This was the title of my first post on my blog on 13 October 2011. I posted daily for quite a while and then occasionally. A few posts have been nothing obviously to do with Tagore. How to show him as relevant to present thinking on world change is an issue for me. I arrived at my unusual position in Tagore discipleship or scholarship by a very strange route: a lifetime’s journey from being brought up socialist, pacifist, ecologist and atheist, through conventional – and reformist – groups and movements: CND, Greenpeace, Labour Party etc., to Marxist revolutionary socialist, then a dip into spirituality, mysticism and Quakerism, overlapping with a focus on research into land degradation worldwide and permaculture as an approach to designing alternative land use systems, which is what, oddly enough, drew me to Tagore, upon discovering his work on rural reconstruction in the Elmhirst Papers at the Dartington Hall Trust Archive. Meanwhile, I had studied for a BA and then MA with the Open University, where I discovered Tagore again – as polymath, poet and mystic.
I have just touched base again with World in Common, an on-line anti-capitalist group (see below), and signed up to the Quaker Universalist Group blog. Both of these were on impulse rather than a thought out decision, but I trust impulses. I have been keenly interested in the Transition movement (www.transitionnetwork.org/), but my engagement with a Transition group in my own small town has been discouraging so far. I am also interested in the postmodern Marxism of J-K Gibson-Graham. A Tagorean world would be a combination of anti-capitalism, monism/universalism and practical action, given that the teleological historical dialectic has not worked out: who nowadays believes in the workers taking over the factories as in Upton Sinclair’s Industrial Republic? That hope is still hanging around in WiC and other socialist literature, but we need to recognise that the way to go is towards relocalisation, resilience and reskilling.
WE HOLD THAT THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES represent the common criteria for eligibility to participate in the World in Common project:
Opposition to all forms of Capitalism (past, present, local, global, state or free market;
Its replacement by a classless, moneyless world community without borders or states and based upon:
– common ownership and direct democratic control of the means of production
– a free access economy with production geared towards the satisfaction of human needs
– voluntary association, cooperation and the maximization of human creativity, dignity and freedom;
A recognition that such an alternative society can only be established democratically from the bottom up, by the vast majority of people, without the intervention of leaders, politicians or vanguards;
A commitment to continue the process of contact and cooperation with other groups in our political sector. This does not mean ignoring that which makes us unique, rather that we should devote time and energy to building on what we have in common.