Ashton Deroy writes: I have been talking about Cooperatives. A Business model I seriously admire and one that I believe can truly reduce poverty. It wouldn’t be completely honest though if I didn’t talk about the pitfalls for a Socially democratic collective. The truth is I have some negative experiences for the model of Social Democracy that I stand up for so much.
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Let’s go back to 2018 when I was removed from Seneca Pride. I won’t even be denied that I deserved it. Despite the fact, it was clear to many observers that the “Mean Girls” had taken over the Pride group. What did I learn from this experience though?
Well, I have 3 ways to get past deadlocks in Social Democracy:
Hold Procedural votes – We all liked the idea of hold Social democratic votes over Facebook in our Seneca Pride group. There may have been student government regulations that prevented this process. I was also in favor of raised hand voting from within the group. Just as long as we got the votes done. Which is the case of Seneca Pride… We did not. It is worth noting the real reason I took Politics at Seneca College as a General Education course was to better manage the Social Democracy happening from within this group. The key to procedural votes 1. Setting firm dates. 2. Setting a firm process. 3. Allowing members to abstain by choice or not showing up.
Allow authoritative decision making – Not everything can be decided by vote. Sometimes you have to trust an authority on the subject matter. Sometimes choices aren’t democratic. Sometimes decisions should be made by Utilitarian principles, expertise, or other moral principles. I often discouraged anti-police sentiment from within Seneca Pride. This was because I felt morally obligated to ensure the health & safety of Seneca Pride members. Many of whom were going to seek permanent residence within Canada. I believe it would be easier for them to integrate permanently as comrades if they were to buy into the Commonwealth phrase of “Peace, Order and Good Government.” . I was also adamant that OPP from within Toronto only be blamed for actions committed by them. Not action committed by American authorities. Despite the fact, Black Lives Matters had an agenda of promoting a borderless approach to civil rights issues from within our group. Despite our opposition, this would be a group I grew to admire for their grassroots civil rights movement.
Don’t be afraid of hurting feelings – Even in a democracy, we can not reach a Utopia of everyone being happy. I like to say Even Soviet Russia had Conservatives. Referring to farmers who protected Private Property in agriculture-related to the New Economic Plan of Lenin. Sometimes the practical decisions can leave people feeling a bit disenchanted.
“The time at our disposal is limited…. The material means of achieving ends are limited. We have been turned out of Paradise….” Lionel Robbins. I feel like that quote is the perfect note to end in when we talk about Social Democracy. Whether we like it or not we have to be practical in our approach to a more modern collective. Well and isn’t that just a bummer?