27 October 2020

David Harvey, in his new book, The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: “It is often said that in order to achieve socialism, we have to surrender our individuality and we have to give up something. Well, to some degree, yes, that might be true; but there is, as Polanyi insisted, a greater freedom to be achieved when we go beyond the cruel realities of individualized market freedoms. I read Marx as saying the task is to maximize the realm of individual freedom, but that can only happen when the realm of necessity is taken care of. The task of a socialist society is not to regulate everything that goes on in society; not at all. The task of a socialist society is to make sure that all of the basic necessities are taken care of — freely provided — so that people can then do exactly what they want when they want. If you ask everybody right now, ‘How much free time do you have?’ the typical answer is ‘I have almost no free time whatsoever. It’s all taken up with this, that, and everything else.’ If real freedom is a world in which we have free time to do whatever we want, then the socialist emancipatory project proposes that as central to its political mission. This is something that we can and must all work towards.”