This talk will look at the notions of the impossible and the inevitable in a range of belief systems, including (but not limited to) socialism and other political belief systems. Why are people attracted to ideas that seem to be either impossible or inevitable? Or put off by them? What does it mean to campaign for something that might be impossible, or inevitable? What happens when assessments of impossibility or inevitability change? How do people believe that an impossible thing is true anyway? Or that an inevitable thing may never happen?
Besides socialism, the talk will hopefully address impossibility and inevitability in contexts such as liberalism, capitalism, flat earth, the end of the world, extraterrestrial life, Scottish independence etc.
Living In Capitalism As A Socialist
– Janet Surman
Profit is the backbone of capitalism and profit is made from a plethora of resources, the greatest and most easily attainable of which is the global human resource, to be found in any village, town or city anywhere on the planet. The capitalist system is well known for waste as a necessary part of maximising profit and there is no greater waste than that of the human potential trapped in non-productive, non-useful work.
This session will take a look at the human misery attached to jobs, to work that many don’t really want to do but have to do to survive and will also look at the opposite position when human potential can be fulfilled to the satisfaction, and pleasure even, of billions of individual human beings.
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at.” Oscar Wilde
'Team Human’: Can You Live A ‘Normal’ Life In Capitalism?
– Howard Moss
Someone recently wrote a book called ‘Team Human’ which emphasised that humans are social creatures who are most happy and fulfilled when working together for common goals. But how do we stay human in the vast antihuman infrastructure that is capitalism which constantly undermines our capacity to work together and connect with one another?
Despite the powerful forces that set us against one another (employment, nationalism, monetary gain), people are at their happiest when associating together in, for example, clubs, societies, family groups and social and political activities, which involve working with and helping other human beings. Socialists do this too. They belong to local clubs, community groups and trade unions. But how do they – or should they – react to being asked to go further and be associated with campaigns which involve, say, lobbying governments to improve conditions in particular areas, signing petitions calling on political parties to support certain changes in the law, or being members of or giving money to charities which seek to remedy deficiencies in social provision (e.g. housing, health care) or to save people from the consequences of sudden disasters, natural or man-made?
The Socialist view is that time spent in attempts to reform capitalism is time wasted. But on a human, day-to-day level, Socialists often find it difficult just to stand by and do nothing. So how do we cope with the constant dilemmas thrown up by wanting to spend our time helping to create a truly associative social system, yet constantly being called upon to help patch up the contrary arrangements fundamental to capitalism?