A lot of the misperceptions of the far left are, unfortunately, due to the programmatic posturing (or rather lack thereof) by the far-left groups being observed by the "average Joe":
What immediate-term policies, if any, are the various Trotskyite and Communist parties offering as practical proposals to handle the aftermath of this problem?
I´m not talking about any notions they may have of total revolutionary change, abolishing private property blah blah blah.
Basically, I´m asking this: has any left-wing party anywhere in Europe (such as Joe Higgins´ type) offered any kind of short-term practical responses to the economic difficulties?
Lenin was prepared to implement partially-capitalist programmes in Russia upon taking power, acknowledging Marx´s position that many aspects of capitalism are good. So it would be silly to pretend that no true Socialist would ever propose to operate capitalism.
I´ve been looking, and apart from vague, stupidly non-specific ideas like "abolish the profit system" I see nothing suggesting what socialists would actually do if they got into power.
Can anyone point me to a far-left movement´s website which gives specific policy proposals which are achievable and do not involve massive constitutuional change.
I mean Socialist proposals limited to taxation and subsidy, etc, not sweeping eliminations of the status quo without any proven-workable plan to replace them.
Of course, the poster's last comments demonstrated a false dichotomy between "taxation and subsidies" on the one hand and "abolish private property, revolution, etc." on the other. And since the poster exhibits an economistic tendency, I'll only discuss economic demands or the economic aspects of more comprehensive demands.
1) Shorten the work week to 32 hours or less without loss of pay or benefits.
The main demand there is the shorter workweek. The non-loss of pay and benefits is a side demand. If "capitalism is soooo swell," why the hell are workers working longer hours? The 32-hour workweek should've been reached in the 60s!
2) Direct proposals and rejections (a la referenda), at the national level, regarding all tax rates on all types of income (including capital gains and dividends).
Actually, this direct democracy in income taxation also means giving "the people" the ability to establish new tax brackets. This means empowering "the people" to impose higher taxes on "the elite."
3) Abolish all indirect taxation (sales taxes, for example).
4) "Sliding scale of wages" and "living wage": First, lots of companies offer cost-of-living adjustments to their employees, so why can't this be universalized for all employment compensation and benefits? Second, minimum wages (like those for Wal-Mart and McDonald's workers) should be bumped up to "living wage" levels. Third, unemployment benefits should be at "living wage" levels, too.
I've read minimum programs of various communist organizations, and I must apologize for not mentioning the offshoring stuff. However, the offshoring reeks of protectionism, and goes against my *personal* belief in subsidized trade favouring the developing world. If labour protectionism is to be enacted (as opposed to First World farm subsidies crippling Third World farmers :rolleyes: ), then the governments of the developed world will have to *invest* in equalizing the playing field (i.e., no "free market" clauses for international government banking loans a la the World Bank and IMF).
5) Bailout $$$ should be directed towards the formation of worker cooperatives, and more corporate and upper-class "taxpayer" money should head in this direction in the face of workplace closures, mass sackings, and mass layoffs.
[If workers for some reason or another do want to be "laid off," however, the bailout $$$ should be directed towards securing their pension plans. I believe the economist Stiglitz suggested this recently.]
6) Really nationalize the banks and ban all derivatives trading (done during the Great Depression, I believe), instead of this de facto lending without oversight (much less more democratic control):
[The funny thing is that all the "European socialists" back during the post-WWII "consensus" NEVER treaded upon nationalizing financial services wholesale under one state-owned financial institution.]
7) Establish a fully nationalized "public works" program (although in reality "public works" should be expanded to broken neighbourhoods, alternative energy facilities construction, urban farming, etc.), instead of mere contracting out to the money-grubbing private sector.