and collaborative platform for an open economy throughout the whole of America.
CCF is a free association of individuals, organizations and communities whose purpose is the establishment of a cooperative commonwealth in which production, distribution and exchange are openly arranged for social purposes and the defense of our common cultural heritage.
The CCF aims to replace the closed corporate system that has been used by the privileged corporate interests of Wall Street mercantilists and their K-Street hirelings to enclose Main Street America's credit, investment, productive capacity and access of each and every American in Mexico, Canada, USA and elsewhere to a free and participative marketplace. This corporate enclosure has limited the progress of communities, entrepreneurs and companies alike. An open economy of enterprise formation and shared capital accumulation will supersede the closed corporate framework and replace it with an open framework in which enterprise is freed to participate in a self-governing, decentralized and federated economic democracy.
The principles of economic democracy at the heart of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of North America has the power to lift communities, families and working people from poverty into prosperity, rewards achievement for work and entrepreneurship and eliminates the means for the anti-social formation of privileged wealth. The Cooperative Commonwealth of North America contends in marketplaces and marketspaces against the closed corporate system and its fruits: in an age of plenty it condemns working people and whole communities to poverty and insecurity. Closed Corporate Power has become more and more concentrated into the hands of a small irresponsible minority of investment bankers, asset-strippers and hedge fund speculators and to their predatory interests the majority are habitually sacrificed.

Under the rule of these latter-day merchantilists the drive for a monopoly on credit and access to capital leaves the productive world high and dry and working Americans tossed to-and-fro between periods of manic and wasteful activity in which the main benefits go to Wall Street speculators, investment bankers and the industrial-military-financial complex of war profiteers, and then to yet another round of catastrophic depression, in which the already precarious situation of insecurity and hardship of people alienated from their birthright is compounded. We believe that these evils can be removed by free people committed to building a free and open economy together where the means of production, distribution and credit creation are socially-held within the partnership-based framework of open enterprise models.

The new social, political and economic order can not be achieved by partisan political means, nor can it be achieved by redistributive taxation nor by the nationalization of businesses. The aim of the Cooperative Commonwealth of North America will be achieved by creating an economic democracy that shares a common operating system with that of the political republic. The CCF knows that no political republic can long guarantee liberty to individuals and to society as a whole without the presence of a strong civil, participatory and democratic marketplace.
This social and economic transformation can be brought about by the action of a social movement inspired by the ideal of a Co-operative Commonwealth and dedicated to the practical application of USA's founding values of life, liberty and reward for honest achievement. We believe in change effected by Main Street's working people, entrepreneurs and companies as they work collaboratively and in solidarity toward their social and economic agenda in the marketplace on a daily basis.
We consider a purely partisan framework for the transformation we seek for our communities and companies to be wholly inadequate. While the activist base of North America's political parties of left, right and center hold many values in common with the Cooperative Commonwealth of North America there are a number of reasons why political parties in North America have often failed to serve as agents of social, political and economic transformation.
Despite the differences voiced in the heat of political campaigning there is often little difference in the measures taken by parties once forming their governments. It is the tendency of parties of government and opposition both to carry on government affairs in accordance with the aims of those interests, mostly closed corporate interests, that finance them while marginalizing the social capital that exists in their activist base. Seeking to effect a revolutionary social and economic transformation in such an environment is much like trying to steer a ship from the bow. The power of the closed corporate mercantilists that we challenge is exercised by their having control of the economic rudder.
The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of North America aims to guide the political ship of state by empowering the people to grab a hold on the economic rudder that directs the political ship. Consequently the CCF of North America is a democratic social movement that organizes farmers, workers, entrepreneurs and communities to act on its social and economic agenda in the marketplace as well as advocate its doctrine and principles in the course of governance. Therefore the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of North America is financed by its own members and by investors who support its social and economic programs. It conducts its affairs solely by constitutional means in accordance with the constitutions of Canada, USA and Mexico. It appeals to all the liberty-loving people of North America who believe that the time has come now for a far-reaching restructuring of our economic, social and political relationships, and that the field of liberty is white and ready for the harvest of prosperity to those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work while it is yet day, put their shoulder to the wheel and thrust in their sickles with all their might to the end of carrying out the following projects and programs:
1. Establishing a General System for Open Corporate Enterprise Models
2. Reestablishing the Credit Commons

The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of North America advocates a decoupling of its affiliated enterprises from speculative financial arrangements and draws upon the concepts of Social Credit, The Theory of Monetary Emissions and Open Capital to fashion a creditary system that has the power to sustain a free and open economy. A creditary system in conformance with our objectives
(I) issues credit not as debt but as 'equity carried forward' as Chris Cook ( ) and Thom Greco advocates.
(II)separates banking into 3 distinct departments namely an issuing (monetary department), financial department and capital department to prevent asset-price bubbles that arise from an over supply of fixed capital that in turn results in an excess of production over consumption. This departmentalization of banking is advocated in Bernard Schmitt's Theory of Monetary Emissions ( ).
(III)The formation of a beneficially-held pool of productive capacity and capability in the form of a Capital Account constituting the 'Real Credit' of society from which credit may be issued debt free to all consumers and households on a statistically controlled basis to effect non-inflationary and non-deflationary market clearing. This is the course of action advised by advocates of Social Credit.
All of these measures may be undertaken by non-governmental bodies affiliated with the Cooperative Commonwealth of North America and in collaboration with government jurisdictions.
3. Co-Operative Institutions and Open Capital Partnerships
4. Farming, Ecology and Economy
5. Inter-regional Trade and Development Compacts


Werner said...

At one time there was even some interest in a working merger between the old CCF and the Social Credit party. Truly there was less statism in everyday life then. Even cops used to read Orwell 50 years ago. The basic income idea of the SCers has only recently returned (with gusto) in recent years while anarchism has absorbed whatever was good within the CCF tradition

TransconaSLim said...

I've tried to do the same once, to frame it in an anarcho-syndicalist reality, I just changed a couple of words...

The Canadian Anarcho-Syndicalist Union is a confederation of industrial unions and General Membership Branches whose purpose is the establishment in Canada of a Co-operative Commonwealth in which the principle regulating production, distribution and exchange will be the supplying of human needs and not the making of profits.

We aim to replace the present capitalist system, with its inherent injustice and inhumanity, by a social order from which the domination and exploitation of one class by another will be eliminated, in which economic planning will supersede unregulated private enterprise and competition, and in which genuine democratic self-government, based upon economic equality will be possible. The present order is marked by glaring inequalities of wealth and opportunity, by chaotic waste and instability; and in an age of plenty it condemns the great mass of the people to poverty and insecurity. Power has become more and more concentrated into the hands of a small irresponsible minority of financiers and industrialists and to their predatory interests the majority are habitually sacrificed. When private profit is the main stimulus to economic effort, our society oscillates between periods of feverish prosperity in which the main benefits go to speculators and profiteers, and of catastrophic depression, in which the working class's normal state of insecurity and hardship is accentuated. We believe that these evils can be removed only in a socialized economy in which our natural resources and principal means of production and distribution are owned, controlled and operated by the workers themselves.

The new social order at which we aim is not one in which individuality will be crushed out by a system of regimentation. What we seek is an inclusive and liberatory collective organization of our economic resources such as will make possible a much greater degree of leisure and a much richer individual life for every human being.

This social and economic transformation can be brought about by direct, economic action, through the self-organization of the workers inspired by the ideal of Revolutionary Industrial Unionism and supported by the community at large. We do not believe in change by violence. We consider that all parties in Canada are the instruments of capitalist interests and cannot serve as agents of social reconstruction, and that whatever the superficial differences between them, they are bound to carry on government in accordance with the dictates of the big business interests who finance them. The CASU aims at ending the wage system in order to put an end to this capitalist domination of our lives. It is a democratic movement, a confederation of all the workers in all industry's, financed by its own members and seeking to achieve its ends solely by economic methods.

Knowing, therefore, that such an organization is absolutely necessary for emancipation, we unite under the following bylaws:

mollymew said...

Sounds like a good exercise that we should all undertake.